A friend of mine emailed the article below to myself and a group of his colleagues. I’m the only capitalist amongst this group.
June 18 (Bloomberg) – Sophia Constantinidou works as a teacher in a private school in Athens. She also has a more lucrative job: remaining unmarried.
The 52-year-old gets 400 euros ($496) a month from the Greek government, part of her late mother’s state pension. Under the current system, Constantinidou qualifies to receive the payment for life as the only surviving child of a deceased civil servant, provided she doesn’t tie the knot.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to get married,” Constantinidou, whose mother died 20 years ago, said in an interview. “But after I turned 40, I realized I wouldn’t be getting married and that thankfully I had this.”
However I was disheartened by some of the comments that got emailed around on this article. For example:
“Just like all those teenagers on the dole getting themselves pregnant just to get the baby bonus so they can buy a plasma tele” – Liberal voter
I have had discussions before with the guy who wrote this. So I know he’s being sarcastic, he’s very leftwing and is attempting to have a go at right wing types. This comment is particularly annoying considering the Liberal party are quite happy with welfare being the biggest burden on the Australian tax payer. The Liberals introduced the baby bonus and are currently proposing a mandatory maternity leave scheme.
Here was another reply:
“Vote 1 Greens and preference whoever u feel like”
The Greens are the most socialist of all parties. They also preach nihilistic environmentalist ideology. Lately they have been gaining votes due to the current Labor government’s incompetence and election promise breaking. I almost feel sorry for Labor voters who are now turning Green. In their minds, the Greens must actually appear to be the best option now! I think Greens supporters just can’t or won’t stop and think what enacting their environmentalist (ie: disguised socialist) dreams would actually mean in reality for human life in this country. In the words of Alex Epstein, “Which hospitals will you shut down?” Either that, or they don’t care about loss of human life at the hands of government.
The final “reply to all” was simply someone saying “+1″ to the former commenter supporting the Greens.
I assume these people are reasonably productive normal people. But when it comes to politics and most likely their deeper ideological beliefs, they’re lacking.
I wrote this quick reply but then decided not to send it. What’s the point? I have previously had conversations with these people leading me to believe they will cling to their egalitarian dream land come hell or high water. So I decided to take out my frustration here instead.
Under the last federal Liberal party the welfare system was expanded in terms of cost to tax payers despite Howard’s pretences otherwise. The Liberal party introduced the baby bonus. So presumably Liberal voters are happy with this, and more generally are quite supportive of welfare and other forced wealth redistribution. Most people are. After all this is the biggest expense to tax payers in this country and our society puts up with this.
Presumably people are considered too stupid or incompetent or heartless to care about the poor, or to donate to charity or to take steps to reduce poverty related crime where it exists (NB/ poverty does not correlate very well with crime rates, there are many other influencing factors here too). So in our modern world we are forced to hand over our money to parasitic bureaucrats who continue to fail on tackling these problems while they simultaneously aid their own job security as the problems get worse and call for more of the same over and over.
Personally I have a much more benevolent view of humanity, I don’t believe people are inherently heartless or incompetent. People do care about the poor and can be trusted to help the poor especially genuinely unfortunate people. I’m appalled at the blind faith people have in destructive governments who wish to increase taxes and increase their powers. Any sane, honest person should be able to look at history and realize the dangers of improper government power. Eg/ The unprecedented scale of human death and misery from the overly violent 20th century and the experiments into socialism/ fascism/ nationalism/ and other collectivist ideologies.
In Australia, with our roughly half capitalist/half socialist mixed economy system the harm governments inflicts is less than the disaster zone of say Zimbabwe, but it’s still real. A mess of mal-investments and lost capital growth have and will continue to occur but this is not obvious to the general populace (see Bastiat).
Unfortunately the trend towards increasing levels of government power especially over the last decade is undeniable, eg/ increasing levels of business regulations, increasing taxation revenue and wealth redistribution, increasing censorship powers, etc etc.
It is well known amongst door-to-door salesman that it is easier to sell products in poorer neighborhoods. I’m certain most lower class people in Australia have better TVs than I do. Most poor people are not good with taking responsibility of their finances. Welfare makes this problem worse by further taking their finances out of their control. Why should they learn financial responsibility?
When I went off the rails in my late teens after some personal tragedies in my life, I knew many homeless people, I was good friends with a few for several years in my early uni days, I spent hours hanging out in government housing estates, and mixed with many dodgy people. I have a lot of regrets from that time but my experiences were an eye opener. I was able to see common traits amongst many poor people. And I’m convinced that most lefties (SRC where are they now?) who like to think they care about the poor are actually highly ignorant of reality, human nature and the causes of poverty. Most of what they propose is highly destructive to the poor in particular. Eg/ Minimum wage laws, government housing, welfare expansion. Instead of examining empirical data, they follow their emotions and cling to bad ideology just like religious conservatives motivated by the bible.”
For some facts on Australia’s out of control welfare system, this comes from the John Humphrey’s proposed 30/30 tax system paper:
“Our top marginal tax rate is higher than the rate in communist (sic) China, our income tax burden is one of the highest in the developed world and Australians are currently suffering from the highest level of tax in our history. An estimated 80,000 people are employed to avoid or enforce taxes, and those taxes result in about $30 billion of lost efficiency every year. The current system of welfare payments is complex, expensive, inefficient and ineffective. If we distributed the current federal welfare budget directly to the poorest 25% of Australians, each family of four would receive $72,000 per year.11 And welfare spending continues to increase quickly. In three years, we will reach $100 billion federal spending on welfare ($80,000 for each of our poorest 25% of families). And yet, despite this massive level of expenditure, poverty remains and is even entrenched.”
And finally a pie chart of federal tax expenditure in Australia for 2009-2010: