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We're All Scr3W3D Infers The Philosopher John Gray On Radio4


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Ms Woods is English, but as she is married to me and has been in country for 2 years, so is effectively Australia as far as benefits go.

They are means tested, which is why the marginal tax rate gets so high. Once she earns more than $1500 per annum, or I earn more than about $22k we lose 60 cents in the dollar. Combine this with other taxes, medicare levy etc., and we hit a marginal rate of up to 94.5% as stated above.

Housing benefit isn't so generous here, so if we didn't own a home we would be struggling (but surviving).

At one point work was looking pretty thin on the ground and social security suggested I shut up shop and go on the dole. My jaw nearly hit the floor! (I haven't stooped that low yet, but there are some advantages. You can get social security here for starting a business provided you are already in receipt of social security in some form or another...so I could close up shop, go on the dole, earning more or less what I do now, then apply for the new business scheme and get a decent qualification as well as financial support.)

On a positive note, asset testing in Australia is reasonable. You are allowed $273,000 in assets if you own a home or circa $420,000 if you don't own a home before your benefits are affected...certainly better than the £6000 in the UK. Having said that for some benefits (unemployment) you may be expected to keep yourself with your assets for a period of time (up to 13 week iirc, depending on how much you have). This doesn't apply to parenting payment which my wife is in receipt of.

Yeah, I meant means tested on the asset side. Even a mediocre house deposit over here keeps you out of the juicy housing benefit claim. My missus (and kids) are Aussie citizens but I've never been that interested in the option.

Medium term, how do you think Aus will do if China blows up for a bit? Given your current strategy?

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Ms Woods is English, but as she is married to me and has been in country for 2 years, so is effectively Australia as far as benefits go.

They are means tested, which is why the marginal tax rate gets so high. Once she earns more than $1500 per annum, or I earn more than about $22k we lose 60 cents in the dollar. Combine this with other taxes, medicare levy etc., and we hit a marginal rate of up to 94.5% as stated above.

Housing benefit isn't so generous here, so if we didn't own a home we would be struggling (but surviving).

At one point work was looking pretty thin on the ground and social security suggested I shut up shop and go on the dole. My jaw nearly hit the floor! (I haven't stooped that low yet, but there are some advantages. You can get social security here for starting a business provided you are already in receipt of social security in some form or another...so I could close up shop, go on the dole, earning more or less what I do now, then apply for the new business scheme and get a decent qualification as well as financial support.)

On a positive note, asset testing in Australia is reasonable. You are allowed $273,000 in assets if you own a home or circa $420,000 if you don't own a home before your benefits are affected...certainly better than the £6000 in the UK. Having said that for some benefits (unemployment) you may be expected to keep yourself with your assets for a period of time (up to 13 week iirc, depending on how much you have). This doesn't apply to parenting payment which my wife is in receipt of.

Tiger,

In 18 months time, i will have been in Australia 2 years, with full residency, which i have, as a single man mid forties, no dependents, no spouse, no assets, just renting @300 bucks aweek, currently driving a cab, but should i not be able to work, what would i be entitled too, just wondering, the old health ain't great, done too much too young, over exhausted the old body.....

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Tiger,

In 18 months time, i will have been in Australia 2 years, with full residency, which i have, as a single man mid forties, no dependents, no spouse, no assets, just renting @300 bucks aweek, currently driving a cab, but should i not be able to work, what would i be entitled too, just wondering, the old health ain't great, done too much too young, over exhausted the old body.....

No kids? :lol: Nothing much then. It is once you have kids that mana rains from heaven. Starving urchins don't look good on telly. If you are single with no kids, you are tough out of luck.

If you were too ill to work then probably it would be the Disability Support Pension. It is about $695 a fortnight, i.e. $18000 per year, but then there is also the possibility of rental assistance etc. I think. Single people get shafted as always.

However, note that there is a more stringent residency requirement for this, to wit:

To qualify for Disability Support Pension, you must be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day on which you lodge your claim.

To qualify, you must be living in Australia as:

an Australia citizen

the holder of a permanent resident visa or

a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before that date or who assessed before 26 February 2004 as ‘protected’.

You also need to meet the 10-year permanent-residency requirement, unless:

you are claiming under an international social security agreement

you are a refugee or former refugee or

your inability to work or blindness happened while you were an Australian resident.

It was different when I was a kid. The widows pension paid enough that, with my mum doing a bit of part time work, she managed to pay off a 3 bedroom house near the centre of Brisbane in 10 years, as well as feeding and clothing me to a high standard.

What visa are you on btw?

Edited by Tiger Woods?
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Yes, it's over the top to suggest that we will regress back to Victorian levels of hardship.

It would have been nice if Gray had pointed out that pensions were affordable when they were introduced because the retirement date was calculated to be not long before death for most of us.

We have a household and national debt problem our government would like to inflate away but it's proving to be difficult to really get inflation going so far - today's inflation is very tame compared to the 70s.

the higher the inflation to cure things, the higher the pensions that are paid out.

QED...inflation is not a cure.

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No kids? Nothing much then. It is once you have kids that mana rains from heaven.

What visa are you on btw?

If you were too ill to work then probably it would be the Disability Support Pension

However, note that there is a more stringent residency requirement for this:

To qualify as an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia as:

•the holder of a permanent-resident visa

Holders of a permanent-resident visa need to meet a two-year newly arrived resident’s waiting period..........

http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/newstart-allowance/payment-rates-for-newstart-allowance

single, no children.....Your maximum fortnightly payment is:$489.70

Rent Assist............

http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/centrelink/rent-assistance/payment-rates

single, no children.....Your maximum fortnightly payment is:.....$120.20

$610.00 a fortnight.........., $305.00 aweek, i can see how a cohabititing couple's manage over here on $610.00 aweek...

Edited by Panda
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Back to topic. I might get a 30 year holiday, I might finish up with 10 but whatever it is more likely to be a holiday in a B+B than a 5*hotel. My living standards will fall, my living standards are falling, I know and expect this. My living standards falling may help your prospects for a better life at the margins. What would help your prospects for a better life in a meaningfull way is a return to an economics that didn't result in the majority of wealth that is created being 'owned' by a very small number of people. AFAIK not too many boomers with fsp's have much of a stake in the £13tn that is stashed away in offshore accounts.

A very good post. The Blair sponsored 'meritocracy', and the masses of cheap debt and MEW thrown around meant that the majority of people were happy to accept a vapid 'trickle down' theory of economics. Combined of course with watching Dragon's Den and imagining they would, indeed, one day be millionaires. It was all total, total, junk. As was the rubbish about the knowledge economy.

The proportion of winners decreases, and the spoils increase. Every game ends like that. The 'proper' free market can't solve it either.

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can highly recommend getting some of this guy's books, very thorough, very thought provoking.

Was a social democrat, then a Thatcherite, now some sort of very pessimistic green conservative. Interesting shift, probably one many here can identify with. Even though non religious he makes some great arguments against Dawkins, Hitchens and Co on religion

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Medium term, how do you think Aus will do if China blows up for a bit? Given your current strategy?

What I am doing is not something I want to do for the long term, but our current circumstances do highlight that there is a threshold where the incentive to work is basically destroyed by the benefits structure, especially if you have kids.

If China blows up, we will be in a right mess. I suspect we will end up with quite bit of debt as the assumptions behind government revenues fail - won't be as bad as Ireland or Spain, but the same sort of transfer of debt onto the public will occur. A lower dollar will help the rest of the export economy though. We've been importing people hand over fist the past couple of decades, but not doing much for our infrastructure. The cities have gone from being pleasant, to not so nice. I left Australia for the UK in 1992. What I came back to in 2009 was a step down from what I left. About the only thing that has improved is the food in cafes and restaurants. Hardly a fair trade.

Having said that, regardless what happens with China in the near future, in the long run Australia will do well this century because of its natural resources. We will waste the opportunity though.

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What I am doing is not something I want to do for the long term, but our current circumstances do highlight that there is a threshold where the incentive to work is basically destroyed by the benefits structure, especially if you have kids.

I can't blame you. In the uk I am in the awkward position of just about being ahead of the situation you describe but realistically I have no hope of never doing significantly better.

Work drudge and some faint hope of secure tenancy or quit work and settle for the easy lifestyle.

And I'm one of the lucky ones :blink:

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