Like the pimples which pop up, as if by right, on the face of an adolescent male, so Australia has claimants of OP (Other Peoples) money popping up in profusion. As one of the OPs, I am sensitive to this. I feel like a wool-growing sheep.
Unlike the sheep, I want to know who my dependants are; and how (and why) they achieved that status. Actually, they are almost self-defining; a sort of cross-bred product of highwayman, a Mafia-like collector, and a beggar.
Starting from the outside, and moving inwards to local claimants vociferously demanding their claimed rights: grants to foreign governments which do not require any accounting (like the $A12 million paid to some nations in the Pacific recently to encourage their children to attend school – but what about Aboriginal children in parts of the north of Australia?); overseas financial aid (who gets what and why?) when an overseas aid agency I supported for about 30 years provided targeted material aid (eg. sewing machines, water taps); major foreign corporations (and local ones too) allegedly receiving tax subsidies (why?); or are allowed to pay taxes (apparently low) to foreign nations on incomes earned in Australia (in spite of the reality that Australia relies on the inflow of foreign capital so that we may continue to eat as well as we do).
The most powerful of the current claimants within Australia of OP money are: our medicos (GPs) and specialists (who are a long way from any ‘poverty line’); women with young children who choose employment (unlike their mothers) whose childcare costs are subsidised by other taxpayers (the OPs), but why (since we import large numbers of workers each year)? Both categories seek increases in their taxpayer benefits.
Although (reportedly) some companies pay no tax, and some pay little, in order to be ‘competitive internationally’ the big business supporters of the conservative political party demand a reduction in company tax – but what specific benefits are we offered in return?
A current political ‘hot potato’ is the claim that those with a bit of spare cash should be tax-subsidised through ‘negative gearing’ of investments. This means ensuring that the purchase of a property incurs a financial loss; this then reduces the tax payable on the principal income. The so-called ‘mums and dads’ investors reportedly include more conservative politicians (one of whom apparently has 46 such properties) than the other kinds.
Most of us cannot afford negative gearing, euphemistically described as wealth creation by those indulging in it. Yet, publicly, no one mentions the use of OP money here; the tax benefit for one has to be made up through a higher tax paid by others.
There seem to be so many such lurks. Greed abounds, like never before. As well, what can one say to those who wish to ‘do good’ for someone or other, provided the government (effectively OP) provide the money?
Most importantly, what about the right and needs of the poor sheep whose hard-earned money is increasingly deflected?