September 3, 2011
Superannuation, Colour-bond fences, and “Tax us more please”, by the Germans.
The week has had its ups and downs, but more ups with the troika of a timely stop to the Australian Government’s wish to engage in a bit of serious people smuggling to Malaysia, the SMH Heckler’s funny agreement of the horrors of colorbond fencing. All this featured on 31 August edition of The SMH. This is some of what Ilsa Grace wrote in HECKLER column:
“Colorbond@ country, week one. I woke up this morning and went: WAAAAH! I want to go to Thailand, away from this! I want to go where there is life in profusion, some noise, some pollution, street stalls, dogs and splashes of vivid colour… My new house is surrounded on all sides by a 1.8- metre high pale green Colorbond steel fence (CBS) It is no doubt a miracle product and is described by the manufacturers as strong, durable and lightweight. I open my curtains and blinds, aside from my front master bedroom, I look out on CBS. I hear dogs barking on either side of my fence, but I have not seen them. I hear a neighbour mowing the lawn but can’t see her. I hear children playing in the yard of the house at the back of me; again, I can’t see them.”
Ilsa writes how in her old pre-colorbond steel fence life, she was able observe the comings and goings of joggers, be woken up by kookaburras, surfers heading to the beach, schoolkids heading home. In her new fenced-off CBS home all natural greenery has been removed and replaced with palms and other exotics, no more lorikeets or the wake-up call from a lone kookaburra. She asks why those fences have to be so high and why not include a clear panel allowing at least observing the occasional neighbour hanging washing etc.
The “TAX US MORE”, Germany’s rich tell Merkel”, in the same SMH, is just as heart warming. The rich in Germany are now joining others in Spain and France in renewing their call, “to tax me harder” with an open call to Chancellor Merkel, to “stop the gap between rich and poor getting even bigger”. The Group’s manifesto claims Germany could raise 100 billion Euros if the richest paid a 5% wealth tax for two years. It goes on” I would say To Merkel that the answer to sorting out Germany’s financial problems, our public debt, is not to bring in cuts, which will disproportionally hit poorer people, but to tax the wealthy more.” We are always hearing about savings packages, but never tax rises. END of the SMH quotes.
Those not so super “SUPER”. Last but not least and hardly in the same positive league is the plight of those superannuants in Australia that were left at the mercy of ‘free-market.’ The idea to leave the contributions by workers in the hands of advisers and away from Government guarantee and control will prove to be disastrous for many that relied on an income from the contributions towards their retirements. In Holland if not in other countries as well, superannuation and the income is guaranteed by Governments. Their contributions were never allowed into the ‘free market’ and private hands as they were here. No one ever needed to be left open to the very dubious ‘ free choice’ foisted on the totally inexperienced and susceptible superannuant here in Australia. This dodgy Ponzi scheme was nurtured (manured) by Government after Government. Many retires must be rueing the day they took that advice.
Instead of advisers and all sorts of other private sharks, skimming off percentages from the contributions by workers and investing the billions of savings into share-markets, real estate, and other investments that relied on the whims and wiles of markets, the savings in many European Countries, were much more prudently kept within Government bonds, savings and Bank deposits which were then for the main invested into the public domain such as Health, Education, Public Transport and Social infrastructures. In the long run, those sorts of investments pay of better and much more reliably than investments in shares or real estate.
I suspect that many retirees will see much of their ‘free market’ retirement end up into having to worry about their last years left of life. It should never have been allowed to happen.