QED

Soaking Seniors, One Treasurer at a Time

Giving wrinklies a kick is their schtick. Are sociopathic treasurers, actual and wannabe, a modern-day phenomenon? I am not an historian so will leave the question hanging.

My tale begins with Hockey, an amiable-looking cigar-chomping chap. Beneath, a dark heart pumped. Let’s progressively lower the living standards of old-age pensioners by changing the indexation arrangements, he whispered to Abbott. “The budget so bad we gotta do it.”

Drunk with victory, his head in the clouds, Abbott merely nodded. Hockey was encouraged. Let’s also stick it to poor people visiting doctors and spend the proceeds on yuppie medical research. Momentarily, Abbott demurred.

“But we took none of that stuff to the election,” said Abbott.

“Never mind, never mind,” Hockey squealed in reply, “needs must.”

And so began Abbott’s tragic demise.

Turnbull was loved by the ABC and the Wentworth set. Everything was going swimmingly. But Scott Morrison was awaiting his chance. Old people are the key to getting the budget into surplus, he claimed.

“Are you sure?” Turnbull queried.

“If anyone can get away with it you can,” blandished Morrison.

Turnbull knew in his heart of hearts he was so accomplished that he could indeed get away with anything.

And it came to pass that Morrison chucked an estimated 327,000 part-pensioners, mostly Liberal voters who had saved for their retirement, off the pension by doubling the taper rate for each dollar of assets they held above a threshold. He made many of them poorer than those who had saved nothing and lived wholly off the old-age pension. What a sociopathic lark.

I am not saying that this did Turnbull in. We know that he proved to have baggage aplenty without being saddled with Morrison. Nevertheless, the new pension arrangements hardly helped. They drove many Liberal and National voters into the arms of conservative fringe parties.

Incidentally, Morrison’s work was not done. He couldn’t help himself. He imposed a discriminatory and capricious tax on the major banks, which sent their share prices materially down. Guess who hold lots of bank shares for their franked dividends? Those undeserving wrinklies again.

Perspective is required. Hockey and Morrison were simply warm-up acts for Bowen. “Et tu, Chris,” Shorten was heard to cry when the election results turned sour. Indeed, Bowen was the culprit in the woodpile. He actually proposed and defended a scandalous, confiscatory and unconscionable policy of, for example, ripping $7000 of franking credits off an aging widow woman (let’s call her Molly) living on a modest income of $40,000 a year; reducing her to hard rations and cold nights. Shorten was so mesmerised by Bowen that in his corrupted mind he actually imagined Molly on a yacht sipping champers while she enjoyed her undeserved “gift” from taxpayers.

How do I know that Shorten was under Bowen’s spell? Because even Shorten at his most crass would not have come up with this extraordinary nonsense. No, Bowen was the puppet master.

I don’t pretend to know what is going on. However Morrison, now that he is PM, should keep a close eye on Frydenberg, assuming he remains as Treasurer. Josh seems like a stand-up kinda guy, but you never know. Old people with money who can’t run fast are rich pickings for pillagers and plunderers.

Who would have thought that Hockey, Morrison and Bowen would turn into sociopaths when it came to extracting wealth from old people? But there it is. The record speaks for itself.

13 comments
  • Tezza

    The stupid Age Pension asset test change was actually a decision in Hockey’s budget, while Morrison was social security minister and Abbott was PM. Then the super tax increases were Morrison’s once he became treasurer under Turnbull. Both changes took effect in 2017.
    Who knows if Morrison ever understood how the two changes worked together to impoverish retirees and destroy trust in the retirement income framework? Certainly Treasury has never revealed any long term modelling of the combined effect of the changes.

  • ianl

    There are as well a number of other measures aimed at reducing the assets of older people – constant increases in health insurance; interest rates being “trimmed” by the RBA on the pretence that this kickstarts economic activity; complete opaqueness on aged care costs (that’s a nightmare).

    The driver for all this is the post-war population bulge reaching the end of productive work life. Considered too hard on budgets, this demographic is covertly considered not worth much effort. Stripping assets from them is an easy grab as they are geographically spread, not concentrated in a few marginal seats, and can be propagandised as greedy.

    Super as is can provide, over a 40 year work life, a retirement with the house paid for and perhaps $1m in a bank account. In this country, that is considered greedy by large numbers of envious people.

  • Peter Smith

    You are right Tezza that the pension asset test change was in Hockey’s last budget in 2015 but as Morrison became Treasurer in September 2015 and brought his own budget down in May 2016 and the change did not begin until the start of 2017 I think Morrison well and truly owns it. And of course he defended it, despite its effect of penalises many thousands of retired people who had modest savings and who had planned their affairs on the prevailing rules. He seemed indifferent to their plight. It was, in my view, unconscionable and, too boot, quite unnecessary. We are rich enough as a society to afford not to put older Australians into dire financial straits.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I’m betting that an effective Death Duty (by another name) will be a feature of the next Budget. Labor has already brought forward its intentions on that, so there will be nothing to stop it if the Morrison Government so choose.

  • en passant

    Peter,
    You missed the ugly duckling, Wayne Swann, as a well-funded retiree willing to do in those proles less well off than his socialist self.
    It is also worth noting the disgrace that is the robbery of former military members. The DFRDB Fund into which they compulsory donated was so much in surplus the payments could have been increased without costing the nation a dollar. It was all their own well-invested subscription that funded their retirement. Unfortunately, the Great Socialist, Fraser so $5Bn in easy money, so he started the process to roll it into Consolidated Revenue. It took until Keating to achieve that outcome. If the original scheme had been allowed to continue a superannuant who had served his country faithfully would be receiving 30% more than they now do. Well, I suppose somebody has to prop up Wayne Swann’s pension payments fund …

  • en passant

    ‘Fraser saw’

  • Alistair

    The key to a successful culture or civilization is the rewarding of those people who defer gratification by saving and the channeling of those savings into productive investment in the future rather than into immediate consumption. The current model of encouraging a demand-driven / consumption based economy will be the end of us.

  • Stephen Due

    Thank you for the splendid picture of Old Mother Hubbard. She was used by our pastor in church last Sunday as an example of a situation when prayer was necessary. As a self-funded retiree I felt this illustration particularly pertinent. I will use the picture you provided as my screensaver.

  • ianl

    A Michael Roddan in The Oz today Monday May 27 has a long, and typical, whinge on just this “intergenerational theft” topic. Half coherent, full of straw men, cloying in its’ envy.

    He really hated the election result and this is perhaps not atypical of the cohort who like to be called Millenials. Impatient little twerps …

  • Jody

    The Aged Pension is a gift. Franking credits are NOT a gift.

    I don’t think the Coalition would dare bring in Death Duties (it was the idea of the execrable Burnside and the unions). There only has to be the slightest whiff of DDs and we’ll put all our assets into the names of our children and rock on down to Senna-link.

  • ianl

    > ” … we’ll put all our assets into the names of our children and rock on down to Senna-link”

    Sorry Jody, but that has a deliberate handicap. If one gifts sufficient assets (to whoever) to fall below the asset limit, one is “deemed” to still have those assets – so remaining ineligible for age pension or senior medical card – for a 5 year period.

  • ianl

    Oh, and those envious Millenial journos putting the boot into older people always refer to franking credit refunds as a *cash* refunds, deliberately aimed at pushing eny further along.
    The refund they receive at the end of the financial year if they have overpaid tax is *never* referred to as a *cash* refund, although that is exactly what it is.
    These people are shameless parasites, of course, but the point is that they don’t mind that. Contemptible.

  • damien.oneil

    Bowen, a survivor of failed governments and failed elections should be sacked, shown the door, given the boot, relieved of duties, flicked, given an early retirement opportunity, you’ve been deselected – nick off.
    A shocker of a bloke.

    damo

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