A number of my recent Posts have touched on the idea that one way or another we are going to have to return to living within our means.
But what does that mean?
Well, it means that: that which cannot be sustained – wont be.
And the things which cannot be sustained include: (amongst a lot of other things)
1.) Double digit youth unemployment.
2.) Deficit govt spending.
3.) The National Superannuation Scheme (Pensions).
4.) Spending other peoples money (foreign lenders, future earnings).
We have to STOP mortgaging our children’s future. We have NO RIGHT to spend their money. Every time we borrow money to pay for current entitlements, that has to be paid for by future-work we take from people who currently have no say in the matter – but who we are expecting to pick up the tab.
What is worse is that we refuse to even hold a responsible debate about our policy choices. At some point that becomes not just careless, but deliberate and criminal. John Key(the Prime Minister) has recently and deliberately evaded the issue of Superannuation. There is no excuse for that. An employer who evaded and avoided Health & Safety considerations would be sued and fined. But apparently the government can just turn a blind eye to the blindingly obvious – Superannuation as it is currently instituted will FAIL.
That is guaranteed. If only because it is predicated on a perma-growth model.
We will not have the permanant growth of 5+ percent forever into the future that would be needed to even approach making our current situation sustainable.
And we certainly don’t have it now, inspite of all our manipulations of economic data in order to try to manufacture a simulation of reality we prefer/like – in the face of all evidence to the contrary (it is stupid childish behaviour).
So, what does Paying-the-Piper mean?
It means: living within our means. Paying for government spending out of current existing revenue. That which we do not receive in (current)taxes we can-not and must-not pay out.
It means: we must offer jobs to our young people ahead of everyone else. It is absolutely essential to society that young people are able to participate, work and earn.
Older people must fend for themselves in the job market – or go on an pension benefit/unemployment. BUT there can be no universal benefit you receive regardless of your financial situation.
Think about all that for a while because it is critically important.
If you are older (over 45 say) then you are arguably an adult. By then you should be able and sufficiently skilled to be fend for yourself (albeit, providing government, public policy and the structural economy hasn’t worked to snooker you).
If you are over 60, then the reality is that for a lot of people they are knackered. Their ability to work hard all day is shot. That is not to say there isn’t still an awful lot they can contribute. But for a lot of people, they just don’t have the physical strength and mental quickness to be on the cutting edge any more. And it is something that will not get any better with advancing age, lets just face that reality bluntly shall we.
So from around 60, we need to be making appropriate allowances for normal human frailty and mortality. Bumping up the age of pension entitlement is just an underhand way of pushing back the goal posts with the full understanding that what that means in reality is that a lot of the population will die before they ever collect (on a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero). That falls into the category of fraud and duplicity, because it is done with malice aforethought.
On the other hand, pensions cannot be some sort of free-for-all. It has to be an unemployment benefit for the unemployable. If you are too old to work, for whatever reason, and being over sixty counts – AND you do not have the means to sustain yourself financially – then you would get the unemployment benefit just like any other unemployed person. No more, no less.
But coming back to Paying-the-Piper, what all the above would mean for a lot of people is that their standard of living would drop pretty dramatically.
At the moment, the National Pension is something like $18,000 per year. but unemployment benefits are more like $10-12,000 per year. That would be a big hit to a lot of people right there. But then there is a whole other category of people, who have plenty of their own money they can live on, but are still collecting $18,000 of govt money for free. 18K for beer and skittles, woo-hoo, who wouldn’t like that? (Btw, don’t even start with the argument that you have paid taxes all your live, therefore you are entitled. Anyone wheeling that old chestnut out should be publicly flogged)
Except, Universal-Super is all money stolen directly from our children. The stupidity, venality and selfishness of it is breathtaking. The craven hypocrisy of politicians who suggested, promoted and continue to sustain this Ponzi system is beneath contempt. They deserve to be condemned and sanctioned for blatant lying and conspiracy to defraud. Literally – jailed for malfeasance and crimes against society. The pity of it is that our system and nature has hitherto rewarded them for their bad behaviour. (Our political system is a broken model, it cannot be allowed to continue as it is)
Well, the reality is that our system Won’t continue as it is, because it Can’t continue as it is. So things have to change…
The problem is that no one wants to Pay-the-Piper. As with all our problems, we are always looking not to resolve the issue, but for ways to not have to change our behaviour. Hoping that with some new financial trickery we can continue doing what we do now. (Re – Mish, Charles )
But… guess what?
We do have to change, and it will hurt – a lot.
Paying-the-Piper will hurt.
Living within our means, means a drop in living standards. Calculate just what impact the proposal above would mean for you? Many people (most?) will be living on the edge of poverty for a long time, maybe even for the rest of their lives (if they are older). It will mean being forced to make hard decision about priorities. Some things will have to be sacrificed and abandoned.
But it is the Only way to get our financial house back in order.
Austerity isn’t about callous disregard for peoples well being. It is about living within our budget and means (and paying back our debts). It’s about growing up, being adult, and being a contentious citizen of our society (not just an forcefeed consumer).
Not a terribly popular concept I know – how many people would vote for it do you think? (particularly if offered a fantasyland alternative by an amoral politician/con-artist)
But at the very least, there must be some-one in the public/political arena who is advocating and offering this (adult)option.