As a percentage, how much of our total taxes do you think should be spent on social security and welfare? Before you come up with your number, try to think of all the things we expect our federal government to do when it comes to health, education, defence, major infrastructure, international relations and disaster relief (just to name a few).
Good, now keep your nominated percentage in mind.
A few days ago, I published an editorial on the state of the federal budget and how it represents Turnbull’s biggest challenge. Within that, one of the biggest challenges lies in welfare spending, which is expected to amount to a whopping $154 billion out of the total budget spend of $434 billion in 2015/16.
That is, 35.5% of all our taxes will be spent on welfare. How did you go with your number?
Some people have an over the thumb rule that you should give 10% of what you have to those more needy. As you can see, the federal government saw that number, raised it and then took a leak on it some time ago – which I suppose is easy when you’re doing it with other people’s money.
Of course, when it comes to the genuinely needy, welfare is an essential part of any civilised society’s budget. However, when families on incomes of up to $155,000 are entitled to claim a handout, you know something is terribly wrong with the system:
‘Although the Abbott Government also tightened meanstesting for family payments, a family can earn up to $155,000 a year with three high-school aged children before they stop receiving Family Tax Benefit A‘.
Yes, those sounds you can hear are your taxes weeping.
Assistance to ‘families with children’ amounts to $38.1 billion, so it looks like there’s quite a bit of fat that could be trimmed there. New Social Services Minister Christian Porter’s comments are encouraging. However, the final decision will be Turnbull’s. Does he have the fortitude to cut the middle class welfare?