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We Summarised the Budget and Now Need a Stiff Drink

So this is what happens when young people vote Greens. You getting a caning by the Treasurer. Because what the Government is doing to all but the richest of us makes no sense economically, socially, or logically.

by Carly Learson
May 14 2014, 2:34am

I guess this is what happens when young people vote Greens. You getting a caning by the Treasurer. Because what the Government is doing to all but the richest of us makes no sense economically, no sense socially, it doesn't even make sense logically.

Yes, the Budget introduces more taxes to raise revenue. But around 88 percent of the money that is being found to fix the 'budget emergency' is being ripped out of health and social services.

Welcome to poverty.

Here's how the budget will affect you:

Young unemployed people

Getting a job now is hard enough. But it's about to get harder.

16,500 public servants are losing their jobs, and will be looking for new ones. Companies will get a $10,000 gift if they employ an old person. Disabled people who have been on pensions will also be thrown into this job searching frenzy. It will be harder to get the pension, and if you have the physical capacity to work, you won't get it at all. They'll do eligibility tests more frequently, so you'll also have to be continually proving to the Government that you're disabled.

Competing with experienced public servants and old people doesn't make it any easier.

But that's not the only thing that makes it tougher. You have to be unemployed for six months before you get any benefits. That's right – it doesn't matter how many job interviews you are unsuccessful in, how many bus and train tickets you have to buy to get to those interviews, how much new clothing you have to buy to look presentable, how many phone and internet and electricity bills you have to pay to search for jobs and call employers – you'll get nothing. Plus, you've got nothing to pay the rent so you're either homeless or stuck with mum and dad.

If you can't get a job in those six months you can go on benefits, but you have to work for them. That's right, doing menial jobs at below minimum wage. It will be really helpful when you tell a prospective employer that you have work experience in work for the dole. Once you've done that for six months you're back where you started – another six months of no money coming in.

Oh and the benefits will be lower if you're under 25. You can no longer get Newstart, you have to get Youth Allowance, which was previously for people up to 21. The Government wants to encourage you to get off welfare, but it looks like you're going to have to swap Government welfare with parent welfare.

Why did they do this? 'Compassion,' says the Prime Minister. The kindest thing to do is deprive people of the means to survive so they learn the value of a job.

Winners: Budget Emergency, old people, businesses

Losers: Young people, their parents, all the shops and rich people who will now be getting burgled more frequently


Young families

Lets say you've managed to get a job, just an average job which pays about $45,000 a year, you've got a couple of kids and you rent a house. Of course it's impossible to live on that much money – that's why the Government has always stepped in to help, so your kids have enough to eat. Those benefits are going to be frozen, which means that even though the cost of your fish fingers and two minute noodles goes up, the money coming in doesn't. Once your youngest kid is six, you'll stop getting part of the benefit completely. And don't expect your wage to go up – with all those newly unemployed people competing for jobs, you're lucky to have it. You'll be too worried about old people taking your jobs to be brave enough to ask for a payrise.

When your kids get sick, you'll have to pay $7 to see the doctor, and an extra $5 on their medicine if they need it. Doesn't sound like much, but just think – of the $900 a week you get, take away your rent, food, school costs, bills, petrol (which is also going to go up) and tolls, and you're left with very little. For those who don't have a bulk-billing doctor nearby, or if they have a waiting list that goes for weeks, and you've relied on emergency wards, as so many rural and regional people have to do, forget it – hospitals will now charge you for your visit. So just try not to get sick.

Winners: Budget Emergency, pharmaceutical companies which haven't lost anything even though we're paying more, hospital emergency wards (they'll have fewer people turning up)

Losers: Children, parents, doctors who will have extra paperwork and sicker people to deal with


High Income earners

Not all of us are poor and disadvantaged, I hear you shout from the North Shore. Some of us have rich families or just happened to meet the right guy who happens to be an investment banker and sure I have a huge HECS debts from my law degree but isn't it great I can get $50,000 to have a baby and that baby will grow up rich like me? Well shut the fuck up and by the way you're not rich, you're just at the top of the middle class. Real rich people, multimillionaires, pay very little tax at all – the Sydney Morning Herald found 75 millionaires who had managed to make their taxable incomes an average of $82 a year. 

Anyway, for three years you'll have to pay an extra 2 percent tax on anything over $180,000. Or, you can just reduce your taxable income through one of the many means available to rich people – like negative gearing, salary sacrificing, starting a charity or hiring an accountant (good way to keep it in the family).

Winners: high income earners – you're still richer than the rest of us. Mega rich people with good accountants

Losers: Do we need to say it?


Students

It used to be that you could get your arts degree, work in social services or for a charity and never have to pay back your HECS debt. Now you probably will have to. The income level has been reduced by 10 percent. If you're already studying, that's all you have to worry about apart from the fact that you'll soon be jobless and have six months of extreme poverty to look forward to.

If you're still at school, you can look forward to some good old US-style debt for the rest of your life. That's right, as of 2016 universities will be able to charge whatever fees they like. You'll still be able to get a loan from the Government, but they're going to be higher, and you'll be charged a higher interest rate on them too. Good luck ever trying to get a loan for a house with those debts.

With the Gonski reforms to be scrapped our current school kids probably won't be smart enough to go to uni anyway, but luckily they're being offered lifelong debt as well – they can go into debt to do a diploma at one of the high-priced private colleges that offer training in things that prepare you to be an exploited freelancer (like journalism and sound engineering).

Winners: Budget Emergency, rich international students, the Liberal Party (uneducated people are more likely to vote for them)

Losers: Kids, young people, anyone who values education or independent thought


Seniors

Well some of them will be able to get jobs which is nice. But for the rest, they're facing a huge range of cuts to their income. It will become more difficult to get a Seniors Health Card, and they'll lose an annual payment of $876.20. The Federal Government is also taking money away from state-based senior concessions.

Winners: Budget emergency, the few that will get a job

Losers: The poorest old people, the sickest old people, the families who look after them, State Governments


Religious people

One of the only programs to get more funding in the budget is the school chaplaincy program, where kids learn about God and Jesus and stuff. If you can get kids to believe in an afterlife they'll be happier to accept how shit their present life is.

Winners: churches, Christian God.

Losers: kids who find religious instruction tedious


Anyone who uses public transport, goes to school or is sick

About half of the funding that will pay for new roads is being pulled out of the state budgets. State Governments are responsible for delivering these services, and without that money they can't do it. They're being very polite about it – after all, most of them are Liberals – but it makes their job pretty hard to do. Aside from those few (ok it's more than a few) Liberal politicians in NSW who are corrupt, the NSW Government has done a good job of improving public transport and running excellent public hospitals and schools. But they're going to have to find a way to make more money to keep doing it. The only real option for them is to convince the Federal Government to increase the GST.

Winners: Road users (except petrol will cost more)

Losers: State Governments and all the services they provide. And all of us.


Poor people overseas

Look, not a huge amount of foreign aid funding ends up with the poorest people in East Timor or PNG or Vanuatu. But now, even less will end up with them. The biggest saving in the budget is in foreign aid – $7.6 billion over four years. The Australian Council for International Development said while the cuts were bad, there were increases in funding for humanitarian response – probably a much better way to spend our money.

Winners: The PNG Government gets an extra $60 million to host the Manus Island Detention Centre, disaster agencies like the Red Cross and UNHCR will likely benefit.

Losers: Staff at AusAID (now DFAT), NGOs that run development programs
 

Environmentalists and the entire world

They're scrapping the carbon tax. The way they got around this was by proposing Direct Action - $2.55 billion over four years to get industries to stop polluting. I think there were very few people who believed they'd actually do this, and so it's no surprise that they've decided that this can wait. It's going to be rolled out over ten years instead.

Landcare has had almost a third of its budget cut but don't worry, it's being replaced with the Green Army! Makes sense right – Landcare has been doing great work forever, they know what they're doing, but who knows just how much better they'd be if they were made up of cheaper 17 year-olds instead.

Research and investment in renewable energy will stop with the abolition of the agency in charge of it.

Winners: mining and oil companies who will continue to power the nation. Big polluting companies.

Losers: Mother Earth


Mining executives, owners and shareholders of multinational companies

The mining tax will be abolished. An extra $100 million will go towards mining exploration. There was no scrapping of the diesel fuel excise. There have been no moves to get multinationals to pay the taxes they miss out on by registering companies in Bermuda or wherever. Pharmaceutical companies are still able to rip us all off.

Winners: Mega rich people, Bermudan registry office

Losers: Everyone who is not that.


Politicians

We have to share the burden, we're told. Backbenchers have had three payrises over the past two years, giving them an extra $1000 a week. Sure pensioners, who get about $20,000 a year, will have to give up some of their income, but so will politicians. They'll have to pay the deficit levy, and they won't be getting more payrises. Tony Abbott, who earns more than half a million dollars each year, is willing to suffer to the tune of $6,400 in the interests of the budget emergency.

Winners: Politicians – they still earn heaps

Losers: Senior public servants – they do all the work and won't get their expected payrises. 


Follow Carly on Twitter: @carlylearson

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