Monday, 13 May 2013

Tomorrow will be

Budget Day. The man who received the title of "the world's greatest Treasurer" will get up in Parliament and deliver yet another inept Budget - this one designed to minimise political damage and win another election. 
Although all the polls are against it the Australian Labor Party has not given up hope - and stranger things have happened in politics. Like elections anywhere else in the world our elections can be (and are) fiddled with. 
But, the Budget. There are some savings which could be made to reduce the size of the deficit. They would be unpopular but they were payments given - by both sides - in an attempt to win votes. 
There was the "First Home Buyers Scheme". That should never have started. People thought they were getting a nice handout from the government. It just raised the cost of housing. That may well go in the Budget. It should.
There is the Baby Bonus. Yes, having a child is expensive. I do not think a cash handout is the answer. Perhaps most people spent it on baby related items but not everyone did. There is also the question of whether, even if children are our future, everyone should be required to pay for what is essentially a personal choice to have children. 
There is paid maternity (and paternity) leave - and now a "Paid Parental Leave" scheme is being touted by the current Opposition. All sorts of arguments are offered about why both parents should go back to work - again at the expense of the taxpayer.
When they do go back there is the Childcare Bonus...taxpayer funded money to put your children into daycare so others can be paid to care for them. 
And it does not stop there because, once you start school, there is the Schoolkids Bonus....and so it goes on.
Of course having a child is a huge financial commitment. They are also, we hope, the future taxpayers and those who will care for us when we cannot care for ourselves. 
I do wonder though at the social economics of all these handouts. Now that mothers (or even fathers) are positively discouraged from staying at home with their children we are losing other things as well. We have lost regular home-cooked family meals using at least some vegetables we have grown ourselves. We have lost the capacity to play in the street with our mothers keeping an eye from a distance while sewing the buttons on the garment they finished making that day. The school canteen is run by a professional (and woe betide suggesting anything but "healthy" food is stocked) and not by "Mum". 
I could go on and on because it seems to me that the social consequences of all these handouts have barely been recognised - if they have been recognised at all. Perhaps they do not matter to other people but I cannot help wondering if our taxpayer funds might have been better spent on something apart from changing the way we live. Was it really wisely spent? Was there another way of doing it? 


Anonymous said...

Of course it was not wisely spent! If they did their homework they would find the cost of going to work and having the kids in so much day care etc sometimes almost matches (or may even exceed) the amount someone gets from a second income. They could get the same amount of mental stimulation from actually being involved in their kids lives and be better off because of it. You should stop trying to justify any of those things. Its bad for society.

Anonymous said...

Pot stirring Cat? Chris

catdownunder said...

I am hoping it might stir a little discussion Chris - written in a bit of a hurry this morning and not that well put but is it time we gave the social consequences some consideration? (Obviously "Anonymous" has some argument with the idea.)