Viv Forbes, The Australian, July 11, 1986, p. 12, as a letter to the editor.
Sir, A sick market is always a symptom, never a cause. One cause of our sick currency is runaway expenditure on the welfare State and bureaucracy.
Over five million people get a regular cheque from the Government. The cost of this is over $50 billion a year. The taxes needed to pay this are destroying profits and jobs, which puts more people on welfare. We are all caught in the welfare whirlpool — tax causes poverty causes welfare causes bureaucracy causes tax …
This welfare whirlpool is destroying the natural control systems of our society.
Every social system needs a combination of the carrot and the stick to regulate itself. The carrot is the chance of becoming rich if you work. The stick is the probability of becoming poor if you don’t.
Taxes have consumed the carrot; welfare has broken the stick.
This is why Australia can no longer compete, except in sport, where winners and losers are still allowed under the law.
There is need for an urgent community debate on how to get us out of the welfare whirlpool. Politicians are afraid of the subject — we, the people, must put it on to the national agenda.
Government itself is generating the welfare whirlpool and it is a cruel joke on its unfortunate victims to claim that more taxes and more welfare will provide more than temporary relief of symptoms.
No government welfare system has ever been able to separate the needy from the workshy or to prevent the cost of the system causing a revolt or a collapse of the producers.
The family and the local community is the only welfare system which works without being ripped off. Family, friends, churches, charities, voluntary communal groups — only these decentralised, personalised local groups have the right combination of austerity and compassion.
Austerity is required to prevent abuse of the system by staff or recipients. Compassion is needed to bend the rules in urgent or special cases. Neither austerity nor compassion is able to operate properly in any huge bureaucratic welfare department.
What can be done immediately, with no further debate?
First, cut the dole by 50 per cent for all able-bodied persons with no dependants and freeze the number and the payout of supporting parent benefits.
Second, give every person affected by these moves a certificate exempting him from all statutory wage controls in the first job obtained.
Third, slash taxes to allow industry to expand job opportunities. The top priority must be to abolish the fringe benefits tax and cut payroll tax, both of which are penalties for employing people.
This program will provide both the incentive and the opportunity for the unemployed to get real jobs instead of waiting in growing frustration for make-believe jobs in Bob Hawke’s leaf-raking program.
Tax Payers United
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