Friday, June 21, 2013

The good old days...yeah, well, maybe but...

In the mid 60s, when I was born, Australia's population had just clocked over 10 million.

My father worked and my mother was, well, a mother. She stayed home and looked after her kids.
David (me), Fred, Andrew

There were only the two of us - my brother and I.

They received no "benefits" from the government, my mother had no income whatsoever - no part time job, no nothing.

We knew people who had been in their jobs their whole life and then retired. These people retired onto a pension that was actually OK as I recall.

There was no overwhelming sense of entitlement from the population. Australia seemed to work hard for what they had and, for the most part, were happy with that.

My brother and I weren't spoiled. We didn't get anywhere near everything we wanted. Although TV tried hard to make us want as much as possible.

When I couldn't get the toy I wanted I made it out of Meccano or Lego.

I received a token sized "allowance" and if I wanted something more expensive than I could afford, guess what, I saved up. Later on I got a paper run and worked in a store. I didn't earn much but I learnt the value of money and it stopped me wasting it on many things seen as "social problems" these days.

Fast forward 40 odd years and Australia is a very different place.
Anne, David (me), Andrew

Our population is 23 million, both parents have to work (apparently), and no-one stays in a job for more than a few years.

The concept of retiring and getting a pension are all but long vanished fantasies.

These days we have to contribute to our own superannuation to fund our "retirement" which is, by the way, getting further and further away. The government wants to skim more off your super and force you to continue contributing to it for longer and longer.

Their excuse is that we are "living longer" so we have to stay in work longer. They can't afford to fund longer and longer "retirements".

I've given up on the traditional view of retirement. I'll never get one of those.

We are told by the powers that be that our population needs to grow to ensure we can fund the future, look after the oldies and not end up with an aging population that will be a burden on the taxpayer.
David (me) - no fancy stroller

Interesting isn't it considering where we've come from.

Our population has doubled, we work more than ever, we live longer than ever yet we'll never have the golden age of retirement that our parents enjoy...probably enjoy...anyway.

To me it seems clear we already have that problem.

To me this seems pretty clear evidence that growing the population does not fix the problem.

To me it seems pretty clear that growing the population has made it worse.

10 million people - got to retire
23 million people - get to work harder, longer, get screwed by super and CAN'T retire

But Dad did have an old Merc'
That doesn't seem like a win to me. What it does prove to me is that throwing babies at the problem is NOT the answer.

Yet all over the world our politicians continue to push the populate or perish bandwagon.

To be fair, honesty and dealing with facts have never been the strong point of any politician.

That simply means that once again it is up to us, the individuals with brains, to fix things.

How?

Well, for starters how about we stop funding middle class welfare. These folks who have way more than my family did in the 60s are bitching about needing help to raise their kids.

This is bullshit plain and simple.

Welfare is for people who can't cope, it is not for selfish people who want a new TV.

Most of this welfare is not means tested and goes to people who simply do not need it. If you disagree I suggest you refer to the definition of "need" in the dictionary. I am sure you won't find "the state in which your 3 year old BMW must be replaced by an SUV at the taxpayers expense."

I think the days of handing out any form of welfare as cash must end.

I don't care who you are or why you are on welfare. If you get money for food, healthcare, looking after the elderly...whatever, as a taxpayer I want you to spend that money on the things you've been given it for.
Fred and his work van

So instead of cash, hand out vouchers. I know there are flaws with this type of thing, but there are fewer holes than handing out cash for fuck's sake.

So to get back on track...

I am not particularly the type to bang on about the good old days. I know things are pretty bloody brilliant right now. But there were some things that we had and we've lost because we've been greedy.

There are lots of reasons why population growth is bad and a fundamentally flawed concept.

It won't be until we realise we are hurting ourselves, and actually feel the pain, that we do anything about it.

It is like banging your head against the wall, you can't remember why you started doing it in the first place and  it feels great when you stop.

The experiment failed. 
Let's do something better...something smarter!