During the Trump administration, the running not-so-funny joke was that every week was “Infrastructure Week.” Periodically, like a clockwork designed by M.C. Escher, Trump or one of his flapdoodle minions would pop up and announce that a massive overhaul of the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, airports, subways and water systems was a mere “two weeks” away.1 Percent Owes Billions in Unpaid Taxes. IRS Must Reclaim It for Infrastructure. | The Smirking Chimp
When I was younger and in severe financial stress, I observed first hand how people didn’t notice their privilege. When expressing my dissatisfaction with my lack of money, a friend advised me to just forget about it and go out. I reminded her that I just explained that I had no money. “You mean you have NO money?” No, I replied, nothing till I next get paid. Ok, at least I was going to get paid and that would enable me to keep my head above water for long enough to take a breath, so I guess even I had a privilege that I didn’t see. All of which brings me to the recent changes to JobSeeker.When You Call Me Privileged, It’s Just The Politics of Envy! – » The Australian Independent Media Network
Other comparisons relate to the World Bank’s definition of poverty as the pronounced deprivation of well-being:
- Homicides: Numerous sources report a higher homicide rate in the U.S. than in India.
- Suicides: Numerous sources report a higher suicide rate in India than in the U.S. (although WHO shows a higher male suicide rate in the U.S. than in India).
- Alcohol Abuse: All sources report a higher alcohol-related death rate in the U.S. than in India.
- Homelessness: Based on the best available data, the U.S. has a slightly higher rate of homelessness than India. The numbers may be understated for both countries.
It seems astonishing that, in a country where one in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty, and many of those are living in “deep poverty”, the Coalition’s election focus is on tax concessions and tax cuts for the wealthy – and they seem to be getting away with it.
In 2004-05, the top income tax rate kicked in at a taxable income of $70,000. Four years later, that had risen to $180,000. Meanwhile, the tax free threshold remained at $6000 from 2000-01 until Julia Gillard increased it to $18,200 to compensate for the introduction of carbon pricing in 2012-13.
When Tony Abbott got rid of the mining tax, he also repealed many payments to low income earners, including income support benefits to children of soldiers killed or seriously injured in service.
In Aurukun, northern Queensland, locals are hiding from police out of fear they will be arrested for not paying their power bills.
In a market that many banks are unwilling to lend to, the locals turn to payday lenders, consumer leases and quick cash schemes to get themselves out of debt, only to find themselves in a deeper hole than when they started.
Targeted by shonks and shysters, the community in Cape York is one of many Indigenous communities where the number of scams targeting the Aboriginal population have more than doubled since 2016.
The General Federation of Palestinian Labor Unions reported, on Thursday, that the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip has doubled since Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade 12 years ago.
The federation said, in a statement, that while the unemployment rate had reached 27.2% before the blockade, it has now reached 50%, including 283,000 workers considered unemployed in 2018.
The statement added that the poverty rate has reached 80%, indicating critical deterioration in the standard of living and economic performance in the Gaza Strip.
Why are we becoming soooo American just look at the condition they are in and that’s where the LNP wants to take us. (ODT)
But perhaps the most striking aspect of this story is the fact that Ryan has spent the last two years studiously avoiding from offering the least bit of criticism of Trump – whether it be for his womanizing, his bragging of sexually assaulting women, his overt racism or his repeated endangerment of national security. But let a priest remind him about his responsibility to help the poor, – why them there’s fighting words! And apparently just cause, in Ryan’s zombie eyes anyway, for termination.
Economic Vandalism which the taxpayer protects and guarantees won’t collapse (ODT)
The commission has heard that Australian banks have adopted actual lending practices (as distinct from their official lending policies) that claim so much household income for contract payments that borrowers are left without enough money to fund basic consumption levels: they are living in poverty.
This isn’t an accident: it is a strategic policy by banks. How much do banks think households need for daily living? According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s submission to the royal commission, banks “typically use the Household Expenditure Measure [a relative poverty measure] or the Henderson Poverty Index in loan calculators to estimate a borrower’s living expenses”.
So measures designed to capture the impacts of low incomes are now targeting financially-enmeshed middle-income households, and not as a statement of social shame, but as strategic objects of bank policy.
Israel has one of the highest poverty rates of any developed country with the gap between the rich and the poor ever widening, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed yesterday.
And so the effort to decriminalize poverty continues. As hundreds of thousands of people molder in jails for the simple “crime” of being poor, we must all call out the legislative irresponsibility that finances the courts on the backs of the poor, and we must stand up to the bail bondsmen and their underwriters, as well as the private prison industry and the correction officers’ union, which all profit off the misery of low-income people in a system where injustice reigns. Justice demands it.
Back in 2001, Four Corners did a program on the working poor called Going Backwards, where they quoted the statistic that 42 per cent of Australians living in poverty lived in families where one or both adults work.Then Employment Minister, Tony Abbott, summed up the Coalition view.“I’m prepared to accept that lots of people in work are doing it tough. But that’s true of lots of people at — on comparatively good incomes because they have heavier responsibilities.”Lord knows, keeping up with the lifestyle in the Northern and Eastern suburbs of Sydney can be expensive. Even people who score a job that requires no qualifications, no experience and no expertise, that pays in the top 1% of incomes and that allows you to charge your employer for pretty much everything, can struggle because of their “higher responsibilities”.
Nigel Scullion writes to Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in support of Marshall Wallace’s parole application
A group of volunteers sharing food with the homeless in Tampa, Florida were recently arrested for the crime of generosity.
While Europe rushes to steel its external borders against an oncoming wave of migration, its internal political union is dissolving under a storm of populist nationalism.
Indigenous groups are calling for governments to finally act on the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment. Friday marks 25 years since the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody tabled its 339 recommendations – among them that imprisonment should be used as a last resort. Since then, the number of Indigenous prisoners behind bars has doubled and their risk of being put there is 13 times higher than non-Indigenous Australians.
This isn’t a joke. This shocking story really happened in 21st century America. Now, read below what happened. A 45-year-old man-Rex Iverson has died in police custody in the city of Tremonton, Utah after he was arrested for being unable to settle his medical bills. …
Many young Palestinians are jobless and from poverty-stricken families and are now taking matters into their own hands.
“Never be afraid to raise you voice for honesty and Truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the Earth.”
— William Faulkner
Poverty and unemployment can make Christmas a very bleak time for some folk. While thinking about their struggle I was overwhelmed by how we have demonised and abandoned so many who need our help, so I did what I so often do, escaping to my world of numbers, knowing there has to be a better way.
The Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz said
“… it should be the task of every job seeker to make it their full-time job to gain employment … Because the data is overwhelming … If you are unemployed, the physical health, mental health, self-esteem, social interaction of that individual are all diminished.”
As Bill Mitchell wisely observes:
“If the unemployed have a responsibility “to make it their full-time job to gain employment” even though the income support payments the Government provides leave most of them impoverished (and deliberately so), then the Government has a responsibility to use its fiscal capacity to provide sufficient work.”
So here are some numbers to contemplate as some of us digest our Christmas feasts.
The Commonwealth spends $7.5 billion on Newstart Allowance each year and the number claiming is rising by about 5% annually. It has also committed to give $5.1 billion to Employment Providers over the next three years and $525 million for the Green Army.
At present, the Newstart Allowance supports approximately 740,000 people without a job.
The national minimum wage is currently $16.87 per hour.
Instead of forcing unemployed people to work 15 hours a week to get their Newstart payment (with a possible additional payment of $20.80 a fortnight to help with costs of taking part in the Work for the Dole activity), why don’t we give them real jobs for 20 hours a week starting at the minimum wage. This would give them a wage of $674.80 a fortnight, give them some work experience, and also allow them some time to be studying or looking for other work. Considering the maximum payment a single person with no children can receive now is $515.60 a fortnight, this would be a significant boost.
If 500,000 people were given jobs under these circumstances it would cost us about $8.8 billion a year, less than we are already spending ($9.4 billion), and the same as Joe Hockey gifted to the RBA. It’s less than we spend on Operation Sovereign Borders and much less than Tony is spending on foreign built fighter jets and submarines…..to get half a million people into work and one step closer to moving out of poverty.
There are hundreds of thousands of jobs that can be created which meet current unmet community needs and would help people and the natural environment and which would be accessible for any skill level.
All it takes is for a government to have the brains, courage and heart to do it.
We need the Wizard of Oz
Poverty is on the rise in Australia, with more than two and a half million people – and one in six children – struggling to fulfil their daily basic needs, statistics suggest.
The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) revealed in its latest national poverty report that more than 600,000 children, and one third of children in single parent families, lived below the poverty line.
The report analysed figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for 2012.
To be considered “below the poverty line”, a family of four needed to be surviving on less than $841 a week, and a single adult on less than $400 a week.
The 2014 ACOSS poverty report also revealed more than 40 per cent of all people on social security benefits fell below that line.
It also showed that women, people with disabilities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were among the worst affected.
Australia’s peak social services body said the new poverty figures should force a rethink of proposed budget cuts to welfare payments.
ACOSS 2014 poverty report key findings:
- Poverty line: single adults on $400 a week; couple with two children on $841 a week
- Poverty rate: 2,548,496 Australians (13.9%) living below the poverty line
- Child poverty: 602,604 children (17.7%) living below the poverty line
- Income support: 40.1% of people on social security living below the poverty line
- Unemployed: 61.2% of unemployed people living below the poverty line
- Working poor: 33.2% of people below the poverty line came from a household with wages as their main income
- Overall growth in poverty: Poverty increased between 2010 and 2012 by nearly 1%, from 13% to 13.9%
“For us to find that we do not have the right policies, the right measures in place for us to turn the tide on the rise in poverty in Australia, is a wake up call for all of us,” ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
“We have to take this issue seriously. This is not the idea of if we just have economic growth, then everything will be all right.
“The reality is we need a really strong set of policies and we [need to] know what they are in order for us to make sure that every person – and importantly every child – in Australia has a decent chance to a decent start, and that we are a country that does not need to have one single person living in poverty.”
“What we are asking the Governments around the country to do is stop what we seem to be having at the moment in Australia, which is once again a blame game that the problem, if you are living on unemployment (benefits), that you are not trying hard enough.”
Salvation Army back calls to stem welfare cuts
The Salvation Army said it supported calls for a reduction in budget cuts for welfare recipients as many Australians were going without basic necessities such as food and electricity.
State by state – below the poverty line:
- Tasmania 15.1% (Hobart 13.8%, rest of state 16%)
- Queensland 14.8% (Brisbane 13.9%, rest of state 15.4%)
- NSW 14.6% (Sydney 15%, rest of state 13.8%)
- Victoria 13.9% (Melbourne 13.7%, rest of state 14.3%)
- WA 12.4% (Perth 12.4%, rest of state 12.4%)
- SA 11.7% (Adelaide 11.5%, rest of state 12.5%)
- ACT and NT 9.1% (No separate data available due to small sample sizes in ABS survey).
The Salvation Army’s Ronda McIntyre said this was an indictment on a wealthy country like Australia.
“Poverty is about people; it’s about women and men and children,” Ms McIntyre said.
“Poverty is about individuals and families who are excluded from fully participating in society – people who are humiliated about the circumstances that they find themselves in.”
Dr Goldie also said the 2014 poverty report highlighted inequality posed by Budget proposals to reduce the indexation of pension payments to the Consumer Price Index only.
Dr Goldie said this would result in higher poverty rates over time and that pension payments should be indexed to average wages.
On a state-by-state breakdown, Tasmania had the highest number of people living in poverty at 15.1 per cent, while the ACT and Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of people living below the poverty level, at 9.1 per cent each.
The most at-risk groups included:
- Women, who were more likely to experience poverty than men – 14.7 per cent compared to 13 per cent;
- Children at 17.7 per cent;
- Sole parents at 33 per cent; and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at 19.3 percent, compared to the national average of 12.8 per cent.