Misdirected Compasssion

When Ross Gittins writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, where he serves as economics editor, I always look for not only for his redoubtable knowledge on matters economic but also the social conscience that he often gives expression to in his columns. The thing I admire most about Gittins is his integrity – as an economist and as a human being.

His latest opinion piece is no different, calling out the misdirected compassion claimed by and directed towards self-funded retirees who are crying poor over the recently announced policy of the Australian Labor Party to end the ability of for unused dividend imputations credit to be claimed back from the Federal government – that is, from taxpayers – as cash payments. Gittins makes it very clear in the column of his opinion on the practice. In case you don’t want to read the article, it’s not very complimentary.

Gittins concludes his column by pointing out:

When they cry poor, these comfortably-off people with their hand out don’t tell you their goal is to get sufficient assistance from the taxpayer to allow them to avoid dipping into the capital value of the shares and property they want to hand on intact to their offspring – who are, no doubt, just as deserving as they are.

And that just about sums it up for me too. The taxpayers of Australia should be funding things like hospitals, schools, and infrastructure, and the lifestyle of those who can well afford to fund it themselves.