The Liberal-Green deal to cut payments to 330,000 pensioners came into effect on January 1. These changes will knock 91,000 people off the old age pension and reduce payments to another 236,000.
Many pensioners feel cheated by the cuts after doing the right thing and saving up to fund their retirement. In fact, a University of Melbourne study estimates that these new rules will reduce the percentage of people who will retire comfortably from 62% to 51%.
Pensioners around the country have rallied outside local MPs offices and polls show that voters over 50 have turned against Turnbull with a 17% plunge in primary support for the Coalition.
The Liberal government expects to claw back $2.4 billion over 5 years from this measure. While attacking the meagre incomes of pensioners, the government wants to reduce company tax rates from 30% to 25%. Such a reduction would amount to a $56 billion gift to big business over the same 5-year period.
The idea that the government cannot afford to pay pensioners properly is clearly a bald-faced lie. Plenty of wealth is being produced. The struggle is over who gets to reap the benefits. As far as this government is concerned it should be their corporate mates.
To rub salt into the wounds the government also wants to increase the pension age even further to 70. They want to abolish the Energy Supplement to pensioners and reduce to six weeks the time that pensioners can spend overseas without having their payments reduced.
This attack on pensioners is a desperate attempt to shore up the profits of the corporate bosses in the face of a crumbling capitalist system. We say if the system can’t afford to look after its old then we can’t afford this system! Only socialism can guarantee a decent life for the elderly.
By Mike Naismith