Oh Dear, Barnaby

15 Apr

From the Daily Telegraph:

BARNABY Joyce is kidding himself – and all the Australians planning to vote for the federal Coalition at next year’s election – with his latest policy thought-bubble of $10,000 baby bonuses for stay-at-home mothers.

Nobody would deny it’s hard work being a mum, or that the financial pressure on families is increased with every new baby.

But the Nationals Senator’s idea of handing $10,000 to women who choose not to take paid employment is a social policy nightmare.

It would be a tacit encouragement to women to stay at home instead of maintaining their careers with part-time or full-time work, contributing to the taxation system and building up their own superannuation balances in preparation for retirement.

It would, without a shadow of doubt, create a generation of women who opt out of the workforce.

Australia can’t afford that luxury.

Indeed, it is a social policy nightmare in the view of your humble blogger also.

But for the polar opposite reason of that propounded by Neil Breen, editor of the Daily Telegraph, who clearly thinks the biggest problem with the Nationals’ policy is that it would encourage mothers not to go back to doing their “modern” “enlightened” “liberated” duty … their “equal right” to be binary-digit earning, tax-paying, interest-paying lifelong debt slaves of The Machinery of “modern” society.

Back to that in a moment.

First, some balance.

All the lamestream media commentary I have seen on this subject fails to consider context and nuance.

As usual.

First, they are automatically, in typical knee-jerk style, sheeting home all responsibility for this policy suggestion to Barnaby Joyce. Even though it is not necessarily his personal suggestion – it is a revived Nationals policy:

Fearing a backlash over the generosity of the Coalition’s proposed paid-parental-leave scheme, which would offer wealthy working women up to $75,000, the Nationals have proposed a better deal for stay-at-home mums.

“It’s an incredible sacrifice for women to stay at home. You can see it in their superannuation and everything else,” Senator Joyce said.

We want to make sure people don’t lose their house. Because everything is based on two incomes these days. All policies have a cost. But it’s a substantial sacrifice for people not to go to work.”

The Nationals first flagged the policy at the 2010 election …

Nationals leader Warren Truss stressed the plan to double the baby bonus was a policy of the Nationals rather than the Coalition and had not been endorsed by Mr Abbott.

It is clear to any thinking person that The Nationals revived policy suggestion is motivated primarily, if not entirely, by the gross inequality of Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme, whereby working mums would receive 6 months paid leave at full pay for those earning up to $150K pa – meaning, up to $75K of taxpayers’ money for a high earner – while stay-at-home mums receive nothing.

Barnaby Joyce is nothing if not fair minded, and genuinely concerned for the many who get overlooked and left behind by the popular (social-engineering) politics of the day – witness his attempts to see justice done in the abhorrent Heiner Affair. So I applaud him for wanting to see a rebalance of the Abbott policy.

However. This is not the way to do it.

In my personal view, the baby bonus is bad policy. As with so many (all?) government “solutions” for society, it is classic good intention, bad outcomes. Indeed, the baby bonus is one of several major criticisms I have of the Howard government era.


For all the good intentions, it is my view that cash handouts for having a baby simply (1) encourages by reward the “handout” / welfare state dependency mentality, and (2) encourages the very young, the vulnerable, the desperate, and the foolish, to fall pregnant just to “get the cash”.

I have personally witnessed numerous examples of both those outcomes.

And so, for those reasons, I oppose the idea of a “baby bonus” as a matter of principle.

If Barnaby Joyce and/or the Nationals want to see government encouragement for, and a better and fairer deal for stay-at-home mums, that I strongly applaud.

Indeed, quite unlike Neil Breen of the Daily Telegraph, this blogger is all for a society where parents are actively encouraged to stay home and nurture and raise their children themselves – for the long haul, not just 6 months – rather than push their babies onto (government-regulated) “carers” a.s.a.p., so they can get back to “earning money” and “pursuing MY career” a.s.a.p.

Having witnessed many friends with young families who have followed the ever-growing trend in so-called “modern” “advanced” society to do exactly this, I see the results in the little individual horrors that others raise for them, and wonder at the collective horrors we may all face within a generation or two.

Back to Neil Breen, editor of the Daily Telegraph one last time:

It would, without a shadow of doubt, create a generation of women who opt out of the workforce.

Australia can’t afford that luxury.

Yes, we can.

The entire world can.

All it takes is a transformation of our “money” system.

From being our master … to being our servant.

17 Responses to “Oh Dear, Barnaby”

  1. Kevin Moore April 15, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Half a century ago it wasn’t the norm that two incomes were needed to raise a family.

    “Is it a Conspiracy Theory? No Hidden Hand? You Sure?”

  2. Karen April 15, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Who are you kidding? ‘It would be a tacit encouragement to women to stay at home instead of maintaining their careers ‘ how far does $10k stretch for you? Between costs setting up a child nursary etc and obstetrician appointments $10k is spent and pressure is on everyone involved because your left with one income to survive in this over priced country!

  3. Geoff Collet April 15, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    This is a subject I have had a strong opinion on for over 50 years. And it does not constitute a cash handout or bonus. A working mother is a taxpaying employee or self employed. To be able to work she has to pay someone to care for her children while she is at work. Therefore in all fairness and economic sense for all including Government , the cost of child minding should be an allowable tax deduction. and only if and when the working mothe submits a tax return. Since GST was introduce there will be 10% tax paid on the carer’s payments when spent regardless of who that carer is. A win all around. Remember, no working mother no tax return from that person. Give it serious thought

  4. Jazza April 15, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    That sounds a good idea.
    My own was to opt for some sort of income splitting on tax returns for couples with a stay at home mum.

  5. Tomorrows Serf April 15, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    “All it takes is a transformation of our “money” system.”

    With the imminent implosion of our international, debt-based, bankster-controlled, financial system, we may well just get to see the transformation you talk about BI..and hopefully sooner than you think.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus April 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      My concern TS, is that those who already control the existing “money” system, will be those offering a “wonderful” “transformed” “money” system. As I detailed in my essay, it is my firm view that the only way to render “money” as servant to mankind rather than master, is to completely decentralise control over its issuance. The polar opposite of what all those who seek “power” over others have now, and would always advocate in future.

      • bushbunny April 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

        Is that somewhat a postmodernist approach BS? We are neo serfs. The only way out of it is to be self employed, and then if you depend on non family staff one becomes the master doesn’t one. Our government dictates what education we get, and as it was once, other than the professions, one left school at 14 or 15 to do a trade apprenticeship. No – training assistance given by the government. You lived at home most times, now you have to live at home, the government won’t fork out a youth allowance until one is 23 and decides to leave home. Unless you are employed of course you are stuck with your parents. When I came to Oz in 1965 with one child, they wouldn’t pay me any children’s allowance like in UK, only the second child got that and subsequent children. Capitalism was good and still the best option but it doesn’t offer a perfect and fair economy …. but I would rather have it this way … with the banks full of money ….if they cut all these subsidies to clean energy that might help the economy as other countries are doing. A big con, and now Brown is gone, his replacement is more an activist than him!

        • The Blissful Ignoramus April 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

          “I would rather have it this way … with the banks full of money …”

          They. Aren’t.

          The “capitalist” system that you think “was good and still the best option”, is just as much an ideological con-fidence trick as its supposed (as in, you are supposed to believe it) diametric enemy, socialism/communism. Both “systems” provide for, indeed, are designed expressly for, the centralisation of power with and for the benefit of a tiny minority, at the expense of the majority. The underpinning of capitalism is, as the name implies, the power of “capital” (ie), “money”. He who controls the “money”, controls all.

      • Twodogs April 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

        I think that it is time for the distinction between employee and employer from a taxation perspective needs to be eliminated. Gillard’s “small business tax break” won’t even apply to most small businesses!

        Certainly the distinction from the perspective of liability should remain, but there is no reason why they should be taxed differently.

        Income splitting should be allowable for taxation purposes, as government welfare already allows for fraud for those who only pretend to be couples.

        A nice idea about the decentralised monetary system, but alas it could be a boon for organised crime as the opportunity for fraud would be greatly increased, but u reckon it can be done.

      • Tomorrows Serf April 16, 2012 at 7:24 am #

        Hey BI,

        I see your point as to the TPTB who currently run the Currency Business and their plans to transform us all into their next scam, AND I thought your essay on a totally new, decentralised, demurrage-based monetary system was an excellent read and intellectually stimulating, I was wondering if the world is anywhere near ready for such a “giant mind leap”.

        Hell, I have a hard time getting people to concede the existence of Fraction Reserve Banking or that the Fed is a private banking Cartel.. maybe baby steps are needed first.

        So, for the short term, and in the interests of at least removing counterparty risk, and decentralising monetary issuance AND stopping govts. from spending us into the ground, how about we just back our currency with something that CAN’T be printed or whipped up with a few keys strokes.. Not perfect, but better than what we’ve got now…

  6. bushbunny April 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    I don’t like this. IF a single unmarried mother takes on a part time job, and then falls pregnant again without financial support from the father, and it happens, why should others support her, she will get the single mums pension. And some help when she falls pregnant. But multiple births with different fathers to me isn’t fair on those who are working with also working husbands or partners, they receive nothing. Two income families are important to the economy so it is six of one and another. Libs won’t agree, and this is just a feeler out by the Nationals to win over the regional people.

  7. Layland April 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    When I raised 3 children the tax rate was different. You received a reduction for a wife and a reduction for each child. We lived within our means and eventually bought a house. It was hard going and for many years we did not have a car. I used a pushbike or public transport.
    When the children were at school age the wife got a part time job. I am now 81 and live quite
    comfortably. Learn to live with less I say.

  8. William Tonner April 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    I agree with Layland. However, it seems unlikely, that we can put the “genie back in the

    Mothers were conned back into the workforce. It advantaged some, at the start, years
    ago, but there is no advantage these days.

    Today’s prices (for everything) have adjusted to deal with the “two income family”, so that we are all losers now. The “two income family”, of today, now has no financial advantage over the “single income family” of past years.

    The loss to “two income families”, is lost time, for bonding and nurturing between Parents and their children. The loss to “single income families” and indeed, all single people,is financial. They now have to cope with a single income in an economy that is structured toward a “two income family”, as far as cost of living goes.

    Probably, seemed like a good idea at the time! At least to some.


    • The Blissful Ignoramus April 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      “..seemed like a good idea at the time! At least to some.”

      Indeed Bill. It seemed a great idea to the bankers who finance the (academic) institutions, “think tanks”, activist groups, and publishing houses that spawn great new “equality” and “liberty” movements, to break down the bedrock of society (the family unit) by conning women into believing they had to have an “equal” job and “equal” pay in order to be “liberated”. Reason: Far more profits to be had along the way to total enslavement of the human race, by getting everyone in the workforce and beholden to the endless chase after more “money” … to buy more “stuff” … to be “free” and “popular”, to “reward yourself” because “you deserve it”.

      Would you like a loan, Miss? A credit card, perhaps?

      How about a mortgage … ‘coz when you “own” your own home, then you’ll be truly “liberated”.

      • Twodogs April 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

        This reminds me of the old adage that when you borrow money, you become a dependent. Unless of course you borrow more than they can afford to lose.

  9. bushbunny April 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    When I became a women’s libber in the early 1970s as I will admit Germain Greer’s book, a Female Eunich changed my life. But my ex then said, ‘Go for it, I am all for self improvement, but remember ‘dear’ when it comes down to it, the back pocket rules this world and will for a long time to come..’
    In other words, the back pocket is where the wallet is kept.’ Women could not get loans or mortgages with a male guarantor. At about the same time, I was a senior employment consultant in Sydney. Women who had children had sometimes little chance of getting high profile jobs, unless they already had an employment record that suggested they could cope with motherhood and working full time. ‘Because when their kids get sick, they don’t turn up’. Some employers would not employ older women. Because as one said to me, middle aged women get funny and have more illnesses. I took on a poor woman part time and her husband was always coming in checking up on her, and trying to impress me of how manly he was. Sometimes she wouldn’t turn up as she had been beaten. Women have come a long way since then, but I don’t envy women who have to work long hours and keep a home together to pay for the rent, food or mortgage. They are a necessary force in the economy, and should be compensated adequately either through child care expenses or taxation. Or parental leave.

    • bushbunny April 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      I meant without a male guarantor.

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