The recent Queensland floods brought out the best in Australians and, unfortunately, the worst. Many Aussies spent time, money and sweat to help out the victims of the floods. Many of us donated to the Premier's Relief Fund. This disaster will cost billions. It may be the most expensive natural disaster in Australian history by orders of magnitude.
Of course the Federal Government has to foot the bill for much of the repair bill. Just how are they going to pay for it? Billions of dollars don't just magically appear out of consolidated revenue. They will have to cut some expenditure but there is a limit to the cuts any government can make. A quick dirty way of raising a couple of billion bucks is a one off levy. This is what the Gillard government has chosen to do.
The levy is only going to be levied on those who make more than 50 grand a year and they're only going to be hit with a 0.5 percent surcharge on top of their usual Medicare levy. For the lucky few earning more than 100 grand a year the levy is 1 percent. Yes lucky few. Only 1 percent of Australians earn more than 100K per year. If you earn less than 50k what are you complaining about? You won't have to pay anything.
I was a little shocked by the furore this has caused. What a bunch of whingers those affected by the levy are. At the bottom end of the scale it is 48 cents per week. Yes 48 cents. If you earn 100K it is $4.81 per week. This is only for one year. Are you telling me Mr or Ms $55,000 a year you can't afford $52 in one year to help reconstruct Queensland? Or $250 if you earn $100,000. Oh the hardship. Whingers.
Before any of you 1 percenters get up on your high horses, in a good year, and I've had a couple, I've earned enough to be slugged a fair whack with this levy too you know. And what about the personal donation I made to the appeal you say? Well good on you then. Do you want a medal? I contributed too. It was tax deductible after all. Every bit helps. So we're making a compulsory contribution now. Get over it. We've been paying 1 percent extra for Medicare for years because of our incomes. Don't you consider yourself lucky enough to earn enough to be slugged with extra taxes? Shit, I do.
So you're not convinced how the government will use or misuse your money? The money per week that amounts to less than one of those lattes you have every day. Well governments use and misuse your money every day. Again, deal with it. Why doesn't the government cut more of those other programs that you don't believe in anyway? Well, they are cutting stuff. It may not be one of your pet projects but it is someone's. You can't please everybody. Deal with it.
Some people might even say why should I fork over my hard earned when these people are living in a flood zone and are under insured? Why should I bail out people who haven't prepared for themselves? They've chosen to live in a risky environment after all? Well, because it is the right thing to do. We call it social responsibility. Sometimes we just have to help out those who have to deal with something so extreme. These sort of disasters don't happen very often. Hell, speaking of flood zones, we're talking an area the size of Germany and France combined. Practically all of Queensland is at risk. It means you couldn't rebuild anywhere if you wanted to avoid risky areas. Even Toowoomba, which was hit by the inland Tsunami, is 700 metres above sea level. Silly buggers building homes in such and obvious flood zone. How dare they ask for help?
Now the mad monk, Tony Abbott, and the Liberal Party have asked for donations to help fight the flood levy. Oh the irony. I think, and this is entirely supposition, that Abbott is only so vehemently against the levy because, one, he didn't think of it first, and two, because if the government says the sky is blue he would say it was green. Nice work Tony.
I'm happy just to do my bit. Shit, I might even get more tax back this year than I'll be paying in the levy anyway.
I'm not the only one that thinks this way. Thank you John Birmingham.