Superannuants not pensioners

Australians like to think we are rugged individualists who are fiercely independent and self-reliant. But the squeals of outrage over changes to the pension system expose that as a sad myth.

The harsh reality is that our society has fallen victim to the insidious disease of entitlement.

And the blame falls squarely and utterly at the feet of our political class – most particularly our entire suite of elected officials at all levels of government. With few exceptions they have become world-class rorters and have shown no shame in plundering the public purse to line their pockets.

But while they are to blame, the real responsibility sits with we who have kept electing these piratical plunderers as they transformed our votes into proxy currency.

One of many fundamental causes of our national decline has been the public funding of elections. Yes, there are valid arguments that it has the potential to strengthen democracy by enabling those not aligned with major political parties to contest elections on a supposedly even footing. But the majors are now bloated with taxpayer funds though they spend ever more and still cry poor. They suckered us.

Sadly, after watching elected rorters for three decades, older Australians have now convinced themselves they should get a slice of the action, too.

Those bleating about pension changes are actually superannuants who happen to still draw a pension or part-pension. The pea and thimble trick they are trying to pass off is the notion is that superannuation savings are really not meant to be touched.

The battle cry of this new class of public purse rorters is: we have worked our entire lives and helped build this wonderful country but now you try to rob me by not giving me a pension for life. What nonsense!

Compulsory superannuation was not intended as a means of leaving behind a legacy for beneficiaries that avoids the hated regime of inheritance tax. Superannuation savings were meant to ease older Australians off dependency on the pension and, in doing so, maintain economic strength.

Now, Baby Boomers are attempting to rewrite history by saying we deserve both subsidised wealth accumulation through the superannuation system PLUS an almost-indexed pension so we don’t have to dip into our savings. Well, we can’t have it both ways.

The notion that retirement, today, is supposed to offer golden rewards of lifestyle enhancement not available during our working years is akin to believing the Earth is flat.

Super funds were given as a tax break and are meant to be used, not hoarded. How did we con ourselves that a couple with a home and assets worth nearly $2 million combined should still receive a pension? Face it: there is no magic pudding.