Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Forum - another go where you will


I am handing this Monday Forum over to you. Feel free to go to go in whichever way you want.

Since this Forum is solely devoted to your views, I am happy to reflect them back to a broader audience by bringing comments and links up into the main post where they give more information or encourage discussion.

Postscript One

This morning I blinked when I looked at this blog's site stats. There was a sudden explosion in traffic to 2,932 page views over a one hour period and then a sharp drop back to normal. All of the additional traffic came from Germany. I suspect, I don't know, that there must have been some form of apparently unsuccessful attack.

Quite a variety in initial comments.

kvd had an explosion of whimsy.

"ephemera: things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time - Guinness World Records Show
peripheral: relating to or situated on the edge or periphery of something. - submarine cable mapAnd I see the Peoples Republic of Cork has a thread devoted to replacing 'f' with 'ph'. I hope that meets with fenomenal succeff :)"

Mmm. I suppose that you if you are going to replace f with ph you can replace ph with f, but re-introducing the old f for s? A bridge too far.

Wisely, I think, kvd had a change of heart on one aspect of his comment: "pharkit. Can I plz change the first link to this"  Personally, I thought that a video best subtitled I can blow bubbles was a significant improvement on the Guinness World Record show. When I was a kid, the Guinness Book of World Records was full of interesting if strange things. Now its just dominated by the strange!

Then our old blogging friend Rod from Northern Rivers Geology came in with a personal comment. I give the comment in full. My own comments follow:

"I went to a fund raiser for disabled children on Sunday 'The Board Meeting'... I don't know anything about surfing but these guys are a great bunch. For KVD's benefit, there were some good fotos - https://www.facebook.com/theboardmeetingnorthernrivers?fref=nf

Here are my wife's thoughts on it - http://myfaithinmyadventure.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/confession-i-never-realised-id-cry.html:"

  The photo comes from the event Rod is referring too. I hadn't realised that Rod and Becky's daughter Faith had such serious difficulties, although I was aware from some past comments that Rod made in passing that she wasn't well. 

Just at the moment I am involved in some work on aspects of the system architecture of the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It's remarkably complex. This SMH piece by El Gibbs
illustrates some of the complexities. 

When I read Rod's comment and followed up on the links, I thought of the love we have for our children, of the role that community groups play in supporting those in difficulty. This is becoming more important as Governments become more unreliable. 

 This is not a comment on the NDIS itself. That would be inappropriate given my current work, although I might write something later on as a case study. Rather, it is an observation on the process of constant change that makes it very difficult at at personal and family level to place any form of reliance on the detail of specific Government activities, policies and programs. 

Finally, and changing direction, 2 tanners observed "How do you stop people with a penchant for foot-in-mouth disease?" I blinked a bit, but he was referring to this story about the way the NSW Premier appears to have quarantined Prime Minister Abbott.

I am going to leave the Monday Forum post as the lead post for the moment to give you all a chance for further comments.

Postscript Two

In a comment, Becky Holland wrote:
Thanks for sharing Jim. :-) I have so many concerns regarding the NDIS. I have written to the SMH several times about how it is already affecting us and my concerns regarding it, but as they receive many letters had no luck in being able to share my views on it. I look forward to hearing what you have to share at a later stage.
Becky, if you email me one of the letters I will run it for you as a guest post. 

Becky's comment is an example of the uncertainty effect that I referred to. The NDIS involves big changes, creating real difficulties for those receiving existing services in understanding what it all means. Often, change starts washing through before the nature of replacement arrangements are understood or even defined.

kvd and Evan frequently disagree. However, they appear to be in furious agreement on this comment by kvd:
A key finding of the wide-ranging inquiry, which chairman David Murray handed to government for their consideration in December, was that people should no longer be given access to their superannuation savings as a lump sum at the end of their working life.
Instead, when people retire their superannuation savings would automatically be transferred to a default fund designed to manage it in the paydown phase and provide a stream of retirement income. - http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/lump-sum-superannuation-payments-for-retirees-could-end-20150324-1m6nou.html
Which is why, for 30+ years I have thought that anyone who committed more than the bare legal minimum of their hard earned was a fool, and that the single most despicable thing Hawke and Keating did for their constituency was to shackle them to compulsory super, in place of wage rises.
Again, you have an example of the impact of prospective changes. Does this mean that changes should not be made? Of course not. Some elements of the existing scheme do need change. But you have to be aware of the impact of change, including breach of implicit contractual arrangements entered into a long time before. 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

ephemera: things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRx19QPZ1Fk

peripheral: relating to or situated on the edge or periphery of something.

http://submarine-cable-map-2015.telegeography.com/

And I see the Peoples Republic of Cork has a thread devoted to replacing 'f' with 'ph'. I hope that meets with fenomenal succeff :)

kvd

Anonymous said...

pharkit. Can I plz change the first link to this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QseWXpkaGTY&feature=youtu.be

kvd

Rod said...

I went to a fund raiser for disabled children on Sunday 'The Board Meeting'... I don't know anything about surfing but these guys are a great bunch. For KVD's benefit, there were some good fotos.

https://www.facebook.com/theboardmeetingnorthernrivers?fref=nf

Here are my wife's thoughts on it:

http://myfaithinmyadventure.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/confession-i-never-realised-id-cry.html

2 tanners said...

How do you stop people with a penchant for foot-in-mouth disease?

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-state-election-2015/tony-abbott-stays-mum-while-mike-baird-plays-dad-20150322-1m4zm9.html

Evan said...

On a bit of a political tangent

http://www.yummly.com/recipes/raw-onion?prm-v1=1

Rod said...

Hi Evan,

I remember having an onion eating competition as a youth... I didn't do very well. I'm still not fond of raw onions. Abbott seems to be the Onion-Super-King!

But there is nothing like a cheese and quick pickled onion sandwich.

Evan said...

I could see him being partial to a good ploughman's.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi all. I noticed from the onion recipes that the raw onion appeared to be red onions. That would make sense. Goes well in salads as compared to brown, but brown is better for fried onions or train smash.

Going to England for the first time, I had been reading about these things called plowman's lunches. Great disappointment!

Anonymous said...

A key finding of the wide-ranging inquiry, which chairman David Murray handed to government for their consideration in December, was that people should no longer be given access to their superannuation savings as a lump sum at the end of their working life.

Instead, when people retire their superannuation savings would automatically be transferred to a default fund designed to manage it in the paydown phase and provide a stream of retirement income.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/lump-sum-superannuation-payments-for-retirees-could-end-20150324-1m6nou.html


Which is why, for 30+ years I have thought that anyone who committed more than the bare legal minimum of their hard earned was a fool, and that the single most despicable thing Hawke and Keating did for their constituency was to shackle them to compulsory super, in place of wage rises.

kvd

Evan said...

What kvd said.

Jim Belshaw said...

I am still a supporter of compulsory super, but I go absolutely ballistic when people like Murray who have always been able to afford to take professional advice and maximise returns from the system start fiddling with the rules.

Grrr!

Becky Holland said...

Thanks for sharing Jim. :-) I have so many concerns regarding the NDIS. I have written to the SMH several times about how it is already affecting us and my concerns regarding it, but as they receive many letters had no luck in being able to share my views on it. I look forward to hearing what you have to share at a later stage.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Becky. Was glad to share! One of the difficulties with the NDIS lies in knowing what it means for existing service delivery, it's such a big change, creating understandable worries. Keep trying with that letter.

Anonymous said...

More strength to you Becky; some of your writing is beautiful.

And if you decide to do a fundraiser for that Skippi please drop a note here. I would be honoured to assist.

kvd

Winton Bates said...

I must be becoming braver as I become older. It gives me great pleasure to disagree with kvd, Evan and Jim on this occasion.
As I understand it, the super system introduced by Paul Keating was intended to encourage self funded retirement and reduce reliance on the aged pension. It makes some sense for people to be given a generous tax concession for this form of retirement savings if they are required to withdraw their funds in the form of an annuity which will reduce their reliance on the aged pension. As I see it, there is no sense in giving people generous tax concessions for the purpose of accumulating lump sums to spend on luxury holidays before they settle down to life on the pension.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the super system introduced by Paul Keating was intended....

Winton, while I admire your sincerity, I sometimes wonder about your innocence - or is that a cultivated persona?

'Super' was around long before P Keating managed his rock band, and has been subject to incessant government interference, rejigging, and blatant theft, every time our pollies needed to raid a conveniently undefended pot.

Look up the history of DFRDB back in the 50's - and how when it became far too profitable to leave in the hands of those who contributed to it, was subsumed into 'general revenue'. I have no doubt it goes back further than that, but I think that was roughly the time when our masters twigged to the fact that the poor are easily separated from their money 'for the general good'.

Keating and Hawke reached an agreement with the unions for a reduction in wage demands by kidding them into agreeing to a general super scheme, paid for by a levy on employers. Never mind the fact that this 'levy' would otherwise have flowed to the workers themselves.

And then we get to here. Successive governments of all persuasion have tinkered with this ever growing pot of money - perhaps the most dissolute was the dying days of Howard and Mr Smirky, but I digress.

All the while we have seen people such as Bernie Whatsisname sink their teeth into management fees and bonuses and consolidations leading to more bonuses. They are feasting on the bones of your idealistic view of careful accumulation towards retirement. If you ignore that, you are not the realist I took you for.

Think of it like cricket's Duckworth-Lewis system: rain curtails play (i.e. government levers change hands); apply reasonable sounding average outcomes (change the rules, move the boundaries, whatever) and all the while present a sombre front that "the game's the thing" (we are thinking of what is best for your future).

As I see it, there is no sense in giving people generous tax concessions for the purpose of accumulating lump sums to spend on luxury holidays before they settle down to life on the pension.

Retired are you?

Anyway, stuff that, and please get your greasy, no doubt well intentioned but highly judgemental, hands off what used to be my money.

kvd

Evan said...

Which super' funds have outperformed an interest bearing account for the same amount of money - say ING? And then the funds are paid for 'performance'.

Super' is an extraordinary con I think.

And it is designed for those in continual employment, otherwise the fees eat the money. This is the kind of employment that was abolished (in the name of 'flexibility' etc) in the same set of reforms by Hawke-Keating. It was outdated when it was introduced (if not long before).

Becky Holland said...

Hi Jim - Thanks for you encouragement. I'll send you an email and you can see what you think of my letter :-)

kvd - thanks for your encouragement. We are currently half way in fundraising for our daughter's power wheel chair. :-)

Winton Bates said...

kvd and Evan,
Perhaps it is time for a confession. I dislike the super system so much that I have done nearly all of my voluntary saving outside it. The whimsical rule changes got up my nose a long time ago.
If we could start with a clean slate I would much prefer a system in which all forms of saving were subject to the same rate of tax (zero). But then I would still be left with problem of people spending their assets to qualify for the aged pension.
BTW I also dislike the idea of compulsory superannuation even though I have benefited from a compulsory scheme for public servants. When I raised questions as a young man about why such schemes were compulsory I was told that governments did not like their former employees to be indigent because they might become troublemakers. That was in the days when current government employees were not troublemakers.

Winton Bates said...

Just a further thought on super. It seems to me that complaining about changes in the rules on super is a bit like complaining about a government decision to change industry assistance. When people use their influence to get preferential treatment, their complaints following removal of the preferment do not have a great deal of moral force in my view. It is not like the situation where governments infringe property rights e.g. by telling owners of farm land that they can no longer cut down trees.

Anonymous said...

It is not like the situation where governments infringe property rights e.g. by telling owners of farm land that they can no longer cut down trees.

With great respect Winton it is far 'more like' your example above than anything like industry assistance.

Anyway, that's enough of your cunning flyfishing for today :)

kvd

Spotter said...

I look at George Brandis and think "Where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him"

Mr Tom Shawly said...

Forcing people to save for their retirement is silly. The government would be better off adding a tax to their income and paying them a modest sum when they can no longer work. If people are too lazy to become successful then they should be taxed an amount that gives them back what they would have been paid if they weren't bothering to save for their retirement. This tax should also be levied on food and clothing so that everyone who buys these things will eventually get it back. You may wonder about beggars on the street well they should be given a choice. Pay a street tax or work for a living in a job provided by the government and funded by the taxes that are imposed on those things. Electrical items should have a levy imposed at a special rate as people on the street don't use them and if they do I would wonder if they are really poor. Don't you? I agree with Winton bates on this matter.

Anonymous said...

In one of his open forums in the prestigious magazine "G Spot" Tom Faulkenhauer describes George Brandis as "A man who looks like a snail without a shell" but I think that the Lee Harvey Oswald jibe (from Spotter) takes things a bit too far. For one thing Brandis is not presidential and secondly he has never done anything for his country.

Jim Belshaw said...

Winton did draw us all in, kvd! Spotter, now that's a bit extreme.

Anon, I like the shell analogy. Tom, I will ave to come back to you on your comment later.

Dr Purva Pius said...
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