29 September 2012

Taxing families, or how 1.5 equals 1

Mitt Romney's now infamous comments about how 47% of Americans did or didn't interact with their tax system reminded me of a topic I had intended to cover on this blog - net taxpayers.  That sounds incredibly boring (and I suppose to any sane person it probably should be) but it intrigues me because of what it might be saying about the design of our tax-transfer system.  If you persist to the end of this post you might conclude our system is largely incoherent, or perhaps it's deliberately preferencing some household types, or a heady mix of both.  And you'll find out what I'd like for my birthday.

21 September 2012

4 Parliaments - single age pension

It's time for another 4 Parliaments comparison post, where we take a look at how changes in the tax transfer system over the last 4 Parliaments have affected a particular group.  This time it's single age pensioners.  Previous posts on this theme looked at single Newstart allowance (here), single parents (here) and single income couples on Newstart allowance (here).

As with the earlier posts, I'll start with a chart showing the change for all 4 Parliaments and then look at each Parliamentary term in a bit more detail.  So, first up is the comparison chart, which at first glance looks like a black canvass with strands of coloured spaghetti plastered over it.

10 September 2012

What choice single-parent students?

Under the ordinary rules applying to parenting payment for single people, eligibility is lost when the youngest child turns 8 years old.  At that point the parent must seek another type of income support payment.  Much recent discussion has focused on single parents who take up Newstart allowance and the resulting reduction in disposable income that occurs as a result of that transition.  (I've done a couple of posts related to that subject, here and here.)

However,  depending on the circumstances of the single parent, a transition to Newstart allowance might not be the only choice.  A good example is single parents who are studying.  While the youngest child is under 8 years old they can study and receive parenting payment.  They also receive an additional payment to assist with or encourage their continued education, the pensioner education supplement (PES).  So what happens when that youngest child has the dreaded 8th birthday?