Saturday, May 14, 2011

I am upper class

Previously I have posted about the issue as to how you define a "rich person" in affluent Western society. No one wants to admit they are wealthy or upper class. The "rich" are always those who have more money than me, regardless of how much money I have.

In Australia, our latest government budget has cut some "welfare" benefits to households earning over $150,000. This has led to debate about whether such people are actually wealthy. The key issues and statistics seem to be objectively summarised here.

Only 3% of Australians have individual pre-tax incomes of more than $150,00 and 17% of household incomes are larger than that. Hence, if you want to define lower, middle, and uppper band of incomes, then defining the upper one-sixth as "upper" seems reasonable. After all, if at school our child got marks in the top 17% of the class then I doubt we would claim that our child was in the "middle" of the class?

I "confess" my household pre-tax income is greater than $150,000 [In Australia salaries of university faculty are all public information so this is hardly private information]. This puts my family in the top 17 per cent.
But, I think it is silly the way governments (from both political parties) keep giving us "family" tax benefits, tax cuts,  "baby bonuses" and rebates in cynical vote-getting exercises. The current government is to be commended for trying to reign this "welfare" in. I will happily take the money but I think this "middle" class "welfare" is bad government policy and just reflects the endemic greed, discontent, and insatiable materialism in modern Western society.

1 comment:

  1. I always assumed you were upper class because of your expertise in physics and your penchant for classical music!