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To the aged (and soon to be aged) of Australia - Article by Vanda Amandanstone

From the Minister for the Aged:

I need to let you people know that you have had it pretty good so far but you cannot expect things to continue as they are. You Baby Boomers are in fact an impending liability on the country. Having said that (and in a way, I wish I hadn't) you are probably mostly still in the workforce, but think what a drain you will be when you have finished your useful, paid, working life. I warn you that you will all need to pull in your belts, in the interest of Team Australia (pardon the expression but it is so very suitable in this context!)

Necessary reality check

There are the three areas where the expectations built up over your working lives will need to undergo a reality check.

1. Aged Pension

The first is superannuation. You thought that superannuation was a good way to save for your retirement and you have been saving in this way for at least two decades. Well, in fact, this has been very selfish of you as putting money away for 30 years (instead of using it for holidays or to buy a house) has given you a tax break. So although you are saving for your own retirement so as not to be on an Age Pension when you retire, there is no need to feel any satisfaction about this because you have been doing this at the tax payer’s expense! The country cannot afford this rort that you have been willingly participating in, thinking you have been doing the right thing. Your gains need to be clawed back! Just watch this space for what is in store for you,.... you greedy hoarders.

Now we don’t want you on the Age Pension and we don’t want you to accumulate too much money in "super" for your retirement either. At least not with the tax advantages (although without the tax advantages you probably wouldn’t want to tie money up in “super", anyway). We, the government actually don’t know what we want you to do so we’ll just do something to superannuation and see how you all react.

If, after all this, you can’t afford to go on living at any point , the problem will probably take care of itself.

2. Health insurance

This brings me to the second area of consideration, which is health insurance.

Many of you have been paying into Private Health Insurance for decades as well. As you know, Medibank Private is now living up to its name. It has now actually been privatised (November 2015). As a business and in the interests of its shareholders, it cannot afford to carry risky cohorts and I’m afraid that you people either are becoming or about to become too risky. It doesn’t matter that while you were young and healthy you kept paying premiums to Medibank Private and never made a claim. Your attitude, that you were happy not to make a claim and that you felt you were contributing so that others, less fortunate with their health, could, was very sporting. Once again, however, a reality check is needed. Medibank Private, and I’m sure, the other private health funds, need to assess their risks and charge appropriate premiums for certain risk groups. As I have just said, you, as the now aged or soon to be aged, are high risk!

Things go wrong more often with older people and this is a burden on the country. In the case of health insurance, it is also a burden on other policy holders and potentially to shareholders. You need to pay a price that reflects your risk as an aged or soon to be aged person to the insurer. If this means that you can no longer afford the premiums (they will be steep, I can tell you) then you will need to fall back on the public system and I can also tell you that the public system does not want you! No, the public system is overwhelmed with treating young locals and backpackers from all over the world in their emergency departments, not to mention stabbings, king hittings and other casualties of drunken or drugged youthful exuberance. As I have said, this problem may take care of itself: if you are lying on a stretcher in a corridor, having been triaged as low priority, you may not survive and that will be a blessing to the system.

Planning your Exit Strategy

It is so opportune that there is a group called “Exit” who are in favour of people being quietly assisted to exit this mortal coil ahead of their allotted moment. If they could get some more traction, I personally (and mark you I don’t speak for the government on this) feel that this could save billions from the national health bill. Think seriously about this as you could make your exit maybe even ten years ahead of schedule and it would do wonders for the median age of the population. You can be assured that you are very easily replaced with much younger people from other countries with many years of work left in them.

If there were a move for people to go for the ten year earlier exit, that would leave a lot of houses in the suburbs where people want to live and send their children to school. It would be a win-win. Of course you wouldn’t be here to win, but just before your exit, I’m sure you would have a feeling of satisfaction that you had done your bit.

3. Driving tests for over-70s

The third area where we need to trim the fat is on our overcrowded roads. Thus we are seriously thinking of making everyone over 70 do the drivers license test again. Now I must warn you that it won’t be the breeze it was when you were pretty and 18 years old. No, no-one will be charmed by you. In fact the police who test you may well be badly disposed towards you and enjoy the power of their position in the testing situation. They have all heard how greedy the Baby Boomers are and how they took more than their share and wouldn’t move out of their houses when gently persuaded by Bernard Salt, and not so gently persuaded by fast rising council rates!

Oh dear, I just realised that I am in fact a "soon to be elderly," myself at the age of 56. Oh Hell! But I don’t really have to worry as I will receive an enormous, very generously indexed taxpayer-funded Parliamentary pension for life. Because of my position I can probably avoid the driving test! Anyway, I have a chauffeur.

"Why are you picking on senior drivers?” I hear you ask. Well, you will have declined in ability, you might pass out at the wheel.

"But the percentage of drivers having accidents is actually lower in older people,” I hear you say. I don’t care, it’s intuitive and I’m sticking to it. It’s not always a matter of statistics but of common sense and economic rationalism. If all drivers of 70 and over are required to take a diving test, think of the revenue for State Road authorities, for the police, even perhaps for driving instructors. It would add to GDP. The possibilities are endless!

I see some very dissatisfied faces in the audience. Sir, you object to the need to go for your license again on the grounds that you run a company with $5 million per year turnover and that you have made some of your best business decisions in the last 12 months. Yes, you would be required to do your driver’s license test again. Whilst I will admit that your business achievements auger well for your cognitive abilities, in fairness we will have to include everyone - no exceptions...

...oh except for people like me of course!

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It is the millions of immigrants that DISPROPORTIONALLY push up the numbers of the aged.
Can you explain this to Amanda?

Conventional logic goes that immigrants are younger on average than the Australian population, and an increase in the level of immigration would reduce the ageing of the population. It's as if the average immigrant had the elixir of youth, and stayed the same age while the rest of us age! "Average" age is the age of all of us, divided by our total. If the average age is increasing, it's because all of us age at the same rate, of one year more per year. To dilute the number of aged people it would mean offsetting the older population by millions of "young" people, and it becomes a massive demographic Ponzi scheme, that requires increasing more and more people to keep it going!
This logic requires a continual flow of young migrants, to keep the roller coaster of our average age "younger".
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics projections based on combinations of assumptions concerning the total fertility rate, life expectancy at birth, and net immigration (ABS 2000a), the population will increase to between 24 million and 28 million in 50 years’ time.
The growthists say that migrants generally speaking, because they have high participation rates, because they're young, because they're highly skilled, and they contribute more to the tax base without drawing down more in terms of government services. So, their contribution to the economy is more valuable, and thus use more government services? If this logic was true, surely - with our massive and long-serving immigration rate and period - we should be swimming in revenues and have a great budgetary surplus? So, without immigration, we would "stagnate". There are a lot of "stagnant" economies under this definition. In fact the most wealthy per capita nations are those with "stagnant" populations, not growing or with negative population growth.
The fear of an "ageing population" is fixating on fears of personal ageing, and that young people are more able, work-ready, the new-model, and that we need our collective parts replaced! It's selling snake-oil remedies, and an ageing population should be embraced and encouraged as a sign of good lifestyles, health care, stability, wisdom and on the path to a sustainable population size.