Growing the income gap

Ian McLean
Spokesperson for the Green Party

How might we divide $100 amongst 100 people?

Equality model: take $1 each. That would promote cooperative behaviour in order to protect and nurture our shared income.

Inequality model: give $9 to one person, $4 each to four people, $1 each to 70 people, and have the other 25 scrap over the remaining $5.

Those at the bottom of that heap struggle to maintain acceptable moral standards, need on-going community support (e.g. food banks), and may not be much fun to have as neighbours.

The latest Household Economic Survey shows that we have moved further towards the inequality model. Reasons include the recent tax breaks for those on higher incomes, a low minimum wage, and policies that further reduce already minimal welfare incomes.

“Growing the economy” aims to raise the pot of $100 to a bigger number. But having 25 people scrapping over $6 rather than $5 cannot deliver prosperity and security for all.


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