The descent into narcissism

By | 2011/01/28

Following the floods that brought devastation to a wide stretch of Queensland, the Federal government has declared its intention to enact a levy starting with the new financial year, to run for a year, to help fund the estimated $5 billion rebuild cost.

The levy is relatively minor, has exemptions for those who are in flood affected regions, and does not apply at all to people who earn less than $50,000 per annum. To quote the prime minister’s official information page:

1. Low-income earners will not pay the levy. The levy only applies to income above $50,000.

2. The levy will not apply to victims of the floods. People in flood affected areas who have received the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment this financial year will be exempt from the levy.

3. The levy will only apply for the 2011-2012 financial year and will raise $1.8 billion.

4. A teacher earning $65,000 will pay $1.44 per week for the levy. You can calculate how the levy will affect you here.

5. A lawyer earning $95,000 will pay $4.33 per week for the levy.

All in all, it’s a relatively minor sort of impact being proposed, and only for a year. By raising an additional 1.8 billion dollars through this, the government can keep on track for returning the country’s budget into surplus within just a few years.

Yet there’s already a vocal group insisting this levy is utterly and completely wrong.


What’s wrong about temporary, small tax increases to assist rebuilding efforts for part of the country and fellow citizens affected by a major disaster? Comments I’m seeing about this include:

This is absolute crap. I chose to live in an area that does not get effected by floods, so my family NOW has to pay 1% of our family income. I am sorry if I offend anyone and I feel really bad for the families that have been devastated by the floods, however I do not see why my family has to suffer for the choices of others.

(From Facebook.)

Comments such as the above are being made everywhere, and might be considered to represent a descent into narcissism reminiscent of the debate that happened in the United States about their attempt at Universal Healthcare. A common complaint ran along the lines of “what do I have to do with my someone else getting sick? Why should I pay for their bills?”

Here’s 5 good reasons:

  • Community
  • Humanity
  • Dignity
  • Respect
  • Compassion

Honestly, what is so wrong with everyone contributing to help people in need? Have we descended that far into narcissism that we resent losing a dollar or two a week?

Not only that, the person in the example who was claiming to lose 1% of their income is completely wrong. If the levy doesn’t kick in until an income of $50,000, then 1% of the income would be $500, which would mean $9.62 per week. Yet using the flood levy calculator spreadsheet supplied by the government, it takes someone to be on $125,000 will to pay $9.62 per week. 1% of that person’s salary would be $1,250 vs the actual $500.24 extracted by the levy. Even someone on $60,000 per annum would only be contributing $0.96 per week. Oh, the horror!

The bogan media and cheap shot tacking liberals want to insist this is a terrible thing. Forget the fact that the previous coalition government, with Tony Abbott as a senior minister, brought in several levies. Tony even proposed levies while campaigning last year – ones that were going to last at least 3 years.

So what it comes down to is a hypocritical opposition insisting levies are bad (unless they, in government, impose them), and a bunch of narcissists jumping on the band wagon with incorrect facts and figures insisting they shouldn’t be required to help their fellow citizens.

What’s more terrible? A few dollars a week, or the continued descent of this country into narcissism?

2 thoughts on “The descent into narcissism

  1. Ev

    And they’d be the first to indignantly jump up and down if a service they used was cut to fund the rebuild in place of a special levy being imposed. Do they not understand that a good number of those people that “choose to live in flood effected (sic) areas” are putting food on our tables? If rebuilding efforts are delayed, it’s still going to affect their hip pockets anyway but they don’t consider interdependencies. It’s just “us” and “them”.
    Ugh! How many of these people whining about helping out those who have lost EVERYTHING are “good Christians”, I wonder?
    For shame.

  2. Jean

    Disaster can strike at anytime as we have seen in recent times. The levy is a small cost to pay when you think about what not doing anything will do. People say why do we have to pay when we are unaffected. Some of the reasons are that we care about others and we want to help out.We acknowledge the need to restore peoples hope that things will get better after their tragedy.Doing nothing to alleviate stress and hardship creates despair and makes people do things that they wouldn’t normally do.Lets face it if your families needs are not being met you may steal and use things that will take away the pain.I am proud of being an Australian when I see and listen to stories of people helping others to help fix the many homes and areas that have ben destroyed so that despite adversary there is hope.

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