Sticker Shock Sydney

Sep 22nd, 2009, 05:25 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Am wondering how you are getting on today, Joanne? Worst dust storm for 70 years, no ferries, no visibility, can't go outside, it's so unpleasant! Chance to catch up on your letters and diary? But what a dawn this morning! Brilliant orange. Here in Newcastle, the good way to look at the dust is that - our lawns are getting free top dressing!..

Today would be a good day for the Power House or the Australian Museum, or the Art Gallery I'm thinking.
Carrabella is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 05:39 PM
  #22  
 
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Spouse just paid $605 for two fillings here in Perth yesterday. I had a root canal here a few months back and it cost about the same as the last one I had in the US. Tooth upkeep is expensive.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2009, 09:24 PM
  #23  
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"Am wondering how you are getting on today, Joanne? Worst dust storm for 70 years, no ferries, no visibility, can't go outside, it's so unpleasant! Chance to catch up on your letters and diary? But what a dawn this morning! Brilliant orange."
Just in from another wonderful day. I live in the central valley of ca. so dust storms are nothing new to me. I woke up at 4am because of the howling of the wind and watched the dust blow in. I even when out and walked on the bridge at darling harbor to take photos of the red dust in the lights eerie………..then took the train to Bond Junction and bus to beach. Lots of dust and wind of course, watched some surfers, walked around and had a very good fish n chips lunch. Took the bus to Watson’s bay and then back by bus to Sydney. Air has somewhat cleared but wind is really blowing . Time for a glass of wine and a foot soak thanks for asking
JoanneH is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 01:25 AM
  #24  
 
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Australians look at the US healthcare system with amazement.

Some friends in Albaturkey have had some health problems recently - and they are without insurance. Unbelievable costs - looking at bankruptcy - and being prescribed less than optimal drugs, because of cost. We have no comprehension of the cost of drugs in US. Sheesh!

Anyway Joanne - sounds like you're having a ball!
margo_oz is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 01:41 AM
  #25  
 
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Albaturkey? LOL
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 01:51 PM
  #26  
 
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Melnq8 on Sep 21, 09 at 07:47 PM
"I've lived in Australia for about a year (American) "

I know you lot have some strange measures but how long is an American year?
Saltuarius is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 03:08 PM
  #27  
 
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"I know you lot have some strange measures but how long is an American year?"

Bigger!
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 03:09 PM
  #28  
 
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In this case, half as long as an Indonesian year.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 03:21 PM
  #29  
 
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The US minimum wage is $7.25.
Grassshopper is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 05:21 PM
  #30  
 
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The Australian minimum wage is $14.31. Minimum rates and conditions for many occupations are set by a network of industrial "awards", and most other workers are covered by enterprise-level agreements and individual contracts.

Of course, how far an AU$ goes in terms of local purchasing power relative to a US$ in the States depends a lot on the individual's circumstances and spending patterns, but there's an agreed general measure, per-capita GDP (purchasing power parity).

On this basis Australia's figure is US$38,100 or 81% of the US's $46,900. So yes, Americans on average are materially richer.

This average figure ignores the way wealth is distributed within a country, though. There's a measure for income inequality too, called the GINI index. The higher the index number the greater the income inequality, and on this measure Australia ranks 35, the US 45 (Sweden 23, France and Germany 28, Canada 32, UK 34, NZ 36, China 47).

So it's fair to say that if you're financially comfortable you're better off materially in the US, whereas if you're poor you'd do better in Australia, primarily because of Australia's more generous social welfare safety nets. In Australia the unemployed, for example, don't get kicked off benefits after a set time, and pay very little for medical care.

Purchasing power is an important contributor ot to quality of life and happiness, but of course it's by no means the only one. Hence my grumpy quibble over the OP's use of the term "living well".

(Figures from CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia GINI article)

While most Americans and Australians live very well materially, it's telling that according to a recent survey the happiest people live in some of the world's poorer countries.

"The analysis of levels of happiness in more than 65 countries by the World Values survey shows Nigeria has the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, while Russia, Armenia and Romania have the fewest.

"'New Zealand ranked 15 for overall satisfaction, the U.S. 16th, Australia 20th and Britain 24th -- though Australia beats the other three for day-to-day happiness,' said New Scientist magazine, which published the results in this week's issue.

"But different factors were said to make people happy for example, Personal success, self-expression, pride, and a high sense of self-esteem are important in the United States. In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness."

- http://www.bio-medicine.org/medicine...Survey-2284-1/
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 05:34 PM
  #31  
 
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Neil,
I'd not come acropss the GINI index before. Interesting how Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Aus are all about the same, between 32 and 36.
The USA must be the only country that does not have a universal GST at federal level. Maybe that's why the GINI index is higher.

Also, I believe that interest paid on house loans in the USA is tax-deductible from income tax. If that is the case, then it would lead to great inequality. But I might be wrong on that.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 05:45 PM
  #32  
 
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"Also, I believe that interest paid on house loans in the USA is tax-deductible from income tax".

You're correct Peter, it is.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 06:29 PM
  #33  
 
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So is that tax deduction, middle class welfare? If so does that make it a socialist or a capitalist venture?
Saltuarius is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 06:37 PM
  #34  
 
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Unless people who rent are able to claim their rental costs as a tax deduction, then I would see it as a sort of upper class welfare. House owners get compensated, renters get nothing.

Capitalism at it's most vicious, where the taxation system is designed to reward the richest.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 08:56 PM
  #35  
 
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Of course Australia has its own forms of middle-class welfare. Negative gearing and a break on capital gains tax for investment properties; subsidised private health insurance premiums; and dare I suggest, government aid for private schools, even the wealthiest.

Another is the ability of people in well-paid, secure jobs in larger companies and the public sector to minimise tax by "salary sacrificing" - exchanging salary for benefits such as superannuation (pension) contributions or a leased car, thus lowering the income at which tax is assessed.

Not all the users of private hospitals and schools are middle class, but most certainly are. These subsidies thus have the effect of redistributing wealth by consuming taxpayer dollars that could otherwise be directed towards government services (including public housing, health and education) - services that promote the quality of life and social mobility of the less affluent among us.

Saltuarius, whatever definition of "socialism" you use, this doesn't sound like it.

(Jeez, Joanne, you didn't expect to start this, did you?)
Neil_Oz is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:01 PM
  #36  
 
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I thought that capital gains tax WAS levied on investment properties, in the same way that capital gains tax is levied on profits on shares. (I know, nobody is making profits on shares, least of all me, but one can surely dream.)
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:05 PM
  #37  
 
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"Unless people who rent are able to claim their rental costs as a tax deduction, then I would see it as a sort of upper class welfare. House owners get compensated, renters get nothing."

The renters benefit by paying lower rent, because the homeowners can afford to rent for less since they get a tax deduction.
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:12 PM
  #38  
 
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I don't have an issue with a person who owns a rental property being able to claim interest against income - the interest is then a business cost.

But it is a different matter if a home owner is able to claim the interest on the home that they live in.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:29 PM
  #39  
 
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I'm trying to understand the Australian system of welfare. As an outsider looking in, it seems to encourage unemployment with its attractive benefits. There seems to be no shame associated with living off other taxpayers money.

Maybe someone here can explain to me how it works, and why the average working, tax paying Australian doesn't seem bothered by it.

I'm also genuinely curious about welfare amongst the Aboriginal community. The groups of unemployed, drunk Aboriginals camped out on public streets while people walk by and ignore them, truly perplexes me. I realize there is a much deeper social issue here, but how does the welfare end of it work?
Melnq8 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2009, 09:41 PM
  #40  
 
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Deducting interest from taxes encourages people to own their own homes. The higher your income, the lower the deductions.

Families with kids are also able to make deductions. I believe OZ has a similar program, but families receive a payment instead of getting a deduction, is that correct?
Melnq8 is offline  

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