Unstimulated

The ATO’s tax bonus eligibility calculator informs me that I’m not, after all, eligible to receive the $900 tax bonus. I was above the tax-free threshold in 2007-08, but my tax was erased by offsets. It’s not clear whether I’m eligible to receive the $950 “training and learning” bonus either. I’m unknown to Centrelink and I’m not receiving a scholarship, but the Council for Australian Postgraduate Associations is apparently “confident that administrative measures included in the package will mean that no other students are left out.”

Jolly good then. I have no idea what these “administrative measures” are, but I’m sure I’ll find out eventually, for better or worse.

On a philosophical note, it’s tough to decide whether I should be upset (hypothetically) about not being stimulated. We would rightfully complain if the needy were to miss out on welfare. In general, it’s natural to complain about not being afforded the same benefits as those around us. However, this isn’t really about wealth redistribution – it’s just a mechanism to get money circulating again – a once-off event. It’s also not as if I’m going to be any worse off, whatever the outcome. However, that 75kg of chocolate may have to wait.

Stimulated by Kevin

It appears that, in the coming weeks, most of us will be receiving $900 from The Man, with which we must do our patriotic duty as consumers and… well, consume. I suppose we should all be buying Australian goods and services as much as possible, though that line always sounds a little parochial to me. It’s a global crisis, after all.

However, it’s nice to have a Senate that isn’t just a rubber stamp for the Government’s every whim. The Greens managed to wrangle a few improvements to the package without appearing to play games, which is a neat trick in our consummately adversarial political system. On the other hand, Senator Nick Xenophon’s brinkmanship over funding for the Murray-Darling probably isn’t how the democratic process is supposed to work. When interviewed on Insiders, he reassured everyone that he would indeed have scuttled the whole thing had he not gotten his way. Malcolm Turnbull still isn’t having any of it, of course, but I just can’t get fired up over arguments concerning tax cuts vs. handouts, and he looks like he was just fishing around for some arbitrary way to differentiate Liberal policy from Labor policy.

For my own part, I am considering various options for disposing of $900. I’m so unused to spending that kind of money that it might take me a while to work out how to do it. Upgrading my computer and acquiring saddle bags for my bike could make a substantial dent. I could, of course, blow the whole lot on chocolate. For $900 I could get 300 250g blocks, amounting to slightly more than my (current) body weight. Hurrah for capitalism.