Review of Gittins, “Aged care dilemma: tap wealth in homes, or let taxpayers pay,” SMH, Jan 26, 2011.
Gittins says, “We all agree that old people must be adequately cared for in their declining years and that governments must ensure this happens.” To disprove this comment nothing more need be said than: I disagree. What Gittins is saying is that we should not have to save for our old age, but that we should be able to rely on a protection racket to force everyone else to provide for us. Also, as any economist would point out, and oppose on this ground alone, there is a huge incentive problem: why should anyone provide for their old age out of their own pockets, when they’ve been forced to fund everyone else’s old age during their working life, and when they know that government will provide for them in their old age?
Gittins says, “The scope for duck-shoving — the temptation to push costs off on to someone else, particularly the anonymous taxpayer — is enormous. Trouble is, governments represent the taxpayer.” The government does not represent the taxpayer. The taxpayer never signed any contract allowing any public official to represent him anywhere at all. Moreover, many taxpayers voted against the government, were fined for not voting, were forced to pay tax, were imprisoned for tax evasion; and Gittins says these people are represented by government? That’s almost as bad as Gittins calling himself an economist.