Report

The cost of privilege

26 Mar 2018
Description

Australian society is becoming increasingly stratified, with growing inequality of wealth and income.

Per Capita’s latest research, commissioned by Anglicare Australia, shows that each year, a staggering $68 billion in taxpayer dollars is spent keeping the wealthiest households wealthy.

That is greater than the cost of Newstart, disability support, or any other benefit.

Too often, our political and economic debate is dominated by a narrative that paints those Australians with the lowest household incomes as a drain on the public purse, depicting the cost of our welfare state as unsustainable.

Recent headlines asserting that the average Australian worker pays $83 per day to provide for the welfare budget typify the commentary around our tax and transfer system, which is amongst the most tightly targeted in the world.

But income support is not the only means by which the Australian tax and transfer system redistributes income amongst citizens.

This report demonstrates the cost to the federal budget of tax concessions and other economic transfers to the highest 20% of Australian income earners.

Our analysis of tax concessions for high income earners shows that such concessions cost the federal budget far more than support for any single welfare recipient group – around $37 a week out of the pocket of every taxpayer.

Australians will likely be shocked at what the wealthy cost the rest of us.

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2018
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