Somebody has to pay – guess who?

posted in: Life and things, Photography | 0
street sign 'you'll die of old age we'll die of climate change'. 'Old age' has been over-written with covid-19
Photo by Markus Spiske, Pexels

It’s baby boomer bashing time again. It’s never too long before a new flare-up and the covid-19 pandemic has caused a resurgence. Adam Creighton penned an article in The Australian entitled Coronavirus: Perks and loopholes can’t endure as we run up debt. Be warned, the newspaper has a paywall.

Australia, like most countries around the world, has essentially shut down its economy to prevent the spread of the covid-19 virus. The government is spending billions to support workers thrown out of a job and at some stage, that money will have to be repaid.

The essence of Creighton’s argument is presented in this quote:

“The young and poor have little say in society but they are incurring the bulk of the costs from the shutdown.”

“Whether it’s their incomes, their schooling or their ability to enjoy life, the sacrifices that students and so-called generations X and Y are making for the over-75s are very significant. Unlike the Spanish flu 90(sic) years ago, it seems coronavirus is of little threat to the vast majority.”

Seniors are apparently getting perks and loopholes, as stated in the article’s title, that the country can no longer afford. Creighton obviously has an amazing crystal ball at his house (I assume he’s working from home) because he does concede, “It’s true retirees have seen huge falls in their superannuation balances, but once a vaccine is found in a year or two, their accounts are likely to roar back to life.” Let’s hope so, because if he’s wrong, quite a few of those self-funded retirees will be applying for a pension. Assuming, of course, that they survive the pandemic.

Seems to me that Mr Creighton might support the ‘herd immunity’ argument, where we all carry on with life as usual. The young will be infected and recover after a mild dose, while all those not-so-fit due to age and/or pre-existing conditions will shuffle off across the rainbow bridge. Meanwhile, the economy will trundle on regardless, with no loss of jobs and incomes, in fact a lot of new work for medical staff and undertakers. Rather like Donald Trump’s suggestion, everyone back to work after Easter.

But that’s not what’s happening here. So Mr Creighton has come up with a raft of proposals to help balance the books, mostly aimed fairly and squarely at the old farts:

  • scrap the health care card for self-funded retirees,
  • get rid of franking credits,
  • lower the tax threshold for those over retirement age still working,
  • get rid of the superannuation surcharge, and
  • reintroduce an inheritance tax. (Won’t the Millennials love that?)

Needless to say, that click-bait headline resulted in a flurry of comments from the outraged elderly. Most pointed out what we’d done for the economy before we joined the ranks of the retirees, such as the biggest lending institutions in the world – the Bank of Mum and Dad and its ancillary, the Bank of Brothers and Sisters. They both offer the very best terms and conditions, too.

The cost of this pandemic will be huge. (Just in case you hadn’t worked that out already.) Certainly, there will have to be much belt-tightening in the future, not unlike the years after the two world wars. I hope the boffins in Canberra are giving deep thought on how we’re really going to repay that massive debt. Taxing the elderly won’t quite cover it. I’d suggest resurrecting a manufacturing industry instead of importing everything from China. Or perhaps roll back the pay rise just given to public servants in Queensland. Or take a look at some of the overpaid positions in quangos like the Human Rights Commission. Or ask why Victorian politicians need a pay rise in these difficult times. But I’m old. What would I know?

In the meantime, I’m sure your isolation/social distancing must become a bit tedious. Why don’t you come with me back to the beach and meet our lovely pelicans?

I like pelicans. They’re like the big-bellied battleships of the bird world; slow to take off, slow to land but so graceful in the sky. It’s fun to watch them catch the thermals, rising in wide arcs until they’re high enough to hurtle off to their next port of call.

Pelicans flying along beach

We get a few at the beach – maybe two or three around the Torquay jetty, and one solitary bird that must have been the introvert of the family hung around the little reef that’s mainly above water at low tide. Down at the water’s edge they fly very low, conserving energy.

I was fortunate enough to be at the beach with my camera when one landed right next to me. Pete shouted a warning and I let the camera do the rest. I stitched the pictures together in Photoshop. Here’s a post giving more information about how I created the picture.

If you’re looking for pelicans in Hervey Bay the place to go is the pier, the very long jetty that juts out toward Fraser Island. Back in the day a train ran along it to ships waiting to load sugar and timber. The jetty had an extension then, a left hand turn so the ships could moor alongside the pier in deep water, but that was demolished. It took determined effort from the locals to stop demolition of the rest. The council learned its lesson and now the jetty is a tourist attraction for visitors, and a very popular fishing spot for people and for the local birds, always scrounging for a feed.

We went for a walk along the pier and saw these two involved in a complicated dance. I’ve never worked out if it was courtship or a territorial dispute over the pole. I don’t know much about pelican breeding habits in these parts. I know that somehow they’re smart enough to know when Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre (a salt lake in the middle of Australia which only fills when there has been heavy rain in the North) is in flood and flock there in their thousands to mate and raise their chicks. Perhaps here they nest at a lake as they do in Bundaberg. I’ve certainly never seen any pelican chicks.

Pelicans flying above Lake Eyre
A sea bird gathering on the sand at Burrum Heads

Another place where you’ll find lots of pelicans is Burrum Heads, forty kilometres or so up the coast where the Burrum River drains into the sea. It’s a popular holiday spot for fishermen and the pelicans gather there for any left overs when the catch is gutted and filleted.

Three pelicans on rocks at Burrum Heads waiting for a feed

I also used a pelican photo to create a piece of photo art. Here it is below. If you want to know how I made it, take a look here.

Pelican landing

I hope home detention is working out for you. Until next time, wash your hands and keep safe.

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