Pete Wargent blogspot

Co-founder & CEO of AllenWargent property advisory & buyer's agents, offices in Brisbane (Riverside) & Sydney (Martin Place) - clients include hedge funds, resi funds, & private investors.

4 x finance/investment author - 'Get a Financial Grip: a simple plan for financial freedom’ (2012) rated Top 10 finance books by Money Magazine & Dymocks.

"Unfortunately so much commentary is self-serving or sensationalist. Pete Wargent shines through with his clear, sober & dispassionate analysis of the housing market, which is so valuable. Pete drills into the facts & unlocks the details that others gloss over in their rush to get a headline. On housing Pete is a must read, must follow - he is one of the better property analysts in Australia" - Stephen Koukoulas, MD of Market Economics, former Senior Economics Adviser to Prime Minister Gillard.

"Pete Wargent is one of Australia's brightest financial minds - a must-follow for articulate, accurate & in-depth analysis." - David Scutt, Business Insider, leading Australian market analyst.

"I've been investing for over 40 years & read nearly every investment book ever written yet I still learned new concepts in his books. Pete Wargent is one of Australia's finest young financial commentators." - Michael Yardney, Australia's leading property expert, Amazon #1 best-selling author.

"The most knowledgeable person on Aussie real estate markets - Pete's work is great, loads of good data and charts, the most comprehensive analyst I follow in Australia. If you follow Australia, follow Pete Wargent" - Jonathan Tepper, Variant Perception, Global Macroeconomic Research, and author of the New York Times bestsellers 'End Game' and 'Code Red'.

"Pete's daily analysis is unputdownable" - Dr. Chris Caton, Chief Economist, BT Financial.

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cameron getting tough on UK benefits. Bravo!

The big news story from the UK is the attempted passing of new laws to limit benefits to £26,000 per annum.  A subject most dear to my heart, of course.

I need to be careful what I say here and limit myself to a few hundred words or so, or else I’ll end up sounding like a curious cross between Mussolini, Mad Max and Maggie Thatcher.  I’ll probably make a few enemies anyway, but I guess ultimately when it comes to benefits, you are on one side of the debate or the other.

Naturally enough, the BBC has featured the obligatory incendiary interviews.  Right on cue, cut to benefit-drawing mother-of-many, bemoaning “how are we supposed to manage on £26,000 per annum? It ain’t right!"

I don’t even know where to start.  No, it certainly ain’t right, I totally accord with your views madam!  May I suggest that one could feasibly seek remedy through commencing to seek some form of gainful employment? Crumbs.

By my calculations with a minimum wage of £6.08 per hour, this means that decent hard-working people are working full time for a full year to earn less than £12,500, while others who have never worked, will never work and have no intention of ever working are carping and whingeing about a cap on benefits at £26,000 (while drawing on two Silk Cuts, naturally).

The very foundation of a stable civilized nation is based upon a respectable working class who actually work and keep the country moving. 

Australia is a bit more like London in one respect - we are very fortunate in that we have a constant supply of immigrants who will thankfully do the McJobs that most of us will not. 

Britain is currently running the risk of developing a totally new class system.  No longer the landed aristocracy, the artisan middle class and the respectable working class.  Instead, it will become those who work and those who simply aren’t interested.

Politics in the UK is changing too.  There used to be a bitter conflict between the Socialist Worker readership and the centre-right.  Whatever one used to think of Arthur Scargill, the cross-industry strikes and the rent-a-mob flying pickets, at least underneath the headline-grabbing protagonists were a couple of hundred thousand mainly decent and hard-working miners – good, family people who were no-one’s enemies, and more pertinently, actually only wanted the right to work for a fair wage.

Now the lines are being re-drawn between the employed and those permanently drawing benefits.  Tony Blair had the right idea on one thing: an unemployment benefit called a Job-Seekers Allowance.  Not a £30,000-and-a-6-bedroom-house-for-anyone-who-churns-out-enough -kids-Allowance.  The system is, quite literally, out of control.

Of course, there are also perfectly decent people who need benefits – we all acknowledge that and I’m certainly not taking a pop at them here.  But, at the risk of sounding Dickensian, I reckon there needs to be some sort of voucher system (an excellent, draconian concept that I quite gladly borrow from one of my esteemed Sydney buddies – brilliantly conceived one sunny afternoon in the Tea Gardens Hotel, Bondi Junction, if memory serves) that disallows people from drawing benefits to spend on cigarettes, trips to Ibiza, satellite television and cans of Carling. 

Oh, but it’s a restriction of liberty?  Tough!  The country can’t afford to continue the way it has been, so that’s life, I’m afraid.

I don’t suppose you can blame people for not wanting to work.  It’s the system we have given them.  You can make more money and get a bigger house by doing nothing at all.  What a crazy concept.

Whenever my Australian friends talk about that UKTV show Secret Millionaire they are utterly amazed by what they have seen.  I’m pretty amazed myself.  Ghetto housing estates of drug-addicted unemployed in towns and cities dotted all around the UK.  It’s not PC to say so, of course, but this is what the existing welfare system in Britain is creating: dependency.  People have to have some incentive to work or else we’re all going to hell in a handcart.

The welfare state was introduced to help those in need of benefits, not those who need help to get off their backsides - and Cameron is spot on in what he is saying.

One thing Australia does right: phone lines to dob in tax evaders and benefit cheats.  Yep, introduce that too. Ooh, it will be all George Orwell and 1984.  So what?  Nothing used to make me madder than working in the factory and seeing the mysterious lack of employee attendance on a Tuesday morning - benefit day.  It’s nigh on time that kind of abuse of the system was stopped once and for all. 

I have to stop typing.  I think I may have to go in to politics as an independent or risk becoming a seriously cantankerous old bloke.  What am I saying?  I am a cantankerous old bloke. Hmmph.