Extra $100 notes circulating in Oz from pensioners hiding cash?

Peter Nicholson is a favorite cartoonist – worldwide

A mysteriously high number of $100 notes in circulation in Australia has been blamed on elderly citizens who hoard cash “under the bed” to ensure they receive a pension.

A former official at Australia’s Reserve Bank, Peter Mair, said high-value notes should be phased out to prevent mass welfare fraud by the elderly who are hiding $AUS 20 billion to become eligible for entitlements. Australia has about 10 $100 notes in circulation per person – far more than the $20 note which is much more commonly seen.

Old people may be old but they are not silly and as a ballpark figure I suggested people could be holding up to $50,000,” he told ABC Radio.

“They [$50 and $100 notes] are being withheld from circulation, mainly by people looking to manage their assets to get them under the threshold to qualify for getting the aged pension.” Mr Mair has written to the Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, to propose phasing out $50 and $100 notes which only “facilitate tax-dodging”…

“If putting it under the bed or in a cupboard means you qualify for the pensioner card, you get discounted council rates, discounted car registration, discounted phone rental – in percentage terms the return is enormous…”

However, the Council of the Aged Australia hit back at the claims, saying welfare fraud was spread across all age groups.

“It’s really unfortunate that older people have been singled out to be called welfare cheats when the vast majority of older people on the pension are struggling to make ends meet on the pension and are doing the right thing and have paid taxes all their lives,” said a spokeswoman for the council, Jo Root.

The demented mental processes of conservative beancounters obviously aren’t limited to the United States or Europe.

The puritan mindset which says “everyone is a crook but me and my rich friends” – would institute means tests for everything from public health to toilet paper. The ideologues who believe everyone is corrupt usually are the pace-setters in the sport. They’re prepared to waste triple taxpayer funds managing minutiae rather than simply letting everyone live a decent life as part of a democratic society.

When everything settles out, history tells us the biggest thieves are at the top of the heap – not trudging along after a lifetime of hard work.

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