In the buzz leading up to the Budget tomorrow, nobody has pointed out that "victims" of the celtic tiger, assumed to be those who don't work, are suffering dreadful poverty at the hands of a vicious, uncaring state.
After doing some basic math, I was horrified to discover that in certain - increasingly typical scenarios, a person who is dependent on social welfare is actually not only better off than a working person, they've actually been better off for several years. In fact the real victims of the tiger are the large numbers of people working for low wages.
Basically I noticed that the average rate of social welfare increase since 2001 was around 9 per cent. However the minimum wage only went up 3 times, so the net annual gain is only about 5 per cent. I created geometric sequences, and added in an increasingly commonly claimed side benefit - rent supplement.
The disturbing truth is that since the beginning of 2004, even a single adult on welfare getting the basic "sharing" rate of rent supplement has a greater cash income than a person earning the minimum wage on a 30 hour week!
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