A partial solution to the growing wealth gap stratifying our society into haves and have-nots might be to drop current government policies that are actively encouraging that gap to grow – at the have-nots' expense.

Primarily, those who see anyone who is already on the wealth ladder helped to remain upwardly mobile by a generous mix of incentives and support packages, most of which are funded from the public purse.

Everything from advertising for and underwriting of industry bodies and awards to grants for riparian planting and fencing; from charging heavy transport at well below cost-replacement for the damage caused to providing tax breaks for the likes of foreign film companies; even (until recently) subsidies for private irrigation schemes and oil and gas exploration.

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Indeed if you add together all the ways local and central government subsidise business, corporate welfare dwarfs social welfare.

Yet the "rip-off" of the public purse by the unfortunate who must rely on the so-called "safety net" of the welfare state – which is no longer either safe, or very supportive – is a constant media clamour, while the billions quietly flowing into corporate coffers go unremarked.

This "attack the poor, indulge the rich" mindset is best exemplified by the fact social welfare scams cost the country an estimated $40 million per year, whereas corporate tax avoidance costs around $1.5 billion annually.

Yet which of those is paraded as a shocking and scurrilous statistic?

Truth is, even those on basic benefits like unemployment or the DPB pay to support corporate welfare - because they still pay tax, and they still pay rates (even if via rent).

Okay, sure, any business faces a raft of regulations they must comply with, and that compliance costs.

Factoring in those costs is part of the make or break equation – but a small part, relative to the cost of materials, premises, plant and equipment, and wages – and if a business is operating on such slim margins that a change in compliance costs kills it, it was already doomed.

The rationale for the added value government support at industry-wide level gives any form of business activity is often pat to the point of purring in claiming we all gain.

But here's the thing: going into business is a choice, not a necessity. You choose to take the risks, you choose to work yourself silly to succeed, and whether you do or not relies more than anything else on whether your choices are the right ones – including any investor you choose to sell your idea to, and the nature of the support you accept.

And if it works, you reap the rewards. Fair enough.

What rankles is the attitude of entitlement some folk develop when, having gambled and won, they consider themselves deserving of every handout and best-in-show gong anyone offers.

They forget – or are too conceited to even acknowledge – they have a duty of care, not only to anyone they employ but to society in general.

Because the great mass of citizens who do not have the chance, or do not take it, or take it and lose, rely on those who succeed to help improve their lot in turn.

This is the real "trickle down": how well those with treat those without.

Right now, those with are too busy scoffing their extra cake to worry about those under the table scrabbling for crumbs – though they should be aware being on the floor is the best place from which to take out the legs.

Business needs to drop its welfare dependency and start paying back. A living wage for all would be a good start.

*Bruce Bisset is a freelance writer and poet. Views expressed are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's.