Much of the criticism of middle class welfare has been directed at the Howard government, which in 2000 overhauled the family payments system to establish Family Tax Benefits A and B as part of the tax system overhaul.

Family Tax Benefits are not middle class welfare per se, of course. The bulk of FTB payments go to lower-income households. But it becomes middle class welfare -- a term John Howard loathed -- when you don’t restrict access to FTB to people on low incomes.