We’re crippled by welfare and waste
MAYBE it’s too late already. But our slackers’ paradise is in strife if we don’t end this Age of Entitlement.
We can measure that strife with figures: by the May Budget, the Gillard Government will have blown another $75 billion of borrowed money.
That’s on top of the $90 billion debt left by the Rudd government.
Or take these figures: more than six million Australians now live off government benefits or salaries, with only another six million Australians working full-time in the private sector to pay for them.
We are “the people”, they criedÂ — way too late and short of brains:
Â Eat the Rich!
Andrew BoltÂ Â APRIL 072013
Hear from some the protesters who claim to represent the 99 per cent being exploited by the 1 per cent of us that were on the other side of the door at the IPA function.
Continued below the fold!
Or measure our entitlement mentality with anecdotes, like those in this week’s Lowy Institute report on the blowout in demand for government help from Australians abroad.
There was the couple who wanted frequent-flyer points for being evacuated from Cairo on a government-chartered rescue flight. There was the person who rang the the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s emergency service to ask: “Could DFAT feed my dogs while I’m away?”
Or measure the Age of Entitlement by the handouts offered by both sides of politics.
Labor, the most reckless, is shovelling out $500 million a year for a “Schoolkids Bonus” that recipients can blow on holidays, booze or a new TV, if they prefer, and it now promises an $8 billion-a-year disability scheme it can’t pay for.
Meanwhile, the Coalition promises a salary substitute of up to $75,000 over six months to working women having a baby.
This cannot go on. This is the road to Greece or Cyprus.
We are spending money we don’t have and don’t look like earning for a long time. And we’re too often spending it on welfare and waste, including billions on pointless green schemes.
Deloitte Access Economics now predicts that without cutting spending, federal and state deficits will rise by 2050 to $70 billion a year in today’s money.
The fundamental problem, notes the Centre for Independent Studies, is that governments keep spending big, even though they’re no longer getting the big rises in income we took for granted before the global financial crisis.
Yes, the Government laughs off “road to Greece” warnings. And, true, we are a long way from European levels of debt.
It is also true we don’t yet match Europe’s worst for welfarism. France spends close to 30 per cent of GDP on public social expenditure, Australia 16 per cent.
So why the urgency to cut the entitlement culture?
First, because we’re still propped up by incredibly high prices for our minerals, which in turn depend on the still-high growth of China. We’re riding our luck.
And second, we’re at that dangerous pivot between too small to worry about and too big to change.
Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate last year, faced that same pivot in the US and rightly predicted too many people could now be on the teat to let him slim the government cash cow.
“All right, there are 47 per cent who are with (President Barack Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it,” he said in a secretly taped speech. ” I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility … ”
We are almost at that ratio beyond which no politician dares talk of saving and cutting.
ASK the Liberals. Last year, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, in a speech in London, did talk of Western nations needing to end this Age of Entitlement. Huge spending on welfare and big drops in income had left many countries with unsustainable debt, Hockey said, but when asked what cuts he’d make back home, he stalled: “Australia hasn’t got the enormous challenge that other countries have.”
Hockey has since been overruled by colleagues when he wanted to back one of the Government’s rare welfare cuts, to the baby bonus.
Even when Opposition Leader Tony Abbott decided to announce one saving of his own – scrapping the Schoolkids Bonus – a media adviser warned in an email: “I think it’s really a bad idea.”
Sure enough, the Government ran a scare, warning Abbott’s cut would leave “western Sydney families … $15,000 worse off”.
These games must stop. These handouts are with borrowed money and can finance idleness.
A country with our healthcare cannot be so feeble that 819,000 of us are deemed too sick to work.
We cannot afford to be so picky or work-unready that 530,000 of us are on the dole.
We cannot all be so unfrugal or tired at 65 (or 60 for women) that more than two million of us are on the age pension.
No. We are not Greece. But we can’t miss this chance to make sure we never will be.
Eat the Rich!
Eat the rich!
Designer hoodies, designer caps, designer sunnies and all being recorded on no doubt an iPhone 5. Dirty capitalists!
The best way to get a message across is to present yourself as a noisy incoherent ignorant rabble using loud hailers that distort the angry screams.