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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

It's not economics, its ideology « Previous | |Next »
December 17, 2003

Ross Gittens says it well. The Howard Government is willing to increase spending on defence and tax cuts but says there is no money to spend on bulkbilling or funding public education. Gittens says that the federal Treasurer,

"Peter Costello has made it clear there's another increase in defence spending coming in next year's budget, and his long-promised tax cut will come out of whatever money's left. But how much spending on defence is enough? We have unending debates about spending on Medicare and education, but when it comes to defence, it's all a black box. We're expected to pay up and shut up."

The conservatives in Canberra love a strong state that can flex its military muscle and make the Indonesians uneasy. In doing so they make a fetish of strong leadership.

He then goes through an account of what the current $15.4 billion for the Australian Defence Force gives; what we would get when it is increased to $16.7 billion, to $20.3 billion a year by the end of this decade and $24.9 billion a year. He concludes:

"Don't forget this is a Government that, while being the highest-taxing in our history, is desperately trying to keep the lid on health-care spending, can no longer afford bulk-billing, is spending far less than it should on unis and palming more and more of the cost on to students."

That is what a small state means for neo-liberals. Doing away with the welfare state.

By ideology I mean that the Howard Government is hostile to the universality of the welfare state. So it will squeeze these public institutions of funds to reduce the welfare state to a safety net for the poor. The justification will be that it has no money.

The money is there. So is public support for spending it on health, education and the environment. It is politically dififcult to kill off the welfare state. So it will be ringbarked whilst claiming otherwise.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:25 AM | | Comments (4)


Certianly the destruction of the welfare state is a very desirable outcome but it looks alive and well to me.

It is being financially squeezed.That is the strategy of destruction given the public's resistance to the destruction of the public heath system

It's been squeezed? Far out, you can organise my diet anytime.

Government spending on medical services has increased by 17% in real terms since 1997.

Gittens point stands.

The money is being spent on defence rather education or heath even though the Government keeps saying there is no money.
Its ideology not economics.