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

endangered species « Previous | |Next »
June 24, 2004

My guess about the implications of recent events is that they signified the ALP in policy retreat. Labor has backflipped on the PBS and is also giving tactical ground on the US trade deal. They will backflip on energy going for market efficiency at the expense of sustainaility, a strong regulator and open acountability.

My judgement is this. The socially conservative authoritarian ALP will continue to backflip until it becomes like the Coalition. Then they are not vulnerable to the Coalition's attack. That is what is meant by being a small target----repudiating the social and cultural agenda of the Keating Government in the early 1990s.

CartoonRoweaph3.jpg
David Rowe

On this account they are showing that they are fiscally responsible. They too are sound economic managers using the utilitarian calculus to achieve the greatest happiness of the greatest number of individuals. They too can make the tough economic decisions that please the money markets. They too have what it takes to run the country. So say the neo-liberals in the ALP.

You can kiss social liberalism goodbye. Social liberalism's ethical state concerned wth the public good should be placed on the endangered species list.

What we have is market freedom, easy-going on state interference, light regulation of the market, user pays, self-reliance and individual responsibility.

Pity about the public good and citzenship. Of course, the public good does not exist, does it?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:45 PM | | Comments (5)
Comments

Comments

Gary, you write:

"You can kiss social liberalism goodbye. Social liberalism's ethical state concerned wth the public good should be placed on the endangered species list."

To that I respond with a rousing "hoo-ah, and not a moment too soon!"

Barring a major upheaval in some area, I predict the return of a Howard-led government.

Why bother changing the party in power to get more of the same?

VOS,
so markets regulate themselves and deliver good social and environmental outcomes as well?

Or do we not worry about good social and environmental outcomes.

I note a degree of pessimism in Labor supporters over its changed stance to PBS co-payments. In defence of Latham's approach I have generally asked the qestion over at Chris Sheil's post on this topic- Have we become a nation of hypochondriacs and pill-poppers and is our govt/opposition's response with the PBS, a recognition that this problem is dwarfing concerns about equity? Half a billion dollars a year to subsidise just 2 cholestorol lowering drugs of dubious scientific efficacy, surely should be ringing alarm bells. How can we afford decent equity, when we are collectively beginning to bankrupt a noble undertaking with our hypochondria? I would suggest the evidence of our growing hypochondria, is staring you in the face, with the quackery on our supermarket shelves.

Observa,
there is another side to this.

Under Costello's reforms the general family fee is to jump $6.20 to $28.60 a script - an increase of almost 30 per cent. The concessional fee for pensioners is much less: it rises a $1 to $4.60 a scrip.

Labor's rhetoric was that it pretended to care for those families doing it tough. Yet its economic leadership wants the sick and the least well-off to fund $1 billion of their proposed tax cuts.

So who looks after those working poor who cannot afford to see dentists and doctors? They are being increasingly left to fend for themselves and when they get too sick they turn up to the public hospitals.

Thsi is being done to find the $8 billion needed, to fund its tax cuts and to ensure budget surpluses if elected.

As the ALP argued a couple of years ago this PBS policy is bad health policy and bad economics. To the extent that it deprives the sick and elderly Australians of medicines they need, there will be increased admission in hospitals at even greater cost to taxpayers.

It's dumb for a political party that says it is looking after the interests of the battlers.