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

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June 15, 2012

In his article entitled Government must lower our great expectations in The Australian Paul Kelly says that the Gillard Government:

fights something more ugly than winning acceptance of carbon pricing - it confronts a structural shift in which wealth per person has been static for five years, making people cautious, frustrated and angry. This shift defines the mood of the nation, and resentment towards Julia Gillard as PM. It is tied to a paradox that makes people agitated about the public debate. Australia's economy is growing strongly but households feel anxious because wealth (not income) is under pressure.

Kelly finishes by saying that in retrospect, Labor should have used the global crisis, the deepest downturn since the 1930s, to transform public expectations about entitlements instead of telling the nation nothing would change and its entire program would be delivered. Labor has a good economic story to tell today, but it can be sold only in a climate of reform that is tied to lower expectations.

PopeDGillarddetective.jpg David Pope

Two quick points. The proper response to the global financial crisis was Government intervention in the economy that boosted spending. Secondly, with the return to modest growth the Gillard Government is taking modest steps to lowering expectations with its 2012 budget surplus (eg., cutting back on defence), trimming middle class welfare (eg., means testing the private health insurance rebate), and making the fossil fuel polluters pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

This is the right time to start trimming the culture of entitlement. Australia is the middle of the biggest capital expenditure boom in history, and this has coincided with the highest terms of trade in our history. The coincidence of increased jobs, low inflation and successive rate cuts is rare.

Kelly however, is using Laura Tingle Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation Quarterly Essay to push for the politics of austerity during the global financial crisis. It's the neo-liberal position of using the financial crisis to wind back the welfare state. What Kelly doesn't say is the Gillard's attempts to trim middle class welfare and change its culture of entitlement is opposed by the Coalition, which supposedly stands for small government and free markets.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:13 AM | | Comments (3)


"Labor should have used the global crisis, the deepest downturn since the 1930s, to transform public expectations about entitlements instead of telling the nation nothing would change..."

Except that large slabs of the electorate are simply too immature to accept this type of news! Certainly not after all the years of being dazzled by the "comfortable and relaxed" illusion flogged by the toxic dwarf.

And any attempt to put that proposition to the public would have played right into the hands of the all-knowing all-seeing Coalition. After all... middle-class entitlement and victimhood is THEIR primary weapon.

The main 'sense of entitlement' I observe is the belief that mere possession of assets will generate unearned, risk-free income. We are still dealing with the cargo cult mentality that your super will grow 25% per annum, and the value of your house will double every few years. Growth in notional values can then be used to underpin repeated borrowing to indulge a spending spree that never ends.

The Howard years were a great time for a lot of people, funded by paper wealth, and it's understandable they want to blame somebody for the party ending. Who more suitable than the mob who took power in Canberra just when the wheels came off the long asset boom?

I agree.
But I also think its a bit rich when parasites with bloated incomes like Kelly demand that people on incomes a tenth of his let alone on fixed incomes, should lower THEIR expectations.
Anyone noticed any of his kind leading by example lately?