The end of the age of entitlement?

February 9, 2014
Cynical scapegoating: Politicians rule in the interests of the 1% while beating down the least entitled.

The next time you see another arrogant Liberal or National Party politician repeat Joe Hockey’s mantra “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun,” think of billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Rinehart, the richest person in Australia, inherited her fortune from her mining mogul father Lang Hancock, who once proposed that nuclear bombs be used get iron ore out of the ground in Western Australia.

Think of the profound words on this placard held by young protesters in England: “Remember when teachers, nurses, doctors and firefighters crashed the stockmarket, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.”

Think of the thousands of children of single parents who had their modest welfare entitlements slashed $60 a week by the former Labor government. A new survey found that 67% of such families reported their child has suffered social or emotional distress and 73% said their own mental health has declined.

Just under half admitted their child's nutrition levels have declined while two in three parents admitted skipping meals.

Almost 90% said they struggled to meet the cost of buying groceries each week.

More than half reported finding it difficult to meet basic travel costs for their family. While 32% said their child had missed a medical appointment and 51% reported incurring credit card or bank debt as a result of the cuts.

For politicians who rule in the interests of the 1% and enjoy the most privileged entitlements in society, bashing the least entitled is a cynical exercise in scapegoating. Their objective is to keep the 99% divided and get us to blame each other instead of the real exploiters.

At Green Left Weekly we've been demolishing the myths that propagate the divide and rule tactics of the 1% since 1991.

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