Carlo's Corner: Stop complaining, the budget only hits the young, old and inbetween

Saturday, May 17, 2014
It takes gall to imply people are just selfishly putting their petty needs to buy food over the 'national interest'.

There is a lot of hype about so-called pain in this budget, and sure, not everyone comes out a winner. But, basically, as long as you are not a young person or an old person, you should be fine.

Or a middle-aged person who plans on getting old. Or a public servant. Or a farmer. Or someone who wants to study at university, or who owes money from past study.

Or is disabled, unemployed or a single parent — or all three, in which case you should really get working furiously on a time machine to go back and get born to a billionaire, though of course you'll have to teach yourself the finer points of quantum physics because you've no hope now of affording the fees for a science degree.

Or someone who needs to use the public health system or even a sustainable planet on which to live. But asides from those exceptions, you should be fine.


Read all of Green Left's budget coverage

After all, as Treasurer Joe Hockey said of the budget: “If you are only looking for your own interest, then you may be disappointed. But if you are looking for the national interest, you'll be cheered.”

Hockey has copped his share of criticism of late, but fair play — it takes gall to imply that people worried at being kicked hard from many directions at once are just selfishly putting their own petty needs to buy food or see a doctor over the “national interest”.

Can't find a job, been thrown off welfare and have no way to pay your rent? Think of the nation! Which is apparently an abstract concept with no actual relation to the millions of people who live here.

It is all about being prepared to do the “heavy lifting”, and everyone is being asked to do their bit.

For instance, if you are under 30 and can't get a job (just like up to 30% of youths in Sydney's west, for instance) you'll receive no income at all for six months, while Joe Hockey, on the other hand, is going to forgo a rise in his $300,000 salary for one year. It is all about sharing the sacrifice.

But we must act, as Hockey keeps telling us. After all, we have to cut the deficit. That is now 34.5% of GDP, compared with an OECD average of 117%. With the type of spending cuts that threw many European nations into devastating recessions from which they are yet to emerge!

Who knows, maybe in Hockey's world, recessions are in the “national interest” too.

But we simply cannot spend more than we earn! Unless you are Joe Hockey delivering a budget.

Because, despite the relentless rhetoric about cutting the deficit, Ben Eltham pointed out in New Matilda that the Coalition's budget projects the exact same level of spending as former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan did — $415 billion. The only difference is Hockey projects even less revenue, down from Labor's projected $411 billion to just $391 billion.

So there are no real savings here at all — Hockey knows his rhetoric about an emergency is empty. The facts all point to one conclusion: this is an ideologically driven class war to shift wealth to the rich.

In Crikey, Bernard Keane points out: “More than 60% of the spending cuts and revenue measures revealed last night will be borne by low- and middle-income earners or are regressive in nature, while corporate Australia will enjoy a multibillion-dollar windfall courtesy of an array of Coalition commitments.”

If you want to know how unequal this budget is, consider that even former Liberal leader John Hewson complained the budget was too inequitable when speaking to ABC News 24.

Now, Hewson is the bloke who lost the “unloseable” election in 1993 due to pushing policies to shift the tax burden from the rich to the poor with regressive measures like a GST. This is like being told by Charlie Sheen that you should really cut back on your drug use, because, sure, we all like a good time, but there are some limits.

Or having Scott Morrison complain about your petty cruelty. Or being called a smug prat by Christopher Pyne, or perhaps even a (cough) “grub”.

From GLW issue 1009