Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

In lieu of blogging.

Still a bit busy to put fingers to keyboard to any meaningful extent, but since I can spare a few moments to copy and paste I'd like to share this gem from The Australian's Jack the Insider blog. The title is "Sucking Canberra’s teat can be addictive" but could just as easily say London. Bold is mine and my comments in red.
Former New South Wales treasurer Michael Costa is an amusing man.

Back in October 2009 and then having retired from politics, he told the New South Wales Business Chamber that he planned to write a book entitled “I’m Fat, Ugly and Stupid – What is the government going to do about it? Memoirs of a failed politician”.


Costa’s gag book title says a great deal about the relationship between government and the people now and in the recent past. It alludes to the fact that Australians have developed an unhealthy dependency on government to solve their ills
 [in fairness to Australians they're far from unique in this - Angry Exile].

In the days before last week’s federal budget, the TV cameras were whirring away, while reporters vox-popped families and small businesses.

The responses from those interviewed were many and varied but invariably there were cries of desperate circumstances and pleas for more money. One small business owner seemed to believe that the government was somehow responsible for the decline in his turnover. Did he want Kevin Rudd to wander into his shop and order a gross of sausage rolls and a dozen vanilla slices? [Depends on what his business is and what the government might be doing to stuff it up for him. It's quite possible for well meaning government actions to have the effect of hurting turnover of certain businesses. Still, the point is a good one: stop relying on the damn government - AE]

Our view of government as the universal fixer is not new, but it has dramatically increased in the last two decades.

Let’s take the example of a woman who brings a child in to the world. As of today, that woman will receive a benefit of $5,185 paid in 13 fortnightly increments. The Rudd Government now means tests the baby bonus so a mother earning more than $150,000 per annum receives not a cent, but in the Howard years the bonus was paid holus-bolus to any new mother.

If the government’s paid maternity scheme gets up in the parliament, mothers who give birth after January 1, 2011 will receive another $4,000 as part of an 18- week paid maternity leave scheme. With the baby bonus, that’s almost an even $10,000 courtesy of Canberra.


When I was born, my mother received an extra 50 cents a week in her kick (I’ve decimalised the currency to spare my mother and I any unkind ageist remarks). There was no sense then that the government would provide. Parents coped, children grew up, and it must be said, we seem to have done reasonably well without the Commonwealth’s largesse.


An annual cash payment to old aged pensioners was another such measure. The OAPs struggle on a pittance of a pension. The one off payment did little to change this but once put in place, it could not be taken away without a hue and cry. The expectation that the cheque was in the mail had been created and pensioners became reliant on the payment for their household budgets.

In the wake of the GFC, the Rudd government hurled even more money at the general population. There were a series of cash payments made to virtually all and sundry. The methodology was as Kevin Rudd put it, “go early, go hard and go household.” The payments were made to keep the retail industry ticking along and the benefits would flow through into other industry sectors.


Kevin Rudd’s cash splashes may have made sense as a one-off payment but they have served to increase our dependence on government.

In our sensible moments we would acknowledge that this government or any government for that matter are not going to solve our problems for us. Let’s face facts, no government can or should. Governments can’t raise our children and we wouldn’t want them to. Small businesses must sink or swim on their own trade. If they can’t get by without another government hand out, they shouldn’t be in business at all. [I'd go further and say that all businesses must sink or swim on their own trade - AE]

If we are fat then a government might tut-tut us with grim stories of obesity, diabetes and heart attack but it’s we who have to put the fork down.

If we’re ugly, we shouldn’t expect a government to pony up for the plastic surgery.

If we’re stupid, we could always pick up a book.

None of us want our lives to be intruded upon by government but when we’re cash strapped, too many of us moan, “What is the government going to do about it?”

We’re addicts; junkies, sucking on the government teat, always wanting more.

We should not expect governments to make our lives better because they can’t. They might think they can but they inevitably fail short of our bulging expectations.

If you don’t believe me, let me ask you how you feel about that free insulation in your roof. 
[If that doesn't ring a bell see this blog for more on the federal government's insulation program balls up - AE]
Go read the whole thing. It's a must read not just for libertarians but anyone who's ever found themselves muttering "bloody government" under their breath.


Mr. Divine said...

Yea i know what you mean. Give money I really need it. I can't do without it. i need more more more

scouser living in wagga wagga

Mr. Divine said...

First time I read your blog. Great. Normally I hang out around lefty blogs taking the piss out of them. I can't help myself. I'm constantly trying to find new ways of doing it. Like I've got nothing better to do.

I've spent about 15 years in Oz,live on a few acres near town, do feel a bit homesick at times (want to go walking on the moors) but when I go back on holiday I feel .. nay. the first couple of weeks its fun and there's laughs but after a bit i want to deck someone and I'm fifty years old.

I like your graph.

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