Even the Oz has noticed! I haven’t read the full article because paywall, but here’s the excerpt from today’s Australian article on the release of the annual HILDA (the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey) report:
AUSTRALIA has enjoyed a decade of remarkable prosperity that has halved poverty rates, brought much greater self-reliance and reduced dependence on government welfare, particularly among the aged and those on lower incomes.
The trend towards greater self-reliance — driven by the productivity gains of the 1990s and the resources boom — cuts across Joe Hockey’s argument that tough budget measures are necessary to tackle a culture of “entitlement” that has developed in Australia, with people more dependent on welfare than in other countries.
The Vine has a take on Hockey’s claims as well, as part of a larger picture of the dangers of letting one’s opponents set the parameters of debate:
Which brings us, as this column inevitably does, to the whimsical behaviour of our government and the way that it makes arguments about there being a budget crisis (which doesn’t exist) that needs immediate action (which it wouldn’t, did it exist) and for which cutting services is the answer (which it wouldn’t be, should a crisis exist, which it doesn’t).
See? If we jump straight to arguing about whether cutting services is the answer, we’ve already conceded that there is a budget crisis (there isn’t) and that immediate action is needed (it’s not). It’s important to argue the premises BEFORE one argues the proposal.
While Joe’s been deliberately misleading about about the specific numbers, there’s another point at work here: his argument only works if you accept that a smaller percentage of Australians shouldn’t have to help the larger one.
And that’s bollocks.
[snipped explication of Hockey’s false facts laid on top of false premise – read it at the source]
So don’t just deny the argument that the poor are being subsidised by the rich because Joe’s lied about the stats: deny it on the grounds that this is exactly how the system is meant to work.
He shouldn’t be permitted to use a false argument to sneakily fix the idea in the nation’s collective brains that the minority just straight up shouldn’t have to help the majority. That way bad things lie, friends. What happens when we start accepting the idea that those who have a lot owe nothing to those in desperate need?
Back to the HILDA report specifically: there’s a lot more going on than just analysing incomes and welfare recipient rates of course, which I simply cannot spare the time to read in full. According to various headlines, female breadwinners are on the rise, married men are getting fatter (and fatter men earn more while fatter women earn less), traditional gender roles persist in unpaid household labour even when both partners work, childcare availability remains the most common complaint amongst parents seeking placements, and nearly half of all retirements are involuntary due to poor health at ages well under 65, so lifting the retirement age to 70 seems purely punitive. Please link to any interesting articles written by those who have read more of the details from the HILDA report so that we don’t have to.
What news story/commentary/analysis has grabbed your attention lately? In particular, what else is being shoved under the national and international media rugs while HILDA dominates the news right now?
As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).