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Joe Hockey’s Emotional Hysteria

Running out of money? What an incredibly stupid thing for Joe Hockey to say. The Health cost for the nation is set to increase from $65 billion to $75 billion in three years and this is the reason he says we are running out of money. Really? After what we have witnessed from this government over the past six months I think it’s time Joe realised we are now less likely to fall for this kind of emotional hysteria without hard evidence. We live in an educated society. Unlike the days of Robert Menzies where the ‘reds under the beds’ tactic of the Liberal Party was played out so successfully, today our politicians need to be reminded that we are a thinking nation. Well, most of us.

If we are running out of money then we should double the Medicare levy from 1.5% to 3% and that will raise an extra $10 billion in just one year. There you are, problem fixed! Scrap the private health insurance rebate while we are there and we have another $5 billion. See, it’s easy when we de-mist our glasses and see the outgoing revenue streams for what they are. It’s the wealthy where we need to focus our attention. But it comes at a cost. It means the highest paid in the country will have to contribute the most. I suspect that’s why it won’t happen.

I can’t help but wonder what Joe Hockey was thinking to have him say we will run out of money. Is he setting us up for something? If so, he is underestimating the resilience of the Australian people. If he wants to prepare us for some shock and awe why not just come out and say it. If he wants to scrap possibly the most advanced universal health system in the world and substitute it for something less, for no reason other than to bring in a surplus budget, why not just say so. But if he is trying to scare the voters with some childish little door stop comment surely he could do better than that. I could do better than that. Pathetic, Joe. Utterly pathetic!

What we are witnessing here is a classic case of ‘ideology blues’. It’s a condition conservative governments suffer when they see anyone they despise receiving government money; the unemployed, the sick, public servants, the lower income workers and the aged; the easy targets in budgetary reviews. It is never the wealthy, the overpaid, the corporate sector, politicians, mining magnates and so on. Tony Abbott says he wants to be the best friend Medicare ever had. Another ridiculous statement! What does that mean? Would a best friend make poor people pay an upfront fee at their local GP and then try to convince them it is in their best interests?

Not content with trying to butcher the health system Joe wants to get stuck into welfare and education as well. Never mind the assurances his leader gave prior to the election. Joe Hockey should take a hint from a popularity survey published in The Saturday Age on 22nd February. It shows he has a net positive approval rating of 2%. His boss has a negative rating of 8%. Don’t bother looking at Christopher Pyne’s figures. But I think he had better start rethinking how he will address the budget position and where his focus should be if he wants to hang on to that 2%. And he should also take a look at voters’ attitude to education. 63% want the full Gonski school funding package for 6 years, not the 4 years reluctantly agreed to by the government. That 63% includes a lot of people who voted Liberal in the last election.

Putting the Treasurer’s bizarre comments in context, they were a prelude to a meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Sydney, a meeting that includes IMF chief Christine Lagarde. He has placed great store in the agenda of growth and resilience and thinks Australia can be a beacon of light leading the world to a better economic future. Good luck with that. He wants investment in infrastructure to be a priority but his only suggestion as to how this could be funded is to privatise anything that is not tied down.

In reality the finance ministers, the central bank governors and Christine Lagarde have heard it all before. Their attention is on the position of their own countries and the impact of winding back their own post GFC stimulation measures which many of them are still applying. Any brash young newcomer’s advice will be largely ignored; particularly one that espouses cutting back on health and education. Besides, pushing for growth is something they have agreed to before, but have never done anything about once they got back home.

So, my advice to Joe Hockey is that whenever he feels the onset of emotional histrionics and the urge to speak about curtailing spending in unsustainable areas, he should concentrate on subsidy payments to industries with record profits that don’t need it, and leave alone those areas of the economy that do.

And one more piece of advice: don’t try to be too clever.

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37 comments

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  1. John Kelly

    Reblogged this on THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN and commented:

    What we are witnessing here is a classic case of ‘ideology blues’. It’s a condition conservative governments suffer when they see anyone they despise receiving government money

  2. rossleighbrisbane

    Advising you not be too clever is rather like telling a snake not to try and ride a bicycle – even though they won’t listen to you, they won’t be able.to do it anyway!
    But you hit the nail on the head with the idea of raising the Medicare levy, if things are really that bad. The Liberals only seem to look at the spending side of their desire,for surpluses.

  3. rossleighbrisbane

    That should have been “advising Joe” – bloody autocorrect!

  4. Terry2

    Hockey sponsored a feel good resolution at the G20 to commit the international community to 2% additional growth beyond existing projections over the next five years. I understand that this was not well received by all delegates who went along with it reluctantly.

    Was this just posturing by Hockey or does this resolve have some substance ?

  5. Möbius Ecko

    You know what’s so incongruous about Hockey’s statement about running out of money?

    His push for a additional 2% growth target in the OECD, that’s an extra two trillion dollars, and where is that money supposed to come from? Stimulus, that is debt, that is money he says we’re running out of.

    Of course he also means that extra two trillion should go to the wealthiest, big banks and big business. It was an allusion to trickle down economics that this current government seems to implicitly believe in.

    As the article alludes to, there’s not enough money for the lower to middle socio-economic groups but there are obscene amounts for offshore asylum seekers and the wealthiest.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Oh, and if Hockey is going on about running out of money the first place he should look is at Abbott.

    Abbott was the most expensive LOTO in our history, costing more than the PM at the time, and is becoming by far the most expensive PM in our history, making Howard look like a penny miser.

  7. mikestasse

    HOW did we get from having “world’s best” treasurers, to the worst…?

  8. john921fraser

    <

    The G20 members now know that they are dealing with Joe "don't know" Hockey and are probably claiming for their bike rides around town, building up an impressive book collection and padding out their hotel bills.

    Good ole Joe will now come out and tell Aussies how great it was that all the G20 members agreed with him and Australia's future employment is guaranteed for as long as the G20 members stay in Australia …. gratis.

  9. Joe Banks

    Excellent, John. I wonder if the day will ever come when we see articles like this in The Daily Telegraph?

  10. Terry2

    I posed the question (above) if this resolution was just posturing : I now have the answer.
    The resolution in question is “aspirational” and “non-binding” on the parties,no wonder the Germans thought it pointless.

  11. Anomander

    I can’t fathom why the states aren’t arcing-up over the $6 GP fee.

    The aim is to externalise the cost from the federal government and onto the states, as people abandon GP surgeries and walk into the already crowded public hospital emergency wards.

    The health insurance industry is one of the greatest frauds committed upon the Australian populace. Under the Howard regime health insurance was virtually made compulsory, but the industry does nothing to rein-in the costs, despite the fact it is propped-up with billions of dollars in subsidies and tax off-sets. The industry adds zero value to the whole process by refusing to constrain medical costs. In truth it is to their benefit to allow prices to increase, as they hike premiums yet leave larger and larger gap-payments, all the while growing their own profits while eating away at the public system to the point where it becomes dysfunctional and ripe for privatisation.

    A single, public insurer like the originally envisioned Medicare could set prescribed prices for treatments and constrain costs within a fixed budget, but that runs counter to the Libs ideology of free-market. So their task to to destroy the public structure and allow their wealthy mates to take it over.

    We will soon become like the US where people unable to afford even basic health care are left to die in the streets.

  12. Phillip Barker

    hang on – “reds under the bed” was a dismal failure here. The Australian people voted in 1951 not to outlaw the CPA. Sure – it was a close run thing…

    other than that – nice piece.

  13. buzztj

    Not sure that most of us are part of a thinking nation… It would appear that most of us have our thinking done for us like a pre-chewed piece of gristle by murdoch, packer & fairfax

  14. Heath Rawlings

    I am so over this government that it is depressing is to say the least. The worst thing is the sheep that follow them and hang on their every word believing everything they spin.. We are no longer the clever country unfortunately and I fear that it will remain so for quite some time. I have never been so disappointed with Australia as I am now. When you can get an idiotic statement like Hockey made coming from a supposed treasurer and of course not to mention our idiot Morrison and then we have the buffoon Abbott who if this was all going on with a Labor government he would be screaming blue murder. What a total waste of space these people are. No wonder Murdoch wants them in, he knows you can control idiots far better than people with half a brain.
    I no longer read msm or watch TV news I can not handle being treated like a fool by morons. As much as I like Bill Shorten he is too soft and is not PM material Tanya would have been far better or Anthony. Bill has not got what it takes to flatten this lot and hold them to account. So with Rupert protecting them and Bill going along nicely with everything we have no way of getting rid of them.
    Yet again Labor will one day inherit a country that needs to have more spending to fix everything and yet again this Liberal load of rubbish will convince people that all they want to do is spend. Of course they do it is government spending that keeps this country going. We do not need money saved while our infrastructure and our people fall to pieces.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Its all very simple isn’t it Joe. Redistribution upwards damn the consequences. They are modelling themselves on that corrupt and unethical mob of US conservatives that blame the victim then skim off what is left of their wealth. The smile on the dial while forcing those who are in financial dire straits into further poverty is sickening. This mob think if you talk long and hard enough you can convince people of anything. Sadly enough the majority seem to be falling for the spin only to wake up when things are substantially worse. Why are people so blind they cannot see? Shorten get off of your but and attack. There are a good many people on this sight that could give better advice than you are getting now. Boy are we on the verge of something very nasty.

  16. Geoff Of Epping

    John, a great read, and so very true. I however doubt that Joe could ever be too clever.
    I personally suspect he takes his budgetary advice from his wife, who is herself a rather formidable figure in the finance industry, Melissa Babbage. In fact News Corpse describes her as a “financial guru”
    I suspect the pre lights out chats at chez Hockey would be quite an eye opener. Much like the ones at chez Howard when Janette would issue the next day’s agenda to little Johnny.

  17. Maree Elizabeth

    Joe Banks… I hope one day the Daily Telegraph ceases to be.. well at least under the control of the murdocks.. but the most important thing to do once we remove the LNP is to renew and relaunch the labor party … they are illusions of democracy. oust Bill Shorten for a start. maybe Doug Cameron would lead the new labor party.

  18. Brian

    Must have been a sight with Jughead cajoling the G20 ministers to sign his meaningless 2% target communique. How many millions did this little bit of burlesque cost our poorly depleted bank account. Hot air doesn’t come cheap with this circle of friends.
    The destruction of Medicare has long been on the Libs wish list. They see all these sick people with money as a wasted resource. There’s always a buck to be made from suffering.
    Abbott’s aim is to be the neo-con hero that Howard could never manage to be because he understood the political consequences of attempting to destroy what so many now rely on. Fearless Freep Abbott doesn’t have the brains to not make a try. Hockey, along with Peter Nuthin’ will play their part in Abbott’s little pantomime, as they try to convince us that universal health care is a utopian dream that simply can’t be afforded. There is too much money needing to be spent on rorts for business to continue bothering to look after the nations health.
    They’ll look at bumping up the GST so that pensioners can pay a bigger slice of the taxation pie thereby avoiding the need to ask more of those aspirants who are so busy salting away under taxed assets in their super schemes. And we mustn’t forget all those company cars that need to be written off at taxpayers expense. Interesting, but we still seem to be subsidising the car industry.
    Howard gave away the mining boom in handouts and now Hockey wants to help Abbott play the infrastructure hero by ripping money from the lowest paid and least able to pay for his utopian dreams. Too late to do what you could have done so easily. They are so fond of telling us that a wage can only be paid by a healthy business but it’s equally true that taxes can only be paid if you’re earning a wage.
    The structural deficit in the budget can only be solved by broadening the tax base and that means taxing those who have it not those who don’t. But those who supported the election of these idiots won’t have it so we all know where the lies will be directed and to what purpose. They fool no-one that I know of. Hockey is hysterical. I could die laughing.

  19. Tom H

    For anyone who has not seen a documentary called “Sicko” concerning health care in the US I would seriously recommend it…..that’s where this government is taking us.

  20. Tom

    Joe should have had a word in Christine Legarde’s ear before she was interviewed by a TV reporter. who asked her views on cutting back support for health and education to solve budget issues. She thinks health and education are most important and intimated they should be the last things to cut back.
    She was not angry though, so maybe that does not count.

  21. Fed up

    Yes, up the levy and cease propping up private medical insurance.

    Simple

  22. allenmcmahon

    Joe says ‘as the tide rises so do all the boats’, however, the corporate ones will settle lower in the water as they take on board Australia’s wealth prior to departing to their tax haven of choice.

  23. doctorrob54

    Poor Australia,and I don’t mean fiscally,I mean in the context of pathetic.Maree Elizabeth is spot on,it’s just a shame Doug Cameron is in state politics and not Fed.
    Hockey is an embarrassment and has made this nation irrelevant to the rest of the world.Every time he opens his idiotic face he reinforces the clown he is.Not only do we have the three stooges ,Hockey,Abbott and Morrison constantly dribbling shit,but now we have Juliar Bishop trying to make a deal with the corrupt dictator of Cambodia to deal with our refugee situation.This Gov.has wasted more money than any since federation and it appears they are not going to stop.

  24. allenmcmahon

    @doctorrob54

    Cameron is a Federal member in the senate.

    Given that he had been such an outspoken critic of Labor’s asylum seeker policy my respect for him went south when he supported Rudd on the PNG Regional Resettlement Agreement.

  25. mars08

    About that increase from $65 billion to $75 billion in three years….

    Wouln’t a large slice of that be due to inflation? If so, wouldn’t that be covered by the existing levy …assuming wages kept pace with inflation during that period? Of course if wages didn’t keep pace….

  26. Chris Crash

    Just another brat of a “New Australian” who thinks they can tell us what to do. Abbott, Kormann, Abetz, Bolt and all the other first generation wannabies that stink up the place. Give me a break!

  27. john921fraser

    <

    Dear T. Abbott,

    Could you send your Liberal parties colleagues childrens work histories so that I can put Joe "don't know" Hockey's plan for older Aussies to stay in the workforce into action.

    Your colleagues children will be the very first ones targeted for older Aussies to take their jobs, and I have absolutely no doubt that they will be happy to work for less than your colleagues children because most of them they already own their own homes and any extra income will be appreciated.

    Look forward to seeing the children of politicians joining the rest of the youth unemployed.

    Looking forward to the next "conversation".

  28. trevor vivian

    Joe’s emotional Hysteria

    .And what else is going on behind the scenes in the corridors of the Liarberal/Tory/neo-con/Tea Party that Abbott the wrecker rules over presently.

    The gossip has it that Joe Baloney is being scoped as to his position as a rearguard for Liberals when Abbott finally pisses off all his own constituency. Its only goss folks but good political operatives always run diversions to enthrall their toilet habits with some texture.

  29. Maree Elizabeth

    Doug just needs unshackling asap.. he has the passion to lead.. I think he is essentially a good man.. but I don’t know him … just inspired by his passion for the ordinary people and the poor..

  30. Matt James

    Why on earth are the private insurers treated like sacred cows? THEY are the money guzzlers here, not Medicare! Read an article in the SMH re. pros and cons of MEDIBANK sell off. Not one clear line as to where the profit currently goes (which is back into the government) and where the profit will go after sell off (the board and a bunch of shareholders)! I finally found this spelt out in black and white but why did I have to try so hard? It is because the SMH has clearly got vested interests behind the for profit Private Health Insurance Industry. It is obvious.

    They don’t go near the outrage left on Facebook left by innocent people who have been taken for a ride by these jerks. They don’t go near Bupa’s new partnership with US scammer/health fund robber, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, I would say making moves for the first time out of the States due to the onslaught of a Universal Health Care System.

    Simply put, UHC only is the most equitable and efficient way of funding a nations Health Care System. This has been proven in the States, over here, In Holland (there move towards PHI was a disaster), in Ireland (they are setting up UHC now, Bupa tried to rape them of 161MILLION EUROs back in 2006 but failed, then bailed) to name a few.

    All these private insurers, they are scammers with Bupa at the top of that list. They should all be booted to Mars but that is not going to happen because there is money to be ransacked and wasted, Its that simple.

  31. Terry2

    Good points Matt James and whilst private health insurance may, as Abbott says, be in the Liberal DNA it is quite evident that universal healthcare isn’t.

    It has bothered me for some time that 36 private health insurance companies – 24 open and 12 restricted to a captive membership – should be draining scarce health funding by way of subsidies, currently running at $5.5 Billion a year. The question has to be posed that if there was some rationalization in this industry and some mergers perhaps these insurers could operate more efficiently without the need for government support funding.

    Anybody who has observed private health insurance companies will know that they spend a bucket load of money on advertising, much of that money coming from the taxpayer; is that acceptable ?
    They also have highly conditional policies which they make very little effort to explain to their customers and then there is the “gap” that insidious ripoff that nobody wants to talk about.

    Sacred cows indeed; the whole area of health spending and subsidies is a good one for the Productivity Commission before we even start talking about this silly business of $6 co-payments at bulk billing doctors.

  32. doctorrob54

    At the time I actually thought PNG was a red herring and very temporary,in an attempt to hoax the so called people smugglers,and yes it was stupid even if it was true,I believe Labor panicked by the perceived idea,pushed by MSM including the ABC,that the majority of Australians were racist and would not accept a heap of asylum seekers amid the community all at once.And they are still pushing this shit.Everyone mucks up at times but Doug Cameron is one of the very best there is,and where he leans to the left I feel most comfortable.I don’t care for where Shorten leans one little bit.

  33. allenmcmahon

    I lost all respect for Cameron last year. After being a long term advocate for the humane treatment of asylum seekers Cameron supported Rudd on the issue of the denying asylum seekers resettlement and the regional arrangements with PNG and Nauru.

  34. Beat

    If only joe& Tony’s followers would realise that if we become the 53?rd state of the USA, our health cost would blow out enormously. Their health system costs an absolute fortune because the insurance companies rip everyone off!!! I for one would be more than happy to pay more for the Medicare levy to make our health system better. But I guess my opinion doesn’t count because I am not wealthy. What the wealthy want the wealthy get apparently. Australia used to be more egalitarian, but I fear we are changing at a rapid pace. It is however heartening to know that there are other people out there who care about the way we are going to make their thoughts & feelings known. There is hope. When you have young people tell you that the country is becoming very uncaring and they want to leave, that saddens me. What kind of place are we leaving to our children & grandchildren. They will have to clean up our mess

  35. JulieT

    I don’t profess to know much about economics but I would ask Joe Hockey, where does he think pension money goes? Where do people on pensions, newstart, DSP or whatever, spend that money? Every cent of it goes back into the bloody economy ffs!

  36. GerchMod

    The street that i live in public housing .most of the people come from overseas none of them work, bad english and public the elephant in the room mass unsustainable immigration

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