“Arbeit macht frei“
Now let’s just say that I’m asked what to do about unemployment by a Labor government.
“Well,” I suggest, “why not create a number of part-time jobs, and give preference to the long-term unemployed. They could be things like building walkways, maintaining gardens or helping out in organisations that are stretched. These jobs may help the long-term unemployed develop skills and give them a sense of confidence. At the very least at least we have better gardens.”
Brilliant, says the Labor government, let’s do that!
Of course, you can image how this shocking waste of money will be condemned by Joe “let’s have no limit on debt” Hockey, and Tony “open for business” Abbott. I mean, unless the jobs are real – created by the market, then there’s no point to them. When they’re in power they won’t have these artificial job creation schemes. They’ll have a work for the dole scheme where people build walkways, maintain gardens or help out in organisations that are stretched
Essentially, there’s no difference between what I’m proposing and work for the dole. Except that in my scenario, the people getting the jobs would be “winners”, whereas under work for the dole, you’re being told that you have to work because you’re a “loser” who needs to give something back.
This is far more complicated than I can deal with in one blog. This is about economics, morality, labelling and a range of other things. If I inherit $23 million, nobody will care if I do nothing. If I inherit nothing, and don’t have any job prospects, I need to work for my benefits in the interest of “fairness”. Not because the economy needs me. And not because Australia doesn’t have its own inheritance which it could use to support me on the pittance that is the dole.
Of course, with work for the dole, there’ll be no saying that I’ve worked out a way I can contribute. You don’t need to have a bureaucratic system – remember, Tony, how much you hate red tape. But there’ll be no saying: I’m happy to go to a school and hear kids read, or I’m happy to help out farmers who can’t afford help.
It’s about telling you that if you’re on the dole, we suspect that you’re just bludging. We own you. Because we’re your boss. And, after all, work is freedom.
Now, where have I heard that before.