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Who Needs A Society; All We Need Is A Workforce! Or Zed’s Dead, Baby, Zed’s Dead!

Ok, I’m going to ask you a simple question:

You are sitting in Emergency. The hospital has decided to admit you as you are in severe pain. You need to be in hospital.

Alas, there is no bed available. You need to wait there till someone either goes home or dies. How long? Well, who can tell? Now just wait over there on the gurney and we’ll get back to you just as soon as we can. If the pain gets worse, try and grab one of the people rushing by, because you don’t have a buzzer to press. But you’ll have one just as soon as you’re admitted, and we’ve decided that you’re not dying, so we have more important things to do in Emergency!

So would you be prepared to pay $50,000 to reduce your wait by an hour? No, well what about $5 then?

You’re saying, of course: It’s just unacceptable that I have to wait so long.

Ok then, what if we put your taxes up by ten dollars a week. NOW. Before you need to be admitted. NOW. Before it happens.

Screw that! Some of you are thinking. I’ll take my chances. Why, with that ten dollars, eventually I could save enough to buy a beach house or at least a bottle of Grange! Why should I pay my hard earned money just so someone else can avoid spending a night – or two – in Emergency…

Others, perhaps, are thinking that this would be a small price to pay. Shouldn’t we try to find a way to make sure that nobody ever has to feel unnecessary pain? Shouldn’t we be training more doctors and nurses and opening more hospital beds? Gee, I’d be prepared to pay that…

But I suspect our current government will tell you that there are lifters and leaners, and nobody who’s paid by the public purse ever does anything that contributes to overall benefit of society, and that a bit of pain never hurt anybody.

Except that – as I wrote a few months back, when everybody thought that I was joking – this is an election year… And while the only election that Abbott may be concerned about is the one in the Liberal Party room, so some of it is just to give him a boost in the polls, this is not a Budget about improving anything.

This is just the Budget you have when you don’t want to let the Treasurer inflict “necessary pain”.

Why am I suddenly thinking about “Pulp Fiction” and remembering the scene where they say:

Bring out the Gimp.

But the Gimp’s sleeping.

Well, I guess you’re gonna have to go wake him up now, won’t you?

Ok, sometime soon, I’m going to write something about Richard Thaler’s new book, “Misbehaving” which is about Behavioural Economics, and is a damn fine read. Remind me, if I get distracted by the turkey shoot that’s going to follow the Budget.


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  1. musicinhills

    This is an election year, and watch again as many people get sucked into voting for the government that they don’t like.
    Look at the UK getting rid of human rights. Fascism isn’t coming by one little short bloke with a few madmen , no its coming from the very wealthy this time, and it’s here to stay. The trickle down effect does work.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    Yes, the gurney or examination table is indeed uncomfortable. Saying that, the treatment and observation does not cease. First class in my recent experience. Did eventually get a bed.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Hard to believe but this PM and government of three word slogans just produced a multi-billion three word slogan. If this multi-billion splash that goes against everything this party has stated for the last seven years isn’t about an election then I think they’ve gone right raving bonkers.

  4. Fiona

    Möbius Ecko

    They have always been right raving bonkers, but only in their own interests.

  5. stephentardrew

    It amazes me that neo-con supply side economics has been given the false imprimatur of science when it is no more than social economics lacking sound empirical foundations in a verifiable science. Meanwhile the left have failed to defend justice, equity, and may I say socialism, upon evolutionary grounds as a direct challenge to this pseudo empirical nonsense. The current ploy by the far right is demonetisation of science as a diversionary tactic for when there is a direct attack upon supply side economics. Marx understood the means of production lay with workers however he misunderstood that there are as many dysfunctional people in the general populace as there are amongst the so called elites. Keynes set out the foundation for Modern Money Theory however progressives need an alternative narrative to promote justice, equity and utility. Richard Reich’s critique of neo-conservatism is a good place to start.

    Progressives need a new and coherent meta-theory to challenge conservatism from a contemporary context. They should push cooperation and mutual support as a vital aspect of community and group survival based upon both moral religious grounds and evolutionary theory. The theory must be inclusive not divisive. I am not religious in the traditional sense however I accept the necessity for cooperation. Progressives need to skin two cats with the one knife. (horrible analogy but will do). The larger and more complex the tribe or society the more important and vital cooperation is rather than self-interest.

    It should promote the fact that everyone deserves a basic standard of housing, nutrition, health-care, transportation leisure and so on and a reasonable distribution of wealth that does not impoverish any group. The starting point must be justice equity and utility and the theoretical model should provide the foundations for revisionary social constructs.

    More on this later.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Hockey tonight described the current government paid parental leave scheme as a safety net. I could have sworn I hear them say it was a workplace entitlement.

    Good to see Emma Alberice finally pull Cormann up when he went on his blurb about debt of $667 billion. She said that’s a rubbish figure that you made up.

  7. stephentardrew

    And the lies just continue as the MSM remain muted and bland.

    Let’s hope Shorten does his job.

    One can only live in hope.

    Day by day AIMN discloses the crap as week by week we see a complete lack of accountability.

    The sad thing is that your satire is closer to the truth than the garbage in the MSM Rossleigh.

  8. Möbius Ecko

    “Good to see Emma Alberice finally pull Cormann up when he went on his blurb about debt of $667 billion. She said that’s a rubbish figure that you made up.”

    And if it was in the remotest possibility true then it should be pointed out to the likes of Cormann, Hockey etc. it means in projecting their doubling of the debt and ever increasing spending to win votes gives a figure of over a trillion dollars. That’s just as valid a figure by their reckoning as $667 billion.

  9. Anomander

    What particularly angers me is the narrative of neoliberalism – the “rages to riches” story where plucky individuals have managed to work their way up from poverty to become highly successful business men or women – that by dint of hard effort alone the individual is able to overcome hardship (and commonly) the tyranny of government red tape intruding in their life, to achieve wealth and fame. The overarching story that underpins the Great American Dream – that everyone is equal and anyone can make it to the top – if they are prepared to work hard enough.

    Not once during the story do they ever acknowledge the contribution everyone else made toward their success – the publicly funded education system, health care, roads, transport, utilities, social services, law and order, etc. The contribution of millions of people to a shared pool of money that provides these services and shares our collective wealth and knowledge to build a structure that supports individuals working toward their personal goals.

    The fact that everyone else in society paid their small bit to provide the individual with the resources that enabled them to reach their potential is completely overlooked or whitewashed out of the story because it doesn’t fit with the narrative the libertarians want to present.

    And once said individual achieves their success, they also feel it is their right not to pay back the support provided by society. No, they should not have to pay for anyone else or for services they no longer need. Now they have achieved their position they should be able to be clever and creatively engage in tax avoidance.

  10. stephentardrew

    Great point Anomander.

  11. Win jeavons

    Anomander ; what you describe is society, which neo-libs claim is non-existent . Yet humans are a gregarious species, which functions best in co-operation and sharing . Maggie and Ronald and their acolytes have much to answer for.

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