Let’s tackle the real bludgers in our society — pensioners, young people trying to get an education and asylum seekers. Screw ‘em!
Screw the old … You know who is sucking our economy dry? The elderly, that’s who. Lazy bludgers the lot of them, spending their days sitting around playing bingo or bridge (depending on their social class) and laughing behind their arthritic hands at the young slogging their guts out to keep them in the (slightly musty) style to which they have become accustomed. Brave Treasurer Joe Hockey is going to put a stop to their sense of entitlement as he takes up cudgels against the old and the frail.
Well, actually, only the old and frail who’ve earned fairly average wages in fairly average jobs all their lives are likely to be affected because they are the ones most likely to have to rely on getting a pension to survive. Self-funded retirees will continue (if budget leaks or lack thereof are any guide) to get the absurdly generous tax concessions that John Howard and Peter Costello showered them with over 13 halcyon years. But hey, as Coalition voters, they’re entitled.
Trouble is, somebody will have to hire the less fortunate over-50s and keep them in jobs for Hockey’s policy to work. Wise (ahem) economists pontificate about increasing life expectancy to justify a pension age of 70, but the lack of jobs and declining health will most affect the elderly. (Maybe we could put the elderly who are unfit for work or just unable to find a job to use in other ways — Soylent Green, anyone? Comedian Peter Berner did suggest in last years Seniors Week debate that as the elderly were 65% water, they could be squeezed out during drought years.)
Just to get serious for a moment, we are already seeing the terrible combined effects ageism and sexism can have on women over 55 and the reward many can expect after a lifetime of work. The fastest-growing group among the homeless are women of a certain age. Talk about being past your use-by date. What the smug fail to realise is just how quickly anyone can tumble from member of the middle class to outcast, as this sobering piece from The Age makes clear.
You know what is really tragic about these women who have fallen on hard times? They are the good girls, the women who did as they were told when they were young and didn’t bother with further education or a career or any of that feminism nonsense. They did what they were told and got married and had children. Tragically, as Betty Friedan warned them at the time, it seems they really were just one breadwinner away from the poverty line.
… and the young … Turns out there are quite a few groups sucking the rest of us dry, including the young, who seem to think they are entitled to a reasonable education! Here is a lovely piece from The Huffington Post about how the data maniacs are making sure that doesn’t happen.
… and the desperate! Asylum seekers and the desperate are another bunch of bludgers, eating the rest of us out of house and home. Apparently, their influence is so pernicious its even starting to disrupt international air travel — though not in the way the paranoid among you may think.
Julian Burnside has a rather novel idea about how we could save $4.5 billion a year by not being cruel to the desperate (hey, maybe that might even allow the exhausted old to retire at 69). Unfortunately, it would involve behaving in a humane and civilised fashion, and where’s the fun in that? After all, if we have to put up with a job we hate until we are 70, why should those bastards get a free ride?
Unfortunately, all this ending of the age of entitlement doesn’t appear to be making our current leaders very popular. Despite (nearly) finding MH370, signing free trade agreements (whatever they are) and promising to set our racism and bigotry free after years shackled in dark corners, the Abbott government has lost even more popularity. What part of bullying the ABC, the CSIRO and the elderly does the average voter not like?