May 13, 2014

Keane: Hockey robs from the poor — but not the rich — in first budget

Joe Hockey's first budget as Treasurer will hurt the poor -- not the rich. So what's the gain from all that pain, asks Crikey's politics editor from Canberra?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Well, in time-honoured budget style, we were promised The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it’s more like The Barber of Seville ­— except if you’re on the government’s list of enemies or can’t fight back.

In broad terms, this budget doesn’t do much to address any fiscal emergency. The path back to surplus isn’t noticeably shortened, and at this rate we won’t be back in the black until well into the government’s second term. That’s partly because of exactly the same problems that beset former treasurer Wayne Swan have confronted Treasurer Joe Hockey in his first budget — a tepid economy, low nominal GDP growth (I’m still sceptical of that — let’s keep an eye on what actually happens there, because 2013-14 has already been revised up), revenue write-downs and the problems of finding big savings that can build up over time rather than inflict a big hit on public demand while the economy is still below trend.

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24 thoughts on “Keane: Hockey robs from the poor — but not the rich — in first budget

  1. Kel S

    What do the libs think young unemployed people will live off for those 6 months a year? I honestly can’t understand the rationale behind such a policy. It seems to go beyond the worst of political rhetoric to a point that it will put some of the most vulnerable people in society into harm’s way.

  2. drsmithy

    A bold budget indeed. They’re making a move towards some big neoliberal wet dreams, from dismantling publicly funded healthcare, through forced labour for the poor, to putting a good education further out of reach.

    I become more and more convinced every day that the far right believe they have reached the endgame, and it’s no longer even necessary to maintain a facade over their ugly ambitions for society.

  3. drsmithy

    I honestly can’t understand the rationale behind such a policy.

    It’s not difficult if you’re starting from the absurd and paternalist conservative dogma that anyone who wants a job can get one, and only lazy ne’er-do-wells are unemployed.

  4. klewso

    “Abbott’s Class Warfare”?

  5. fredex

    “Liberal Party’s Class Warfare.”

  6. MJPC

    BK, thank you for a comprehensive critical assessment, something lacking in the mainstream media at present.
    KelS; the youth will be forced into mindless, soul destroying jobs to make a wage, any wage (or into crime). The next attack, after the cigar smoke settles from the budget, will be a return to work choices; elimination of penalty rates, no minimum wage et al. Smokin’ Joe and his LNP mates are so transparent.
    The true indictment of this sham of a government is the savage cuts to the CSIRO; if Rabbot ever talks of Australian innovation tell him he’s kidding! But it’s ok, we’ll have a well funded military to stop those boats with $35B jet fighters (if all the faults can be ironed out).
    Smokin’s budget speech made me vomit, patriotism is indeeed the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  7. Kel S

    Changing the age at which one qualifies for Newstart is class warfare. Making it so jobless people are without any money for 6 months a year goes well beyond that.

  8. Electric Lardyland

    Yes, of all the things that I found objectionable about the budget, the six months off, six months on, six months off, model for unemployment payments for under thirties, is the measure that got me the most. It is a move that abundantly shows why the modern neo-con shouldn’t be let anywhere near government, as it combines both their bizarre, Pollyanna-ish view of a world that they imagine tallies perfectly with their favourite economics text books, and a genuinely psychotic, arrogant, bullying over-reaction. It is a move that seems to think that there are no genuinely unemployed people below the age of thirty. It is a move that doesn’t quite coordinate with the conservative state governments slashing of TAFE budgets. And it is a move that imagines that the young unemployed have no bills to pay and are perfectly capable of living on nothing for six months.

    But hey, there might be winners from this move. I’m sure that people who like to sit at home, watching news broadcasts filled with video footage of 7/11s being robbed and late night brawls, will have an increased amount of clips to confirm their view that, ‘It wasn’t like this when we were young’. Also, people who make a living providing security services will find an increasing demand for services. But maybe the big winners from this budget move, will be the people who feel the need to buy the sexual services of homeless youngsters.

  9. Yclept

    Isn’t it obvious folks, this is all Labor’s fault!

  10. AR

    Totally excellent to ensure that the young can’t gouge welfare – let them take their proper place at the bottom of the greasy ladder.
    As noted above,DrS, the ultimate apotheosis of neocon phantasy, hobble the lower orders, exclude them from higher education and basic health care so that they are biddable to anyone offering an escape, even if it is only scarffing up the crumbs from Master’s table.
    A Budget for growth in the sex industry and security (as MJPC opined), esp. blokes fizzing with hormones wanting to get onto the first rung.

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