Joe Hockey's Tea Party rant

Thu, 12 Jun 2014  |  

Last night, Australian time, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave a speech where he openly welcomed the fact that the US economic growth momentum was "gaining traction". It was an optimistic outlook for the US which is only now genuinely emerging from the Great Recession of 2007-2009 which was brought on by a collapse in banking, insurance and the housing market.

In looking at the challenges ahead Lew noted, in comments oozing decency and empathy, that for the many people who were unemployed and those whose wages have stagnated, "this hardly feels like a recovery".

"The ultimate test for all of us will be how inclusive tomorrow's economy becomes and how widely our economic gains flow," he said. "The crisis we face today is the need to make sure the economy is expanding fast enough to support a growing middle class."

At about the same time Lew was discussing these issues of a stronger economy and fairness and equity, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered a speech which could not have been more at odds with Jack Lew's themes. Indeed, Mr Hockey's speech could have been penned by the US Tea Party fringe given its assault on equity and the contempt he showed for the less well off in society.

This morning's headline from the Australian Financial Review, no less, sums it up. "Joe Hockey slams welfare state".

Mr Hockey's speech included the bizarre fact that average Australians are working more than one month each year to support the nation's welfare recipients. While factually correct, it is strange that Mr Hockey did not bother to note that the average Australian is likely to have a parent, uncle or aunt on the age pension; or that they are likely to know someone on disability support; or that the one in the 16 working age Australians unemployed could be a family member, friend or neighbour; or that someone nearby is a war veteran in need of welfare payments as they adjust back to society; or indeed, the person currently working a month a year to cover these welfare costs is one day, likely to be a recipient of temporary unemployment benefit payments, the age pension or some other welfare payment.

Contrast these comments from Mr Hockey with those of Jack Lew: "Payments are too broadly available to too many people", adding, "Only in a closed economy, based on old-style socialism, can a government hope to deliver uniform equality of outcomes. We have moved on."

In a message that a Tea Party elder would be proud, Mr Hockey noted, "Whilst income tax is by far our largest form of revenue, just 10 per cent of the population pays nearly two-thirds of all income tax."

Let's have a look at what the Tea Party in the US say about these sorts of things. According to the Tea Party Patriots, "When given the choice between paying higher taxes and receiving fewer government services, a vast number of Americans chose receiving fewer government services". There is no source for this claim.

The Tea Party platform then notes that "Excessively high taxes are a burden for those exercising their personal liberty to work hard and prosper." It continues, "A bloated bureaucracy creates wasteful spending that plagues our government. Reducing the overall size, scope and reach of government at both local and national levels will help to eliminate inefficiencies that result in deficit spending which adds to our country's debt."

Whoa Joe – you couldn't have said it any better!

And then there is this, from Phillip Dennis, a member of the Board of Directors of the Leadership Tea Party and an adviser to the National Tea Party Coalition. "We have gone from a nation of self-sufficient producers to a nation divided between overburdened taxpaying producers and some non-producers who exist on welfare from cradle to grave."

That guy is surely a friend of Mr Hockey's. 

Finally, from The Tea Party Tribune: "It has become all too easy today to receive government assistance...According to a Heritage Foundation study, means-tested welfare has grown faster than every other part of government during the past two decades, including Social Security, Medicare, education and defence. The problem is that welfare is not just provided to the handicapped and unemployed; it is distributed to the lower middle working class and their children... Americans must rid themselves of the entitlement mentality when it comes to jobs."

There is a lot of Joe Hockey in these Tea Party themes.

The Tea Party mantra shows up in Mr Hockey's opposition to increasing the debt ceiling when in Opposition and it shows up in more recent policies on universities, health and debt.

It is not a good trend to have the government in Australia not only mouthing the policies of the loonie US Tea Party fanatics, but starting to implement their policies.

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Wed, 29 Jul 2020



Covid19 has opened a door for Australians to positively accept significant changes that will lead to a shared good. This rare opportunity enables us to achieve sustainable economic and social goals that create a new ‘normal’ as our way of life.

These Ten Steps are presented as non-partisan recommendations to the Australian Parliament in the firm belief that, if they embrace them, the Australian economy and society will be greatly enhanced after the Covid19 pandemic has passed.

*A job for you if you want one.
A significant increase in part time and casual employment can be created that will enable you to enjoy a more creative and peaceful lifestyle and to live longer and better. The traditional age at which you would have been expected to retire will become obsolete as a result. An access age for pension and superannuation will become your choice. This will enable you to remain in paid work for as long as you want to, on a basis that you choose, while boosting the productivity and growth of Australia.

*You will get wage increases that will be greater than your cost of living.
A demand for enhanced innovative skills at all levels of employment will be created as the economy grows in strength, thereby enhancing your stature in the workforce and enabling executive salaries and bonuses to drop to levels that are accepted as justifiable by employees, shareholders and customers.

The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

Tue, 07 Jan 2020

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance web site at this link:   


The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

For many people, the cost of the fires is immeasurable. 

Or irrelevant. 

They have lost loved ones, precious possessions, businesses and dreams and for these people, what lies ahead is bleak.

Life has changed forever.

As the fires continue to ravage through huge tracts of land, destroying yet more houses, more property, incinerating livestock herds, hundreds of millions of wildlife, birds and burning millions of hectares of forests, it is important to think about the plans for what lies ahead.

The rebuilding task will be huge.

Several thousands of houses, commercial buildings and infrastructure will require billions of dollars and thousands of workers to rebuild. Then there are the furniture and fittings for these buildings – carpets, fridges, washing machines, clothes, lounges, dining tables, TVs and the like will be purchased to restock.

Then there are the thousands of cars and other machinery and equipment that will need to be replaced.