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Oh Dear

Martin Wren - CEO Nova Employment
Martin Wren - CEO
Nova Employment
Sunday, July 27, 2014

The government will announce Monday that from July next year Work for the Dole will become a mandatory requirement for most Australian jobseekers, including older unemployed, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The changes will toughen the existing Work for the Dole program that Abbott Government began this month which forces unemployed people under 30 to work for 12-15 hours a week for six months of the year.

Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/07/27/09/07/more-people-and-more-hours-in-work-for-the-dole-expansion#Ry0h4JppV6SEew1Z.99


Oh dear.

I can understand the attraction of policy announcements that position politicians as tough, caring, insightful or whatever and it would be SO nice if, before opening mouth and then being forced to follow through despite the economic circumstances (paid parental leave springs to mind) or in the face of common sense, a little more thought was given.

Time for a story not based on anyone anywhere close to Oz.

In a different country (a long way away) there was a king who tragically had to face regular elections – unusual, but that’s how it was. This King knew he was King because he was paid more than anyone else, and we mean anyone else, including the leader of the free world.

King Tone (for that was his name) desperately wanted to be seen as decisive and even more than that he wanted people to recognise him for the tough leader he felt he was.

There were many in the Kingdom that worked and paid taxes – most never worried about them because what you never had you don’t miss and anyway, they liked the place and knew their taxes kept it running.

There were also some who paid no tax – they paid no tax because they were rich and they wanted to stay that way. Some paid a token but the richest hundred earned far more than even the King and the majority of the citizens combines and from that lofty height they felt no urge to contribute.

There was yet another group who paid no tax (or just a little) but these because they were poor – the poorest of the poor, making do on what for many would be their groceries, these were forced to eat, clothe themselves, pay their bills, rent and whatever else came along on the thinnest of margins.

Some people called statisticians said they were amongst the poorest in the world, with the least likelihood of ever escaping poverty. People from a place called the United Nations said King Tone's poor were amongst the least likely to participate - 24th out of 29 OECD (never sure what that means) countries and motherless last for poverty. Maybe it was the other way round - either way, it wasn't great.

The King could see them (sometimes), the poor that is, from the windows of his castle but that’s about as close as he was getting.

Preparing for election the King thought about what he could do to help the rich (after all, they paid for his election) and so he reduced their taxes even more (and it’s hard to get better than none). He waved at the people that paid their taxes and, because he had given no thought to the reality of the world or the consequences of his actions he told these many (the average taxpayers) that the few who paid no tax because they were poor were in fact, LAZY!

He kept repeating this phrase until those that had thought about it, stopped thinking about it and accepted it as fact (this is called being “on message’). The poor huddled together and kept quiet to protect themselves, but King Tone kept coming, demanding that they work for no pay until they got jobs.

Read that last line again and have a think about it.

King Tone didn't and because King Tone didn’t think much about much, except how he might be re-elected, he had not thought of the shallowness of his argument not the tragedy of its enactment:

The poor worked for their pittance, raising their costs of living without increasing their income. Their labour reduced the available work – it was given freely but replaced paid labour because few jobs are just sitting about waiting to be done. This created an imbalance in the labour market which led to greater unemployment. The ‘skills’ gained in work for your pittance schemes were what’s known as non-transferable skills and unrelated to the now rapidly shrinking labour market.

It short time King Tone drove more people to poverty, lost more jobs and generally caused more grief than any of the Kings before him (and some of them were doozies).

He wasn’t re-elected and while that was a puzzle to him it didn’t matter because he will receive his present indexed salary (and then some) till he casts off his coils.


End
Morale of the story: if we get the government we deserve what on earth did we do to deserve the last 7 years?

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