Whatever your political persuasion, I suspect you would agree that common sense is a desirable quality to apply in almost all decision-making processes. If you want to clarify the meaning of common sense look it up in your dictionary, in your thesaurus, in Wikipedia.
So what happens if you apply common sense to the problem of helping unemployed people get meaningful work which can sustain a reasonable lifestyle for them? If you don’t want this to happen, please say what you do want for them and publish your views on this blog.
Now common sense will tell you that if you want an unemployed person to have a job there must be a job for them to have. So common sense Point 1 must be: create more jobs. And common sense Point 2: surely is do not needlessly destroy existing jobs.
So if more jobs are being created and fewer jobs are being lost, the challenge is to place unemployed people in those jobs. Common sense Point 3 is obviously: for each job available there has to be a person with the right skills and attributes, or the potential to acquire them, for that job and that person needs to live within a reasonably commutable distance to where the job is located
Makes sense? Makes common sense?
So what are we doing as a nation towards such a common sense approach?
. close so-called uneconomic manufacturing industries which are probably only uneconomic because of transfer pricing scams and labour inefficiencies.
. purchase major defence equipment overseas (e.g. submarines)
. encourage moving back-room office processes off-shore (e.g. call centres)
. reduce spending on training and education and research and health care
. import skilled labour from overseas without sufficient safeguards
. have a one-size-fits-all approach to the problem, such as forcing people to make a large number of job applications in locations where there are no jobs (e.g. young people in Adelaide)
None of these actions bear any positive relationship to common sense points 1, 2 and 3.
Things we are doing in support of our common sense points include:
. maintaining low interest rates and moving towards a lower Australian dollar
. major government-funded infrastructure projects
. cheaper power costs (at the expense of increased pollution)
. recognition of a transfer-pricing problem
The Finance Minister has just been talking about ‘passing the budget to maintain our lifestyles into the future’. The ‘our’ to which he refers is a select group including the wealthy, the well off and even parliamentarians but certainly not the unemployed.
The unpalatable truth is that middle- and high-income earners – the well off – need to pay more in income tax, and the tax minimisation schemes open to them need to be curtailed, so that the heavy lifting is done by the people that can afford it. In the long run, the well off will also be even better off by drastically reducing the number of the unemployed and the poor..