Treasurer Joe Hockey’s comments today on the effects of his budget cuts on those less financially advantaged should convince, if one is not not already convinced, that the conservative, or as some would have it the neo conservative mind lacks the imaginative ability to consider the inevitable complexities of a capitalist society, and is also singularly lacking in any desire to inform itself on the same.
In an interview with Chris Uhlmann on ABC radio’s AM program this morning, Hockey declared that those strapped for cash will have to realise that a $22 packet of cigarettes will pay for three trips to the emergency room, two middies of beer will do the same, and surely, any parent worth his or her salt will choose the emergency room for the kids over their own pleasure.
When asked how he would fare if in his twenties, out of work and denied benefits Hockey replied, “Well, I’d expect to be in a job.”
Uhlmann then says: “People on a fixed income, pensioners for example, might find it difficult…they might have to make choices in life.”
Hockey: “Well, we do have to make choices…”
In Joe Hockey’s ideology a packet of cigarettes and a couple of middies enjoyed by the poor is a vice. The poor are not entitled to enjoyment of any kind because they are poor, and poverty is immoral. Immoral people without means can’t expect to have any fun. That’s the price they must pay for their immorality.
Hockey’s own enjoyment of cigars and Grange Hermitage is an entitlement, basically because he’s Joe Hockey and the poor aren’t. Hockey may also be immoral, there are many who might hold that view, but he is comfortably off and immoral, so he is entitled to enjoyment.
Yes, the Abbott government’s awareness of the complexities of Australian society in 2014 is that simplistic. It’s Dickensian. Soon they’ll bring back debtors’ prisons.
If a government cannot afford compassion, it is a government of sociopaths. If it cannot govern with common sense, it is a crazed government. If it is driven entirely by ideology and considers its citizens merely as stereotypes, it is a gravely dangerous government and it ought to be thrown out at the earliest opportunity. If it wages war on the unworthy poor in order that it might protect the interests of the worthy wealthy it’s on its way to becoming an oligarchy.
But hey. I’m Joe Hockey. You’re not.