Thursday, February 19, 2004

John Howard’s policy failures

With the publication of The Howard Years (ed. Robert Manne), I thought I’d draw up my own Top Ten list here. With the top five, I am fairly obviously making a point – and one that, to his credit, John Quiggin addresses in the book (which I haven’t read), with an essay apparently on unemployment as an (unfashionably) current crisis. Not in my top ten (although it would be in my top fifty) is the Left’s perennial excuse-to-hate-Howard, asylum-seeker policy. As I’ve previously suggested, anyone who sees this issue – either way – as some kind of ennobling policy figurehead, is a simplistic fool.


1. Unemployment and the tax base#

2. Unemployment, housing affordability, and looming inter-generational conflict

3. Unemployment and higher ed policy##

4. Unemployment – mental health

5. Unemployment and the fizzgig economy (Job Network)

6. Public education (esp. how government high schools have become mass, cheap babysitters for teenage fuck-ups who don’t even want to be there, anyway)

7. Water allocation and salinity

8. Transport (esp. over-dependence on petroleum-powered private vehicles)

9. The environment* (urban/built)

10. The environment** (rural)

NOTE: all these policy failures are shared by Labor. Where differences exist (as in higher ed policy) they are either negligible in the bigger picture, or Labor’s policy is even bleaker (as in favouring high school retention at all costs).

# An unemployed person receives a $10k annual handout, but indirectly costs another $40k annually (est.), comprising $20k costs-of-institutionalisation (Job Network, etc) and $20k forgone income tax and GST

## The “knowledge economy” has become the call-centre economy for GenX uni graduates

* Other than water allocation

** Other than water allocation and salinity

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