Saturday, October 23, 2004

This challenging paradox

We do have this challenging paradox in Australia of low unemployment but also very low participation rates in certain age cohorts”*.
- Prime Minister John Howard, 22 October 2004

Err, those putatively selected cohorts would be Australian men in their late-20s, 30s, 40s and early-50s – if you go by the stats Howard himself was citing a few weeks ago, that is.

Alternatively, you may prefer the curious transliteration, elsewhere in today’s Oz, of the above quote, in which “certain age cohorts” become a singular, denominated cohort of 55 to 65-year-olds (seemingly of both genders).

These two versions of the same story can’t both be simultaneously true (especially now with Derrida dead, n’stuff). The one that circumscribes a major, if still largely nascent, economic calamity was made at the height of the election campaign. The post-election victory alternative formulation is of much more soothing proportions – convenient in more than one way, it will only require a few hundred million dollars thrown at baby boomer home-owners for the problem to presumably go away completely.

* Samantha Maiden “Welfare culture spurs minister to tackle jobs” The Australian 23 October 2004

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