Joe Hockey takes on his imagined opponents:

The truth is governments have never been able to achieve equality of outcomes. Some governments try but they always fail. Only in a closed economy, based on old style socialism, can a government hope to deliver uniform equality of outcomes.

We have moved on.

As a result, Government can only hope to provide equality of opportunity. 

Does he really think his political opponents aspire to complete “equality of outcomes”? Or does he just think¬†that his audience will buy this false dichotomy? Is he correct, do people on the centre-right really think those on the centre-left want complete equality of outcomes?

The government announced in its recent budget that pensions (including the Disability Support Pension and Age Pension) will no longer be pegged to wages. Instead, they’ll only rise in line with the CPI.

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The other day I tweeted this:

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Have real wages in Australia grown faster than labour productivity?

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I wrote a piece during the week on Joe Hockey’s “budget emergency” schtick.

Tim Beshara, a Greens advisor, tweeted an interesting quote from Robert Menzies in 1944, on the topic of unemployment and sickness benefits:

Menzies: People should be able to obtain these benefits as a matter of right, with no more loss of their own standards of self-respect than would be involved in collecting from an insurance company the proceeds of an endowment policy on which they have been paying premiums for years.

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Three things:

  1. I have some brief comments about Thomas Piketty’s new book at Guardian Australia, as part of a panel with Julie Novak and John Quiggin.
  2. If someone made an “r>g” t-shirt, I would probably buy it.
  3. If someone re-made this video with Piketty in place of Kennedy, the internet would erupt:

The American middle class is no longer the world’s richest, according to a feature at the new NYT wonk blog, The Upshot. The feature compares American incomes to those of other advanced economies, and shows that people in the bottom half of the income distribution have fared better in Canada and the Netherlands than in the US over the past few decades. It’s a really interesting feature, but the first question that came to my mind was: what about Australia?

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