Thursday, September 09, 2004
Treasury has announced
a $5.3bn budget surplus with forward estimates showing there is around $14bn extra lolly to come over the next few years. Even being "financially responsible" this would allow a government with the balls to abolish HECS, make childcare tax deductable and sort out Medicare. These three measures would reap Australia significant rewards over the next couple of decades. Why? Well in blunt terms it most efficient to get the best people to do the work around here. At the moment women are at the arse end of the labour market so we are left with a pool of 47% of the working population. Apart from the flowery fairness arguments, the bloody point from an economic point of view for why women should have equal standing in the workplace is that by oppresing them we lose out on 53% of potential brain power. Second, by ensuring everyone has a chance to go to uni based on merit, or at least has the right to a high quality of school education, rather than only the "rich and dumb" (to paraphrase Amanda Vanstone circa 1995) the nation becomes brighter. When all is said and done, a country's only advantage is knowledge and at the moment we are restricting both academic and business knowledge to the well off and blokes. To get the best healthcare for the population requires a single body to get the best from research and development. Better universal healthcare, rather than splintered competitive healthcare means the nation is less sick, better able to work, more efficient. Geddit?