by a Modest Member of Parliament, “RED jobs will put us in the red,” The Australian Financial Review, January 24, 1975, p. 3.
As the unemployment figures mount, we watch the desperate efforts of the Government to get itself out of its mess.
Mr Cameron has for long been a pin-up person in our family. Mavis says he has a lovely smile and a tender heart, while for years I have admired his polished political footwork.
So I was breathless with admiration when he blamed all our unemployment on the multi-national companies. That’s the kind of action that takes real nerve, particularly when you don’t believe it yourself.
But to set things right, Mr Cameron has announced that the Government is going to spend an extra $20 million a month on the RED [Regional Employment Development] employment scheme. This looks, at first glance, to be an act of real statesmanship, but is it really?
This extra $20 million a month is going to come from one of two sources, either from the taxpayers or the printing press.
If it comes from taxes it will mean that the taxpayers will have $20 million a month less to spend. Evidently the government thinks that it is better able to spend the taxpayers’ money than the taxpayer, and that more employment will follow in the wake of government spending than private spending.
But when you look back on the Government’s performance, surely most of our problems come from the fact that the private industry sector has been starved of resources to keep the government machine from going along at full steam.
If this extra $20 million a month is going to come from the taxpayer, we are going to have another helping of the same mixture that has been so bad for us in the past.
But perhaps the money is not going to come from the taxpayer, but is going to be created by the Government or, in other words, is going to be printed.
Those of us who came through the 1930s depression will know, as we didn’t know then, that there is a time to prime the unemployment pump by wisely expanding credit in times of deflation, as in the 1930s.
But to think that this is the answer to our problem with inflation running at the higher rate in our history and with a budget deficit already running at about $1,000 million, this is surely putting kerosene on the inflationary fires.
Too few people realise that it is the high rate of inflation that is the fundamental cause of our unemployment, because too many people just can’t afford to pay the price of labour. If this $20 million a month is to come from deficit financing, it will add to our problems, not solve it.
From now on we can expect to be deluged by a spate of efforts to “create employment.” We can look forward to such childish illusions as asking employees to work a three day week for a full week’s pay. So the car manufacturer will have to pay even more for his labour and so cars will cost even more, so even less cars will be bought. This is just a sample of nonsense that we will hear from now on.
And we will hear even more about stopping imports from coming in.
Most of our imports come in to service industry and are needed to make the private sector work well. Mr Hawke’s solution is to stop them coming in so we will have to pay more for essential materials so the private sector will get sicker and sicker with disastrous effects on employment. And you do not get good employment figures from a sick economy.
Another solution will be to put more people in the Public Service. We will have more people engaged in cutting up and handing out the economic cake and less people making it. We will all probably end up in taking in one another’s washing. That will cure unemployment, so they say!
It is silly to go around talking about creating employment. Australia is simply bulging with work to be done. What we need is the incentive and the economic climate to go and do it. The economic climate has been spoilt because too many people feel that if they do succeed they will get clobbered and if they don’t succeed they will get looked after.
The President of Uganda has another approach to unemployment. He has decreed that it is illegal to be unemployed. Unfortunately Uganda is about the only country Mr Whitlam didn’t visit.
- Bert Kelly on Journalism
- Move for a body of Modest Members
- Modest Members Association
- Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
- Government Intervention
- 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
- Petrol for Farmers
- Some Sacred Cows
- Experiences in Parliament
- Spending your Money
- Who needs literary licence?
- A touch of Fred's anarchy
- Supply and Demand
- Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
- Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
- Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
- An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
- Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
- First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
- Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
- Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
- Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
- Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
- Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
- Why take in one another's washing?
- Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
- Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
- Can price control really work?
- Should we put up with socialism?
- We're quick to get sick of socialism
- Time the protection racket ended
- Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
- People not Politics
- Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
- Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
- Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
- Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
- Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
- Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
- Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
- Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
- Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
- Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
- Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
- It's all a matter of principle
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
- Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
- Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
- Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
- "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
- Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
- Great "freedom of choice" mystery
- Small government's growth problem
- Tariffs Introduced
- More About Tariffs
- Sacred cow kicker into print
- Modest Member must not give up
- Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
- Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
- The Society of Modest Members
- John Hyde's illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate why he defends markets
- Modesty ablaze
- Case for ministers staying home
- The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
- Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
- The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
- Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
- Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
- Let's try the chill winds
- Taking the Right's road
- Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
- Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
- A look at life without tariffs
- The Gospel according to Bert
- Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
- Why costs can't be guaranteed
- Hitting out with a halo
- Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
- "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
- Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
- Government Intervention
- Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
- Bert Kelly on the Political Process
- Charabanc: Part 1
- Charabanc: Part 2
- Charabanc: Part 3
- Relationships with the Liberal Party
- Tariffs = High Prices + World War
- Bert Kelly's Family History
- Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
- Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
- WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
- How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
- How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
- My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
- Bert Kelly on Political Football
- Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
- Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
- This is the wall the Right built
- Has Santa socked it to car makers?
- Is the Budget a cargo cult?
- Will we end up subsidising one another?
- Do we want our money to fly?
- Can a bear be sure of a feed?
- How to impress your MP -
- The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
- Don't feel sorry for him -
hang on to his ear
- Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
- Tariffs Create Unemployment
- Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
- Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
- Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
- Parliament a place for pragmatists
- Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
- Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
- A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
- Government Fails Spectacularly
- Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
- Bert Kelly on political speech writers
- Perish the thawed!
- Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
- Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
- Why no-one nails the Big Green Lie
- A case for ministerial inertia
- Why politicians don't like the truth
- Ominous dark clouds are gathering
- Better to be popular than right
- Crying in the wilderness
- Ivory tower needs thumping
- Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
- Rural Problems
- Unholy state of taxation
- Boring economics worth a smile
- The Libido for the Miserable
- Agricultural Development and Tariffs
- Fred's too poor to have principles
- The Playford charade is out of date
- Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
- Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough