Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hippie-punching with the three card monte budget

The 2014 budget has been and gone, and the strategy from the government has been simple, albeit it seems to have fooled the craven mainstream media.The three-card monte is all about misdirection, and the media was an easy mark.

The con was to leak the deficit levy before the budget so that the media thought that was the central fight, only to water it down to the point where it doesn't fix the imaginary budget emergency problem it was supposed to address, and only when the budget hit was the true agenda unveiled. This agenda was not to "cut cut cut" as the hard right wanted, but to cut just enough to fund Abbott's pet projects in his role as a big government conservative who is interested in (a) benefiting his corporate mates by investing in roads for their trucks and (b) nudging the populace towards his Tory worldview of nuclear families and working poor by slashing benefits for single mothers and the young unemployed.

It will be interesting to see if Abbott's War On Youth has an effect on voting blocs, similar to how the ongoing war in America by the Republican Party on minorities has seen their vote in racial blocs other than white plummet to near-unrecoverable levels. Via Steve from Brisbane comes a link to the Whitlam Institute project Young People Imagining a New Democracy, which published an age bloc poll series for federal voting intentions last August based on Newspoll. The 2010 election was the last time that the 18-24 bloc preferred Labor with the gap opening out to a consistent five points for the Coalition in recent times, while the 50+ split stays at a solid 15-20 points. It appears the younger a demographic is, the more swing it shows in its vote depending on the issues of the day.

So why would the Liberals hippie-punch the young so hard? Probably because the mainstream media will reward them for it. The media is made up of 35-49s and 50+s who are in that $80,000-$150,000 bracket that Abbott "saved" from the depredations of the deficit levy, but very few of them would be hit by the changes to Newstart or family tax benefits at this stage of their lives. These are the Tory elites, collaborating with the government to minimise the electoral impact like any another special interest group.


  1. The thing is, I cannot imagine the budgetary changes to both Newstart for under 30's, and the major increase in HECS, is going to go over very well with the parents of kids in the present age range of 15 to 30, either. (Kids in their 20's are apparently hard enough to push out of the family home already, without having the only alternative being the homeless shelter.)

    Even Judith Sloan said (ever so briefly) on the The Drum this week that it was "very mean" to under 30's. I'm waiting for her Oz column that will expand on that, but haven't noticed it yet.

    So my prediction is that the Budget will decimate the youth vote; seriously weaken the pensioner vote; and it has no hope of recovering any of this from middle aged with kids, either.

    Time will tell.

  2. The GOP has retreated to a rump of old white privileged men propped up by gerrymandering, with no sign of electoral salvation in the broad national vote. Th effect in Australia is a lot less pronounced, but the Liberals are sharing notes with the Republicans and singing from the same songsheet.

    Will we see a post-Occupy grassroots movement to mobilise youth disenchantment, or will under-30s become disengaged and boycott the ballot booth? Hard to tell, if something does arise it hasn't shown itself yet.

  3. Nice graffiti in Italy - don't work, organise. Something for our under 30s?