At an event at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Hon Joe Hockey, Australian Federal Shadow Treasurer delivered the following speech:
“Despite an ageing population and a higher standard of living than that enjoyed by our children, western democracies in particular have been reluctant to wind back universal access to payments and entitlements from the state.
“As we have already witnessed, it is not popular to take entitlements away from millions of voters in countries with frequent elections.
“It is ironic that the entitlement system seems to be most obvious and prevalent in some of the most democratic societies. Most undemocratic nations are simply unable to afford the largesse of universal entitlement systems. So, ultimately the fiscal impact of popular programs must be brought to account no matter what the political values of the government are or how popular a spending program may be.
“Let me put it to you this way: The Age of Entitlement is over. We should not take this as cause for despair. It is our market based economies which have forced this change on unwilling participants.”
Please download the full speech as a PDF from the link above.
Notes to editors:
The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.
The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.