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The Forum > Article Comments > A social investment that pays dividends > Comments

A social investment that pays dividends : Comments

By Rob Salter, published 21/4/2008

Many studies demonstrate the savings to society from investment in those who are disadvantaged.

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I think that what saddens me the most is that people who work in disability services, or welfare, or any other area which concerns the disadvantaged know the truth of this authors premises. The disadvantaged themselves, in some cases also know it. There are, as the writer states, test programmes and illustrations already existing which prove it.

Yet the combined voices of the "ordinary" person who has neither contact with or knowledge of such truths, prevails. Continually chanting mantras concerning "my taxes" being wasted, it is the voices of such people, the voting public, which concern equally ignorant politicians and result in the band-aid solutions mentioned: solutions which come in pretty, well publicised packages. Such solutions, trumpeted loudly, result in kudos for the appropriate Government department and assuage the "my taxes" brigade.

The poor meanwhile, silent and unrepresented, are always with us.
Posted by Romany, Monday, 21 April 2008 10:17:47 AM
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Rob what you say rings very true with me and many others who have worked or dealt in some way with those disadvantaged in our society.

When proper care and support is provided, it is amazing what people can achieve within an environment of respect, dignity and acceptance. The right kind of assistance can make the difference in improving the very condition that people may find themselves afflicted and goes a long way to help them become a contributing member of society in whichever way this might be defined.

I am not sure why governments continue to under-fund these services. Evidence suggests we save money in the long term by focussing funding at the beginning rather than at the 'bandaid end' when hospitilisation is the last resort.

We pay taxes to provide services when we need them, some of us will never use all the services that our taxes provide but the knowledge that should we, or a loved one need assistance at a critical time is a necessary form of insurance and security in a compassionate society.

As a civilised society to ignore the disadvantaged is to fail in our duty of care not to mention being short-sighted when there are more effective options available. The economic rationalist approach is not appropriate for health or community services. Let's look at what works and then fund it properly to achieve better lifestyles for the disadvantaged.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 21 April 2008 11:02:43 AM
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In March this year a two-day conference sponsored by the Murdoch-owned Australian newspaper was held in Melbourne, and titled “New Agenda for Prosperity”. A scenario for large profiteering, that outlined the vicious economic and social measures being prepared against the working class by the Labor government supported by the Liberals. The discussion—involving senior Labor and Liberal politicians, big business representatives, and various academics and members of right-wing think-tanks. In the interests of maintaining Australia’s “international competitiveness”, wages are to be suppressed the last vestiges of the welfare state effectively destroyed. (read the taxes kept) The “free market” relations extended to social infrastructure, health, and education and handed over to the market. (read rapacious policies)In a series of media interviews the new PM has declared his government’s plan to fight inflation would mean “pain” for working families. “Nothing happens in politics for free,” Rudd told the Australian on March 3, “there will be pain.” Rudd and his Treasurer Wayne Swan speak routinely of the “pain” they will soon bring to working families creating deepening social distress. Murdoch’s editorial writers went on to outline their "Brutopia" prescriptions calling for spending cuts of $31 billion in the forthcoming budget, declaring this would mean “taking the axe to welfare”. The hospitals will figure prominently and the tax system is a devious way of increasing the unpaid labor time of workers. Policies that will cost lives particualy in the cutting back of specialists and desperately needed operations in 60 odd publicly funded hospitals. A recent writer on this site mentioned only 2% is spent out of the public hospital/medical budget - so where does the other 98% go? In contrast, Rudd recently told Bush on his overseas trip despite the pre-election rhetoric about a “phased withdrawal” of Australia’s military involvement in the Iraq war, the prime minister pledged ongoing support for the criminal US-led occupations of Iraq and an increase for more troops for Afghanistan.
Posted by johncee1945, Monday, 21 April 2008 2:22:04 PM
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Does anyone ever ask the "disadvantaged" what they want?
Disadvantaged is a broad term, we yet have to address the disadvantage in our schools system, lack of choice lack of incentive, too many "lacks" to list.
We have made progress in choices, hopefully there are more to come. Somehow education choices, life skills have been bypassed, and all are centred on "higher education".
We don't all want to be physicists some may want to be just good at something, thats a choice not tolerated in our education system.
Posted by fluff4, Monday, 21 April 2008 3:06:47 PM
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The writer Rob Salter misses the thrust of the budget cuts (thirty one billion dollars) and the political spin of the 2020 forum as the vehicle to carry this through. Or does he, is he "dressing up" with political spin how this deceit will be carried through?

"Does anyone ask the disadvantaged at the so called democratic 20/20? Or for that matter workers? Because both were not invited. In contrast, the ruling elite were there looking after their interests. Mining magnate Andrew Forrest Australias richest man was there with several of his fellow billionaires including James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch, and Kerry Stokes. A host of CEOs was also invited, including BHP Billiton’s Marius Kloppers, Fairfax’s David Kirk, CSL’s Brian McNamee, Qantas’s Geoff Dixon, and Telstra chair Donald McGauchie.
The financial elite are clamoring to turn the hospitals, education, and roads into big profits whilst grabbing more and more of the taxes. Whilst social and economic life is increasingly determined by the one-sided class warfare being waged by the ultra-wealthy against the working class, the 2020 summit promoted the concept that what was good for big business was good for all.

Rob Salter says "Everyone has the potential to develop themselves, to solve problems, to acquire skills and knowledge, and to contribute to others."
What is meant by "contributing to others" is helping out the tiny minority enjoying unprecedented levels of wealth while the vast majority confront stagnating or declining wages, escalating costs of living and growing insecurity.
Posted by johncee1945, Monday, 21 April 2008 6:37:58 PM
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