Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has used a speech in London to call for an end to “the age of entitlement”.
Addressing the Institute of Economic Affairs, Hockey said “entitlement is a concept that corrodes the very heart of the process of free enterprise that drives our economies”.
He said: “The entitlements bestowed on tens of millions of people by successive governments, fuelled by short-term electoral cycles and the politics of outbidding your opponents is, in essence, undermining our ability to ensure democracy, fair representation and economic sustainability for future generations.”
Hockey said economic problems in Europe were attributable in part to an entitlement culture: “The sovereign debt problems we are seeing in Europe and the US today are the outcome of countries wanting a lifestyle they cannot afford but are quite happy to borrow from others to pay for.”
In a wide-ranging speech, Hockey gave contrasting examples from China and the United States. He said the only solution in the long term “is for countries to live within their means”.
“We must rebuild fiscal discipline. Budget surpluses must be restored, ideally until the debt is repaid.”
“THE END OF THE AGE OF ENTITLEMENT”
SPEECH NOTES FOR AN ADDRESS TO THE INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
I wish to thank my friends at the Institute of Economic Affairs for the opportunity to discuss an issue that has been the source of much debate in this forum for sometime….that is, the end of an era of popular universal entitlement.