JobSeeker and JobActive are meant to move people off welfare and into work, but COVID-19 has changed things – ABC News

The privatisation of the employment system is one of the classic examples of failure.

Private employment agencies work well as an opt-in system – you want a job, you go to an agency to help find you one, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, they get you one. It works well for people who are “highly employable”. This system is how I’ve found nearly every job I’ve had, for example.

But it doesn’t work for a lot of people. If you are not “highly employable” – that is, if you don’t have any particularly in-demand skills, and are applying for so-called ‘unskilled labour’ jobs – the private system is full of holes. In particular, they have no incentive to do a lot of work to find candidates a job. They have incentive to do some work – they get paid – but there is no penalty for not finding a job. It’s built on an underlying assumption of “full employment” – that there is a job available for anyone who wants one, and thus the only reason for not finding a job is due to some failure on the part of the job seeker.

The thing is – that’s just not the case. Well before this so-called “COVID recession”, we were experiencing the “jobless recovery” from the GFC (which, BTW, we never recovered from). Headline unemployment was “low” at ~5% give-or-take – which is the goal that the Coalition. They don’t want unemployment really low, because it puts pressure on wages, and they see the ultra-low wage growth of the last few years as a good thing. But there were still plenty more applicants than jobs – about 8 in most cities, up to 30 in rural area or amongst youths. It was quite possible to be an active job seeker, willing to take on any reasonable job, and not be able to find work – the jobs weren’t there.

The private employment services responded to this the way any for-profit business would: they placed people to jobs if the jobs were available, and that was it. Yes, they would try and find more employers – but it wasn’t looking for a job for you. You’d just go into the bucket (or, if you were lucky, into a queue), and if your name was drawn out, you’d be sent off for an interview (again, one of many for the job), and then you’d roll the dice to see if you got that job. If you didn’t, back in the bucket you went.

Furthermore, once you’ve gone through that process a few times, you’re now costing the service provider more than they will make from you. So you get moved from the bucket of “employable types” and over to the bucket of “unemployable types”. You won’t get as many interviews, and even when you’re sent on the, the employer knows that you’re in the unemployable bucket, and you’ll get a pro-forma interview and circular filed afterwards. There’s just no incentive to find work for people who, through bad luck, end up in this category.

The simple fact is that there is no penalty for employment agencies to fail to find work for their clients.

The Centerlink system of the 80s and 90s had problems; a centralised system for all unemployed people to go through was inefficient. But it did have a goal on reducing the number of long-term unemployed – a goal that is given lip-service at best these days.

Like many situations where a government service has been outsourced, the failure mode is that the easy, profitable cases are being well-serve, and the loss-making ones are being discarded. But these are people’s lives and livelihoods being discarded.

However, while the myth that anyone who wants a job can get a job remains prevalent, this will continue.

Source: JobSeeker and JobActive are meant to move people off welfare and into work, but COVID-19 has changed things – ABC News

Of course negative gearing benefits go mostly to the already wealthy… they can afford it

ABC facts checks claims about negative gearing

Negative gearing is a system where the rent earned on a property – after removing other expenses – doesn’t cover the interest on the mortgage. You can then take that loss, and use it to offset other taxable income. It’s a system where you deliberately run what is a effectively a business at a loss, hoping to offset that loss later by selling the property and pocketing capital gains (which will also be tax discounted)

Continue reading “Of course negative gearing benefits go mostly to the already wealthy… they can afford it”

So you want reliable power?

Want reliable power? Don’t bank on coal says the AEMO

Hmm… one of the key arguments made by the LNP and their supporters is the need for coal (and, to a lesser extent, gas) power stations to provide reliability. Even their nod at a renewables option – the Snowy 2.0 project – is about providing reliable baseline power.

So what does the Australian Energy Market Operator say? “Extreme weather over summer could reduce the output of COAL, GAS and HYDRO power generators and cause problems with the reliability of electricity supply”

Continue reading “So you want reliable power?”

3 lines of JavaScript that breaks Chrome

Three lines of JavaScript that makes a Chrome tab use 100% CPU until you close it:

var oReq = new XMLHttpRequest();
http://oReq.open ("GET", "https://www.example.org/example.txt ", false);
oReq.send();

Caveat: Tested on macOS 10.13.4, with Chrome 67. And, yes, I’ve reported it.

Update: already fixed, for the next release. So just need to hang out a couple of weeks.

Apple TV – not for me

I bought an Apple TV the other week. I’ll be taking advantage of the 14-day return policy and giving it back.

It’s not that it’s a bad product. I actually liked a lot of its features. But… the interaction model just isn’t great. It’d be fine if it supported a Hand-off like feature from the iPhone or iPad – similar to ChromeCast. AirPlay doesn’t cut it because it needs the AirPlaying device to be available.

The main user of our TV is my wife, and she would be the main user of the Apple TV box if we kept it. But her primary use of it would be Netflix – and it’s just easier for her to drive Netflix from the iPhone client and use ChromeCast than it is to go through the Apple TV.

Maybe AirPlay2 will solve this.