I was contacted by a Greek language newspaper with questions about the next steps in economic policy. On the assumption that most of my readers don’t read Greek, I’m posting my response here
The Morrison government’s economic policy response to the pandemic so far has been broadly appropriate, putting practicality ahead of ideology in general. There are numerous anomalies arising from the haste with which the program was developed and from some residual ideological constraints (such as hostility to the university sector)
The program should facilitate a rapid recovery from those economic impacts directly linked to lockdown measures as these are relaxed. However, there has so far been little recognition of the problems that will continue in the medium and longer term. The economy will undergo a substantial restructuring reflecting the effective end of international travel, at least until a vaccine is developed and globally distributed.
To deal with these continuing problems the government needs to
(i) Convert the JobSeeker payment into a Guaranteed Livable Income, available to everyone unable to find paid employment and willing to make a social contribution in other ways, such as volunteering(ii) Use the JobKeeper payment as the starting point of a Job Guarantee, in which the government commits to achieve full employment through a combination of wage subsidies, training programs and direct job creation.