The so-called “Employment Debate” between Brendan O’Connor and Michaelia Cash at the National Press Club today has shown just how far both sides of politics have become removed from reality.

The world has just experienced the greatest real estate bubble in its history—and Australia’s is yet to burst—but neither party can bring themselves to mention that this has had a disastrous effect on productivity, genuine full employment, and housing affordability for our young. They apparently support such bubbles.

Prosper Australia showed that economic rents—or unearned incomes—constituted more than 22% of the economy in 2012.  These would now be nearer to one quarter of the economy. If a greater part of unearned income were to be captured for revenue, and other socially-damaging revenues were abolished accordingly–as per the Henry Tax Review recommendations–it is not clear that both wages and profits must also be greater; that employment would be greater?

No.  Brendan O’Connor representing labour, and Michaelia Cash standing in for capital, would rather continue to be adversaries, failing to see they are actually complementary parties in wealth creation, and that both ‘sides’ are currently being savagely squeezed by those rent-seekers who continue to capture some quarter of Australia’s GDP unto themselves.

Rentiers turn themselves into millionaires and billionaires at a dire cost both to labour and capital – yet this can be ignored by O’Connor and Cash who claim to represent each.

This is worse than sad: it’s disastrous.

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