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Day to Day Politics: An elitist leader.

Saturday 14 May 2016

On Saturday 30 April 2016 I wrote an article titled ‘Class Warfare. Of course it is’. In it I posed the question:

Who is waging this so-called war? I don’t see the middle and lower classes up in arms over their treatment. But I do see the wealthy and the super-rich getting cranky every time there is a threat to their privilege. Or at the suggestion that they should contribute more to the public coffers. In fact never in the history of this nation have the rich and the privileged been so openly brazen about their economic self-righteousness”.

Since that time we have had a budget presentation and the announcement of an election. Both the Prime Minister and his Treasurer said that it wasn’t a budget but an economic plan for the future of the country. If indeed it was a plan, it has been 7 years in the making: 4 in opposition and 3 in government. If you put aside the changes to superannuation, what the plan reveals is that this conservative government will continue to look after the rich and privileged and the rest of us will have to be content with whatever comes from the drip-down effect.

It is, as was the 2014, budget (although shaded in a more subtle ideology) one that attempts to identify, or more distinctly, tell people their place in society.

The centrepiece was to give tax breaks to big business, telling the people that eventually the money would be returned to them from growth. The trickledown theory. There is no evidence to say it works. However, the Coalition says that Treasury modelling suggests cutting the corporate tax rate will increase GDP by 1% in the long-term over the next 30 years.

Jessica Irvine points out in an article for the SMH:

“Not quite. The economy in 30 years will be about 1 per cent bigger, in today’s dollars, than it would have been without the cut. Wow.

Because domestic shareholders are compensated for company tax by offsetting dividend imputation, most of the immediate benefit of this cut goes to foreign shareholders.

But it’s true that Treasury also thinks the cut will lead to more investment and higher wages for workers here.

In terms of gross national income – what Australians actually get paid for our economic output – the boost is expected to be about 0.6 per cent in 30 years”.

John Daley, the chief executive of the Grattan Institute, said the real economic was “0.6% … at most over 20 years or more”.

The Labor Party on the other hand says that the same money would be better spent mainly on education. It is harder to effectively pinpoint the cost benefits of such a plan but I again quote Jessica Irvine:

The best international literature we have on the impact of better education on economic growth comes from the work of Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek. In a paper published last year for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, titled “Universal Basic Skills – what countries stand to gain”, he estimated the potential boost to countries’ economic output from lifting schools’ results to a “basic” level and ensuring universal enrolment in high school.

It found that by 2095 – when all kids educated under the old policy settings have moved out of the workforce to be replaced by the new – the Australian economy would be 11 per cent bigger than otherwise”.

This is but another example of economic class war being carried out by conservatives. It shows very little interest in education other than spending hundreds of millions of dollars on private schools for the children of the rich.

Two observations.

“There is no greater need than the need for equality of opportunity in education”.

For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged”.

Ostensibly, the changes to superannuation are fair although. It has to be said that only two months ago Tony Abbott described them as a “seniors’ tax”. And it has to be said that it was Labor and the Greens who forced their hand. Super was so blatantly a tax dodge for the rich that it was on the verge of costing as much as the pension.

Now the rich and many in the Coalition are very upset about the loss of their perk and are waging a war against it. A class war.

An observation.

The word ‘frugalityis one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying and a consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things”.

So how is Turnbull and the Coalition selling this strategy? What are their campaign tactics?

Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peta Credlin describes the Prime Minister as ‘Mr Harbourside Mansion’ which is an obvious reference to his wealth and describes his campaign as elitist. The public perception is that although they see him as smart they know that he is fabulously wealthy. These economic policies would have been easier for Abbot to sell because they never saw him as elitist, just a moron, whereas Turnbull they want to see as kindly.

When he cancelled a street walk in the Western suburbs of Sydney after some questions about the loyalty of Fiona Scott at a prior engagement it made him look elitist.

Then in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin he was confronted by Melinda, a single mother who was concerned about her two son’s future. She challenged him on two policies that most people think unfair to cut. The schools bonus and family tax benefits.

“The cost of school is going up and up and up and yet we’re not getting any more money and now you’re going to take the family tax benefits away. It’s not just single mums you’re hurting” she said.

Watching this on TV one was left with the impression of an English Lord of the Manor explaining to the cook that she would have to take a pay cut because his children wanted to spend more time in France during the summer, so elitist he seemed.

He was then whisked away only to be seen a few hours later entering the Melbourne Club the city’s most exclusive elitist men only club.

In the same week he is named in the Panama papers. There is no suggestion of wrong doing. Just another elitist insight to confirm his wealth. Yes, it is said that life is about perception, not was is but what we perceive it to be.

Wealth and accomplishment were once admired. People looked up to the success of people who worked hard to achieve it. Nowadays we have, because of the extent of inequality, lying and corruption, in our society become suspicious of it.

My thought for the day.

Invariably when I read about how successful people are. The measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?

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16 comments

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  1. michael lacey

    Thanks John nice little summary!

  2. Adrianne Haddow

    The class war has claimed its first casualty in the badgering and vitriol aimed at Duncan from Q and A fame.

    Murdoch’s minions are busily ferreting away into Duncan’s past and publishing their findings with various snide comments from the rabble who support their propaganda.

    What a pity they weren’t as zealous in their pursuit of the non-tax paying corporations, and the off shore wealth stashed away by our prime minister, and their own overlord Rupert.

  3. Don A Kelly

    One man’s gain is another man’s loss, dollar for dollar.

  4. Ella

    I don’t know why people in the know have not looked at the relationship between the changes in super , negative gearing and the almighty fight brewing ,fuelled by the Real Estate body.
    So, the NLP pretend to be “curbing the excesses ” in super, BUT, leave another loophole open for the super rich to find another tax haven that being negative gearing.This does not just involve property investment but any other investment made by the those with the funds.
    The Real Estate people will try to convince us that this is bad , and will use their power just as the anti mining lobby used its power to ruin the then Labor governments.
    The LNP is a government for the wealthy. I have no problem with wealth, but I have a problem with the fact that there is no sign of ethics in big business . Their aim is for more and more profit …what ever it takes. Social justice is not in their lexicon.

  5. Wam

    Superannuation was a boon to the not so rich pre/early babyboomers who owned their own home(or nearly) and who had two incomes.
    As for the increasing cost of schools, a quick chat to the priest is advisable as costs may be waived and/or charged to the commonwealth.

  6. Terry2

    On negative gearing: it seems that both the Real Estate Institute and the Liberal Part are saying that Labor’s plan will shrink the availability of rental housing and reduce the housing stock.

    Surely, the flow of investment – or at least some of it – will go into new housing and apartments thus growing the housing stock and providing additional rental opportunities ?

  7. Ella

    Terry2, I thought that the Labor policy was aimed at providing negative gearing for NEW homes which would invite investors to leave the existing house market, and develop new housing which would add to the supply.
    But you can be sure that those who stand to loose ie the super rich ,like the Real Estate Institute will wage war using their considerable wealth …not for the good of all , BUT to protect their profits .

  8. Deanna Jones

    That video of Melinda, hat in hand, trying to speak out without breaching the gender role code of conduct, begging the overlord to allow her and her children to survive, is heart-breakingly symbolic of patriarchy.

  9. Jake

    Dear Self Interest The housing market is currently 40% over priced. You have had an incredible run for the past 18 years. Making an Industry out of THE HOME is something else.Now added with overseas buyers we know it’s a massive con.Da! plus the lowest interest rates in history. You have been in Money Making Heaven.I know you don’t give stuff and will pull all sorts of Rabbits out the hat to prolong this cash making bonanza. People who have bought one home in the past 10 years should have locked in an interest rate or put money aside for interest rises as they did as they did get as high as 17% once.
    A home or a roof over your head is not money making HOUSE OF CARDS SCHEME.
    If u haven’t locked and interest rate now;do it now . Even if you have paid top dollar.You will at least still have a roof over your head.
    Turnball is a pathetic Joke. He’ll be off Skiing in Europe when he loses this election.Or partake in something new.

  10. Bronte ALLAN

    Oh the “horror”, oh the suffering, oh the financial “losses” ALL Talkbull’s obscenely wealthy mates must be going through right now! Just imagine if the Labor party was to be elected, they might not get ALL the perks, handouts etc that this inept, lying, right wing mob of conservative crones promised they would be expecting? No there is no “class war”, just ALL the wealthy right wing people in Australia thinking there is! Sure, the Labor party purports to represent all the downtrodden masses in this country, who it seems, do not meet any Liberal criteria to live in Australia! How dare we want to be able to purchase a home, go on a holiday (perhaps), even be able to seek Medical services without having to pay through the nose etc So, no class war, except what ALL these inept “liberals” (sic) seem to think is happening!

  11. Steve Laing

    Having written a number over the years, I’d like to take a look at this economic plan for jobs and growth which they keep repeating ad infinitum. Because I don’t think it actually exists. All they have is an intent, which isn’t the same. And it isn’t the budget, because that’s not a plan either. But they keep repeating it till the easily swayed and gullible believe it exists.

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    There is no plan. Only ideology. Ideology they intend to put in place.

  13. Terry2

    “The high-profile Liberal Party candidate who rolled Bronwyn Bishop had described asylum seekers who came to Australia by boat as the victims of pirates and crooks and said they should be welcomed rather than shunned.
    Jason Falinski, who won Liberal pre-selection to replace Mrs Bishop as the party’s candidate for the blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Mackellar last month, wrote an opinion piece advocating in favour of “freeing up borders”.

    This is why many reasonable people could not enter politics for a major party – it means that you have to dump you principles at the door as Mr Falinski has now done : he now fully supports the coalition’s policy on asylum seekers.

  14. Michael

    Just a general observation, outside the 9 dots, (I suggested that for Channel 10 – almost a monopoly position – not surprisingly, to no avail) – AIMN, its readers and contributors have highlighted many shortfalls of our current multi-orchestrated, divide and rule, etc, etc “democracy” in action = within the 9 dots or the square.

    Where can one get one’s fill outside the 9 dots and find suggestions for citizen centric (1 vote = 1 value), systemic improvements to our democracy (a human construct), however idealistic they may be = now, there’s a PLAN (a human re/reconstruct).

    While the 10th and subsequent dots are germinating, confront the politiciantutes, at their most vulnerable (during election period – think Duncan, mother and school age children, to date) as to where they stand on each improvement.

  15. win jeavons

    I too , am waiting to hear what, exactly, this great plan is. No detail, just hot air ! Only fool will be conned!

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