Tuesday 1 May 2018
One would think that Australia would be the last place you would find “class warfare”, but we are full of it. It is generated by a capitalistic economy that favours the rich and creates a demarcation between rich, middle class and poor.
When you have an inequitable distribution of the country’s wealth it is obvious that people will be divided by income if nothing else. In 2013, the then Treasurer Wayne Swan wrote an essay about the ever-increasing inequality that had invaded our society.
The right-wing Murdoch press and conservative politicians immediately attacked his piece as class warfare.
So what the hell is this class warfare everyone talks about? I would have thought that there was less class distinction in Australia than in most countries. At least on the surface.
We do however have an attitude known as “them and us” syndrome. This phrase speaks of the wealthy who are privileged beyond conscience and then, well there’s us.
Those we refer to as them have all the wealth but “us” collectively spend more than “them.” Consequently, we pay more tax.
We are the battlers with aspirations to also be wealthy (and I am assuming that class presupposes wealth) but with common sense to know that not everyone can be.
Although if you are one of them of course (the wealthy) it does afford you a better class of education, of medical treatment and access to the law.
In fact, it gives you distinct societal advantages. Like tax havens, tax avoidance, and superannuation discounts not available to us. Oh and I forgot negative gearing and a myriad of other concessions.
It is a carryover from the United States where they worship the “Great American Dream”. That being that in the land of the free anyone can aspire to be rich. And the poor actually believe it. The constitution tells them so.
So the dream is perpetuated on an unsuspecting population who support the wealthy because the dream will happen to them someday. Some say it is called thus because you have to be asleep to dream it. In Australia we are more circumspect.
From the land where greed is good with a gospel that preaches wealth, hallelujah.
The term “Class Warfare” originates from the USA and has been a favourite form of attack by Fox News and the Republicans against President Obama and Democrats in general.
Like most things that have a basis in the worship of wealth and privilege the right in Australia adopt the same negative position. Fox News also uses the term “War on wealth” in their efforts to support wealth as a national goal. Everyone should aspire to be rich even if everyone cannot.
Who is waging this war?
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.
We only have to look at conservative politicians when their expenses are threatened. They throw tantrums like children who have grown up being taught that it is their divine right to the spoils of office.
They are ably supported by the Murdoch press who invariably perpetuate and use the phrase “Class Warfare” in a manner that suggests the lower and middle classes and particularly the Labor Party are at war with the rich. But ask yourself who is doing all the complaining. It’s the wealthiest, it’s “them” not “us”.
” Never in the history of Australia have the rich and privileged been so openly brazen”
When for the first time Australian mining companies campaigned against a government effectively telling them how much tax they were prepared to pay, they were playing the class warfare card.
Such was the power of wealth that Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Clive Palmer got away with it. The fact that the minerals belong to all of us seemed unimportant to them.
Not to mention the enormous taxpayer-funded subsidies they receive. They don’t seem to understand the concept of fairness. There is “them” and ”us”.
Even the banks in support of their wealth and how they acquire it had Conservative Government support in trying to protect it.
When Wayne Swan made his speech encouraging an equitable share of the country’s wealth he was accused of engaging in class warfare. Isn’t tax meant to be redistributed?
Even newspapers like the Herald Sun who pitch to a common man demographic, pander to the class of rich without hesitation. Perhaps it’s because they are owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men. Ironic, isn’t it?
Who pays the most tax?
Let’s look at the GST for example. It burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life— clothing, rent, heating, power etc.
The middle and lower classes pay much more GST than the rich but I don’t see them in open warfare because of it. Goodness, once the rich had to pay a luxury tax of 33% on their BMWs. Now it’s 10%.
When the wealthiest in the land, have for years virtually been practicing tax avoidance literally paying no tax and large corporations following suit, who is playing class warfare?
When such behaviour is questioned the right-wing media portray it as an attack on the wealthy. “It’s class warfare” they shout.
How Murdoch helps
Media commentary research shows that the Murdoch press is the major contributor to this supposed idea of a class warfare. The Australian Financial Review has recently run 10 articles on this theme. The Daily Telegraph 21 and The Australian 77. Add to that a few disgruntled Labor hacks who couldn’t get their own way and you can identify who is leading the chorus. Not us, we seem to be leaderless.
Who is leading this so-called “Class warfare”?
Remember the time when the Coalition planned to cut the rebate for low-income earners (mainly women) and take away the school bonus subsidies the war becomes a one-sided impasse. And when Abbott’s 2014 Budget was universally condemned as the most unfair ever because it placed the burden of budget repair on the poor, pensioners and the middle class, the right had the audacity to call it class warfare on the rich.
What about equality of opportunity, fairness and values?
Yes, the rich are in a class of their own. And their success is judged on the size and value of their assets. A poor measure by any standard.
Even when it’s suggested that equality of opportunity in education is a noble pursuit, and the right of every child people like Christopher Pyne say it is class warfare and he ludicrously described the Gonski reforms as such. Mind you he confessed to never having read the report. Yet, the words from his mouth are the standards we aspire too.
When a person like Pyne suggests that the implementation of Gonski is practicing class warfare it’s easy to see who is actually practicing it. Those elitist bastards, not us.
The war it seems is only being waged against those who are wealthy and can afford it. Poor buggers. I’m tempted to donate 10% of my pension if they are doing it that bad.
So the “Class War” would appear to be a Clayton’s one at best. Only one side is fighting it. It’s ”them”, not ”us”. And it’s very hard to get through to a class who believes that what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable.
They want all the excesses that come with wealth and then they want some more. As for us, we don’t confuse what we want with what we need.
When you consider that currently taxpayer subsidies given to mining companies, the taxpayer-assisted negative gearing, the tax loopholes and the wealthy who just don’t pay tax at all, is it any wonder the rich feel threatened?
And with a growing awareness that banks and big business are ripping us off, it’s the rich who are practicing a class warfare that is breeding a growing inequality. Yet this Government wants to reward the banks with billions in tax cuts. It’s immoral, to say the least.
You can be assured of one thing: When a conservative Government and right-wing MSM refer to class warfare they are simply saying “they are trying to take something from us that we deserve, it’s not fair”. Remember that Maggie assured us that the poor would be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich.
My arse it will! It never has before.
My thought for the day
“The left of politics is concerned with people who cannot help themselves. The right is concerned with those who can”.