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“It worked when said that Labor broke the economy; perhaps we can get away with saying that they broke our election promises!”

Quixote x jp

Photo: The Plastic Hippo

This morning, a patient of Dr Rudd’s, Mr Con Emmy wrote a letter explaining how a few years ago he was told that he was suffering from General Fatal Condition, or GFC, for short. Dr Rudd told him that unless they operated, Mr Con Emmy would be dead within the year. Now, several years on, Mr Con Emmy finds that he is not, in fact, dead – and he’s several thousand dollars in debt. Clearly there was no need for anything to be done and that the operation was just a waste of money!


* * *

Debt is bad – I met a man who had no debt. And it seems to me that when the Abbott Government says “Trust us!” they aspire to make Australia like that man. But first let’s look at two other things.

* * *

1. Economics 101 – the study of scarcity, not scare city as Mr Hockey would have you believe!

In the time of subsistence farming, economics was very much in the hands of the gods. The right conditions and things were abundant, but floods or drought could lead to famine. Of course, we progressed to our modern economies, and we’ve found ways of balancing out the good seasons and the bad. Because of technology and changes in our economic systems, we can store for bad times during the good times.

Ok, this is hardly news to you all. Everyone has a basic understand of economics. I still remember some of the quotes from my fifth form economics textbook about scarcity. And also the ones about choice.

It seems to me that in the past few years, many governments and economic forecasters have tried to portray our economic system as being as subject to the immutable laws in much the same way that the subsistence farmer is dependent on the right combinations of sun and rain. When a leader says there is no other choice, he is lying. He or she is always saying that after considering the options (or in some case, not considering), I consider this the best cause of action. Just as we had the money for the fighter planes – because it had allegedly been put aside – but no money for Gonski – because it allegedly hadn’t. Somehow it was beyond their capacity to take some of the “put aside” money from one area and use it in another.

This idea of a lack of choice was what many in the West failed to understand about China during the GFC. The people who predicted the imminent end of growth in China failed to realise that they weren’t playing by the same rules as the rest of the world. Essentially the Chinese government still calls the shots, even if there has been an embracing of capitalist markets in the past few years.

To expand this idea of choice a little further, if we take one of the Audit Committee’s suggestion of a co-payment. Even ignoring the harsh $15 and presuming our “nice” government makes it a mere $6, the suggestion that there’s no choice is absurd. We could, for example, increase the Medicare Levy. Or place a gift tax on bottles of Grange. However, neither of these fit with the “user pays” philosophy of the current government. “User pays” is a philosophical choice; it’s not because there aren’t alternatives. There are ALWAYS alternatives. It’s just that sometimes they’ll be less appealing to the person making the decision. Or – as many people have pointed out – would the Audit Commission’s recommendations have been the same if they’d asked a group of doctors or teachers to do the audit?

Or even a group who didn’t have such a “Business is Everything” focus.

* * *

2. You haven’t had time to think or remember.

Let me tell you about what was predicted for the future when I was growing up, which I’m sure will be familiar to some of you.

Technology was going to take over many of the mundane, meaningless jobs. This would lead to more leisure time. We wouldn’t have to work as hard, and we could retire early. The big problem – it was suggested – was how to deal with our leisure time.

Yet now the reality is that we’re pushing back the retiring age. People are being asked to work longer hours. There are suggestions that we should reduce the minimum wage. We need to increase productivity – which is what technology was going to do for us.

Is this because machines didn’t improve technology as much as we thought? Is it because we no longer have people unemployed?

No, it’s because WE CAN’T AFFORD IT. WE’RE BROKE.

Why are we broke?


Mm, I don’t think that I’d be unable to pay off a debt of $20,000 in the next ten years. Particularly, if I were paying the 3% that the Federal Government pays on loans. It’s hardly a debt that I have to worry about my grandchildren having to repay.


But who’s broke. And where is the economic benefit of improved productivity gone? To the country, or just to the people who own the machines? If THIS is progress, we need to have a rethink of the meaning of the word!

* * *

Ok, back to the person who had no debt. They were also homeless and had no job.




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  1. abbienoiraude

    If a group of business people who were given a budget to bring down an audit can’t stay within monetary guidelines how the hell can we believe anything they advise. To go from $1 mill up to $2.5 mill then they are bloody useless. Hand it over to this Carer. She will show you how to stay within the budget.

  2. Yvonne Cunningham

    Don’t worry Santa Abbott’s wealth tax will pay back the debt.
    Yvonne Cunningham

  3. Don Winther

    Australia is not broke it is just a smoke screen that this government is putting out to justify selling off the last of our public assets to their mates to fill up their Future Fund, its just greed and arrogance.
    The technology and machines make plenty of money in a fair system. They can not compete against machines operated by kids in India, China, Thailand and Korea. Now thanks to Abbotts final blow to manufacturing in this country with his One Sided Free trade Agreements the machines will be moved out of Australia but the unemployed operators will be left here and told to work until they are 70.
    Abbott was Minister for Industry under Little Johny but he was only ever interested in the big super rich mining and media industries. Abbott has no empathy for working class, a class that I love. People that build and create and get their hands dirty and have a cold beer after a hard day and smile and laugh and drive a Holden. We dont want to suck the blood out of this country, we want to build it, not dig it up and sell it, this is our home our kids home. We just want to look at what we and our parents and grandparents have built at the end of the day and be proud of it. Abbott you could never understand. Go back to Church sit down and try listening.
    ” Australia its all for sale ” Abbott.
    ” Stop selling my country ” Me.

  4. Steve

    We are in debt , and will stay in debt , as long as this illegal private banking system is a allowed to continue .We will continue on this treadmill of lies and broken promises , and we will continue to ask the same questions when the next illegal , corporate government is elected . I could go on talking about how we are Slaves, but no one will take the time to find out why we are Slaves , and so more of the same , and our people and our country continues to be raped . The best Slave , is a Slave who believes they are Free, I have news for you , We Are Not Free and we are too blind and dumb to see that our children are slaves to the same masters .If you don’t know who our masters are , here is how you find them,,, Who , or what are you not allowed to criticize ? Who owns our debt , and how did it get to this ?
    I will include a letter or quote which was made in 1913 , which lays out the plan to en debt us all and begin our slavery .
    I will suggest that we all listen to our fellow Australian , Larry Hannigan , to understand what we can do to stop these criminals , and how we can take back our country and our FREEDOM !
    House Quote
    “[Very] soon, every American will be required to register their biological property in a National system designed to keep track of the people and that will operate under the ancient system of pledging. By such methodology, we can compel people to submit to our agenda, which will affect our security as a chargeback for our fiat paper currency. Every American will be forced to register or suffer not being able to work and earn a living. They will be our chattel, and we will hold the security interest over them forever, by operation of the law merchant under the scheme of secured transactions. Americans, by unknowingly or unwittingly delivering the bills of lading to us will be rendered bankrupt and insolvent, forever to remain economic slaves through taxation, secured by their pledges. They will be stripped of their rights and given a commercial value designed to make us a profit and they will be none the wiser, for not one man in a million could ever figure our plans and, if by accident one or two would figure it out, we have in our arsenal plausible deniability. After all, this is the only logical way to fund government, by floating liens and debt to the registrants in the form of benefits and privileges. This will inevitably reap to us huge profits beyond our wildest expectations and leave every American a contributor or to this fraud which we will call “Social Insurance.” Without realizing it, every American will insure us for any loss we may incur and in this manner; every American will unknowingly be our servant, however begrudgingly. The people will become helpless and without any hope for their redemption and, we will employ the high office of the President of our dummy corporation to foment this plot against America.”
    – Edward Mandell House; in a private meeting with Woodrow Wilson [President 1913-1921] – source unknown.
    See: Colonel Edward Mandell House helped to pick the charter members of theoriginal Federal Reserve Board; Philip Dru – Administrator; G. Edward Griffin: Days of Infamy

    Larry Hannigan

  5. francescaagostiesca Agosti

    Great article. Not all debt is bad debt. Look at the average Australian household. Try maintaining your current lifestyle without at least some level of debt. Australia currently has a moderate level of debt, however we sailed through a Global Financial Crisis virtually unscathed due to the foresight of the then Gov, a Gov that recognised keeping the economy moving required an injection of funds. During this global crisis Australia in fact managed to secure an AAA credit rating for the first time in the country’s history, and during a period when other countries were in serious fiscal crisis. The more important question that the Abbott Gov appears incapable of addressing is what will be done in regard to the real issues affecting Australians in the decades to come, an ageing population where aged care services that are already stretched to the limit, the necessary and desirable winding down of the fossil industry and the concomitant impacts on the economy, the growing reality of climate change, the asylum seeker issue that will only worsen as global push factors increase, a housing affordability crisis that means younger generations of Australians may never be able to afford their own home, the issue of food security in a world where the human population is exploding etc etc. Rather than focusing on ‘manufactured’ crises, the true test of any Gov is what vision will it show in regard to not only the present moment but the future, and this Coalition Gov is failing on all counts.

  6. Wayne Turner

    Also our predictable and BIASED MSM didn’t take long (see link). SUDDENLY a merit,or lack of merit,for a policy matters more, even if it’s based on LIE.Both issues can be seperate can be good or bad policy but still based on a LIE.

    While of course under Labor no such looking at merit,or lack of merit regarding the “carbon price” policy.According to the MSM all that mattered was,it was based on an alleged LIE.

  7. rossleighbrisbane

    Yeah, I did point out before the last election that one couldn’t not increase revenue, not cut spending AND balance the Budget. On top of this the Liberals promised to also cut company tax and eliminate the Carbon and Mining taxes. Strangely the media didn’t seem to notice that this was never going to work! Even with the promised “stronger economy”!

  8. Wayne Turner

    Indeed Ross,indeed 😉

  9. Brian

    This country has fallen into the hands of the greatest collection of non- entities in it’s history. I recall the people who served in our parliament during the Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and Keating years. People who knew their stuff and how to govern. You might not agree with their priorities but still they knew their jobs or at least had the soundness of advice that led to that impression. This bunch of ideology driven dopes have not the faintest idea what they are trying to achieve beyond the notion of convincing us that all bad things come from Labor and only good things come from the coalition. They display no vision or concept of where this nation should be directing it’s efforts, no picture of where or how the coming generations will find employment, what industries should be nurtured and supported in order to provide the growth we will need. They show no ability to address the problems that beset the people working in education, health, aging, the environment, industry and a host of other areas. They employ people with a proven bias to give them “independent” advice that mirrors their own inclinations and thereby justifies their attacks on the less privileged in our society. This deceitful deficit tax is nothing but an ineffective sop to the underprivileged to demonstrate that we’re all in this together. The truth is anyone with an ounce of brains knows that tax receipts have fallen dramatically as a result of Howard’s squandering of the benefits of the mining boom. Rudd’s participation in this during the 2007 campaign was also stupid. It was all given away as tax cuts and middle class welfare to keep John Winston Howard in the Lodge. The greatest Prime Minister in our history was also the greatest waster of the nations wealth in our history Where’s the infrastructure that might have been created to support the growth we now seek to keep the economy healthy. Now Abbott wants our trust as he seeks to destroy public health and education, to undermine the environment and to destroy the efforts of those who strive to build a future based on science and the application of new technologies. He is a liar, through and through and deserves not the least trust as he wields his wrecking ball. His companions in this fraud including Hockey,Pyne,Dutton,both Bishops,Brandis and Abetz. They have no interest in the nation as a whole but as a means to power. They lust after it as wolves lust after blood. Well they have managed to gain office, so they should up crying about Labor’s failings and start demonstrating an ability to govern this country for the benefit of every citizen. Not just those who agree with them. I’m not interested in excuses, spin or any of the many and various distortions of the truth we’ve been witness to. Australia deserves better. If you can’t provide it, then f* off.

  10. Steve

    Agreed Brian , Agreed !

  11. lawrencewinder

    Australia as a whole is broke!
    Intellectually, Morally and Politically bereft of anything that indicate a genuine social vision.

  12. Wayne A Roberts

    I may have this wrong, I’m no expert on economics but if the situation is so dire why not devalue our dollar and print more money to pay down the debt. As I say I may have this wrong but as I have been led to understand it this is something that can be instituted to resolve a money shortage … Please don’t growl at me if I got this wrong 🙂

  13. jimhaz

    [ However, neither of these fit with the “user pays” philosophy of the current government]

    They also have a “payer uses” philosophy – hence all the unnecessary upper class welfare they give out to high income earners.

    They simply do not believe in government distribution and welfare, hence they minimise tax as much as possible for those who don’t need it via welfare eligibility- however they do believe in welfare given by their predatory soul mates, Christian religions, as that is another avenue for power over others and an avenue to remove guilt over their traitorous anti-community actions.

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