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Why The Liberals Are Considered Good Economic Managers!

There’s something satisfying about denial. You say no to that extra bit of chocolate cake and you pat yourself on the back and say what a good thing I’ve done. Of course, there’s a big difference between a sugary dessert and an essential meal, but both anorexics and the Liberal Party don’t seem to make that distinction.

When the Liberals speak on matters economic, they always sound so stern and serious that people think that they’ve put some thought into what they’re saying. So when they tell us that we have a spending problem and it’s all because of Labor, we presume that they’ve got a plan to do better, because, well, everyone knows that whenever Labor gets in, the economy gets ruined. Why in the seventies, Labor caused the oil shock, and just recently Labor created the Global Financial Crisis and because of Labor we didn’t go into recession when everybody knows that it would have been the economically prudent thing to do, because avoiding a recession is just like eating that extra bit of chocolate cake and you’ll have to pay for it later. Of course, Labor are going to try to argue that it’s more like having a healthy breakfast so that you have plenty of energy for the day, but don’t listen to them because they’re such poor economic managers that they failed to kill off the car industry and kept unemployment relatively low during a world-wide recession.

Of course, you only have to take some of the things that the current bunch of muddleheads running the country tell you and think about them for a nanosecond and you soon realise that they make no sense at all. Take reducing company tax, for example. Imagine that you run a business. Suddenly, thanks to a cut in company tax you have an extra twenty thousand at your disposal. Do you think, “Awesome, I can now hire a part-time worker to do some job which I didn’t have a need for until this tax cut!” or do you simply add the money to your bottom line?

Or take the way that they always talk about running the government like a household budget and refer to taking on debt as “putting things on the credit card”. Yes, we know that it’s an analogy and that while many credit cards charge interest rates of up to twenty percent, the government can borrow at rates of less than three percent, but it sounds scary and out of control. But extending the household budget analogy for a moment, one could argue that the way the current government treats some of the people living in its “house” then it would have Human Services knocking on its door and charging it with neglect.

“Mr Morrison?”
“I’m from Human Services and there are reports that you haven’t been allowing your children to receive necessary medical attention.”
“Well, the doctor’s visits were costing nearly as much as I was spending on my boat, so I had to place a limit on them.”
“And you have someone sleeping on your front verandah.”
“Ah, that’s nothing to do with me. She’s the woman from down the road who left her husband and if she chooses to do that sort of thing, well, it’s not up to us to help her find housing.”
“But surely you should do something to help her.”
“We did. We put up a big sign in the front of our house telling people that they shouldn’t put up with domestic violence. Apparently that’s why she’s made the sensible choice to sleep next to the sign.
“There’s also a report that you’re keeping some of you children home from school to help run an illegal factory in the garage.”
“Hang on, for a start, there’s nothing illegal about the factory and secondly that’s not why we’re keeping the children out of school, we’re doing that because the school fees were too high and they weren’t learning very well and some guy named Gonski was telling us that we needed to spend even more money on them…”
“But you do have them working for nothing?”
“No, we’re providing shelter and food, so naturally we expect something back. Also, they’re not actually working, they’re getting valuable experience.”

Yep, they should be thankful that the government isn’t a household. Whatever, households do sometimes make sensible investments and even borrow in the hope that, by using the money wisely now, it’ll pay off in the long run. But, when the Liberals talk of government borrowing, it’s always bad. Strange then that they should be so full of praise for those borrowing, when it comes to negative gearing.

While they tell us all the time about their planforjobsandgrowth – which so far consists of improving the economy so that growth happens and we get jobs from the increased growth and the way to improve the economy is to grow it by having more jobs and growth – when you actually look at their actions, it’s hard to see where the jobs are coming from. If, for example, you look at the number of arts organisations who’ve suddenly discovered that they have no funding, you have to expect that a number of them will close. Now while some of you may think of the Arts, as being those funny little people who do such esoteric things as build sculptures out of sheep intestines, or perform haiku while knitting their beards, the fact remains that the Arts is one of the largest employers in the country, and many of the people who’ll find themselves without work are quite normal people involved in such normal activities as administration, book-keeping and cleaning up. (If you’re interested in the Arts, check out the Arts Party.)

The fact is that most people have no understanding of money and the way it works. We’re encouraged to see it as a fixed, tangible thing and many people equate it to cash, when cash – whether in the form of paper money, coins, bullion or cowrie shells – has only ever made up a very small part of the money supply. The whole problem in the GFC was that credit started becoming too hard to get because, with so many large companies going belly-up, nobody wanted to risk lending to anyone else. When “paying” for any government spending, a government can pay for it in the short term via taxation revenue, or in the long term via borrowing. When the Liberals start telling us that they’ve funded things in the future, it’s just as much nonsense as when they tell you that Labor hadn’t set aside any money for Gonski.

Tax and spend, that’s the Labor way, we hear. Of course, the fact that under John Howard, we not only had the most flagrant spender in our history, there were also Budget surpluses, which means that he was obviously taking in more tax than he was spending.

So today when Labor announced a forty million dollar program to ensure every primary school child receives swimming lessons, I’m waiting to hear whether the Liberals will attack it on the grounds that it’s unaffordable, or whether Cory Bernardi and Eric Abetz will condemn it as some form of Marxist, social engineering where our children are being encouraged to experiment with unnatural water lifestyles. Or perhaps they’ll leave it to Barnaby to complain that this is part of their plan to worry us about rising sea levels as part of the climate change conspiracy for world government!


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  1. Ella

    Good managers for whom???
    Not the ordinary Australian.
    Just look at the fiasco of negative gearing.A loophole for the wealthy to move moneys from super into negatively geared investments be they property or any other form.
    Tackling negative gearing would benefit ALL Australians but not the wealthy who are starting to squeal using the mouthpiece of the Real Estate lobby.

    Good economic managers for the status quo ,where, the rich get richer and the rest of us can eat toast.

  2. kerri

    Likewise I am completely at a loss to comprehend the supply side belief that if you buy more equipment you will get more customers a la Kelly O’Dwyer’s cafe friend? Give those on lower or no incomes an income and you immediately create more customers. Or even, and here’s a radical thought, accomodate all those refugees on Manus, Nauru and Christmas Islands and bingo! Ready made customers who need absolutely everything.
    Except maybe gold plated toast!
    Thanks for you humour and common sense Rossleigh!

  3. Bronte ALLAN

    Yep, Jobson Growth is who they plan to use to show us all how to run the country, get us out of debt, reduce unemployment, give wage increases to the workers (oops, sorry that is NOT one of their “plans”!) & generally prove to everyone just how great they are at managing the economy! WHAT? All these incompetent, lying, obscenely over-paid, right wing, flat earth,conservative crones can do is ALWAYS blame the Labor mob for all the economy “crisis”, blame the Labor mob for having the cheek to actually have run things better than they could ever do, & so on. And, Rossleigh, you are right (as usual!) about how they always talk in a very stern manner, try to look serious, when discussing just how “good” they (always??) are when it comes to money matters!

  4. Hotspringer

    Dogs and goats, dogs and goats, dogs and goats. They have a plan. By the way, I prefer Hawaiian lei to Romanian.

  5. Adrianne Haddow

    In these days of drear despair and suppressed outrage at this present dog pack mentality brought to us by the Murdoch press and the LNP government, you bring laughter into my life.

    Thank you Rossleigh.

    Still laughing about swimming lessons being ‘social engineering encouraging our children to experiment with unnatural water lifestyles.’
    Everyone knows with a good Christian set of values, you don’t need to learn to swim, you can just walk on the water.

  6. Jack Russell

    Simply put, the Liberals always make an enormous mess…and Labor always cleans it up. It’s as plain as a nose on a face who the better economic managers are, and always have been.

    Thanks for the satire Rossleigh, always a pleasure to read your spot-on commentary.

  7. DisablednDesperate

    You really do brighten my day Rossleigh. I did think when you talked about kids staying home in my head it was coz they need to be homeschooled with the Christian doctrine lol

  8. michael lacey

    The coalition have only one major plan that of the neoconservative global one “targeted inflation” . Central banks should only target a very narrow range of inflation 2% developed countries 4-8% developing countries. It should use its instruments—usually a short-term interest rate—to achieve that target and it should avoid using monetary policy to do anything else. I see this as part of a whole neoliberal approach to central banking. That is, the idea that the economy is inherently stable, it will inherently reach full employment and stable economic growth on its own, and so the only thing that the macro policymakers have to worry about is keeping a low inflation rate and everything else will take care of itself. Of course, as we’ve seen, this whole neoliberal approach to macroeconomic policy is badly mistaken. The whole ideology underlying this, is to try to reduce the power of government and social forces that might exercise some power within the political economy—workers and the like —and put the power primarily in the hands of those dominating in the markets. Therefore the coalition policy being that you don’t want the government getting too involved in macroeconomic policy. You don’t want them promoting too much employment because that might lead to a raise in wages and, in turn, to a reduction in the profit share of the national income. The problem is not inflation in fact globally we are increasingly being exposed to deflation which is serious, The problem is their view, in not letting the central bank support other kinds of policies that are going to enhance the power of workers, people who work in agricultural areas, and even sometimes manufacturing interests. Instead, they want to put power in the hands of those who dominate the markets, often the financial elites.

  9. jim

    the Howard years are widely regarded outside Australia as dismally disappointing.. selling 167 tonnes of Australia’s gold reserves at near rock bottom prices just before the price rose spectacularly. According to one assessment, the fire sale returned just $2.4 billion. Had the gold been sold in 2011, when the nation needed cash during the global financial crisis, it would have fetched about $7.4 billion..According to a Treasury report in 2008, between 2004 and 2007, the mining boom and a robust economy added $334 billion in windfall gains to the budget surplus. Of this, the Howard Government spent, or gave away in tax cuts, $314 billion, or 94 per cent.

    Sales of businesses yielded another $72 billion. And yet Australia’s cash in the bank when Howard left office was a pathetically low 7.3% of GDP…………,5686

    We have come out of the time when obedience, the acceptance of discipline, intelligent courage and resolution, were most important, into that more difficult time when it is a per.”son’s duty to understand the world rather than simply fight for it.” – Ernest Hemingw

  10. Andreas Bimba

    Menzies would be kicked out of the Liberal Party for being a socialist if he popped up in the current era.

    Our neo-liberal Conservative and Labor governments are appalling economic and social policy managers primarily for creating the conditions for massive levels of unemployment and inequality.

  11. Jack

    Good Managers don’t triple the Deficit in 3 small years. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  12. Andreas Bimba

    The Conservatives and the ALP are hypocrites and liars on the issue of cutting the federal governments budget deficit and the apparent necessity of balanced federal budgets. The annual budget deficit has increased under the Conservatives and is now almost $40 billion p.a.

    However we are all better off that the current federal government has been running budget deficits and we would be in a serious recession without them under the current circumstances. Ideally Australia should consistently be running deficits of about 5% of GDP which is about $80 billion p.a. in combination with a federally funded jobs guarantee scheme so as to eventually return to full employment. But what about the national debt many may instinctively ask? Well this is also not the problem it has been portrayed to be by our monetarist or neo-liberal ruling elite.

    Become informed and learn about what the Modern Monetary Theory economists are saying and you will realise that we have been lied to by our neo-liberal Conservative and Labor governments and most of our business leaders.

  13. Kronomex

    The Liberals ARE good economic managers because they say are. And they say it and say it and…ad nauseam until it becomes a mantra. And to quote Lenin: A lie told often enough becomes the truth.

  14. Ian Colquhoun

    Any party which does not have full employment as a basic tenant of its platform is deserving of any support, even Robert Menzies kept unemployment below 2% for the full period of his prime ministership and all the governments that followed him until 1975 maintained that commitment to full employment, it was also the period of our greatest wealth equality and economic growth, and it is not a coincidence that neoliberal “balance the budget” stupidity has lead to huge and increasing wealth inequality, growing unemployment and economic stagnation.

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