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Tag Archives: Lies.

The Truth – Where Did It Go?

Do you consider yourself a truthful person? I do. Over the last decade I have come to wonder if truth is something from a bygone era. In business and in our personal lives, truth is something society either glosses over or flat out ignores.

A business example to start with. At a project review meeting an item (a functional requirement of a system) was flagged by the Programme Manager as “Needs Improvement”. It didn’t need improvement, a state which implies some work has been done, hours spent already – and hours equates to investment dollars.The item in question had not been started, it did not exist. No hours, no dollars invested. Zip,

Imagine for a moment you are a senior executive scanning the project status report. You see all items have been started, therefore understand from the report that the project is on time, on budget, in scope. However, if you scanned a report with items flagged as “not commenced”, it is reasonable to think your understanding of the status of the project might be rather different.

The picture painted by the language is a lie. The truth is at best glossed over, at worst ignored. If widespread within an organisation, such practices can have catastrophic affects. A family member recently described a situation where middle management were “fudging figures”: based on those reported figures a decision was made to cut the staff of a particular department. After the resultant loss of customers and the flow-on from those losses, the organisation is now trying to repair the damage. In the meant time it has lost customers that likely won’t return, suffered a hit to the bottom line, lost staff who likely will not return, therefore face recruitment and training costs to restaff appropriately. Costly exercise.

There is a web site I’ve always found rather amusing, MBA Jargon Watch. Australians used to joke about how Americans took 25 words to say something we Aussies would say in ten (or less). MBA Jargon Watch always reassured me we had escaped such obfuscation in our straight-to-the-point world.

One of my favourites:

best of breed (n. and adj.)
The finest specimen or example to be found in a particular industry or market. Like Papillons preening for the judges, companies position themselves as best-of-breed. In truth, however, few ever make it through the qualifiers.

Yet it seems we have indeed adopted the convoluted way of ensuring we don’t say anything directly. Sometimes I read business reports and have to read some parts of it two or three times before I come to the conclusion absolutely nothing is being said at all, let alone anything remotely truthful.

Many years ago a friend expressed the concern to me that “the truth is brutal”. Yes, I agree, it most certainly can be. Telling someone a loved one has been killed in a car accident or telling a spouse the marriage is over: both of these truths are indeed unpleasant and harsh to the recipient. They are also unavoidable truths.

In the worlds of politics and business the unavoidable is often avoided until the very last minute when it is often too late. In business, depending on how senior the perpetrator is, he or she may be pushed out quietly encouraged to leave and later pop up in another senior position somewhere else, ready to repeat the crime.

In politics it seems to be open slather, as the Trump campaign has so clearly shown us. There are a multitude of reputable articles providing evidence of his blatant lies throughout the campaign. Here’s one from The Washington Post. Not only has he lied, voters believe him.

Closer to home, we have politicians refusing to be truthful. To quote John Lord

”In the concoction, the recipe that is called leadership there are many ingredients. None more important than integrity, positiveness and the ability to trust and delegate. But it is truth that glues it altogether to create character.”

Yes, truth. That seemingly elusive, indefinable mode of communication that requires nothing more than, well, a little integrity. Politicians cherry pick facts to sell a policy, often ignoring brutal other aspects of the situation. Manus Island and Nauru spring to mind. Oh such a wonderful solution, we’ve stopped the boats. We also are inflicting incredible torture on the people we have incarcerated. That little fact is conveniently ignored.

I was always a tough mother. I refused to write “the dog ate his homework/the computer crashed/Daddy had a flat tyre” notes (unless any of those events actually happened) to excuse incomplete homework. Why? Two reasons: first, I wanted my children to learn to take responsibility for their actions and secondly, I didn’t want them learning to lie. Oh, yes, I took flak for that: “All the other mothers do it for their kids!” Not this mother, sorry. Kids start lying to avoid punishment. We need to reward truth. At home and in the workplace.

What has happened to the truth? Are adults actually too afraid of “getting into trouble”? They’d rather see other people get into trouble by losing jobs as a result of their “misdemeanor” adjusting of management reports? Do politicians think that lying for no other reason that to garner votes, then subsequently back peddle is OK? Rhetorical question alert there, obviously.

This isn’t the whole story. It isn’t just about telling the truth, but also about accepting the truth. I read an interesting article which I found quite concerning. The dark rigidity of fundamentalist rural America: a view from the inside. It is a long article, but well worth the time.

Gays being allowed to marry are a threat. Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed friends and family are a threat. Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms are somehow viewed a threat. The black president is a threat. Two billion Muslims are a threat. The Chinese are a threat. Women wanting to be autonomous are a threat. The college educated are a threat. Godless scientists are a threat. Everyone who isn’t just like them has been sold to them as a threat and they’ve bought it hook, line, and grifting sinker. Since there are no self-regulating mechanisms in their belief systems, these threats only grow over time. Since facts and reality don’t matter, nothing you say to them will alter their beliefs. “President Obama was born in Kenya, is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood who hates white Americans and is going to take away their guns.” I feel ridiculous even writing this, it is so absurd, but it is gospel across large swaths of rural America. Are rural, Christian, white Americans scared? You’re damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Hell no. The problem isn’t understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don’t have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears.

A column in the New York Times also caught my eye. You can’t always back peddle out of stuff you said, I’m afraid, even if you are the President-elect.

No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.

The world would be a better place if we were all truthful. The figures aren’t good this month, we didn’t reach the project milestone, I didn’t do my homework because I spent too much time playing video games, I’m only standing for President to make a lot of money, I think Dutton‘s a cretin (well, OK, maybe that last is a stretch, but at least demote the man). I will say this about Pauling Hanson – at least we know where she stands, even if we don’t like it.

Without the truth we all live in a fantasy land. That fantasy land is getting crazier by the day.

Still being lied to

So it seems that Bill Shorten will be taking a proposal for a 50% renewable target by 2030 to Labor’s national conference in Melbourne this weekend. Accordingly, climate change is shaping up to be a major battleground for the next election – probably much to Abbott’s chagrin. On this argument, the Coalition starts from behind. Tony Abbott would prefer the discussion to be neutralised and as a result the government is stepping up the rhetoric to attack Labor’s history and position on the climate change front. As a result, the laughably-named Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, has been working the airwaves furiously to poison the national consciousness.

Shorten’s laudable goal, as those who have been watching the development of renewable energy and its increasing prevalence in the energy mix of countries and even Australian States will know, is technically not difficult. Labor describes the proposal as “ambitious”, but the main challenge with achieving this is political. The primary difficulty is that the Australian people are skeptical about the ability of renewable energy to be a practical, economical choice for energy generation, and consecutive conservative governments have sought to play up on that uncertainty at the behest of their backers and overlords, the existing fossil fuel oligarchies. The Australian people have been lied to from the outset.

They’re still being lied to now. Greg Hunt has been given saturation coverage on news media outlets, parroting the Government’s official response to the reports of this labor policy proposal. The detail of Hunt’s interviews and discussions has varied slightly from broadcast to broadcast, but the salient points remain the same. Unfortunately but predictably, the Government’s official stance – and thus Hunt’s answers – is a farrago of lies and mistruths that often pass without challenge. The ABC is not immune to this mistreatment: in several ABC news interviews Hunt has made the same baldfaced statements without being challenged. The ABC can’t be blamed for this. In an already fraught environment with the national broadcaster under continual threat, challenge and attack by our government, it is vital for the ABC to retain an appearance of impartiality for its news arm. Rather, the problem is with our laws and systems that contain absolutely no penalty for a Government Minister to lie to a reporter, and to lie to the Australian people, so long as they can get away with it. A Minister can lie with impunity – as long as their lie goes unchallenged.

This is a problem, as we head into an election year in 2016. Standard practice in news reporting is to describe the news item of the day, interview appropriate persons involved with the policy or proposal or scandal, and drill into the detail to as shallow or deep an extent as time allows. Then, in the interest of “balance”, journalism will often seek a response from the other side. In politics, this brings us to a situation where the Coalition, with the benefit of incumbency, can coast with few policy announcements, leaving Labor few opportunities to respond. Labor’s situation is more challenging. Winning back government from opposition is difficult and requires a constant stream of policy announcements. When the last word in a news report comes from a Coalition minister in response, far too often the sound bite the audience will remember is the government’s position. If that position is in error, the voters have been misled.

A news reporter is not in a position to challenge a statement made. That comes down to us – the concerned public. It is incumbent on us to be informed, and to inform others who might otherwise be taken in by the lies.

Because the Coalition adheres to the concept that repeating a lie often enough will convince people to take it as truth, their talking points in response to Labor’s proposed policy are consistent and we will hear them trotted out regularly over the coming weeks. Each one of them is demonstrably untrue and the best response progressives can make is to have ready clear, concise explanations as to why each Coalition argument is based on a falsehood. With that in mind, what follows is a precis of the Coalition’s talking points on Labor’s proposed renewable energy target and ETS.

The centrepiece of the policy will be a new carbon tax.

“Carbon tax – they’ll call it an emissions trading scheme, but it’s the same thing, with the same effect, the same hit on electricity prices…” In a recent interview, asked several times for clarification, Hunt fell back on the government’s agreed attack line: that an ETS is just a carbon tax by another name. This was not true the first time around and it is certainly not true now. The reason why is very simple.

Under a carbon tax, every emitter pays for their emissions. Every tonne of carbon carries a cost. The incentive is obvious for the business to reduce its carbon emissions and pay less tax. All taxes raised go to the government, for use in whatever way it deems appropriate. The government may choose to return some of the taxes to companies in the form of incentives and subsidies, but to do so is to devalue the impact of the tax. Over time, unless you force changes to the tax rates through parliament, the price of carbon remains the same.

In contrast, under an ETS, businesses are permitted to release carbon emissions up to a cap, without any cost to them. If a business holds sufficient carbon permits, it can emit as much carbon as it likes with no financial cost at all. If it emits less carbon than it holds permits for, it can trade the excess permits on the market, allowing other businesses more latitude to emit carbon. This brings you to the question of how the business gets the permits in the first place.

Under the Gillard government’s ETS, initial permits were allocated for free to relevant industries to shield them from the immediate impact. Other organisations were forced to purchase initial permits. Over time, under an ETS, the number of permits available is regulated to decrease, providing incentive to companies to reduce their carbon emissions over time: as time goes on, carbon permits become more expensive, increasing the benefit to the company if it can trade its excess permits on the market, and increasing the cost of permits if it does not.

Due to compromises with the Greens required to get the legislation through a hostile senate, the price of permits was set for an initial three year period and the permits were not eligible to be traded, thus making the scheme’s initital appearance close enough to a “tax” to make it unworth arguing the semantics of “tax” and “ETS”. This led, in short order, to Labor being lambasted as a high-taxing regime (ironic, coming from the party which would soon implement a much more oppressive tax regime) and Julia Gillard as a liar.

Labor has learned its lesson on this front. It is fair to assume its new ETS will not commence with a set price and untradeable permits. For the government to claim that Labor’s new ETS will be “exactly the same” as a carbon tax is misrepresentation of the highest order. The ETS will be a different thing, with a very different effect, working in a very different way.

Greg Hunt knows this very well. This is the same Greg Hunt who won an award for co-authoring a thesis about implementing an ETS in Australia. Until recently some on the left held a grudging respect for Mr Hunt, being forced to toe the party line against his own documented beliefs, and pity, for being one of the few realists in a cabinet laced with flat-earthers. His recent performances have shown that he is a thorough convert to the Coalition’s paradigm that somehow a market-based scheme is far inferior to direct governmental intervention. As a result, his respect has died, leaving him only with pity.

Regardless of his personal beliefs, however, Greg Hunt knows very well that an ETS is not remotely similar to a carbon tax, and to claim that it is is to deliberately mislead Australian voters.

A higher renewable energy target will increase electricity prices

The talking point that a renewable energy puts upwards pressure on power prices seems an article of faith for the Coalition. This also is demonstrably untrue. ETS or carbon tax aside, all experience in Australia to date disproves the idea that renewable energy competition can push the price of electricity up. All models and analysis, including the government’s own modelling, show clearly that renewable energy puts competition and downwards pressure on energy prices. The only group that this hurts is the big energy generators and distributors, who coincidentally are big benefactors of the Coalition.

An ETS did have the expected outcome of pushing up power prices from carbon-heavy power generators. Gillard’s government allowed for this and overcompensated consumers for the expected price increases.

The one thing likely to place significant upwards pressure on energy prices is the effect of Queensland’s previous, liberal government opening its gas markets to export. The result is that gas, one of the major energy sources for much of Australia’s eastern seaboard, will now be traded at the significantly higher international price rather than the domestic one.

The carbon tax “didn’t work”

Perhaps the most egregious lie of all is the continued insistence by the Government and Greg Hunt as their mouthpiece that the carbon tax was ineffective. It has been claimed that during the carbon price, emissions continued to increase. This is true. What is wilfully ignored in that discussion is that, under the influence of the carbon price, emissions rose less than they would have otherwise done. In fact, the carbon price was restricted to a relatively small part of Australia’s economy. In sectors where the carbon price applied, carbon emissions decreased markedly. (And, unsurprisingly, upon the repeal of the carbon price, carbon emissions in these sectors immediately increased again). Hunt has argued that Australia’s carbon emissions were already falling prior to the introduction of the carbon price and that the ETS had little effect. This also is untrue. In short, the government’s overblown claims about the carbon tax are almost universally deliberately misleading or even entirely untrue. The carbon price, even at a high price per tonne and acting like a tax, had little effect on the overall economy, destroyed no country towns, and was being remarkably successful at reducing Australia’s emissions.

A new ETS could do the same again.

Labor is inconsistent

Greg Hunt foamed that the parliament had “…just voted for stability in the renewable energy sector…”, referring to the recent passing through the parliament of a reduced renewable energy target for Australia. This criticism popped its head up but has now subsided; perhaps the Coalition has decided that talking about “the politics” is a little too fraught to be a certain winner. In any case, the fact that Labor reluctantly supported the government’s cut of the renewable energy target to 33,000 GW does not mean that Labor is inconsistent. Labor was able to forge a compromise position for the sake of settling the argument in the short term and giving certainty to the existing renewable energy market, but it was clear that this figure was not Labor’s preference.

Frankly, it seems amazing that Labor was able to secure any kind of a compromise from this government, after more than a year of the government steadfastly refusing to budge from its original position. As this government has shown, any policy agreed to under one government is not sacrosanct to the next.

The truth shall set you free

Armed with the facts, it becomes easier to counter the government’s wilful misinformation. Not easy, of course: there are none so blind as those who will not see, and for many in the Australian public the prevailing narrative being told by the government is emotionally compelling. But there are some who may be persuaded by actual facts and evidence. It is for these people that we must be prepared to call it out when we see the government deliberately distorting history and building straw men on Labor’s commitments. We must be able to point out that they have been lied to, and they are still being lied to.

 

Let’s be absolutely crystal clear about this

Photo by The Daily Telegraph

Photo by The Daily Telegraph

If you click on the official Prime Minister of Australia government page the first thing you will read is:

“Over six years, Labor ran up a $667 billion debt on the nation’s credit card.”

Aside from wishing that the Prime Minister of Australia had a more visionary or engaging opening line, it is a bald faced lie and that isn’t a good way to convince people to trust you.

You will be subjected to a rolling slide show of Tony, Joe and Matthias, photographed in various serious looking poses. Is anyone else getting sick of these photos of Tony sitting at tables with people surrounded by lots of booklets and oversize graphs? Is that supposed to convince me that he knows what he is doing? Because he has his photo taking wearing a white lab coat trying to look into a microscope am I to say oh well the $7 co-payment must be a good idea?

But back to the lie.

“Ran” indicates past tense – in fact Tony Abbott specifically states that this happened “over six years”. What he fails to mention is that the figure of $667 billion was a projection for possible debt in ten years’ time from Hockey’s MYEFO report produced last December, and it included increased Coalition spending decisions like the $8.8 billion gift to the RBA and all the interest that will cost us, and the foregone revenue from the carbon and mining taxes, and changed assumptions about future unemployment – in other words it was a political exercise designed to come up with as big a number as they could so they could then justify draconian measures as they claim to be reducing it.

Using the term “nation’s credit card” is purely designed to cause fear. The nation doesn’t have a credit card. In fact we actually print money and can do so if we have to as they have done in the US. Credit cards can get individuals into serious debt and the interest rate is crippling. Using that term makes people think of that rather than a sensible understanding of how government finances work.

While the Coalition continues to peddle this lie I will continue to remind people of the truth because the Australian people have a right to know the real state of our finances. And because nothing pisses me off more than getting lied to about important stuff.

So what is the truth?

The independent pre-election economic and fiscal outlook’s (PEFO) medium term projections, using long-standing methodology, show that on Labor’s policy settings the Budget reaches a modest surplus in 2016-17, surplus grows to 1% of GDP in 2020-21 and net debt returns to zero in 2023-24.

The latest Budget update shows net government debt for 2013-14 of $191.5bn, or 12.1% of Australia’s GDP (not $667 billion Mr Abbott). By contrast, net government debt in advanced economies around the world averages 74.7%, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Gross debt in 2023‑24 is projected to be $389 billion with surpluses projected to build to over one per cent of GDP by 2024-25. There are no surpluses predicted over the forward estimates, there is a higher debt, and surplus of 1% 4 years later than predicted by PEFO using Labor policies.

After the GFC hit, the deficit peaked at $54.5bn, or 4.2% of GDP, in 2009-10 – less than half the advanced country average. In 2012-13, the federal deficit was $18.8bn or 1.2% of GDP, compared to an advanced economy average of 4.9%.

The claim that Labor left “fiscal time bombs” and secret cuts and spending is another blatant lie. In the 2013-14 Budget, Labor took the unprecedented step of releasing 10 year figures for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Gonski school reforms, demonstrating how they were funded over the long term. Those figures, as well as the efficiency dividends on the public service, were there for all to see. The fact is that Tony’s election promises were made knowing this but, as we saw, working out how to pay for his promises was not on his mind.

Australia is one of only 10 economies in the world with AAA ratings from all three agencies – in the company of other countries with strong public finances like Germany, Canada, Sweden, Singapore and Switzerland. This status shows our finances are considered to be stronger than those of the vast majority of advanced economies – including the US, the UK, Japan, France and New Zealand.

Despite headlines to the contrary, and ill-informed statements by the Prime Minister, the agencies have confirmed our credit rating with a stable outlook.

I hesitate to compare government finances with individual or business finances, but I will say this. When you go into significant debt, you usually aren’t looking to pay it off completely the next week. The decision to go into debt is made by looking at your assets, your ability to service the debt, and the value of the investment of the debt.

We do need to make some changes. There will never be a time when fine-tuning isn’t needed because we live in an ever-changing world with an often volatile global economy. Situations change requiring adjustments to be made.

We are not in any sort of crisis. We have the luxury to be able to do long term planning to meet the challenges of the future whereas so many other countries are having to make decisions for the short term as a matter of survival.

Tony Abbott is looking for a legacy for himself rather than for our nation. He wants to say the debt was huge and I made it smaller and he doesn’t care if he has to lie about figures to make this look true. If he really wanted to reduce debt why on earth would he stubbornly insist on his paid parental leave scheme? Why wouldn’t he look at negative gearing and superannuation tax concessions and capital gains reductions? Why would he buy 58 fighter jets that won’t be in service until sometime next decade?

The “Infrastructure Prime Minister” is building the Abbott Highway to Hell to speed up the path to destruction and he is more than happy to sacrifice anyone who can’t help him along his way.

 

The Education Union is spreading shocking misinformation; ask Christopher Pyne

Hands up all those who don't believe what Christopher Pyne says (image from asopa.typepad.com)

Hands up all those who don’t believe what Christopher Pyne says (image from asopa.typepad.com)

From Lateline November 25th, 2013

STEVE CANNANE: So what do you believe? Is there an equity problem or not?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: I don’t believe there is an equity problem in Australia. I think we are very generous to our students in public and non-government schools as a wealthy country like Australia should be.

From The Pyne Online August 21st, 2013:

AEUS (sic) DISHONEST CAMPAIGN

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has this week been caught out distributing blatantly dishonest claims on school funding in South Australia.

At primary schools in South Australia, the AEU has distributed misleading campaign material entitled ‘A message from local principals and teachers’. This ‘message’ is actually from the AEU and is authorised by its Federal Secretary in Melbourne.

The AEU’s dishonest ‘message’ claims that the Coalition would deliver only one third of total funding agreed to in the South Australian school funding agreement.

This is false.

Tony Abbott and the Coalition have confirmed that they will commit the same amount of federal school funding as the Government over the forward estimates. Every single school in Australia will receive, dollar for dollar, the same federal funding over the next four years whether there is a Liberal or Labor Government after September 7.”

From Yesterday’s (December 1st 2013) The Pyne Online:

“It appears everyone in the Labor Party is willing to admit $1.2 billion was cut from school funding for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland before the election except for the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.

“Questioned today on Meet the Press, Shadow Minister for School Education, Kate Ellis confirmed the $1.2 billion was removed from the Budget, leaving three jurisdictions with no additional funding for 2014.

“This was an unforgivable act of sabotage on the part of Mr Shorten and Labor, but why can’t Bill Shorten admit he allowed it to happen?

“Mr Shorten also hid the fact that both Victoria and Tasmania had not signed bilateral agreements with the Commonwealth and systemic Catholic schools had not sign up either, despite Labor’s claims at the time.

“The Coalition has been working hard to fix Labor’s mess, putting in more funding than Labor, with $230 million going to the states that have not signed up guaranteeing funding certainty for 2014.

“We will then be in a position to work with the states and territories over the first half of next year to bring in a new national, fair and equitable funding model for Australia, fixing the Shorten”

That’s where it stops. I haven’t cut anything out.

I presume that his next word would have been “Shambles”, and I’m tempted to ask why – apart from his tabloid-like obsession with alliteration – is the alleged shambles Shorten’s? I mean, even if you accept that Education funding was a shambles, Shorten had only been Education Minister from June. Three months is hardly enough time to create a shambles, but Chrissy Pyne himself is evidence that against that argument.

Ok, everyone out there,for anyone who’d like to make some money: if you send me $10, I will send every single one of you back $20. Of course, by every single one of you I just mean that I’ll send out twice as much money. To someone. Probably most of it to my wife, but some to my friends. But that doesn’t mean that I was trying to mislead you when I said “every single one of you” because that means the total amount of funds, right?

Put like that, the Liberals’ position is more ludicrous than the possibility of Barnaby Joyce being our Deputy Prime Minister, which thankfully is… um. Warren somebody.

The other argument that somehow $1.2 billion is “missing” because it was removed from the Budget is such a ridiculous proposition that it’s almost as blatant as the actual Liberal lie that “every single school” just means the same as total funding.

To explain this in simple terms: If you were, for example, planning a wedding, and you invite ten guests at $50 a head (I know, cheap wedding!), and it got to the day that the RSVP’s were due and only six people had replied, most people would ring the other four and ask them what their plans were. In terms of Gonski, this more or less what Labor did. Now, if two said they were coming and two said, “Your partner was rude to me last week, so stick your invitation!”, I suspect that you’d feel that it was reasonable to reduce your budget from the $500 to $400 with the idea that if they make up, you’ll put it back later. This is, more or less, what the Labor Government did.

And given the whole thing was going on “the credit card” anyway, the money isn’t missing at all!

No, it’s not really going on the credit card, but some of the Gonski money would have to be borrowed. And borrowing is not really the problem that the Liberals and Paul Sheehan make it out to be. Debt – where it increases one’s future earning capacity = isn’t a problem. Take, for example, a negative gearing or a HECS debt. And for a Federal Government, ensuring that its citizens are better educated and, therefore, capable of more skillful and higher paying jobs is better than sending some to the revenue drain of unemployment.

Some are quick to be concerned about saddling future generations with the repayment of debt, using Greece as the cautionary tale, and, yes, naturally one should take on debt prudently. However, the idea that we can just put off spending on infrastructure and education ignores the fact that we are, in fact, saddling future generations with the necessity of paying more to do the things we should have done ten years ago. While Abbott was making political points about rising electricity prices being because of the Carbon Tax, it was easy to overlook that the bulk of the rises were because of a previous lack of spending on the aging infrastructure.

In a blog a few months ago, I wrote that it was interesting that whenever it’s suggested that maybe some of the richer private schools could get less, we hear screams of “class warfare” and we’re told how some parents on low incomes struggle to send their kids to these schools, but when anyone tries to increase the money to the Government sector, the same people assure us that money doesn’t really improve educational outcomes. (I particularly liked someone who suggested that there’d been 44% increase in Education spending for no demonstrable improvement. Sounds impressive, until you consider that at three quarters of that would be a result of inflation.)

In the end, I don’t know what’s more worrying. Is it that the Liberals are lying to the Australian people when they talk about things like $1.2 billion has “gone missing” from the Education Budget? Or is it that their understanding of economics is so simplistic that they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying?

(For those of you who feel like an interesting read on the economic situation, I recommend “End This Depression Now!” by Paul Klugman.