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The Economy, COVID-19 and Global Warming

And – when it comes to importance – the issue of greatest importance is – Global Warming.

Clearly the economy has a very significant importance, but we have already established, in the GFC, and in the early stages of the pandemic, that we can break the normal ‘rules’ when we need to.

The pandemic itself is not the first we have experienced, although it is ramping up to being trickier than we anticipated, but our scientists are doing a sterling job at creating vaccines. The anti-vaxxers will cause some problems, no doubt, but, if we use enough commonsense – I will come back to that later – we should get things under control.

But, when it comes to global warming, Australia hasn’t begun to handle the necessary action at federal level, and the delay in establishing a clear strategy is causing damage all round – including to the economy.

Now let’s run through those again.

Is our economy being handled as well as it might be, if people are to be able to put food on the table, clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads, get to and from work – if they are fortunate enough to have a job – and have a reasonable quality of life?

Sadly – the answer is NO!

We have government policies designed to encourage those who have shown a capacity to make lots of money, to continue to do so – and a blind eye is turned to how little tax they pay – while at the same time generating a perception that all the rest – if they are struggling and in need of any form of income support – are bludgers, who cannot be trusted to look after their own money and spend it appropriately.

The fact that there are many more people looking for jobs, than there are advertised job vacancies, is brushed aside. Just go to our agents and let them send you off to apply for jobs you cannot qualify for, to ensure the agents have a good enough income to continue stuffing up your life.

And if you are uncooperative, we will take all your money away from you until you are ready crawl to back and beg for help again.

Exaggeration? Not really!

If you are receiving money from the government, you are on welfare, the lowest of the low. Even if you are getting some or all of your income from the Age Pension – which used to be seen as an entitlement for those who had worked hard all their life, paid all their taxes, and finally retired – you are still watched like a hawk to ensure you do not get one cent more than your entitlement.

Has any serious consideration been given to the Universal Basic Income concept?

I am glad you asked that question.

A lot of people have given it a great deal of consideration, but none of them it seems, are in government.

Just think about it a moment.

You decide what the average individual needs to receive to be able to cover all basic costs, without being extravagant, adjust the amount required for a child, who clearly has fewer responsibilities and consequent needs for finance (although a child needs more frequent wardrobe expenses as it grows!), and then the government pays that basic amount to each and every adult, plus, the lesser amount for each child for whom the adult is responsible.

Too easy!

But in some cases you will be giving money to people who already have more than enough!

Then adjust the tax system so it is returned to the government coffers. That is not so hard surely?

Now everyone is being treated by the same system and organising that would be incredibly much less complicated than the current system.

Why?

Well may you ask!

You have obviously never been in the clutches of Centrelink!

You lose your job.

You try desperately to find another.

You have nearly run through all your savings.

In desperation you go to Centrelink.

There you are put through the ringer.

Do you own or rent your house? How much do you pay each fortnight for your rent or mortgage? How many bank accounts do you have and how much do you have in each account? What debts do you have? How about your partner?

It seems to go on forever, until the Centrelink Officer knows every little detail about your assets and income.

And heaven help you if you leave something out!

If you have had to go through this process, you know what I am on about and if you have been so fortunate as to never having had to do so, just get hold of the form and check it out!

Now Centrelink has so much work on its hands that it has to outsource some of it – just think what that costs in terms of personnel salaries and superannuation – not to mention recreation leave and sick pay, maternity leave and so on as well as office accommodation.

And there is a wide variety of bases on which you may have entitlement to some sort of pension or relief, each with its own criteria.

Has anyone troubled to take all that into account when considering the UBI?

And one visit to the Centrelink office does not see the matter settled.

While you are on ‘income support’ of any kind, you have to advise Centrelink of any variation in the amount you receive each fortnight lest the government pay you more than you are entitled to.

No wonder people who had obeyed all the rules, but were informed – under the Robo-debt scheme – that they had received hundreds more than they were entitled to – might have committed suicide.

Now hang on a moment. We are still talking about financial issues – ie the economy – and yet you said it was not the most important issue.

You are right – but it crops up in all sorts of contexts and it could so easily be made less important through, for example, policies like the UBI – which is why commonsense was flagged earlier!

The COVID-19 issue has clearly impacted the economy.

In a genuine attempt to reduce transmission of infection and avoid unnecessary loss of life, the government closed down a whole heap of businesses, and put a lot of people out of work.

I am not sure whether you have noticed this, but it seems to me that the government, when it finally woke up to the fact that people with no jobs had no money to keep buying things that helped the economy keep rolling along, the schemes which it devised were more beneficial for businesses than for employees. Not just businesses, either, as shareholders did very nicely, thank you in many instances.

And there were very specific categories of employees and other workers who were eligible for any benefits.

Foreign students and refugees were ignored , as were hundreds in the wide range of gig economies.

Just think a moment. In the 2020/21 bush fires many people in the entertainment industry raised funds for bush fire victims.

The government also promised assistance to those victims, too, but there are many still waiting.

And those in the entertainment industry would mostly have been outside the categories which the government did assist.

Equality has well and truly gone out of the window.

A vast number of people had a seriously reduced or even no income for quite some time, and it is an on-going situation for too many.

Yet Parliament was cancelled for months and all the politicians happily received their regular payments for income and superannuation and leave entitlements and… and…

It really makes me sick!

So – calm down!

We have now established that the pandemic is also closely linked to impacts on the economy, and there will be many people who are waiting for the axe to fall – or even struggling to recover from its fall – as their payments from the government are being periodically reduced, while the moratorium on evicting tenants for late payment of rent or foreclosing on mortgages is not going on forever.

So why do I still maintain that the issue of greatest importance is Global Warming.

Like the pandemic, it affects the whole world.

The scientific evidence is there that we are experiencing, in different parts of the world, increasingly severe droughts, storms, floods, coastal erosion, all of which are linked to our failure to move away from using fossil fuels.

The greenhouse gases which we are emitting not only cause global warming, which, in turn, causes the increasing severity, but the pollution itself is causing damage to health as the quality of the atmosphere is deteriorating.

Now we might be able to achieve an appreciable reduction in infections from the pandemic if the vaccines can be widely distributed. And remember – the developed world can afford to look after its people, but poorer countries might not be able to achieve a sufficient level of vaccination, so that there will be a continuing risk of fresh waves of infections, since people from these countries are often employed outside their country of origin, in areas like transport and other low skilled jobs.

Although in terms of population, Australia is smaller than countries like China, India and the USA, our per capita emissions are higher than in those countries. We also rely on selling coal and gas overseas, and, as other countries increase their rejection of fossil fuels, we need to find other sources of income quick smart, as we are already in financial strife after depending too heavily on trade with China.

Every time anyone suggests that the government must take action to reduce our emissions to a greater extent, the question comes back – “How much will it cost?” – and the answer is to be given in dollar terms.

But please can we stress that the 2020/21 bush fires caused massive damage and cost lives – and the victims are still waiting for help.

And all the costs associated with that event – and with the previous prolonged drought, and the increasingly severe storms affecting the East coast and eroding the foundation of mansion with ocean views, and a whole load of recent climate related events – those costs are the costs of not taking action over the past 40 years!

Just yesterday, the USA paid the price of electing a man as President who was incapable of doing the job properly. And, seemingly for personal or party advantage, the Republicans, who could have supported the impeachment motion some months back, chose to defeat it, and not attempt to rein in his increasingly dangerous behaviour.

There is a strong parallel there!

And unfortunately, the history of the current Prime Minister gives me no confidence that he is the right person to lead this country through the process we need to follow.

It will require us to change many of our patterns of living, in order to reach the level of reduction in emissions which will leave a world for our grandchildren to enjoy as good a life as most of us have had!

It will most certainly not be easy but it will be worth the effort!

But we will not be ‘getting back to normal’ – or even achieving a ‘snap back’ – but creating a new world order!

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20 comments

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  1. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting and I would suggest that the same US based radical right libertarian forces promoting climate science denial have also been involved with encouraging Covid19 scepticism to open up the economy and ‘let it rip’ and damn the consequences; while wrongly claiming that it’s simply Covid vs. economy binary.

    Posted here before, but DeSmog has directly blamed the fossil fuel led climate science denial for similar with Covid, article from 10 August 2020 titled ‘How the UK’s Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19’:

    ‘The coronavirus crisis once again saw the UK divided — between those putting their trust in public health experts and their recommendations, and those quick to question the science on which the government claimed to base its decisions for controlling the pandemic. For those who have watched the decades-long efforts to slow climate action, this was a familiar phenomenon. And the coronavirus pandemic seemed to give fresh ammunition to some familiar faces.

    A close look at commentary on both COVID-19 and climate change reveals significant crossover between unqualified voices casting doubt on experts recommending action.

    Why?

    “There’s nothing mysterious about this,” says Stephan Lewandowsky, a professor of cognitive science, who studies the persistence of misinformation in society at the University of Bristol.

    “I think COVID is just climate change on steroids in a particle accelerator,” he says. “The same forces are happening: you have the inevitability of a virus which is the same as the inevitability of the physics. And opposing that you have politics which motivates some people to deny the inevitables and instead resort to bizarre claims.”’

    https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/08/10/how-uk-climate-science-deniers-turned-their-attention-coronavirus-covid-19

    In a parallel universe, namely the fossil fuel PR and communications for the same, via NewsCorp, has commentator and political activist Bolt (also on the DeSmog database) opposing voluntary euthanasia in Victoria as eugenics but nowadays proposes eugenics or involuntary euthanasia for oldies during Covid19 as they have become an inconvenience and wieght on the economy; UK tabloids also pushing the same.

  2. Consume Less

    Australia is a disgrace when it comes to carbon emissions. Per capita Australia is about 16.8 metric ton annual. China 8, US 16.1, Indonesia 2.1. The world average 4.5.
    How good is Australia Scottysackedfrommarketing, our fossil fuel soaked lifestyle puts us into the top echelon of polluters.

    We must show Morrison the back door at the next election.

  3. RomeoCharlie29

    We will not see change until the world stops pandering to the fossil fuel companies. The big bullet we have to bite is ending reliance on coal, gas and, yes, oil. The big miners have had, and continue to have, inordinate sway over governments of all persuasions. They resist efforts to get them to pay reasonable prices for ‘our’ resources that they dig up while at the same time demanding, and getting, unsustainable subsidies to continue their exploration.

    There are undoubtedly minerals which must be mined to maintain our economies and our way of life but the benefits from these must be shared more equitably, something this government is incapable of doing given its subservience to these industries.

    The events of yesterday in the (dis)United States are the results decades of similar pandering to the elites at the expense of ordinary people and they finally revolted, though for the wrong reasons and urged on by an idiot from the elites they should be shunning.

    The situation in Australia is similar, if not as dire. For decades successive governments have been in thrall to the miners and the wealthy while progressively squeezing the middle class and the poor. This progression has reached its nadir with the election of the current government and its demonstrable contempt for truth, morality and the rule of law.

    Their unconscionable pursuit of those on welfare via such indignities, and possibly illegal actions such as robodebt and the Indue card, while continually finding ways to further benefit the already wealthy, or political mates, the egregious breaches of conventions around government grants and the abuse of increasingly generous entitlements they have granted themselves, have brought this government, its Prime Minister and many of its senior members into serious disrepute, or contempt.

    The impending return of Jobseeker to its grossly inadequate Newstart level is just the latest indignity for the unfortunate cohort, the unemployed. The uncaring of Morrison and his relevant ministers must be kept firmly in the public view. This, and his governments, steady erosion of democratic and privacy rights, must be constantly repeated if we are to do the necessary: get rid of this toxic mob.

    Covid19 gave the government the impetus, admittedly patchily applied, to give some financial relief to the unemployed, and some employed, but as usual, they managed to ensure mates and the undeserving wealthy, got even more. Australia’s success in managing the pandemic is largely despite, rather than because of, federal government actions. It was the responses of the states and territories that saw us do as well as we have. Polling may appear to be crediting Morrison, but the real response will come at an election. Bring it on.

    As for a UBI, not in this government’s lifetime.

  4. AI

    Rosemary, a lot to take in there and much I agree with. I will only make a comment on “creating a new world order”. Many see the NWO as representing a negative future with top-down central control, the loss of liberties for most, a fascist-corporate takedown of our current way of life by a small number of elitists. But who says the NWO with its Trojan Horse of the Great Reset as promoted by Klaus ‘Blofeld’ Schwab cannot be turned around 180 degrees? Klaus, Gates and the WHO want to firstly scarce us all by talking up a magic virus and then control us with the promise of a magic vaccine solution. Convinced this is the way to go? Then line up to play your role in the NWO good slaves. But back to the main point of creating a NWO based on humanity, and not the current version of a NWO based on anti-humanist agenda that deems it necessary to vaccinate 7 billion people for the purposes of transhumanism. I believe 90% of people have no idea what is coming. You might find this article of interest: The Injection Fraud – It’s Not a Vaccine https://home.solari.com/deep-state-tactics-101-the-covid-injection-fraud-its-not-a-vaccine/

  5. DrakeN

    AI, do ask your mental health carer to be sure that you take your medications.

  6. AI

    DrakeN, your ego is so beautiful, even your teddy bear must love it.
    No questions related to the article I linked to before you roll your sleeve up?

  7. Matters Not

    AI re:

    Klaus, Gates and the WHO want to firstly scarce us all by talking up a magic virus and then control us with the promise of a magic vaccine solution.

    Perhaps you have a relevant link from a credible source? Or is this just your usual nonsense? Then there’s Gates’ supposed motivation(s) etc. You must know the drill by now. Dear oh dear.

  8. Kronomex

    Catherine Austin Fitts (Solari Report) – another right wing nut job right alongside with Robert Kennedy and Mary Holland of the Children’s Health Defense. If that’s the best credible information you can push then you should consider sparing us your conspiracy theories and other rubbish.

    There’s nothing more dangerous than people like Fitts who by her own admission, “I am not a scientist. I am not a doctor. I am not a biotech engineer. I am not an attorney. However, I read, listen, appreciate, and try to understand those who are.” No, she’s an investment banker and former public official who has absolutely no medical and scientific expertise in the areas she’s raves on about. Her defence: she reads a lot and listens and then makes statements with no evidence, empirical or otherwise, to backup her assertions.

    Like I said: right wing nut job.

  9. Matters Not

    While not fundamentally opposed to a UBI (indeed was once very much in favour of same), it now seems to me that it’s not the best way to proceed. Look around and see there’s an abundance of unmet needs. So many things that might (and perhaps) should be done. Indeed too many to list. Yet, conceptually, some want to (potentially) waste mental and physical resources.

    Marx and others, argued that humans have a fundamental need to externalise themselves. Crudely – to make things. To be creative. To (mentally) imagine what might be and then to (physically) make same. In short – to work. Work not only provides physical benefits it also is good for mental health – allows for social interactions, friendships, learnings etc. Hence, it might be better to provide a job guarantee (paid above an UBI) rather than perhaps a non-productive UBI.

    Kronomex – Fitts is/was also a Trump supporter.

  10. Matters Not

    Re:

    and a blind eye is turned to how little tax they pay

    Well that may (effectively) be the case, but is it being suggested that the law itself is being broken? Or just the spirit of same? Either way, shouldn’t we, the citizens, be doing something about it? What mechanism(s) are available to us voters – apart from the ballot box every three years or so?

    Further, while Ministers as members of the Executive Branch can commission Legislation and change Regulations, what can other MPs do? Particularly if they occupy the Opposition benches. Again what mechanism(s) are available to MPs apart from exerting internal pressure and perhaps going down the Private Member Bill track? All of which are exceptional courses to follow.

    In an age of almost instant communication via technological advance(s), surely we can do much better than that. Where is the leadership? Where is the imagination? Where is the political will? Perhaps we need to look into the mirror for the answers?

  11. RosemaryJ36

    MN – A simple first step in ensuring those making big profits pay more tax, is to put a relatively low ceiling on claims against costs of managing tax affairs. The tax accountants won’t like it, nor will the profiteers, but it might reduce the need to try to squeeze more money out of the disadvantaged.

  12. Joe Carli

    In Capitalism, one’s well-being is predicated upon one’s wealth..but then, the value of “wealth” is predicated upon the fewer % that have it.
    In Communism, one’s well-being is predicated upon the greater number who share the commonweal..the greater the number the better the system..which of these is more honourable?

  13. Kronomex

    Joe,

    “..which of these is more honourable?” replace “is” with “seems” because what you are asking is more a rhetorical question. As with any system of governance the inevitable rise of greed, corruption, and power grabbing effectively makes both systems the same. The only difference is the name the system of rule is given and the usual end result is the little people suffer. So neither are honourable.

  14. Joe Carli

    Krono’…” So neither are honourable.”…..While you call mine rhetorical, yours is subjective, judgemental and final…which is more debatable?

    Just because we in the West have this idea that the resident middle-class produces the majority of professionals from universities, can it not mean that perhaps it is the rising educated Chinese working-class that is producing the professionals there..NOT a resident middle-class?

  15. Kronomex

    It’s not worth arguing with you Joe, you have your obsession with class almost to the exclusion of anything outside that. You asked a question and I simply made a comment in reply. “…yours is subjective, judgemental and final…” that is a value judgement of me based purely on your worldview. Once again; it’s not worth the effort arguing.

  16. Joe Carli

    Kronomex (the Innocent)…well FO then!

  17. RosemaryJ36

    Everyone who has lived in the UK – England in particular – knows how class conscious it was. It did have a Communist Party at one stage – in fact when I was at IC, many of my lecturers in the Maths department were members. But when the USSR invaded Hungary in 1956, and revealed its true power-hungry drive, the British CP collapsed. Now everyone strives to be middle class – except the refugeess, who just strive to survive.

  18. Matters Not

    Re:

    put a relatively low ceiling on claims against costs of managing tax affairs

    Don’t think that would work. (Even though Labor took something like that policy to the last election.) Just imagine if the Big 4/5 Accountancy Firms (often used by international/multinational corporations themselves) offered FREE tax returns IF such customers purchased certain Business Advisory Services which might remain a tax deduction in themselves. Thus the detailed wording of the legislation becomes the high hurdle.

    In Australia, it’s quite common for the Tax Office to seek advice from the Big 4/5 Accountancy companies on how to close loop-holes in Tax Law from these very same companies which (at the same time) are advising companies on how to structure their tax affairs so as to minimize any outlay. Fox in charge of the hen-house scenario?

  19. DrakeN

    Tax financial transactions – all of them – at a tiny impost percentage-wise, calculated on the actual amount which the Treasury needs in order for the country’s affairs to be conducted for the benefit of all of its citizens.
    That would catch most of the money fiddlers, and the connipations at the top-end-of-town would provide us with entertainment for decades.
    The mind boggles at the thought of the already wealthy fainting at the amount of tax they have to pay on their unearned incomes.

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