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The government has dug itself into a deep hole and the walls are crumbling

The message from the RBA is clear – the economy needs stimulus.

But the government’s strident opposition to all suggestions from Labor has left them little room to move.

The only things keeping us out of recession are population growth and government spending. But the government has vowed to cut immigration and government spending.

They could bring forward their planned tax cuts and infrastructure spending, except that would put their much-vaunted budget surplus at risk.

And they won’t separate their 3 stages of tax cuts to wait and see what the economy is like in the mid-2020s because trying to get the third tranche passed in isolation would be an impossible sell as it disproportionately favours high income earners.

They could listen to everyone about the urgent need to increase Newstart except they have already rejected that.

They could advocate for wage rises for people other than politicians and judges and senior public servants but they are committed to reducing penalty rates for the lowest paid instead.

They could limit negative gearing to new properties to stimulate construction but they campaigned hard that that would lead to falling property values and increased rents.

They could rein in unsustainable tax concessions for capital gains, family trusts, superannuation and franking credit refunds but they have already decried these as a tax on retirees (whilst ignoring the fall in return to retirees who have fixed term deposits).

They lambasted Labor’s response to the GFC of giving a one-off cash handout to those on low to middle incomes ignoring that this is a way to provide stimulus without embedding systemic cuts to revenue.

They could allow the experts at Infrastructure Australia to evaluate, prioritise, and co-ordinate infrastructure spending that brings the greatest return but instead they choose piecemeal projects to prop up the vote in marginal seats and to appease the Nationals.

They could reduce power bills by 10% immediately by not charging GST on them. But they rejected that suggestion from ex-Senator Leyonhjelm.

They could insist, as part of the development approval process, that some gas is reserved for domestic consumption at a fair price, but they won’t.

They could embark on building affordable public housing but instead, they are looking to allow first home buyers to get into the market with a 5% deposit and even greater debt.

Despite current policies leading to rising GHG emissions every year, the government has committed to more of the same with another $3.5 billion over 15 years from 2018-19 for their Climate Solutions Package. At the same time, they will spend $3.1 billion over five years from 2019-20 to support North Queensland in recovering from the 2019 flood and a great deal more in drought assistance.

The Coalition’s Climate Solutions package claims “An electric vehicles strategy is expected to reduce emissions by up to 10 million tonnes by 2030”, except they haven’t got one and, in fact, sent out Michaelia Cash to screech about Labor’s plan.

In late March, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) warned that Australia’s ageing population could simultaneously subtract 0.4 percentage points from the annual real growth in revenue while adding 0.3 percentage points to the annual real growth in spending over the next decade. In real terms, that would equate to an annual cost to the budget of around $36 billion by 2028–29 (larger than the projected cost of Medicare in the same year). But the government has no plan to prepare for our changing demographics.

Whilst spruiking the headline unemployment rate and the jobs created, the government is studiously ignoring the rising underemployment figures, the increasing insecurity of jobs, and the millions of Australians living in poverty.

They could invest in research and development to help improve productivity, but instead they have slashed funding for R&D.

In the past five years the population has grown by just 8%, but government spending has risen by an incredible 21%. By sheer luck the mining boom has increased revenues by 27% but windfall gains like these are not sustainable.

The Daggy Dad “please like me” tour, backed up by his affable side-kick doing slide shows of endless cherry-picked graphs, is nothing more than an advertising campaign. Their claims of strong economic management are based on unrealistic assumptions about future wage growth and consumer spending and completely ignore Australia’s spiralling household debt.

They are reliant on precarious revenue from resources and seem clueless about the importance of diversifying our economy and building new industries to take up the slack caused by technological disruption and the inevitable demise of the fossil fuel industry.

Photo shoots and fibs might get you elected, but they don’t do anything to shore up the walls as the hole deepens.


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  1. Jack Cade

    They will just keep digging.
    And Australia deserves them.

  2. Grumpy Geezer

    The public’s waitin’
    For the killin’ and the hatin’
    Switch on the station, oh yeah
    They do a lotta sellin’
    Between the firin’ and the yellin’
    And you believe in what they’re tellin’, oh yeah

    It’s a horror movie right there on my TV
    Horror movie right there on my TV
    Horror movie and it’s blown a fuse
    Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
    Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
    And it’s shockin’ me right outta my brain

    Skyhooks, Horror Movie
    (I feel a rant coming on)

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. So neatly put! Can’t wait for the by-elections to begin.

  4. Alpo

    Nah, they promised to completely ignore the signs and go ahead with their plans to reinforce Neoliberal policies, massive tax cuts for the 1% included, etc.

    Let them keep speeding up as they head for the cliff…. that’s the only way that the morons who voted for them will learn, hopefully.

    As for everybody else, you know what’s coming, so make provisions to stay safe, then sit down…. and watch the bodies float down the river as you sip your tea….

    There is always another election, never forget….

  5. Brad Golding

    They could break up the banks with Glass-Steagall legislation that is already before parliament, but they won’t do that because they have their Rothschild banker’s goon, Jane Hume, in the Senate to make sure it doesn’t happen and the banks control them anyway.

    Labour could have won the election if they had promised banking reform but as they are also clients of the banks, and not of the workers, they would never do that.

    However, the sheeple don’t care because they are consumed by their religion of sport and as long as the government keeps pretending everything is roses they will remain brain dead to what is happening.

    If and when they wake up, it will be too late!

  6. Kaye Lee

    They could do something about problem gambling.

    Australians bet more than $208 billion in 2016-17 with losses at just under $24 billion.

    In Victoria, they estimated the social cost for addictive habits, emotional and mental problems, lost productivity at work, crime and the breakdown of relationships at $7 billion just for that state.

    Australia has 20% of the world’s poker machines.

    About 400 Australians commit suicide each year due to gambling stress.

    But one of their first actions in 2013 was to wind back Labor’s already inadequate gambling reforms.

  7. Matters Not

    Lots of things we could do:

    … own shares in Australian companies producing iron, lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, vanadium and rare earths. Without exception, their products are shipped overseas for refining, leaving us with no industrial base. Why? Because neoliberal capitalism. …

    China is presently building a 200MW (800MWhr) vanadium battery as a trial. Using Australian vanadium. We could have done that with just 10% of the annual $5billion subsidy handed to fossil fuel companies. …

    We have a number of large, abandoned car factories. With a small proportion of one year’s handout to fossil fuel miners, we could build a lithium battery factory and start to design small, light-weight runabouts for urban use, …

    … have committed to spending $50billion on a dozen untried French submarines although it isn’t at all clear what they will actually do. It has been suggested they could patrol the South China Sea, although what they would patrol for is never explained.

    … the breath-takingly expensive F-35, a futuristic air superiority fighter sold to this country when there is nothing in the region for it to be superior to

    And we could even raise the funds to pay for it.

    First step: stop subsidising fossil fuels. Second step: compel companies to pay tax on their turnover, not their artificially-engineered “profits.” … Third, put a small tax, say 1%, on all money borrowed overseas to fuel the absurd and dangerous bubble in real estate. Fourth, a tax on empty properties. Five, a sovereign wealth fund, similar to Norway’s, based on a resource rental tax. … Six. What else could we do? Oh yes, now that we don’t have a car industry, what about a carbon tax on imported internal combustion engines?

    Not sure that Albo has the vision for that. Perhaps Leigh? But then again he can’t even make the Shadow Cabinet.

    NIALL McLAREN Broadening the Base.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Excellent suggestions MN.

    It is so frustrating. We are being run by mediocre politicians who cannot get past politics to actually govern.

    Love the quote…

    “The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power.”

  9. Matters Not


    cannot get past politics to actually govern.

    Worse still – can’t get past ideology to consider the possibilities. Look at our gas industry. Largest producers in the world and yet we don’t have enough for local consumption – even at a wildly inflated price The there’s the minerals. All there for export. Etc.

    Time for a return to public ownership, broadly defined. Scandinavian Nations can do it with sovereign wealth funds, the Chinese can do it (beat capitalists at their own game) – why not us? Superannuation in the hands of the masses beats private enterprise by a country mile. No doubt – if we have a go – then we will get a go. Lol.

  10. Kaye Lee

    They have this mantra – lower taxes, less regulation, smaller government, trickle down…..

    None of it works. But they stick with it because that was the chant at their Young Liberals meetings. Mumsikins and Poppo are wealthy so all’s right with the world.

    Another thing we could do is recognise the financial (and social) return for education and invest in it accordingly.

  11. Matters Not

    Yet Taxes means Services. No magic puddings in the real world. No taxes no services.

    New public buildings – including schools, universities, hospitals, ambulance stations, etc should be emblazoned with signs that assert – Built by TaxesStaffed by Taxes etc. (MMT theorists will have a fit.)

    Tax is now the pejorative word du jour. Elections won (or lost) on the tax descriptor – whether it be a carbon tax, a retiree tax or whatever. Want to kill an initiative – tag it with the tax label. QED.

  12. Terence Mills

    Yet they are still stubbornly committed to cutting income taxes well into the future at a time when we should be using tax revenues for infrastructure building and creating a buffer against the economic storm clouds that are gathering.

    Interestingly, Trump too was committed to cutting income taxes (mainly for the rich) but he also has some $300 billion of tariffs he expects to collect from imports which ultimately will be paid for by the American taxpayer. So the coffers will be replenished by unwitting consumers.

  13. Jaquix

    You only have to read the list of goals of Murdoch’s private lobby group, the IPA, and you can see the agenda of the Liberal and National Parties clearly set out.
    As Kaye Lee puts it:
    “They have this mantra – lower taxes, less regulation, smaller government, trickle down…..” All on the IPAs list of goals.

    Includes of course to break up into separate sections and put out to tender the ABC (competition for Rupert and he’d love to buy just the News section and then where would we be?).
    The only IPA goal they’ve shown no interest in, is the one which calls for the halving of the number of politicians!

  14. Luke Daglish

    Labor is lukey it lost the election, because from now on its down hill.

  15. Jack Russell

    I’ll just leave this here:

    “We are the best economic managers.”

  16. Michael Taylor

    So in a nutshell, they intend to do the exact opposite to what Labor did to keep us from going into a recession during the GFC.

    Yup, that’ll work.

  17. Wayne Turner

    They will just blame Labor yet again,the MSM will promote it,sadly Labor will be too afraid to challenge it,and then the majority of the public fools will believe: It’s Labor’s fault.

    Labor MUST address the BIGGEST LIE of ALL = That the coalition are the best economic managers. Labor will NEVER get anywhere again,until they call out this LIE ALWAYS.Instead of allowing a mainly ignorant public to believe it.

    EVERYTIME ANYONE from Labor speaks to the MSM (If they get the “live” airtime to do it,that is.), they MUST call out ALL the LIES,and NEVER cave to the MSM.I can dream 🙁

  18. whatever

    RBA Governor Philip Lowe is sounding more and more like a Liberal Party fanboy, and his office is supposed to be above party-politics.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Prior to his appointment as Treasury Secretary, Mr Phil Gaetjens was Chief of Staff to the Hon Scott Morrison MP.

  20. Dr Tristan Ewins

    There’s the argument for government as employer of last resort ; but then there’s the challenge of creating real, useful jobs. The balance of trade also needs to be taken into account ; and an active industry policy could be desirable in that context. Perhaps further subsidies for micro-renewables could spur economic activity as well. In the big picture a return to natural public monopolies and government business enterprise could either improve cost structures or enhance competition. Which could lead to higher material living standards. But expecting any of this under the Coalition is a pipe dream. Best to try and ‘reach out’ to Labor ; and remember that full employment is the ‘best friend’ for the welfare state ; as the Swedes showed for a long while. If the world goes into recession – and it probably will – Labor has to hold the Conservatives to account when they make a right royal mess of it.

  21. Pere Duchesne

    It comes back to this, a credibility crisis to do with pathological dishonesty and attempts to fob off self-seeking under an umbrella of “national security” and “ministerial discretion”.

    This is an inveterably deceitful government and this writers suspicions are now thoroughly aroused as to questions of its trustworthiness.

    Did the minister know or not? is a very simple and legitimate question and the refusal of an answer can only inflame suspicions. It is like things like Nauru and the AFP Michaelia Cash raid on Shorten.

  22. Kate Ahearne

    Quite frankly, I believe that Labor made some elementary and foolish mistakes. There was a whiff of hubris about their campaign – they thought they could promise anything, any kind of big spending in such good causes, and the election win was theirs. It was time.

    But a huge percentage of people will always care more about their own ‘hip pocket nerve’, and will bury their heads in the sand rather than face the terrible truths about climate change and planet pollution that are so pressing upon us. I know that this is true of me. I recycle my plastic bags, try hard, but not hard enough.

    The other thing, though, is that Labor’s campaign was not only lavish in some quarters, they never did address the way it was going to be paid for. It was a good point to make that we can’t know how much the coming climate crisis will cost if we don’t take steps to prevent it, but, weirdly, that point really did need to be costed.

    I’m a disappointed cheerer of Labor and the left, but I’ve come to suspect that we need a new force that is neither left nor right, but planet-oriented, and willing to consider all of the economic/moral/humanitarian considerations. We’re in big trouble, but we don’t all know it.

  23. totaram

    Pere Duchesne: “..this writers suspicions are now thoroughly aroused as to questions of its trustworthiness…”

    Ha ha, now? After all these 6 years? I must be dreaming, or maybe you didn’t intend to write that.

  24. Daryl Marshman

    Unfortunately I don’t think Labor will ever get anywhere as all they can do is talk about themselves, now it is what they did wrong. This justs reinforces their mistakes in peoples minds. All they should be talking about is the LNP and what they are doing, nothing else.

  25. Pere Duchesne

    It is not funny, Totaram.

    Six years of blatant lying and the village idiots still voted them back in, against a mildly reformist rational pol-economics presented above board as to costings.


    Deeply unamused.

  26. Kate Ahearne

    I can’t see how calling people ‘village idiots’ because their opinions are different from your own, can possibly be helpful or healthy. They’re not village idiots – they’re just not the same as you.

  27. Grumpy Geezer

    Kate Ahearne – they most certainly DID address how it all was going to be paid for.

    Daryl Marshman – it was the L/NP and the media that kept talking about Labor. “Labor, Labor, Labor…..but Labor….look over there – Labor” The ALP struggled to get there message out as a result.

  28. Patricia

    “Yet they are still stubbornly committed to cutting income taxes well into the future at a time when we should be using tax revenues for infrastructure building and creating a buffer against the economic storm clouds that are gathering.”

    They are just carrying on from the Howard/Costello years when they had the funds to put great infrastructure project on the ground and make provision for the future of all Australians but they wasted it on buying votes.

    And why wouldn’t they? The see what the voters do to labor when they put innovative future proofing in when they are in government. They know that there are no votes in setting up the country and its citizens for the present and the future so they continue to do what the voters want, they buy votes with debt.

    Morrison spruiking that they will have budget surplus’s into the future is just another way of buying votes as the average voters has absolutely no idea how a sovereign government manages the economy and they are taken in by the inference that a federal budget is like a household budget.

  29. Kaye Lee

    This is totally inane but It really bugs me that Morrison walks around with that grin plastered on his face. It has bugged me for a while so I have been overly conscious of it and have watched other world leaders to compare – NO-ONE walks around with a grin all the time except him. It makes me feel he is just so chuffed with himself that he thinks the job is done.

    I hate myself for being so trivial but there it is.

  30. Kate Ahearne

    Geezer, Of course they did supply that costing. It was quite precise. It went something like, ‘It will be much more expensive if we don’t address climate change’.

  31. Pete Petrass

    Kate Ahearne – evfere heard of the expression call a “spade a spade”? They ARE village idiots, the worst government in history.
    The sad thing about all of this is how much we and the country will have to suffer for those retarded voters to realise this government IS full of village idiots.

  32. Phil

    ‘ I can’t see how calling people ‘village idiots’ because their opinions are different from your own, can possibly be helpful or healthy. They’re not village idiots – they’re just not the same as you.’

    It’s a relief valve. I would call Morrison something far worse but, as you are a lady, I will leave that to your imagination.

  33. Kaye Lee

    We are all feeling angst. On various different threads we are venting our anger, sometimes against each other.

    Communicating via the internet has its challenges. I think sometimes we misunderstand the intent of others. I am just as guilty as anyone of ‘releasing the pressure valve’ with intemperate language borne from frustration.

    But having been a maths teacher, and often called upon to help kids who were struggling, I know it is not helpful. We have to take a deep breath and try to explain things better. I always told my students that it was my fault if they didn’t understand so I needed their input so I could improve my explanation.

    After the election, I just said F*CK. But now I have to do better than that.

  34. Kate Ahearne

    Peter/Phil. Addressing issues might take us forward, but name-calling can’t take us anywhere that won’t shame us. C’mon. Let’s look at situations with clear eyes and logical minds. Let’s address the problems. Let’s employ the logic, the arguments. Let’s not sink to the depths that some other people do. No excuses.

  35. Phil

    Kate Ahearne.

    Some things are just innate in human beings. It’s a relief mechanism born from frustration of trying to convince another person they’re wrong with facts and not just opinions. At the end of the day isn’t war the ultimate insult?

  36. Kaye Lee

    One thing that is really troubling me is Albo’s messaging so far. He keeps saying “only one in four people voted for us in Queensland”. What he should be saying is that 56.3% of Queenslanders did not vote for the LNP.

    We need a government who acts, not one who reacts. A government must anticipate future challenges, prioritise responses, and adequately explain them. At the moment, we are led by reaction to focus groups who often have no idea of what they are talking about. Why form policy around what they say when government has advice from the best experts available to it?

    Being a leader means pointing out the direction we should go, not trying to win votes.

    I once saw a bumper sticker which said ‘I would rather lose at rugby than win at volleyball’.

    My rugby-playing husband thought it was hilarious. I would paraphrase that to ‘I would rather lose an election than lose my integrity.’

  37. Daryl Marshman

    Gumpy I agree totally but I mean since the election, now! If they can’t talk about the government’s problems, don’t say anthing as they are still getting the blame for things like the support of legislation that has allowed the news raids. Little mention that it was the LNP who introduced them.
    Kaye totally agree about Morrison’s smirk, gets right under my skin, hope it does everybodies.

  38. Zathras

    Re:Morrison’s perpetual smirk.

    Let’s see him smile his way through the inevitable services cuts he will need to introduce to keep the economy from tanking further toward a recession and the resurgence of Coalition instability as the Nats scramble for more of the dollars that are no longer there.

  39. Stephengb

    I will once again put this up, because it is absolutely central to our future.

    Taxes do not pay for government spending. – Money comes from the government spending.

    Professor Mitchell explains…


    Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete, written in 1946 by Beardsley Ruml, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and published in a periodical named American Affairs.

    Much that people take for granted about money has no basis in fact, and this has implications for the appropriate role for fiscal policy:

  40. Jack Russell

    Three years for Labor to get their heads together … and work out how to simply and clearly explain what fiat currency is, does, and how it works … blow the surpluses bullshit out of the water, burn the edifices of taxes paying for services or anything else crap to the ground, remove their neoliberal economists far away from Finance positions … then apologise to the voters for allowing the criminal flogging of our national assets, and generally trying to be a small target by not defending us from the LNP psychos.

    Then, and only then, can we have a federal election based on facts and evidence.

  41. Matters Not

    Now I see how Labor might’ve won the recent election – they should’ve run on a full MMT platform.

    Never mind – they can remedy that next time around. Big changes on the electoral horizon when it’s explained to Mr & Mrs Average and offspring how taxes are collected under legal obligation then destroyed. Sure to be a vote winner. Especially if Bill Mitchell is leading the charge,

    Labor didn’t lose by much (a few percentage points) but with MMT as the economic platform, it will be a landslide. And that’s before the poll is called.

  42. Grumpy Geezer

    The electorate didn’t understand franking credits Jack. How are they going to handle fiat currency?

  43. Peter F

    Jack Russell, whenever I was ‘discussing’ with a friend or relative about the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ I asked them if they knew that the biggest infrastructure program in our history, the Snowy River scheme was constructed during a period of mainly deficit budgets. wiht Menzies being in power for a great number of those deficit years.

    The significance of that was generally dismissed with words along the lines of ‘nothing you can say will get me to voter ALP’.

  44. Pere Duchesne

    And I see Clive Palmer still hasn’t paid his workers.

    Looks like i win that bet too.

    And people still cant see why I get angry after six years of destructive self serving, where the only policies are those designed to deceive and cheat the public?

    Give me a break!

  45. Phil

    The significance of that was generally dismissed with words along the lines of ‘nothing you can say will get me to voter ALP’.

    A women lived in our street who was on a disability support pension and lived in a state housing commission house. Every election she would have a vote Liberal placard displayed on her lawn. I asked her one time did she know the old age pension was a Labor party initiative? She replied that was just lefty propaganda. This is what we are up against. The propaganda is in every facet of our life from the bullshit about third world countries, to franking credits. I despair.

  46. totaram

    To those talking about fiat currencies, MMT etc.

    I have said it before and I will say it again: If you can explain the 3 sector financial identity and its implications to any one ( who hasn’t already understood it) I will applaud you. It has nothing to do with fiat currencies, is independent of the currency in use, and is therefore true, because it is only dependent on simple accounting arithmetic (or algebra if you like) (it is an accounting identity, which means it is true by definition).

    Until you have explained that to everyone, or most people, don’t even talk of fiat currencies. I have come across people (who shall remain unnamed) who should know better, but fail to grasp this simple identity. Anecdotally, the great and highly commended Labor treasurer, Wayne Swan, was one of them. It is possible that the entire “economics team” in Labor, in spite of Andrew Leigh and his Ph.D. refuse to admit the truth of this identity or feel it is too dangerous to admit its truth. The result is the same. They will follow the neoliberal dream of displaying their “economic management credentials” by delivering larger budget surpluses than the coalition (to their detriment of course)

  47. Geoff Andrews

    Matters Not,
    If Labor adopts MMT intimating that its “debt & deficit disaster” was good, then the LNP can argue that they are still the better managers because their “debt” was bigger than Labor’s debt and that when the imaginary surplus morphs into a massive “debt”, they can proudly assert that Labor couldn’t possibly have done so well.
    Oh, the irony!
    (Just jokin’)

  48. Kaye Lee

    I have spent a great deal of time and effort reading about MMT and come away from it wondering why they phrase things the way they do.

    Surely the purpose, at least for public consumption, should be to explain a couple of pertinent points – that reduced public spending is always accompanied by increased private debt, and that deficit spending is actually an affordable investment in the future provided it is spent wisely.

    Instead, they launch into unnecessarily arcane explanations that are actually irrelevant to the desired outcome – and, as they often don’t match current reality in the way the RBA works, they just lead to the important concepts being lost. IMO.

    PS Bill Mitchell is not a good communicator for general purpose

  49. Pere Duchesne

    Although totaram, it is just possible that even the Labor plan would have been better for the country than the current prejudice -driven rubbish from the IPA.

    If MMT can parallel to modern neo Keynesianism as Kaye Lee explained, what could have been the objection?:

    Unfortunately , Murdoch Palmer and the other cashed up Ralph Nicklebys chose the time to inflict through exhorbitant consent manufacture more barbarism and irrationality on a formerly workable society in pursuit of a fantasy of eternal personal wealth and control.

  50. Matters Not

    Nothing like a WAR to unite the populace. Better still – a war against an invisible enemy or at least one that lacks a human face and is therefore not related to you in any personal sense. Even better – when they are non-citizens and therefore without a vote .

    And yes we have them aplenty. They are called multi-nationals who feast locally (and profit mightily) but pay no tax. Michael West has an extensive list.

    Take one example for illustrative purposes only. Energy Australia Holdings Limited. (Don’t let the name Australia fool you because yes, once it was an Australian owned state-owned enterprise, but now has a parent company in a Caribbean tax haven and pays zero tax. Hardly the good corporate citizen (sic) – (not a citizen because it can’t vote.)

    In more detail. Total Income 3 years $23,901,332,940. Yep approaching $24 billion. Yet Tax Payable over the same 3 years $0. Not a brass razoo. Zilch. Zero. And at a time Electricity and Gas bills have doubled. Pay for executives and directors has shot up while some 42,000 Australians live in energy poverty.

    How does that sound as a worthwhile enemy to target? To wage war against? (As an aside – no franking credits payable because there was no tax paid. Talk about aiming at the wrong target.)

    In the last election, Andrew Leigh was focussing on these Tax Dodgers but his work flew below the radar. Now he’s on the back-bench.

    Guess it’s not time for a war that could be won. Lol.

    Time to put economists on the back-bench and let those with some political nous pick the targets that might win and NOT lose elections. Albo shows some promise in that regard -but not much

  51. Pere Duchesne.

    Kaye Lee, 246..You want to hard bitch-slap him, do you?

    Yes, we all have our ways of coping… yours, therapeutic.

  52. Pere Duchesne

    Why am I on mods, for petes sake?

  53. Miriam English

    They have been destroying the economy.
    So much for being good economic managers.

    “for the first time in 36 years GDP per capita has gone backwards in three consecutive quarters”

    One thing does annoy me about the Guardian article though; the author, Greg Jericho, keeps talking about growth falling off being a bad thing, and I’m sure all the politicians and economists think it is, but I’d be very happy to see growth in a whole range of areas go negative.

    We can’t keep boosting the economy by relying on more and more accelerating consumption of physical goods. We need to become primarily an information economy, so we can grow indefinitely, otherwise we will collapse our natural resources all around us… and we’d better hope they collapse one after another instead of all at once, or we’ll be in really deep trouble.

  54. Revolution Now

    @Kate Ahearne no they are not the same as me. They are unevolved simians barely capable of putting on their clothes to make it through the day. These people should have zero say in how government or policy is formed, they lack the intelligence or awareness of life in general.

  55. Paul Davis

    Commonsense would suggest that if we live in a finite space with limited resources ie planet earth then there is an eventual limit to growth. At some point in the future will we look around and see the entire face of the earth covered in human dwellings resembling a suburb of Leningrad with tower blocks to the horizon in all directions interpersed with factories producing bioenergy and food? Would there will be any forests animals birds insects or biodiversity or just plastic people living plastic lives watching Sky? If this is not our ultimate aim then what is the point of all this unrestrained growth with no environmental or conservation laws? Or do our reptilian masters have other plans, maybe a slaughterfest every few years like a world war or an unstoppable pestilence to wipe out the non inoculated to keep down the population and take their land. Maybe i should ask HolyMo he will know….

  56. Miriam English

    Paul Davis, human population is now under control. World birth rate has stabilised at about 2.5 (which is about replacement number) and continues to fall. The only reason actual population numbers haven’t started to decline yet is that we older generations are living longer than ever, but when we start to drop off, over the next decade or two, the actual number of people on the planet will begin to fall for the first time. Calamities like wars and epidemics don’t decrease population numbers; paradoxically they increase them. This is because lowering the birthrate depends upon wellbeing. This is one reason why foreign aid is such a good thing to do — increase the wellbeing of the poorest people and we reduce their birth rate and numbers of refugees escaping a bad life. (The other reason to do it is that reducing the amount of misery in the world is the right and moral thing.)

    There are some reasons to hope we will slow our consumption of physical goods. If we don’t then we are in for a very nasty future. I’d love to see some statistics on this. I suspect we’d see a consumption curve that rises as people escape poverty, then when their wellbeing reaches a certain level consumption falls… but I have no figures to back up my intuition on this. I also feel sure that as we cross over to a more digital lifestyle, we consume less physical goods — we buy less physical books, movies, and music; we print out less stuff; we travel less (preferring to send messages).

    There is now health pressure to consume less food in order to improve our wellbeing. We know that caloric restriction extends healthy lifespan, and that over-eating brings on a suite of lifestyle diseases that can make old age miserable.

  57. Paul Davis

    Thank you Miriam, would much prefer utopia to dystopia. The next thirty years or so will be interesting for humankind and no doubt entertaining for the Volgons watching from afar. Hope some of the wildlife also makes it, it would be nice to have polar bears and zebra finches in utopia. Cheers.

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