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What will happen in the aftershock of the corona virus? (part two)

What does ‘snapback’ mean?

Our political system is in crisis because our government fails to speak with any clarity on issues that concern us.

Last week’s Essential Report asked people about their expectations of what would happen to the economy following the coronavirus situation:

“Half of the people (51%) think the coronavirus will impact the economy for up to a year, with slow growth following. A further 29% believe the impact will be even more devastating, with long-lasting impact and recession.

Younger people aged 18-34 are a little more optimistic, with 16% thinking the economy will recover within 2-3 months (compared to 9% of those aged 55+).”

The now retired Senator and Scottish warhorse Doug Cameron tweeted:


Cameron’s words in there brevity contain the sting of truth and the bark of foolhardiness.

Only a government bereft of any political nouse would believe that it were possible to, as Cameron said, abandon its own dogma, snap its fingers and return to the political settings of early January 2020.

I know I’m stepping on my previous words here but please be patient. In a short space of time the government (1) doubled the benefit payed to those out of work, and (2) spent $130 million on unconditional wage subsidies with the dole queue likely to remain lengthy for a long, long, time.

For the first time in my life the issue of peoples’ health became the government’s top priority.

The answers to the question from Essential poll show a remarkable naivety by the young with the other half of the people just as gullible.

That said, what of the born to rule party who think they are best to manage the economy? The party who, before COVID-19, was almost certain to take us into a recession waving a white flag.

But no party is recession proof.

Wikipedia tells us that Paul Keating’s recession – the one we had to have – saw 11% unemployment.

The young of today wont know what hit them. Youth unemployment reached 17%; inflation and interest rates soared, and financial institutions collapsed.

I was in business at the time and paying 19% interest on a large overdraft.

Having ticked up the biggest budget deficit in postwar history, and recognising that at some time it will have to be paid back the Prime Minister intends to go ahead with the already legislated tax cuts for the well off. Greg Jericho wrote last week it’s a form of “snapback” austerity – meaning cuts to services will be inflicted on the less well-off. He went on to say that:

“And yet, despite the coronavirus shredding all projections made even just three months ago, the government remains firm in its view that it will deliver its tax cuts – cuts which were not even costed when they were legislated, and which now are based on scenarios of pure fantasy.”

Having now dipped his toe in the waters of flexible ideology why doesn’t the Prime Minister just put a blanket ban on subsidies (unless proven to be in the common good) and the taxation loophole doors that are always revolving for the rich and privileged.

As I said in my previous piece, this crisis could be the catalyst for change.

“Snapback” won’t snapback easily. Having seen the value of our public health system and the part private hospitals play in it pressure will be on the government to fund it better. Or organise it better.

We have also witnessed the intrinsic value of essential workers including nurses, cleaners, aged care workers, child carers and home delivery drivers. Their value must be adequately recognised and recompensed.

Pause and think; should be the mantra, develop ideas look at different ways of doing things, dismiss nothing? A moment of tranquillity that brings creativity, stillness, thoughtfulness and change is a precious one.

We, together with our politicians need to stop and ask ourselves what a society is and what are the aspirations and desires of it. Surely they must be better that what we have now.

They put their ideology aside to help fix the problem. Why not prolong it with ideological forgetfulness.

Now that the government has accepted the science of the coronavirus they should totality accept the science of climate change and recognise that we must all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health.

So why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet and do something substantial to lower our emissions as a matter of urgency?

But having said that, one can picture the deniers of climate change arranging their forces to attack those who believe and don’t want it to become worse than what it is.

Now is not the time – “they will say afresh” and the same old story will be repeated.

We must at all cost resist them.

Those of us game enough to display our naked idealism see a much different world than the unregulated one of capitalism and the far right.

Never confuse what you want with what you need.

We see a society where the common good works hand in hand with regulated capitalism. Where caveats are placed on policies so that fairness, kindness and the colour green is evident. A society where ample time is given to the children we have conceived to raise the citizens of tomorrow.

We must have time that balances work, rest and play. We must plan ahead free of the dogma of greed is good and free of past errors.

As I see it, the simplistic message of “snapback” suggests that governments are only ever reactive institutions instead of, as far as is possible, being proactive.

This must be reversed.

Hugh Mackay, writing for The Conversation puts it this way:

“But pandemics are such a potent sign of our interconnectedness and interdependency, they remind us that sustainable communities depend on a steady supply of compassion to nurture them. Longer term, major disruptions like this one tend to bring out the best in us, so we are entitled to hope for some overdue corrections to our mad materialism and our unhealthy individualism.”

Scott Morrison said “snapback” means, more or less, that we have to get back to where we were before.

Surely he doesn’t mean experiencing the rorts, the corruption, the daily incompetence and the appalling lies … then forget it.

When we emerge from our confinement the worst possible thing would be that the “snapback” principle simply reinforces a conservative view of a world that has long past us by. Let us hope that it is not the destination the leader wants to take us.

My thought for the day

We dislike and resist change in the foolish assumption that we can make permanent that which makes us feel secure. Yet change is in fact part of the very fabric of our existence.

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  1. whatever

    Stop using stupid anti-Labor MSM tags such as “Paul Keating’s recession”.

  2. New England Cocky

    “Scott Morrison said “snapback” means, more or less, that we have to get back to where we were before.

    Surely he doesn’t mean experiencing the rorts, the corruption, the daily incompetence and the appalling lies … then forget it.”

    Now, now John Lord, you are letting your commonsense get in the way of largesse for the undeserving wealthy and corporates. Any move to reduce Newstart back to previous starvation levels would hopefully bring Australian voters off the beaches and onto the streets in protest.

    The Smirkie Sacked from Marketing two word mantra “Snap Back” is to re-assure his financial political donors from the big end of corporate business that all will be well in this too much over-publicised “crisis”. Government largesse will still flow to the undeserving wealthy rather than into health, state education, welfare benefits for the aged, needy, infirm and NDIS. Well, all executives deserve an Hawaiian holiday every year at taxpayer expense, don’t they?

  3. KarenJ

    Sadly the status quo will return when we are finally able to come out of our shell. How do we the plebs force the change we so desperately want without having to wait until the next election? Every time I read an intelligent article by intelligent people with intelligent thoughts I am driven to tears because I know nothing will ever change while MSM and RWNJ’s exist. Banning lobbying and changing donation requirements with real time record keeping for political parties will help somewhat. And how do we expose the lies being told without the support of the MSM?

    I despair at the future for my children and unborn grandchildren. We all dream of the future you write about but it is not going to happen in my lifetime. Soon enough we will return to the fascio-capitalist without care dogma of the last 40 years, to the time of disbelief in the science of climate change and the propping up of big business that don’t need propping up, of giving advantage to the rich who don’t need advantage.

    I really don’t see the change some at AIMN (writers and readers) imply is coming. That state of affairs saddens me.

  4. John Lord

    Whatever. Perhaps a greater understanding of what I am saying might be obtained by exercising a greater willingness to think more deeply

  5. Ray Tinkler

    What “snapback” means is exactly what it says and why, like the 2 Billion dollars, all the promises of the extra funding to deal with “The Virus’s” effects are “Notional”. i.e. can be switched off as soon as this govt decides they’re no longer needed, according to them. Why do you think they are now table thumping that they’ve got it virtually beaten.

    This govt is one that makes promises it knows it will never keep.

  6. DrakeN

    To add my “Thought for the Day”, John:
    “The Price of Progress is the Pain of Change.”
    Seeking solace in the security of stasis is akin to driving to the shops in a stationary car; we get to go nowhere and starve whilst doing it.

    @whatever: Maybe you need to take off your ideolgical rose-tinted glasses, dismount your high horse and stand securely, legs astride, to stop your knees jerking.

  7. leefe

    “They put their ideology aside to help fix the problem. Why not prolong it with ideological forgetfulness?”

    Because ideology is all they have. Because they really do care more about making sure rich and powerful people (including themselves) get richer and more powerful, and they don’t give an airborne act of sexual intercourse what that means for the plebs.

  8. Harry Lime

    Well, at least Peter Hartcher in today’s Age thinks Scottysackedfrommarketing has discarded his well known spots.Marvellous how apparently intelligent people can be so easily bullshitted.

  9. Alfredo

    Forget the snapaback any time soon. MIT has the COVI-19 on-off until the end of 2021. By that time most people will not care what they give up, just let us back to normal! “Periodic bouts of social distancing keep the pandemic in check. IMPERIAL COLLEGE COVID-19 RESPONSE TEAM.” It makes the footy prediction of resuming games this year look optimistic. One and a half years of a locked-down economy, what will that look like? Not quite here yet, but can see the day coming, from Liabilitymate: ‘Warning Language. Karen Brewer ENOUGH-IS- ENOUGH Australia’

  10. Ross

    John, you keep hearing that phrase “it has to be paid back at some time”. Why?
    The Reserve Bank of Australia has spent some 130 billions of AUD buying up Australian Government bonds in an attempt to keep interest rates as low as possible.
    These billions were created out of thin air by way of keyboard entries at the RBA.
    Does the RBA have to pay back this money?
    Who would the RBA be paying these billions of AUD back to anyway?
    Would it be the Australian Government through Treasury?
    A paltry $130 million on unconditional wage subsidies pales into insignificance compared to what the RBA is trying to do to enable a snapback that probably won’t happen.

  11. wam

    After a pool walk, it is a good giggle today lord.
    Cameron is a realist and the IPA agenda is bubbling away just minutes from boiling as the food for recovery.
    The electorate will be reminded that labor cocked up and it took smirko 6 years to get to surplus(virtual bullshit surplus becomes reality in the minds of labor voters who got frightened by booby and are terrified by brandt) and the slogan who do you trust with the recovery?
    That is scary when your figures show 90% of us expect 12 months or more of this trauma.
    wow fryburger has just explained how this is 10 times the GFC with a reference to the lying rodent and little smile at steer’s line.
    Ross no votes in honesty because the truth is what we believe and they will control the truth.
    Is that truth enough to win, lord?

  12. Andy56

    Paul keating’s recession strikes a chord. If your honest, you will recognise that Keating was /is part of the “institution”. Even he couldnt see it. Super was a brilliant idea in the bubble to support us in retirement. With a UBI, super savings are not needed. We are very good at building layers upon layers of red tape to cover problems. It costs three times an unemployed persons meager rations in useless red tape when there are no jobs for the last 5-10% anyway. Just give them the money and eliminate the baggage.
    The neocon ideology is always rabbiting on about cutting red tape and efficiency, well here is a chance to put their money were their mouth is.

  13. Matters Not

    Gee Alfredo, Karen Brewer is not one who should be advising others. Has no idea how government works or even how it might work. Seems to want a Dictatorship of the Governor-General, unelected as he is. Perhaps because he once wore the ‘uniform’ might be the attraction? Her speciality seems to be SHOUTING. But she does provide a sound case for more mental health funding (unintended as that might be).

  14. Linda Behan

    Alfredo, Karen Brewer is unhinged, inciting violence and is an anti-Covid crazy. Alfredo, Karen Brewer/Spiers is not a person with real knowledge that anyone should look to for answers on social and political problems. You should not be promoting her videos. That makes you look foolish. She needs a stint in a psych ward for evaluation and so do a lot of her followers.

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