Our politicians have sold our country out from under the feet of the citizenry. We are no longer even the primary audience that our politicians are worried about. Policies are now crafted to be suitable to the Murdoch and Fairfax organisations and the big end of town. Exclusively. Common sense does not matter. Nor do Aussie citizens.
So our politicians keep recycling the same old failed policies because they are not allowed to propose anything that might impact negatively on big business. If they do they will lose their job. So the citizenry no longer control our own country. Obvious and appropriate policies simply cannot be mentioned for fear of a backlash in the press.
Most Aussies know that:
- You cannot solve unemployment by bashing the unemployed.
- You cannot make housing more affordable by propping up the housing market.
- You cannot reduce CO2 emissions by paying businesses.
- You cannot fix the budget deficit by taxing the poor.
- You cannot reduce our trade deficit by reducing company tax.
- You cannot make the poor better off by making sure that the rich are better off.
Yet all of these nonsensical proposals remain at the core of our politics. This is because these are the only policies that the press and big business will allow to be discussed. And unfortunately this is likely to continue for as long as our country is ruled by big media and big business.
The solutions to most of our problems are obvious, apparent, and relatively easy to implement. A primary school child could work out a viable answer to most.
- If you want to fix unemployment then you need to increase the number of full time jobs available and increase the support available for those who are unemployed.
- If you want to make housing more affordable then the housing market has to be treated as a housing market rather than as an investment vehicle.
- If you want to reduce CO2 emissions then you ban companies from emitting too much CO2.
- If you want to reduce the budget deficit then you increase taxes on the well-off and on big business.
- If you want to reduce the trade deficit then you tax multinational companies in a way in which they are obliged to pay at least as much tax as domestic companies.
- Finally: if you want to make the poor better off then you abandon using economics as a guide for how to run our country.
It is this last point that is the most significant.
Our ruling elite have decided that we live in an economy: not a society. Economism is now the only language talked by our press and our politicians. Even though it is totally nonsensical to treat our society as being just an economy, and to propose that anything that is good for the economy is good for the society; this remains the default setting for our politicians and press.
Why? Because as soon as a politician joins a political party then they are obliged to swear an oath to protect the interests of the 1% exclusively. Politicians see their entry into politics as being an entrée into becoming a part of the 1%. They understand that our country is being run for and on behalf of the rich so they understand that it is in their best interests to simply become one of the rich.
Of course many in the press would likely label me as being an alarmist but this is mainly because they are being paid by rich corporations to label me as an alarmist. All that any reader need do to assure themselves that my observations are correct is pick up a newspaper and flick through it. The only ‘solutions’ that are ever proposed or considered in our press are those solutions that are acceptable to the rich. Not the obvious ones. Not the solutions that are proposed by academics or non-economists. Or primary school kids. The answers are there. The problem is that they cannot be discussed in our country.
If a proposition is raised that might run counter to the interests of big business then the person proposing the measure will instantly be branded as being a ‘socialist’ or a ‘communist’. Or they will be called ‘naïve’ or a ‘dreamer’. Regardless of how sensible the proposal or how ludicrous the ‘solutions’ currently being embraced. The only answers that will ever be considered are those that are acceptable to rich people and rich corporations.
For example: we have watched successive governments spend all of their time and effort over the last two decades talking about reducing our deficit. Instead of increasing revenue by taxing the top 10% of earners and businesses our press and politicians have focussed exclusively on gutting the services provided to the other 90% of the population. This is simply insane.
For the majority of the time our country has been in existence we have had no trouble in funding services for the majority. Upon our founding it was decided that we would ensure that nobody got too rich or too poor. But twenty years ago our politicians decided that we had to allow rich people to accumulate as much money as they wanted so we had to limit the amount of tax we levied on them. This has led to the nonsensical proposition that the only way that we can fund the required services for the majority is to tax the poorest in our society ever more heavily whilst allowing the top 10% to triple their income.
We have watched the price of houses in our country skyrocket to the point where we all know that when this bubble bursts it will destroy hundreds of thousands of lives. However what is the response of our politicians?
They have watched a bubble grow that has reduced the living standards of most Australians, enriched a few investors at the expense of the majority, and has ensured that the inequities in our society have been growing rapidly. Yet our politicians have decided that they have to keep the bubble inflated and growing. They are apparently reassured when they note that house prices keep inflating? In other words the needs of ‘the economy’ outweigh the needs of the average citizen. The future be damned!
Most of our politicians simply refuse to even acknowledge that the housing bubble will ever burst. They refuse to acknowledge that they have totally destroyed the housing market in our land just so as to service the needs of the property owning class and the banks. When the bubble does burst then the majority of the population will be struggling to survive a massive recession yet the rich will be happy. They can simply move overseas if it gets to difficult. Most of our politicians will be receiving a guaranteed pension that will be sufficient for them to live a very comfortable life so they are unconcerned. However hundreds of thousands of Aussies will suffer horrendously for many years.
It is difficult to see any way out of the current predicament. The feedback loop between the press and our politicians seems to be impossible to break. Even the silliest and the most heartless of ideas will not only be supported but will be extrapolated upon and celebrated.
When our politicians propose that the best way to reduce unemployment is to bash the unemployed harder – our press simply suggests new and exciting ways to increase the pressure on these most vulnerable citizens.
When our politicians propose to reduce services because they have reduced the taxes paid by the rich to the point where the government is going broke – our press suggests that perhaps the government should actually strip away ever more and more services because that will obviously be good for our society.
Where are the individuals in our press who are arguing on behalf of the working class? When was the last time you saw heard a journalist propose that taxes need to be increased? When was the last time you heard a politician say that our housing market is ludicrously overpriced and that the cost of houses has to fall by 70% just to get in line with the average in other countries?
When our housing bubble does burst it will cause a massive recession. Every economist in the world outside of Australia has been making this observation for quite a while (although our press does not seem to report this). Our banks are being shorted on international markets because nobody with eyes to see and a memory thinks that the housing bubble in Australia can last much longer (although our press does not seem to report this).
However there is a faint silver lining to the absolute certainty that Australia is headed for rocky financial times. Perhaps we might see foreign corporations divest themselves of their media interests and we might see our own press owned and operated by Australian citizens rather than foreign businesses? Perhaps we might see taxes raised on those who can afford to pay more taxes? Perhaps we might see our politicians start governing a society on behalf of Australians instead of running an economy on behalf of big business?
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