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Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Highway to Hell, Hockey's Trickle Down Delusion - » The Australian Independent Media Network

The Highway to Hell, Hockey's Trickle Down Delusion - » The Australian Independent Media Network



The Highway to Hell, Hockey’s Trickle Down Delusion














In spite of the unprecedented budget
backlash the Abbott government remains determined to ape America’s hard
right neo-con policy agenda.

But when the US government finds that it is unable, (or unwilling),
to protect its citizens from the ravages of high unemployment,
sub-living wages, homelessness, toxic food, unaffordable healthcare,
crippling education costs, rampant crime and wholesale environmental
destruction, one has to seriously question whether it is a model worth
replicating.

While there are those who are reasonably
happy with the US system, they tend to be from the top end of town, and
not surprisingly they possess a disproportionate voice in the mainstream
media. The story is, by and large, what they say it is. And according to these one percenters they are the job creators, the innovators, the saviors; while the millions Americans on food stamps (who can not afford to eat), and the 1/3 of Detroit households who are having their water supply withdrawn (because they can not afford to pay their bills), are a bunch of lazy whiny socialists who just want to suckle off the government teat.

water cut off
Image by The Washington Post

At least that’s the story peddled by Fox
News, and it has convinced a lot of people who are currently fortunate
enough not to find themselves living on the edge… But surely not ALL
Americans who find themselves struggling are simply too lazy or stupid
to get out there and make something of themselves? Do
they really expect us to believe that millions of Americans find the
idea of work so objectionable that they would rather starve in their own
filth than hold down a decent job?

If
we take the premise that most people, given the choice, would prefer to
be able to afford a home, food, water, healthcare and education,
(and would be willing to work to achieve those things);
then surely the fact that so many people in the US find themselves
unable to afford said things could be an indication that maybe, just
maybe… their system is the teensiest bit flawed!

So,
if we can take it as given that the US system is broken, it begs the
question; why are the LNP so determined that we should follow in their
footsteps? Who’s interests are they looking out for?

Whether
it’s in the US or here in Australia, the sad reality of modern
electioneering is that it costs big money, and increasingly that money
is coming from big corporations. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist
to figure out that political donations aren’t given merely for fun; they
are, in fact, an investment in assuring a favorable legislative agenda.

And
when it comes to corporate political donations here in Australia the
LNP are the undisputed winners, with a war chest so bloated it allowed
them to outspend Labor by nearly 4:1
in the final days of the 2013 campaign; a fact that, when coupled with
the unbridled support of the Murdoch press, was undoubtedly responsible
for the LNP’s 2013 election victory.
(I
mean let’s face it, if people had actually voted for the current crop
of LNP policies then there wouldn’t be the protests, uproar and
staggeringly awful polls we are seeing now).

But
can a democracy survive the corporate highjacking of it’s legislative
agenda and still act in the best interests of it’s citizens? A quick
glance at our cousins in the USA would suggest probably not.

For decent minded people it is hard to
believe that a government would knowingly, willingly inflict such
hardship upon it’s citizenry, and thus some people believe that our
government is simply responding to economic factors beyond their
control, and that they are genuinely acting in our best interest by
trying to balance the books.

There are however many who question the veracity of that story.

Nobel laureate and Columbia University economics professor Joseph Stiglitz for example, says the Abbott government should be looking to spend more rather than making major budget cuts.


“I think there should be some real concern that some of the
politics being discussed and promoted by the current government would
make things much worse.”



Bill Mitchell, Professor of Economics at Charles Darwin University called the budget ‘irresponsible’, saying the deficit should be increased, not decreased, when the economy is slowing.

So while there remains a consensus of expert opinion outright declaring that:

a). there is no “debt crisis”,

b). the extreme cuts proposed by the Hobbott government are a grave mistake, and

c). a rush to surplus is not only unnecessary, it will disproportionately hurt the poorest among us.

The
Government and the Murdoch press keep pushing the spurious argument
that we simply can not afford a decent society anymore. Meanwhile
billions of dollars in tax revenue have been struck from our balance
sheet with the scrapping of the carbon tax; and instead the government
plans to GIVE big mining and power our tax dollars under the farce that is the LNP’s “direct action” policy.

And
let’s not forget the scheduled abolition of the mining tax… A
questionable move given the government’s rhetorical mismatch on the
subject… On the one hand we are told “we need structural adjustment in
the economy because the investment and construction phase of the mining
boom is over and we are now entering the operational phase“, (which is, ironically, when the mining tax is actually supposed to kick in);
and on the other hand we are being told “we have to axe the mining tax
to keep up investment in the mining sector”…. Ehhhh????…. So let me get
this straight; even though we are in the midst of a “budget emergency” we are axing a tax that is just about to start earning for us big time, in order to chase further mining investment, (a ship that has, according to experts, already sailed).

Given
the glaring example of how such trickle down policies have worked in
the USA, it’s no wonder our government is having trouble selling its “take from the poor and give to the rich” budget.

People
instinctively know that strong middle/working class employment and
wages are the drivers of strong economy, and if you continually take
money out of peoples pockets they spend less, and things naturally start
to contract.

Ever
played a game of monopoly? While everyone has a stake the game ticks
along quite nicely, but once too much wealth gets concentrated in the
hands of a single player the other players fall further and further
behind until the game collapses.

Skint-436816
Image by legalweb.net

If we don’t want our game to collapse like our cousins in the USA, then Hockey’s budget agenda is clearly not the way to go. Rather the key to our ongoing prosperity would be to adopt more “middle out” economic policies.

The
fundamental premise of “middle out” economics is that a prosperous
economy doesn’t revolve around the uber rich 1%, but around a great and
growing number of middle-class consumers and small businesspeople; and
that it is demand from the middle class, not tax cuts for the wealthy,
that drive job growth and prosperity.

Counter
to the conventional “trickle down” wisdom, rich businesspeople are not
the primary job creators; middle-class customers are. The more the
middle class can buy, the more jobs they’ll create.

Middle-out economics
is the difference between what is good for society as a whole versus
what protects the vested interests of a select group of corporations.
Rather than cutting services a middle out model invests in the health,
education, infrastructure, and purchasing power of the middle class.



Unlike
America we don’t worship the uber rich, we don’t value the dollar above
all else… We live in a society first, (not an economy), and in spite of
the Murdoch/Abbott drive to bring out the cruel and punitive in us,
Australians remain, by and large, a fair minded lot. Most of us don’t
want to punish the poor and disenfranchised, and we don’t want to
persecute refugees. We want a fair go for all.



If
Hockey’s budget furor has taught us anything about ourselves, it’s that
Australians want the middle out solution, not trickle down squeeze!



Are you listening Mr Hockey?





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