March 8, 2008

Ruddtopia roosts on the neediest

Kev Rudd is going to save us from inflation by bolstering the Federal government's already embarrassingly bloated surplus.

He's going to achieve the extra bang for the bloat by taking away from those who already have so very little: old age pensioners and careers (who, very often, are one and the same thing).

The elderly, who only receive around $12K a year on a government pension, will lose their annual $500 senior's bonus, which for most is a windfall that enables them to pay for a few essentials of life, whether a coat for winter, house repairs, or perhaps medicines and new shoes.

The Rudd government is also expected to axe the $1600 a year paid to carers through the carer bonus and the carer allowance schemes.

To add to the insult, there isn't really any particular economic to support the old theory of cutting spending in order to put a lid on inflation. The European Central Bank takes a totally different tack, appreciating that a downward spending spiral can suck in other elements of the economy, like fewer jobs, which then feeds a genuine recessionary trend. No, in Europe they are more interested in price stability to keep inflation in check.

Oh, that's right: Rudd promised that he would look into the every increasing price of petrol and groceries. He forgot to mention that first he would take away a pittance from the neediest, lest they lose their heads and the economy runs riot over the purchase of some extra fruit or the fixing of a leaking tap. No sir, you just can't trust the wayward spending habits of those who have so little.


  1. Rudd is a snake Caz.

    Look.. I get the yearly $1000.00 carers bonus for Mark, who as you know is autistic.

    We use all the money we get from the government for O.T, Speech Pathology and Behavioural Therapy.

    Okay.. HBF covers a portion.. but not all.Rory and I don't mind that we are out of pocket some, because the results are positive for our son.

    What irks me Caz, is the fact that many of these carers have no other means and heavily rely on that extra bit of cash.
    We can manage, I know of many others who cannot.

    Fuck it sucks!
    It really does.

  2. Shit - Blogger really sucks sometimes.

    Lost my comment Kath.

    Have to have a early one tonight, having a family trip - EARLY UP for a Sunday, no sleep in for me.


  3. This is a bastard if he goes through with it.

    There is a much simpler cure: the tax cuts that aren't necessarilly needed. How about we curtail some of that as I've written ad nauseum??

    A Labor government curtailling services or payments to those in need?

    Take me away....

  4. It's only your comment that you lost isn't it Caz??!!

  5. You are dead right Mike!

    "the tax cuts that aren't necessarilly needed.How about we curtail some of that"

    It's all so simple really!

  6. Caz, do you have any links about the European approach? I have been rather puzzled by the uniformity of the economists' view here that building bigger and bigger surpluses will actually help inflation significantly. It does not entirely make sense to me. I also figure that, if you let interest rates go up to reign in those who are better off from spending so much, is it so bad to give some tax relief to those at the bottom who are incidentally caught by the blunt instrument of interest rates?

    Also, if the tax cuts mainly represent bracket creep, everyone used to think that was a good idea.

    My suspicion is that the bulk of economists here are making a wrong call, as happens from time to time.

    It's been a long time since I commented here. Been keeping well?

  7. Oh yes, only my own little thoughts lost from bloody, bloody, bloody Blogger Father. Some of my best rants have been lost to the ether, never to be retrieved. I like to think of them floating out there somewhere, perhaps linking up with a group of kindred thoughts lost by others in the metaverse.

    Steve - I read about it a while ago, just in an article. Perhaps a Google on the European Central Bank and inflation policy, or some similar combination of words would throw up some helpful links.

    The recessionary spiral is so obvious & done many times before. I despair that Rudd is taking such a well worn and predictable path.

    Just as important though is the total disconnect in Oz of price increases to anything real.

    Nowhere else in the WHOLE WORLD do increases in grocery prices out-strip the inflation rate. ONLY IN AUSTRALIA. CAN ANY POLLIE TELL ME WHY?

    And it's not by some tiny little margin. 14% inflation over a decade, with inflation running well above 30%. This isn't some trivial anomaly.

    Our problem isn't people spending "too much" - what on earth does that mean anyway? they have lots, they spend lots! - it's the price of damned everything skyrocketing with no justifiable reason - food, petrol, medicine, housing.

    No one can tell me that a few percentage point rises in interest rates equates to the price of a house increasing by a few hundred thousand dollars, or rent increases of 30 to 50 percent.

    Nor that the price of potatoes, with $100 a tonne paid to a farmer (including transport - if the farmer delivers to the door) somehow legitimately morphs into $1049 a tonne paid by the consumer (real data, from a real farmer). Or how about 40 cents paid per litre of milk to farmers?

    It's dead simple: less spending costs jobs, fewer jobs means less taxes paid and less spending, which means more job losses, and on it goes, and we know exactly how the story ends.

    Yes folks, the unemployed, whom are so mercilessly pillared by all, including by governments, play a very important role in you keeping your job and you paying less for goods and services - at least in traditional economics, which is how our gov't is trying to play this out. Next they'll be grappling with increasing unemployment, and will scratch their heads as if it’s a great mystery.

    It's plain that we need to keep prices - of everything! - stable, rather than the mess of creating an economic crisis and increased unemployment. In this modern and wealthy era, we shouldn't need to resort to such a blunt and ugly instrument always falls most harshly on the low paid and the insecurely employed.

    I’m well, but busy, Steve, thank you for asking. The organisation where I have had work for the last four or so months doesn't allow blogging (or commenting) from work facilities, which has put the kybosh on my blogging and blog commenting. The best I can do is try to grab a few minutes at night, but even then my brain is often too tired (particularly as my work primarily entails thinking and writing.)

    When I say they "don't allow", it's the policy, but they do have genuine monitoring tools in place to back it up (can you believe they don't trust the workers??!!). I like to think of being able to spend a few minutes here and there through-out the day blogging as being life/balance, but not many employers see it that way.

    I do still stop by your place Steve, as no one else does what you do - always fascinating to catch up with the things you've come across in your eclectic reading, I would be bereft without you providing such an excellent public service.

  8. Ah, thank you Caz, you cheer me up. I was recently having one of my underappreciated moods. (They tend to come on when I post a run of what I think are more amusing than usual posts, and no says anything about them.) To overcome this, I have previously resorted to inviting compliments, but I don't want to come across as too "needy" by doing that again. (Or at least not more than once a year!)

  9. That's the eternal problem with blogging Steve, so one must persist (or not) with little or no knowledge of who is devoted to our efforts.

    I like to think that some contemporary bloggers will be more appreciated, perhaps even exalted, long after they're gone. Not necessarily in the way of great authors, rather for being a window into the daily nature of an era. A permanent record of the heartbeat of the human condition at a point in time. People like you, and Timmy, and Drunka, and Cubicle, and Jacob, all genuinely unique, all leaving a footprint for future generations to unearth. I rather like that idea.