January 3, 2014

End corporate welfare

There are a lot of really smart and wealthy people in Australia desperate to not learn and desperate to reduce the incomes of other Australians.

Why?  To increase competition, of course.  We must compete at the lowest levels, on the assumption that we have an uneducated and unskilled workforce - and if they're not now, they will be in the future; damn it, we can make it happen!

Someone awfully important in local public life recently noted, with much negative judgement, that Australia's minimum wage is double the minimum wage in America.  No acknowledgement from this man that he was comparing apples and camels, and no critique from those reporting his sage observation.

A few weeks back, a minor debate was started by one newspaper, quoting a few hospitality workers, who believe that Australia should step up and start tipping rather more ... more in the American way of things (you know, where the minimum wage is less than $8 an hour, and gratuities literally mean the difference between eating and paying the rent, or not).  No compelling reason was offered, other than 'because' ... because large percentage-based tipping is the norm in other countries.  These hospitality workers didn't bemoan low incomes, didn't claim they couldn't afford to live:  they just wanted more tips, for no particular reason.

Perhaps we'll all be more amenable to lowering wages in this country when state and federal governments stop the flow of corporate welfare, which runs to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year - enough to instantly wipe out the federal deficit, and then some, which would instantly put the budget back into surplus.  The continued privatisation of profits and socialisation of business losses is a sad and tired joke, isn't it. 

Imagine if negative gearing were added to the cut & burn list - whammo! - a surplus so big that some really useful and economically stimulating cross-generaltional infrastructure projects could instantly go ahead. 

But no, we limp along, firmly fixed in the twentieth century, our pollies and business leaders clinging to dated economic models that should be discarded for evidence based decision making, and best bang for the buck for the maximum number of people.  Won't see that happening any time soon. 

Not long ago, McDonald's offered advice to their staff in America about how to manage on their minimum wage:  get a second job, basically, was the take out, and use food stamps.  

End corporate welfare for McDonald's; better yet raise the minimum wage

McDonald's shuts down employee website that warned about dangers of fast food


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