August 30, 2007

PM fails economics 101

The number of Australians living in poverty has increased.

That is not surprising, given the rise in casual and temporary employment, and the “race to the bottom” for salaries that the Prime Minister and his cabinet seems to believe that Australia should be having with our neighboring Asian countries.

The Prime Minister has dismissed the poverty figures, because, based on his logic, employment rates are up, therefore, poverty must be down, not up.

"I don't pretend for a moment that there isn't more that can be done but it's just altogether too glib for people to say, 'oh well, poverty keeps rising despite the prosperity of the country'."

I think it’s altogether too glib for the Prime Minister to have no clue whatsoever about the economic environment that his government has created and the struggles of the low-payed employed and those on welfare.

I think it is definitely altogether too glib for the Prime Minister to dismiss evidence of increased poverty under his watch based on nothing more than his personal logical fallacies.

According to Families Minister Mal Brough, poverty in Australia has not increased during the entire reign of the Howard government – 11 years, no increase! Like the PM, Brough frails to support his statements with anything other than his own intake of breathe.

This is galling and insulting to the two million people in Australia struggling to “live” on $249 or less per week.

(No word from the ALP yet. The poor aren’t their primary audience either.)

Two million below poverty line ...

PM glibly asserts that they aren't ...


  1. I remember living like that - oh the joys of being a student! Now I pretty much pay that in rent and still have to live like a student... Hmmm, something in that ought to have changed.

  2. Anonymous4:54 PM

    Indeed, how many times have I written of such on Harry's blog?

    Commenters have dismissed me - mostly on the basis that it's their fault (the workers that is).

    As I once wrote, it all depends upon where you view it from. I was pilloried for that as well being told that real wagees had risen, blah, blah, blah.

    Look at the recent AFPC decision 2%. This is less than inflation (depending whether you use the RBA figure) and exactly what Peter Hendy and the ACCI had argued for.

    And that takes no account of the casualisation of the workforce.

    Hendy, and his like, want a "real safety-net". For which read: the current minimum wage is too high and needs to be reduced. The government's IR laws were the tool to facilitate this and the Acci, pissed off with the AFPC's initial ruling, has never let up lecturing it (in submissions) on its "responsibilities" under the Worpkplace Relations Act.

    Hendy sees those responsibilities as "limiting" wage rises to - "at a maximum" - inflation and, preferably, below it. This so as to reduce the Minimum wage to a "proper" safety net.

    They piss me off.

  3. Yes Nails, all those years gaining a valuable qualification only to find yourself still eating baked beans out of a can and stealing toilet paper from work. Makes you proud of the personal effort and motivation that went into bettering your prospects in life, doesn't it?

    Of course, if you were a home owner, preferably with a gaggle of children, someone might care. While you insist on being a childless renter, no politician gives a toss about your vote. (Rent, as far as I have come to understand it from listening to pollies, isn't real money: it's only pretend, like in Monopoly.)

    Father - I've always thought of welfare payments as being the "safety net", albeit one with a whopping big hole in it, thereby forcing anyone in need to grip perilously to the shredded sides.

    When it comes to the minimum wage, I find it offensive that it's conceived as a "safety net", some sort of last ditch bulwark against the worst and most unscrupulous employers, instead of being what it should be - a fair and appropriate minimum living wage for those in lower to middle end jobs. I'm not sure why it's okay to think that hardworking people should work if it won't even allow them to pay their bills and feed themselves and their families.

    Has there ever been a time when we didn't have hyperventilating bullshit about the inflationary effect of increasing the minimum wage?

    Yet a 14% increase for pollies has no economic consequences, just as the million dollar salary increases and hundreds of millions in bonuses for everyone at Macquarie Bank is honkey-dory, no worries!

    Really, you have to be some kind of dick-brain to believe that being able to buy an extra loaf of bread and three lamb chops instead of two each week spells hyper-inflation and doom for the economy, but buying a new Mercedes every six months, or three Prada handbags every week, or buying a ten million dollar house, is beneficial to the stability and well being of the economy and the community.

    Having said that, some of the IR intentions of the ALP are bloody stupid. The more I read, the more I think they are firmly in the pocket of the tiny and shrinking unions. I'm not even anti-union. I actually think it's an unfortunate trend reflecting the selfishness, self-obsession and inflated personal self-esteem of society that unions are on their last legs. I don't see any cure for it, because too many sociological factors are contributing to the trend (all of which the unions ignored, so they are largely to blame for their own woes), but I'm pretty damned sure that the ALP jumping in to return unions to demi-god status is not the answer to anything.

    Unions long ago abandoned women, casual, temporary, young and low paid workers. They haven't given a stuff for about the last 15 years, now they want a new Federal government to prop them up, and they still won't have any intention of doing anything for the workers they abandoned.

  4. Ah, I wonder if they'd notice if I payed with monopoly money...?

    Must get me some babies and a mortgage [did I just break out in a rash?] so that I can become an important and real person in the eyes of my lords and masters...or maybe not...