Monday, September 15, 2014

Growing the economy

We have a problem.  In Australia, we need economic growth, otherwise we get unemployment.  But there are times when economic growth doesn't want to happen.  People who have money stop spending it.  They are worried.  They feel that they should be responsible and invest their money to make more money.  And unemployment inches up.

Then you get a conservative government.  And they see the unemployed and the lower paid workers as an expense, and so they try and minimise that expense.  So those people who do spend all their money now have less money.  And those with lots of money invest it.  And the government needs to encourage spending, so they cut interest rates, which gives people with debt more money to spend, but also gives ambitious investors access to cheap money to invest.

So as there is a need for less investment because consumers can't buy as much, there is more investment.  In Australia, its been real estate.  And as long as investors keep pumping money into real estate, everything is fine.  Except that the rental returns aren't great.  But ignore that and focus on the capital gains.  They will go on forever.

Meanwhile, governments have to promise lower taxes to get elected, and they actually have to deliver on these promises, at least to corporations and rich people who own newspapers.  So governments go into debt.  And those corporations need cheap labour, so the government allows them to import temporary workers to replace the more expensive local kind.  And make laws to pay the unemployed locals less.

Its a great system.  There are some fools who think there is something dodgy about all this.  But they just lack belief.  What could possibly go wrong?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Student debt and for profit education

One of Mr Rabbitt's reforms is to extend HECS (Australia's version of student loans) to for profit education providers.  It is wonderful how we look at the very worst of America, and then copy it.  Great work Tony.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jacqui Lambie

Jacqui Lambie is a newly elected Tasmanian senator.  She originally seemed like a bit of a joke.  Particularly when she said she was looking for a partner who was well of and well hung.  She is also a member of the Palmer United Party, which really is a joke.

But Ms Lambie appeared on Australian Story on Monday, and talked about her history.  Her time in the army, and her experience with Veterans Affairs after she quit the army with an injured back.  Because of her treatment, she really hates Veterans Affairs and some in the army.  And she was low down in the pecking order.

Now, I've been in the Australian Public Service a bit, and always down the bottom.  And its funny how the view from the bottom is different to the view from the top.  From the top, its always rosy.  Everything is going well, and if its not currently going well, then the measures to fix things have been put in place, and its only a matter of time until things will be smelling of roses.  From the bottom, its different.

I remember working in Social Security (now Centrelink) and during my induction training great stress was placed on improved relationships with our clients.  We weren't supposed to call them "Bennies" anymore.  Anyway, I went out to work and was supervised by experienced public servants, many of whom nurtured a not-so-secret hatred of our clients.  Their attitude was not considered unusual.  It was also understandable.  These women (they were pretty much all women) had been thrown in the deep end and had been scarred by their experiences with clients.  And that scarring made them less able to deal effectively with clients.  Hence their attitude to clients, particularly angry clients.  Now I don't know what management thought was happening.  But I know how it was working, and as far as I could see, nothing would change until the old guard quit, and nothing would change while young relatively defenceless public servants were scarred by their experience with nasty clients.

Anyway, it is pretty good that a politician with experience at the bottom gets a go at the top, and might bring a different perspective.  I hope she doesn't forget her army experiences, and doesn't get seduced.  And I really hope she tells Clive to fuck off from time to time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hair Loss Ads and the Gullible

During Aussie Rules games on TV (and at the ground) we are usually bombarded with hair loss advertisements.  Of course, most hair loss treatments don't work.  And anyone with half a brain knows this.

Now one of these ads features a sincere guy in a white coat.  Only he doesn't really look sincere.  He actually looks pretty shady to me.  And I'm thinking, "Why didn't they use someone who had at least mastered the art of looking sincere and trustworthy?".  But its obvious why not.  When you are selling a scam, you don't want ordinary people, you want gullible people.  So if your advertisement looks dodgy to ordinary people, that is great - you've avoided a whole lot of time wasting down the track.  Now all you'll have knocking at your door are guys who are pretty sure the moon landing was faked.

Anyway, the Libs used the same trick running for election with Tony Rabbit as leader.  Which only goes to prove that around half the Australian populations should go out and buy this bridge I'm selling...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Russian military vehicles enter Ukraine

That's what the rolling headline across the bottom of the TV said.

And me, I'm like, why isn't it, "Russia invades Ukraine"?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Higher taxes

Tony Abbott is threatening higher taxes if its budget is not passed.

That is, they are threatening to take money away from those who can afford it, as opposed to their budget, which takes money away from those who are already in serious trouble.

Tony, how about you carry through with your threat.  If you do, I promise to be scared of your next bogeyman.