Nasty Egalitarianism?

By July 27, 2017Australian Politics

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has used the nasty little phrase ‘politics of envy’1 used by the nasty little former Prime Minister John Howard to attempt to keep the plebs under control and stop them, like Oliver Twist, asking for more of the economic gruel. Morrison did admit that not all Australians are feeling the benefits of 26 years of uninterrupted economic growth, but says that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s claim that inequality has reached a 75 year high is a ‘lie’1. Morrison followed this with a lie of his own, stating that Shorten had ‘given up on growth’ and that inequality was not getting worse. He then stated that the Gini Coefficient2, the accepted global measure of income inequality around the world hadn’t gotten worse, and that “it’s actually got better”1. This also was a lie.

The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development3 completed its most recent Economic Survey of Australia4 in March this year and this showed that the “Gini coefficient has been drifting upwards and that households in the upper income brackets have benefited disproportionately from Australia’s long period of economic growth”. It also showed that top income groups have benefited most from Australia’s long period of growth with the highest income earners having an increase of about 42% of real income in the decade 2003/4-2013/4, while those in all other quintiles having increases of 25-30%. The largest growth has been in net wealth, with those of the highest quintile having an increase in real net wealth of 38%, while those in the lowest two quintiles not managing an increase of 5%4.

The Gini Coefficient for Australia in 1995 was 0.31, almost reached 0.34 in 2008, improved slightly by 2012 (0.33)4 and has since taken off again, with the most recent figures indicating it is nearly at 0.35.

One of the most egregious outpourings by a conservative was by MP Andrew Laming. His outburst criticised Shorten’s assertion about inequality as being “nasty egalitarianism”1. Laming continued: “Inequality is staring over the fence and noticing another guy has a jet ski and you don’t have one.” Despite this disgraceful outburst, Laming did agree that the Gini Coefficient is indeed rising, thereby contradicting his Treasurer. While whether one has a jet ski may be important to a private school boy like ‘Churchie’ Laming, he should realise that for most people inequality it is not about jet skis, but decent food for their children; it is not about Mercedes cars, but decent shoes and socks for their children; it is not Hayman Island holidays, but a roof over their head. Such disgraceful statements from Laming simply exemplify how out of touch with reality he is.

The Howard phrase ‘politics of envy’ used by Morrison is simply to cover up the politics of greed.

Sources

  1. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/scott-morrison-rejects-labor-claims-of-worsening-inequality-as-bill-shorten-plans-tax-overhaul-20170724-gxhf7r.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
  3. http://www.oecd.org/about/
  4. http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Australia-2017-OECD-economic-survey-overview.pdf

5 Comments

  • Jon says:

    Conservatives lying about economic matters? Wonders will never cease. Who will forget the “budget emergency” which, according to Abbott, Hockey and Cormann could best be rectified by sacrifices from pensioners, the sick, and students. Or how about “Labor’s debt” (which largely resulted from declining income as a result of world economic slowdown) and has been surpassed only by the Coalition’s under Morrison. Morrison has lied to the public from the start of his take-up of the Treasury portfolio. Either that or he is only now grasping economic fundamentals which most high school kids have known for yonks – that budgets have two very important parts: spending, and ta da, receipts/income. Up until the last budget when he rolled out a “great big new tax” on banks (those former untouchable bastions of conservative strength) Morrison had consistently insisted that Australian economic woes (as relatively minor as they were when compared internationally) were solely the result of overspending “by Labor”. He conveniently overlooks the well-recognised underlying structural deficits left by Howard and Costello’s middle class welfare, but that’s another story. The tax on banks was clear recognition that Australia’s real budget problems actually lie on the receipts side – something which thinking economists have known for a long time.

    So yes SCOTT MORRISON is undoubtedly a PERVERTER OF THE TRUTH, but worse than that he’s an economic greenhorn driven by ideology, not by what’s best for his country and its people. His one redeeming feature is that he’s better than Hockey – the worst Treasurer in this nation’s history.

    • admin says:

      Jon,

      At the time, I thought our very old cat would have made a better treasurer than Hockey, but alas the moggy is no more, and neither is Hockey, apart from suckling at the taxpayers’ teat.

    • Arthur Baker says:

      And why do “Australia’s real budget problems actually lie on the receipts side”? Because the Howard/Costello duumvirate awarded Australia’s middle class something like seven or eight consecutive years of tax cuts in the early 2000s for the single purpose of buying votes. It’s what kept them in government.

      Australia will never totally get that lost revenue back. The adverse revenue effects of that utterly irresponsible serial profligacy have resounded through the last 16 or 17 years, and will continue to do so because any government which now wanted to restore previous tax levels would be comprehensively defeated at the next election, probably to the extent that their party would cease to exist.

      The Australian people have got so accustomed to the reduced levels of income taxation introduced by the reckless dingbats of the Howard/Costello administration that any future attempt to restore those levels would automatically guarantee electoral disaster. Neither Labor nor LNP will even consider it.

      Such was the irresponsibility of the Howard regime. But it didn’t stop there. Costello assured us in 2000 when he introduced, grinning on TV like the Cheshire Cat, his infamous GST, that it would be the death of the black economy. No longer would anyone be able to avoid paying tax on financial transactions.

      Yeah, sure. And little link fairies dance at the bottom of my garden every night. Hired a plumber or electrician or builder or contract cleaner in the last 16 years, have you? When was the last time you weren’t offered a “cash price”?

      I suggest the LNP knew exactly what they were doing in offering serial income tax cuts, and in introducing the GST. Both were simply a mechanism for them to retain power, because, as someone famously said, being in opposition sucks.

      As for any concern for the future, forget it. The LNP’s concern for the future can clearly be seen from their energy policy, neatly summarised by their recent cavorting round the parliamentary chamber brandishing a lump of coal.

      • Arthur Baker says:

        Pink fairies, not link.

      • admin says:

        Arthur,

        Yep. Howard and Costello were derelict in their duty, and flagrantly wasted the benefits of the mining boom. In good times, you put money away for a rainy day, or invest it is something which will give you a future return, not waste it on giving tax cuts to your mates, so they will continue to donate to your party. It is corruption.

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