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What’s so bad about inequity?

By Gary Johns - posted Friday, 29 April 2016

Hey Bill, what about a royal commission into rating agencies? Aren't they the capitalist bastards threatening to downgrade the Australian government because it pays for programs, pensions and public servants with money borrowed from foreigners?

What better way to avoid the interest bill, Bill, than by blaming the agencies that blow the whistle on debt?

After all, it was these same baddies that failed to blow the whistle on banks, which passed on dodgy derivatives that created the global financial crisis.


And we know you are busting to call a banking royal commission. A rating agency inquiry would be a perfect second decoy. Rating agencies are at the very apex of the capitalist system.

You could call in Kevin Rudd to head the inquiry.

Kevin and Bill know that Australians are paying $1 billion a month interest on the unproductive debt that their Labor government racked up.

And keep in mind that the unfunded "fantasy" promises of Labor at the previous election, in education and hospitals, and Liberal and Labor fantasy funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, will ensure that the interest bill continues to rise.

I believe there are six Labor (and Liberal) "fantasy promises", costed to 2025-26:

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme, $111bn.
  • "Restoring" hospital funding, $73bn.
  • Student loans, $62bn.
  • Retaining carbon tax "compensation", $57bn.
  • Pension increases at average weekly earnings, $52bn.
  • Gonski school increases, $37bn.

The Australian's economics editor David Uren and political correspondent David Crowe this month listed seven, but defence spending, albeit with controversy over the choice, place of manufacture and price of aircraft and submarines, is essential.

As Robert Harcourt stated in a letter to the editor: "Australia now has more people who vote for their money than who work for it," an observation confirmed by Adam Creighton and Sid Maher in The Weekend Australian . Taking benefits from voters is tough politics.

Mind you, interest Bill has been mightily hampered in his decoy plot by the Australia Institute, which arranged for 50 or so "intellectuals" to sign an open letter suggesting that "a debate about tax reform should begin with the question of how much tax is required to fund the services we need to build a fair and decent society in Australia".

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This article was first published in The Australian.

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About the Author

Gary Johns is a former federal member of Parliament and served as a minister in the Keating Government. Since December 2017 he has been the commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

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