The World is Watching

Well its started, Donald is President. I hope, against all hope, that this narcissistic bombast can control his temper, listen to cooler heads and do something constructive without trying to line his own pockets.

Notably a great many women of the world have had their say and they’re not happy. But I must note that they are not citizens of the United States, so they should hold THEIR governments to account and ensure that their governments don’t blindly follow Trump’s lead. They must also ensure that ALL their population is sharing in the wealth of their nation. Its often easy for well off liberals to want social justice but they fail to realise that there are many people who don’t share their ability to earn and who fail to see social justice as a priority as they’re struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Remember, charity starts at home, so make sure the less well off in your society are coming along for the ride.

Oxfam’s Rich List

Interesting/alarming news from Oxfam today with their annual richest in the world conference in London. The top eight billionaires in the world have a combined wealth greater than the poorest 50% of the worlds population. And Australia isn’t exempt from this inequality. I quote from Oxfam’s 2017 Inequality Report for Australia.

The latest data from Credit Suisse shows that wealth in Australia is concentrated in the hands of a few: the top 1% have over 22% of total Australian wealth.

And, the top 1% own more wealth than the bottom 70% of Australians combined.

The two richest billionaires in Australia, who are part of the top 1%, own more than US $16 billion between them, which is more than the combined wealth of the poorest 20% of the Australian population.

See https://www.oxfam.org.au/what-we-do/inequality/

Now I can see all those merchant bankers and land developers jumping to justify this inequality with grand, self promoting explanations how they work so hard and the structure of society expects, nay, demands that you have people like this earning vast sums, how else can society advance?

The reality is that a society that only values people by their wealth and that allows the aggregation of wealth by a select minority is not a society that is moving forward. Equally, we cannot fall back in to the extreme left’s utopian view. The reality is that there have to be incentives in the form of profits and wages in order for the system to function efficiently. The problem is that we’re not all on an equal footing. There are many examples of unjustified government interference in the market, just look at the incentives for planting grape vines, creating movies and, the latest, negative gearing on investment properties. Negative gearing is a classic example of government largesse being given to the wealthy (and before you start bleating about mum and dad investors, Scott Morrison, if you can afford a second mortgage for an investment property then you are wealthy. Banks won’t extend those services to poor people). Not only are you allowing wealthy people to reduce their tax liability (once again Scott, that’s why these people do it), but you are concentrating wealth into the hands of the wealthy again by making it harder for renters to purchase their own home by driving the prices of houses up. And this is a symptom of a greater problem. Governments have reduced their expenditure on social housing because they claim its more efficient for the private sector provide it. Their concession to the poor is to provide rental subsidies to those on welfare payments. So in effect the government takes a double hit – they have to pay welfare recipients a subsidy and they give the property owner the ability to write off more tax. I wonder if anyone in Treasury has ever bothered to do the sums? What is the total of rental subsidies and tax breaks costing the government? Add to this the increase subsidies given to first home buyers in an attempt to relieve the financial stress on them trying to buy their first home.

This ongoing inequity in society is starting to crack the fabric of society both here and abroad. The signs are there – Brexit, Trump’s success and the ongoing disillusionment with politicians in Australia, all signs of people feeling that they are missing out and that their voices are not being listened to. People will only take this crap for so long.

Its time for at least one of the parties to listen, and my guess it will have to be the Labor Party. Its time to end government subsidies to the wealthy in the form of tax write-offs. No more negative gearing, no more tax schemes that allow the wealthy to use the public purse to top up their wealth. No more exemptions on superannuation for people with extreme wealth. We have the answers, we just need people to listen.

Is it just me?

Is it just me that is stunned by Trump’s sensitivity to criticism, or do the rest of you feel the same? If Donald expected to be met with tugging forelocks and sycophants he should have stuck with reality television. When you enter politics you have immediately lined up a large proportion of the population that, at the very least, don’t like what you stand for. And in this world of instant outrage there is also a fair chance that you will be disliked personally.

Meryl Streep, rightly or wrongly, politicised the awards night by taking aim at Trump’s disparagement of the journalist with a physical disability. For Trump to deny it ever happened beggars belief. Its the behaviour of a naughty eight year old who, despite his parents witnessing the crime, will continue denying it until he’s sent to bed without supper. Well, Donald, I think you should be grounded for a month. You can have your Inauguration party next month, but only if you behave until then. By the way, make sure you leave your phone and/or tablet on the breakfast counter because the rest of us are tired of getting your late night tweets.

On a serious note, what will happen when Donald gets insulted while sitting in the White House. Are we going to see retaliation that outweighs commensurate behaviour? Who will/ is capable of controlling this man’s temper and ensuring that his behaviour is moderated while in power. If no-one can stand up to this person I fear terrible consequences for the world let alone the USA.

Look, up in Trump Tower, its Donald

With increasing gloom, we slide towards the 20th January, when a buffoon will take over the Presidency of the United States. Looking on from afar, its difficult to understand why Trump has such support (albeit he lost the popular vote) when he spouted so many obvious lies or distortions of the truth. Even if you ignore these utterings, why did white working class Americans believe that Trump is any different from those business owners who laid off staff and took manufacturing and call centres jobs off shore – their jobs. On the one hand he is saying that he is going to increase expenditure on infrastructure to boost the economy, yet on the other he decries the budget deficit as the fools on the hill spend big on borrowings. His grasp of economics is questionable when he then says that he will cut taxes for the rich, while still running deficits. My only conclusion is that these voters wanted to believe that someone was listening to them and that, even if they didn’t understand it, this person had a solution to their perceived problems. A sign of utter desperation that they forwent any critical analysis and suspended their belief in the existing system or parties.

Now Donald is telling General Motors if they move any manufacturing outside of the USA he will hit them with a massive border tax. Ah Donald, what happened to free trade? You know, the thing you want other countries to accept so that you can sell US manufactured goods without punitive import duties. You know the very theory that has allowed US companies to manufacture their goods in China so that local consumers receive lower prices. The very practices that YOU have indulged in to make more money. History shows us that US companies have been doing this since at least 1947 when the first American tyre company built its new factory in the Phillipines.

Gee, Donald, all this governing thing is very complicated but as long as you have twitter you’ll be fine.