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Greed

This is the Address given by Prime Minister Rudd to the Federal Labor Business Forum last Friday 3 October 2008.

The Australian Response to the Global Financial Crisis

Tonight, here in Australia we wait, watch and listen with our heads turned towards Washington and those legislators who will determine the America’s national response to this most dire financial crisis.

When events the magnitude of which we have witnessed in the last week take place, we sometimes struggle to find a sense of proportion.

But if we lose that sense of proportion and perspective, we may misjudge and overreact.

That’s why it is important to focus on how stability can be restored to the global financial system.

And why it is also important to outline, in clear, calm and objective terms, the great strength of the Australian financial system.

The strength of the Australian economy.

The strength of the Australian budget position.

And how the Government intends to steer Australia through this global economic storm.

Australia is not immune from the problems in the United States.

However we are better placed than most countries to weather the storm.

  • We have first class regulators.
  • Australia has four of the world’s 20 AA rated banks.
  • We have about 1% of sub prime loans versus about 15% in the United States.
  • Our arrears rates are more than five times lower than the United States.
  • We have budgeted for a strong budget surplus as a buffer for the future that is the envy of the developed world. By contrast, six of the seven largest economies are currently running Budget deficits.

The Australian economy is resilient, flexible and strong, and the Government is confident it will steer Australia through the global economic storm that lies ahead.

And whereas five of the world’s largest economies already have recorded zero or negative growth this year, Australia continues to generate positive economic growth.

We should not forget that the Australian stock market suffered a 25 percent drop in one day in 1987.

The market recovered from that fall.

Our market will in time recover from the current volatility.

It’s worth remembering that 1987 was also the year the movie “Wall Street” premiered in New York and Gordon Gekko entered our lexicon when he sought to sum up the philosophy, for lack of a better word, of a generation of financiers with that chilling declaration: “Greed is good”.

The “greed-is-good” era brought the stock market crash of 1987, the savings and loans debacle in the United States and the global recession which gripped many countries in the early 1990s.

It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology.

And today we are still cleaning up the mess of the twenty-first century children of Gordon Gecko.

At a technical level, the current financial crisis is the unwinding of the extraordinary global credit boom of recent years.

It is a rapid shift and dislocation in the credit market cycle.

The top of the cycle was characterised by a period of strong economic growth, low cost of capital and rapid increases in asset prices, most notably in housing markets and share markets.

These conditions created a financial boom in which credit became widely available and relatively cheap.

In particular there was a rush to purchase real estate.

For a short time, the real estate boom was a self-fulfilling proposition. Low capital costs and high demand for housing caused house prices to keep rising – a classic ‘asset bubble’ began to develop.

At the same time, advances in information technology and financial engineering saw the emergence of sophisticated new financial instruments and structured assets.

These assets were purchased by investment banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions.

But regulatory frameworks did not always keep up with the rapid pace of change. The risks inherent in these financial innovations were not always well understood.

As the housing bubble burst, it triggered a wave of home foreclosures and asset write downs that, as Americans have been saying, have rocked both Wall Street and Main Street.

That’s the technical debate.

But it also points to a broader debate about corporate values and, for that matter, a debate about the general values of our current age.

Beneath the financial jargon and dramatic stock market events, the sub-prime crisis has also reflected a fundamental failure of values.

We’ve seen the triumph of greed over integrity.

The triumph of speculation over value creation.

The triumph of the short term over long term, sustainable growth.

The fact is that Gordon Gekko wasn’t tamed in 1987 – he was simply ignored.

The fact is that much of the root cause of the sub prime crisis came down to our financial markets rewarding people for taking extravagant risks.

Executives earned massive bonuses.

Their rewards were skewed to short term “success” rather than long term creation of asset value.

Corporate governance structures encouraged short term paper results over long term measurable achievement.

Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, the largest sub-prime lender made more than $270 million between 2004 and 2007 before its collapse.

Stanley O'Neal, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, was paid $US100 million in the last two years as a result of the massive profits the bank made during the subprime housing bubble. When the bubble burst, Merrill Lynch suffered massive losses which obliterated the earlier gains, yet their executives had no obligation to pay any money back.

They literally laughed all the way to the bank.

Perverse financial values were also on display in the American retail mortgage market.

The ‘originate and distribute’ model of mortgage lending encouraged mortgage providers to unscrupulously provide finance to borrowers who often did not have the capacity to repay the loans.

Mortgage salespeople preyed on the aspirations of vulnerable families, soliciting them to take out home loans.

Lenders confused working class people, non-English speaking families and first time borrowers with hidden fees, ratchet interest rates, and confusing repayment terms.

Predatory financers inflated borrower's income and overstated their ability to pay back a loan.

These were the most obvious manifestations of the culture of greed and short-termism which pervaded large parts of the American financial sector.

This culture was never challenged by a political and economic ideology of extreme capitalism.

And this crisis bears the fingerprints of the extreme free market ideologues who influence much of the neo-liberal economic elite.

Free market ideologues who have a naïve belief that unrestrained markets are always self-correcting and that markets left to themselves will always achieve optimum outcomes.

Ideologues who believe that any regulation of private business is fundamentally wrong.

Ideologues who have resisted the regulation of financial markets and the supervision of a wide range of financial institutions.

Ideologues who lectured the developing countries caught up in the Asian Financial Crisis a decade ago about the need for transparency and disclosure, but did little to reform their own financial systems.

Ideologues who believe that government is always the problem, never the solution.

Except of course when there is a crash – then, the self-same ideologues argue, having privatised their profits, we should socialise their losses.

And by the way, having demanded lower and lower taxes all the way through.

When we are through the current crisis it will be time therefore to take stock.

Not to overreact - but rather, for the world to calmly take stock of what went wrong, as we pursue the reforms necessary to restore long-term confidence and stability to global financial markets.

Global financial markets require global financial regulation based on the fundamental principles of transparency, conservative prudential standards and, above all, universality.

That is why the Australian Government has put forward at the United Nations and prospectively at the International Monetary Fund, a five part regulatory reform program for consideration and implementation by all governments.

There is an alternative political and policy narrative to the one that has tended to prevail in recent times.

A narrative that recognises the importance of markets, but one that also recognises the limitations of markets and recognises also where markets fail.

A narrative that recognises the role of public goods.

A narrative that recognises that one of those public goods is market regulation.

A narrative that values transparency, competition and innovation – but one that does not encourage speculation nor reward for merely short-term success.

A political and corporate culture that values profitability and productivity achieved through hard work – but one that does not endorse the Gordon Gekko ethic of the quick buck, based on little more than a single financial transaction.

We believe that market participants need strong incentives and rewards for success.

But we believe that their success should be measured over a sustainable horizon.

We believe in strong incentives for individuals, but we also believe that trust and traditional ethical standards are essential elements of the financial system.

We believe strongly in the profit motive.

But we also believe in responsibility to the community where those profits are made - a belief increasingly evident in Australian corporate philanthropic behaviour.

I say again, when we are through this crisis, it will be time to take stock.

And through informed debate in political and corporate Australia as well as the media of the virus, the disease, some would say the epidemic, of short-termism that also threatens Australia’s long term future.

Because across the length and breadth of the nation, the cry of the people is clear – and that is for a long term, sustainable vision for the nation’s future.

One that goes beyond the electoral cycle.

That goes beyond a quarterly corporate reporting cycle.

And one that certainly goes beyond the 24 hour news cycle.

A long term vision that embraces:

  • long term planning on the nation’s productivity agenda;
  • long term planning on the nation’s workforce participation agenda;
  • long term planning on the nation’s infrastructure - our ports, our rail, our high speed broadband;
  • long term planning for the ageing of the population;
  • long term planning for the economic and environmental impact of climate change;
  • long term planning for water and for agriculture in this, the world’s driest continent, and
  • long term planning for our engagement with the Asia Pacific century.

The Government I lead is not just committed to responsible economic management for the immediate term.

The Government I lead is determined to be a nation-building government for the long term.

And beyond this overriding emphasis on the long term, after a decade so much squandered on the short term, we must also encourage a much wider community debate on the corporate and political values we hold dear – a debate between short-term gratification and long term vision.

A debate that brings to a head how we shape the reward structures of corporate Australia.

A debate about how we assess the long term values of companies, their executives and their assets against their long term performance - as opposed to short-term asset bubbles.

And this is very much a values debate – Gordon Gekko, greed and immediate gratification as against a culture that values a fair go, that values hard work and that values thinking about and preparing for tomorrow.

The Australian Government has been proactive throughout the global financial crisis that has been with us since our first day in office.

We have responded to events as they unfold, often anticipating them, and putting in place policies, programs and measures to better prepare Australia for the period ahead.

We have acted to promote stability, transparency and confidence in national financial markets.

The Australian Government has also been actively involved in designing the global regulatory recommendations coming out of the Financial Stability Forum created by the G7.

Australian financial authorities (APRA, ASIC, RBA and the Treasury), are also taking action to address each of the five areas identified by the Forum including:

  • strengthened prudential oversight of capital, liquidity and risk management;
  • enhancing transparency and valuation;
  • changes in the role and uses of credit ratings;
  • strengthening the authorities' responsiveness to risks, and
  • robust arrangements for dealing with stress in the financial system.

And here at home, the Government has been working to strengthen our domestic financial system.

Earlier this year the Australian Government began working on legislation to improve disclosure requirements around short selling. The exposure draft of this legislation has now been released.

And, more recently, ASIC has acted in concert with regulators around the world to put temporary restrictions on short selling.

In May this year, the Government announced that it would increase its issuance of Commonwealth Government Securities as part of the Government's commitment to the effective operation of Australia's financial markets.

We provided legislative authority for an increase in future Commonwealth Government Securities issuance of up to $25 billion to strengthen the robustness of Australia’s financial system and reduce its vulnerability to adverse shocks.

In September the Government announced that the Australian Office of Financial Management would be authorised to purchase Australian residential mortgage-backed securities – a measure made possible by legislation introduced and passed back in June.

This will strengthen effective competition in Australia's mortgage markets.

The Government has also been active in advancing consumer protection in Australia’s credit markets. In April, the Financial Stability Forum recommended that authorities review and, where necessary, strengthen deposit insurance arrangements.

Following this, the Government announced in June the adoption of a Financial Claims Scheme.

The financial claims scheme will ensure depositors and insurance policyholders with Authorised Deposit Taking Institutions (ADIs) have quick access to their money up to a defined threshold.

Also in June, the Government proposed the Commonwealth take responsibility for regulating all consumer credit.

Three months later, COAG agreed to create uniform national credit regulation with a view to closing loopholes and cracking down on unscrupulous lending.

These are concrete measures in many areas to promote competitiveness, transparency and proper consumer protection in our financial markets – and above all to maintain confidence and stability.

That is why we have also called on banks to act responsibly and competitively in response to any RBA rate cut next week.

The easiest thing the government could do would be to take the populist approach.

But the global financial crisis is real and it is affecting global financial stability, and financial instability has very serious consequences for Australian families.

Of course we want to see the Liberals’ high interest rates come down.

Ten interest rate rises in a row under the Liberals.

And last month (aided by this Government’s fiscal policy settings) we saw the first interest rate cut in seven years.

Of course we will welcome a cut in interest rates.

And we will press for those to be passed on to the absolute maximum extent – a maximum that is consistent with maintaining the stability of the financial system.

But if the choice is between the sober advice of the financial regulator and any rank act of political populism, the Government will choose the advice of regulators - even if taking that advice proves to be politically popular.

The first responsibility of any government is maintaining the stability of Australia’s financial system at a time of almost unprecedented global financial crisis.

Our major Australian commercial banks are in a strong position.

And that must continue to be the case.

And this is equally important for all the mums and dads, all the working families, all the pensioners and carers – who together have a fundamental interest in the stability of the Australian banking system.

Particularly at a time when the world has recently seen more than 25 banks fail or needing to be bailed out.

These policy responses and reforms to domestic and international financial markets are part of the Government’s broader economic reform agenda.

Australia, like other nations, faces tough economic times ahead because of the state of the global economy.

That is why the Government is committed to strong, responsible economic management anchored in a strong budget surplus.

That is also why the Government has a plan to boost long-term productivity growth through a comprehensive economic reform program based on an education revolution to make our workforce the best trained in the world, our nation-building infrastructure plan, investing in the technologies of the future and our tax and regulation reform plan.

That means maximising Australia’s economic competitiveness in an increasingly competitive - and now, increasingly unpredictable - world.

My vision for Australia is a modern economy with the best educated, best trained, best skilled workforce in the world.

My vision for Australia is also the country with the best 21st century infrastructure in the world.

And my vision for Australia at the dawn of the Asia-Pacific century is for Australia to be the most Asia-literate (and China-literate) country in the western world.

Our economic program for the future is built on three building blocks.

Responsible Economic Management

The first step to ensuring stability is through macroeconomic management. This is achieved through a prudent fiscal policy and a central bank with independent carriage of monetary policy.

It is why we delivered a strong budget surplus as a buffer for the future.

And that is why we have increased the independence of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Boosting Productivity: Education, Infrastructure and Deregulation

Second, beyond stability, the Government’s role is to ensure the provision of critical inputs for a modern economy to boost long-term productivity growth.

Productivity growth has been faltering in recent years.

We must turn this around because productivity growth is the only effective guarantee of non-inflationary growth in living standards in the future.

The Government must ensure the provision of high quality education, training, and infrastructure.

This plan starts with an education revolution – a substantial and sustained increase in the quantity of our investment in, and in the quality of our education system.

Alongside education, the Government’s other key priority for expanding Australia’s productive capacity is infrastructure.

Inadequate infrastructure is a handbrake on growth.

That is why the new Government has embarked upon a program of nation building.

We have appointed a Minister for Infrastructure and created an advisory body, Infrastructure Australia, led by Sir Rod Eddington.

Infrastructure Australia is auditing Australia’s current infrastructure bottlenecks, auditing our infrastructure needs for the future and developing the nation’s first infrastructure priority list.

We will work together with Australian State governments to build on their world’s best practice instruments, including public-private partnerships - to enable private companies to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain innovative infrastructure to deliver public goods.

Yesterday, COAG agreed to bring forward our timetable for determining future infrastructure priorities – a core part of the Government’s nation-building agenda.

And COAG has agreed on a goal of embracing nationally consistent PPP guidelines by year’s end.

In partnership with State governments, we have also identified 27 areas for deregulation and red tape reduction to improve efficiency and reduce the regulatory burden on the economy – in practical areas such as establishing a one-stop shop for registering a business name for all of Australia, as well as establishing a national consumer policy framework.

The overall mission is clear: building long term productivity growth so that Australia’s long term economic future is secure, without being totally captive to the ups and downs of the mining boom.

Economic engagement with Asia

A third building block for our economic future is our policy of comprehensive economic engagement with Asia – as Asia will drive global economic growth for much of the 21st century.

In August we concluded negotiations for a region-wide ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

In terms of coverage this is the largest FTA Australia has ever negotiated. It covers 16 per cent of Australia’s trade in goods and services, worth $71 billion and targets a big market of 570 million people with a combined GDP of US$1 trillion.

In addition to good market access, it will provide much greater certainty for Australian investors.

During my visit to China in April I agreed with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that we would unfreeze our FTA negotiations which had stalled.

Since then we have had two rounds of constructive negotiations with a third scheduled in December.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner with two-way trade in goods and services of $58 billion in 2007. Our exports are already growing at around 20 per cent annually.

The FTA should accelerate this through better market access. We are particularly focussing on achieving results on services, especially financial services.

We are also stepping up the pace of our FTA negotiations with Japan after my visit in June. The seventh round will be held this month.

I agreed with the new Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in our meeting in New York last Thursday that we would accelerate these negotiations as Japan remains our largest export market.

Following agreement with President Lee during my visit in August, the first round of preparatory talks for an FTA with the Republic of Korea will take place in two weeks in Seoul.

The Republic of Korea is our fourth largest export market but out trade has been limited to a few major commodities. Its potential has been neglected. We now want to expand and diversify the economic relationship.

We have also accelerated our FTA feasibility study with India, which will now report this year. India is already our sixth largest merchandise export market and eighth largest services market but the potential is far greater.

The Government takes economic engagement and integration with Asia seriously.

China’s extraordinary economic growth has been a driving force behind the period of very strong global economic growth experienced between 2003 and 2007.

Indeed, China was also a stabilising force during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

China provided a stable export market for many of the countries that suffered from the economic turmoil.

China also contributed financial resources to the IMF rescue packages for Thailand and other Asian economies.

Despite domestic economic pressures, China also resisted devaluing the Renminbi.

This helped to maintain the export competitiveness of their Asian neighbours during the crisis and the overall stability of the region.

China also has a strong interest in contributing to the resolution of the current global financial crisis and the restoration of strong global economic growth.

China has in recently days made some important statements on the global financial crisis.

President Hu Jintao has welcomed the US Administration’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to buy up distressed financial assets, noting that China hoped these measures can achieve quick results to improve economic and financial conditions in the US.

Addressing the United Nations last week, Premier Wen Jiabao also made a commitment that China would play its part in addressing the global financial crisis, including through enhanced financial coordination.

And at the World Economic Forum meeting in Tianjin last weekend, the Chairman of the China Banking Reform Commission, Liu Mingkang, called for the establishment of a global regulatory system that is in keeping with the global financial system.

In view of China’s important role in restoring stability and ensuring future global expansion, these are important statements.

As I mentioned in my own remarks to the UN General Assembly last week, the G-20 should play a major role in supporting reform of the global financial system.

China, as a member of the G-20, can significantly assist these efforts, including through supporting financial stability being at the centre of the G-20’s work program. We look forward to working closely with China in strengthening the global financial system.

China can also support the broader implementation of the Financial Stability Forum’s recommendations through Asia.

In recent years China has also been playing an increasingly role in global financial markets.

It is estimated that at the middle of this year, Chinese institutions were holding around $500 billion US dollars worth of US treasury bonds and $200 billion in US asset-backed securities.

The current instabilities that are concentrated in the US should not be taken as a signal to China to retreat from integration and globalisation.

We need to address the problems that have given rise to the current crisis, and not withdraw or huddle down into ourselves.

China’s friends, including Australia, must continue to encourage China to continue to play the positive role in the global economy and financial system it has in the past.

It is important we make it clear that China’s ongoing economic and financial integration is important, and this integration is firmly in the interests of China, the interests of Australia, and the interests of the global economy.

It is important now for western nations to demonstrate our positive support for China as a responsible stakeholder in the global economy and in major financial institutions.

Indeed with many financial institutions in the US and Europe now requiring recapitalisation, this is a time when China – alongside other economies such as Japan and Korea - can play an important role in strengthening global financial stability.

Chinese institutions have the liquidity to take stakes in those US and European institutions.

Such investments should not cause alarm in western nations.

They are a natural reflection of the structural changes in the global economy.

The 21st century economic reality is that China is now a major economic and financial powerhouse.

By whatever measure you wish to use, China’s economy is on course to becoming the world’s largest during the first half of this century.

Strong growth in the Chinese economy is now crucial to the global economy – just as strong export-driven growth in China has been dependent on the health of the global economy.

It is in every nation’s interest for China to strengthen its links to the global economy and to become an increasingly positive stakeholder in the global economy.

That is why we welcome the recent decision by the People’s Bank of China to reduce its lending rate by 0.27 basis points, demonstrating the Government’s willingness to stimulate the economy if growth continues to slow.

That is why we also welcome recent statements by the Chinese leadership that China’s best contribution to the global financial system is for China to strongly grow its economy.

And it is why we should also welcome further Chinese investment in global financial institutions.

Such investments would have a stabilising influence on global financial markets, diversifying and strengthening the investment base of those financial institutions.

It is also important that China participates in building the future architecture of global trade by helping revive the Doha Round, where China – and Australia - have a strong interest in achieving an outcome that can underpin strong future economic growth.

China has played a constructive role in negotiations to date.

China can now be an even more positive force in these negotiations in the future – helping to shape a final agreement among the key parties.

A positive outcome on Doha would not just lift global economic growth in the longer term – it would also provide a shot in the arm for international confidence in the short term.

On the key challenges facing the international community – the global financial crisis, the future of global trade and climate change – for China to be engaged and participating as a responsible stakeholder is strongly in the interests of China, Australia and the global community.

Developments in global financial markets in recent times have been of truly seismic proportions.

Both the scope of institutional failure and the scale of government intervention in financial markets have been unprecedented.

As the IMF noted yesterday in its latest World Economic Outlook, “the financial turmoil that began in the summer of 2007 has mutated into a full-blown crisis".

There is a lot of jargon in financial markets.

Terms like short-selling, systemic risk, collatoralised debt obligations might seem to be a world away from the lives of ordinary Australians.

But the fact is that financial stability is a public good which has a very direct effect on all Australians.

If we fail to protect this public good – that is the stability of Australian financial markets - then those who suffer are the working people whose jobs, whose savings, whose homes, and whose standard of living depend on it.

That is why the Government is acting responsibly to support the stability of the Australian financial sector.

That is why we are acting with our partners around the world to assist in restoring stability to global financial markets.

And these are responsibilities that this Australian Government is determined to discharge.

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The worst Prime Minister in our lifetime

Ernest William: "The Howard "New Order" made it an art to lie to the Australian people for 12 years."

But  Rudd's PR minders and script-writers have perfected the art...

This from Alan Ramsey in today's Herald:

"And for the moment, no matter who asks the questions, you can't get a straight answer from the Government on the specifics of how it put its package of handouts together and why it thought such a hefty sum as $10 billion was necessary?

Instead, we continue to get the extreme language of "the worst financial crisis in our lifetime". In Parliament on Wednesday, Wayne Swan's rhetoric, in introducing emergency legislation on government guarantees of bank deposits, remained as heated as was his insistent dire warnings earlier in the year about "the worst inflation in 16 years".

As Ramsey points out, and he's hardly normally hostile to Labor, Rudd will spin moronic slogans endlessly for four those second sound bights on the 6.00pm news, but steadfastly refuses to take questions in Parliament about why or how he's dealing with "the worst financial crisis in our lifetime.

And for sheer stupidity, nothing beats the new slogan, namely that falling interest rates, wholly typical of a recession, are really a "vote of confidence" in the Prime Minister from the banks.

Or that Rudd's cack-handled one-off response to the economic crisis, which comes after months of lying about there even being a crisis, is him being "ahead of the curve".

Let me guess. Massive unemployment and home foreclosures will become "a triumph of ingenuity in factor mobilisation between economic sectors."

Should help with Emissions Trading.

In fact, watch this...

The chief economist with AMP Capital, Shane Oliver, says with unemployment likely to rise, there will be an abundance of workers who could be diverted to climate change initiatives.

""Introducing an emissions scheme at a time when those resources are still unemployed ... makes sense because those resources can then be reabsorbed into the cleaner parts of the economy," he said.

Perfect. Rudd's spin doctors will jump on that little piece of double-think with alacrity, I bet. Unemployment is good for you, because it encourages continuing education and environmental activism.

Meanwhile, back at head office with our great and powerful friends in Beijing:

"Australia has been riding the boom created by China's appetite for resources, but the Asian giant is running out of steam.

The trees at West Rock Village are mostly dead and the streets are caked in dust and clogged with gritty factory haze.

But the villagers are not worried about pollution; they are scared that one day soon it might all blow away. They knew well before the outside world that the factory was in trouble and China's steel-driven economy was on the slide."

Told you so. Didn't I?

We dumb down our industry, wreck the environment, and sell off our resources in exchange for crappy appliances and bad fashions made in China. Just in time for the long predicted slump in Chinese economic activity

And then pretend that's smart!

The worst Prime Minister in our lifetime.

Live by the sword?

A brief recent history of America's Military/Corporate. Source: References to Michael Moore's "Bowling in Columbine".

"In October 1998, after nearly eight years of controversial weapons inspections, a frustrated Iraq ceased all cooperation with UN inspectors.

The US provoked a confrontation with Iraq in order to excuse its planned bombing. It was called Operation Desert Fox and marked the end of UN inspections but left in place a policy of economic sanctions that ravaged the Iraq people for nearly a decade.

The question asked was why did the UN fail in its mission to disarm Iraq and who is ultimately responsible?

It is advertised that the truth about UNSCOM and disarming Iraq is by the book "IN SHIFTING SANDS".

Then there is a list of US Military/Corporate "adventures":

1953 - US overthrows Prime Minister Mossadeq of Iran and installs the Shah as dictator.

1954 - US overthrows democratically elected President Arbenz of Guatemala - 200,000 civilians are killed.

1963 - US backs the assassination of Sth. Vietnam President Diem (the US puppet) and the person it was claimed who asked for US help.

1963 -1975 - American military kills 4 million people in south east Asia.

1973 - September 11 - US stages a coup in Chile - democratically elected President Salvador Allende is assassinated. Dictator Augusto Pinochet is installed - 5,000 Chileans are murdered.

1977 - US backs military rulers of El Salvador - 70,000 Salvadorians and 4 American Nuns are killed.

1980's - US trains Osama bin Laden and fellow terrorists to kill Soviets. CIA gives them $3 billion US .

1981 - The Reagan administration trains and funds the "contras" - 30,000 Nicaraguans die.

1982 - US provides billions in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to kill Iranians.

1983 - White House secretly gives Iran weapons to kill Iraqis.

1989 - CIA Agent Manuel Noriega (serving as President of Panama) disobeys orders from Washington. US invades Panama and removes Noriega - 3000 Panamanian casualties.

1990 - Iraq invades Kuwait with weapons from the US

1991 - US enters Iraq and Bush Snr. reinstates Kuwait dictator.

1998 - President Clinton bombs a "weapons" factory in Sudan which turns out to be making aspirin.

1991 - American planes bomb Iraq on a weekly basis. The UN estimates that 500,000 Iraqi children die from the bombings and sanctions.

1999 - April 20 - a huge US bombing on Kosovo - 22 NATO missiles fell on the residential part of one village. One hour after President Clinton announced the bombing of civilians in Kosovo, he went on TV to announce the terrible shooting at a high school in Littleton, Colorado and he hoped the American people would pray for the parents and teachers.

2000 - 2001 - US gives the Taliban ruled Afghanistan $245 million in "aid". September 11, Osama bin Laden uses his expert CIA training to murder 3000 people.

And we can all update the US Military/Corporate and their puppets, after Afghanistan a genuine UN sanctioned effort to destroy Al Qaeda.

NE OUBLIE.

Rudd won't rule out a Federal budget deficit next year

Ernest William, concerning the Australian Government delivering "a strong surplus of $21.7 billion (1.8 per cent of GDP) in 2008‑09", Rudd will not even rule out there being a defecit.

"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has refused to rule out a budget deficit next year but says he expects the Government to finish the financial year in a "comfortable position"."

He should level with the Australian public instead of continually gilding the lily, really.

It is my job to level with the Australian people - eventually

"As prime minister, it is my job to level with the Australian people. I don't intend to gild the lily."

- Kevin Rudd, October 14

Meanwhile, on March 28, seven months earlier...

"Fearing the effects on the world economy, Rudd decided to prepare an economic stimulus package for Australia. He and Swan began canvassing specific ideas with their officials. They commissioned a series of papers on the options."

Finally, on September 30...

"Within a couple of hours, September 30 in Australia, Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan convened a news conference in Canberra to try to quarantine Australia. The Prime Minister said "developments overnight in the US do not affect the fundamental stability of the Australian banking system". He told reporters that the congressional vote was "a bad development". In private, he told political intimates it was "the day the world cracked". Australian stocks fell to 4631. The Dow Jones fell to 10,850."

Eight solid months of 'gilding the lily'.

Art forms

The Howard "New Order" made it an art to lie to the Australian people for 12 years. They developed the Karl Rove policy of blaming their opposition for doing what they were doing themselves.

Sure, that is dishonest but, dishonesty never interfered with their immune consciences.

As one, they gilded the lilies like crazy and even the most stupid of the robots could reverse his/her opinion without the slightest blush.

The only thing that one can hope to achieve by bringing up the misdemeanours or even crimes of politicians or others is for justice to be done. Marilyn consistently strives to achieve justice in so many otherwise forgotten disgraces of the Howard "New Order".

I have an alphabetical list of ministerial behaviour of the Howard government - which I compiled without any staff at all - would you like me to post it for you to consider what could be done about it?

Malcolm Turnbull has made many a verbal blunder since he took over from the unfortunate Doctor Nelson. For example, he and Ms Bishop have repeatedly said that they will not oppose the Rudd plan to combat recession -not even a quibble! However, they demand to know how he came to the conclusions he did but, anyway, they would have done it differently! Fair dinkum!

So much for bipartisanship - Turnbull/Bishop style.

NE OUBLIE.

Art forms

 Ernest William , I have an alphabetical list of ministerial behaviour of the Howard government - which I compiled without any staff at all - would you like me to post it for you to consider what could be done about it?. That's great, now can you do a list of the Whitlam,Hawke and Keating years for us, no point in hiding anything.

The Rudd plan to combat recession, I think all Australians demand to know how he came to the conclusions he did, in fact it is our right to know. I just hope he is not organising another Loans Affair, you would want to know about that.

Lack of self doubt by extreme conservatives

Ernest William: "It is clear that, as the subscribers to this unique free speech forum have demonstrated - political parties of those, other than the conservatives, have the ability and wisdom to constructively criticise their own chosen government while - conversely, the corporation advocates do not allow for any consideration of a fault in their given right to rule."

I guess it depends on what you mean by "conservative".  Not to mention "own" and "chosen".

My experience is that people wedded to mid-19th Century socio-economic theories based on reductionist versions of German Idealist historical dialectical models,  for example, are by definition about as conservative as you can get, excluding perhaps any remaining Bourbon Royalists or Guelphs.

And yet, any hint of positive self doubt by the 'historical materialists' is immediately and vigorously repressed by them. Almost hysterically so, as anyone who has ever stepped foot inside the liberal arts faculty of a modern university will attest.

Whether, of course, they ever got to "choose" their "own" governments outside of a few student clubs at Sydney University is somewhat doubtful, but in the rare historical instances where they claim to have had their "own" governments (for example, in Cuba), open criticism  is not especially commonplace.

Other kinds of extreme conservative spring to mind, such as those of the ultra-racist right. For example, neo-Nazis, Truthers and ultra-nationalists.

Distorted misrepresentation of the historical examples of governments they "once owned" most definitely typically takes the place of criticism. But when it comes to just the facts, Ma'am, they go deadly quiet, as we know.

Of vigorous, right-of-centre conservatives like John McCain for example, whatever else you might think of him, it can hardly be denied that he is frequently critical of conservative government including his own Party.

Further to right of him, say the Rudd Government, it could be argued that it's difficult for its supporters to be critical of its policies because there's so little actual policy to criticise that had not already been criticised when it was Liberal Party policy.

One of the big ironies there, of course, is that while such notably conservative projects as bank buy-outs, economic populism, intervention in indigenous affairs, repression of artistic expression and extreme social reaction were not yet adopted as policies by the Rudd government, they were indeed criticised by Labor.

Last week, maybe. But not now, no.

Fiona: We are still waiting for that piece, Eliot.

The predators and the victims.

I am supported in my belief that the corporation advocates, primarily in our country called the "New Order" Liberals, are as selfish and disruptive as ever.

It is clear that, as the subscribers to this unique free speech forum have demonstrated, political parties of those, other than the conservatives, have the ability and wisdom to constructively criticize their own chosen government while, conversely, the corporation advocates do not allow for any consideration of a fault in their given right to rule.

This sort of selfish "survival of the richest" is the type of unconscionable behaviour exposed in the Nuremburg trials.

Robotic servitude to a government direction (sometimes called loyalty) which denies any responsibility for their own actions is the cancer which democracy must eventually cure - or perish.

The history of the contemporary American style democracy has entirely depended on the compliance with the Military/Corporate principles of the famous G.W. Bush statement that "You are either with us or against us".

Look where that has led the world.

I have found a good description of the attitude of the contemporary American policy of "stuff you Jack I am inboard". So prevalent an attitude of "don't give an inch" by bigoted conservatives.

It concerns the mindset of the corporation advocates viz:

"But what is the ethical mindset of corporate players? Should the institution or the individuals within it be held responsible? The people who work for corporations may be good people, upstanding citizens in their communities, but none of that matters when they enter the corporation's world. As Sam Gibara, former CEO and Chairman of Goodyear Tire explains, " If you really had a free hand, if you really did what you wanted to do that suited your personal thoughts and your personal priorities, you' d act differently"

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the world's largest commercial carpet manufacturer, had an environmental epiphany and re-organised his $1.4 billion company on sustainable principles. His company may be a beacon of corporate hope, but is it an exception to the rule?

So, who do you accept as having thoughts from the heart and not the wallet?

Perhaps - "the meek may inherent the earth".

Keep your chin up Marilyn.

NE OUBLIE.

Unregulated corporations defy all laws

 Regarding the corporations and the evil that lives after them - always.

In Corporations there was a good example of Monstrous Obligations thus:

"A case in point: Sir Mark Moody-Stuart recounts an exchange between himself (at the time Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell), his wife, and a motley crew of Earth First activists who arrived on the doorstep of their country home.  The protesters chanted and stretched a banner over their roof that read, "MURDERERS". 

The response of the surprised couple was not to call the police, but to engage their uninvited guests in a civil dialogue, share concerns about human rights and the environment and eventually serve them tea on their front lawn.

Yet, as the Moody-Stuarts apologize for not being able to provide soy milk for their vegan critics' tea, Shell Nigeria is flaring unrivaled amounts of gas, making it one of the world's single worst sources of pollution.

And all the professed concerns about the environment do not spare Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists from being hanged for opposing Shell's environmental practices in the Niger Delta.

The Corporation exists to create wealth, and even world disasters can be profit centers.  Carlton Brown, a commodities trader, recounts with unabashed honesty the mindset of gold traders while the twin towers crushed their occupants.  The first thing that came to their minds, he tells us, was "How much is gold up?"

Everything in moderation?

NE OUBLIE.

Rudd's so predictable, isn't he?

Hey, remember this 'PR' advice to Rudd on his 'fiscal stimulus' from the other day;:

  1. table the draft legislation hastily
  2. conceal important detail
  3. invite the Opposition to support the legislation, and when they ask to see the details
  4. denounce Turnbull for "obstructing" the cash-flow to pensioners?

- Eliot Ramsey on October 14, 2008 - 9:16am.

Ms Bishop has repeated her call that the government must release the economic data used to work out the package.

"And how these policies will impact on inflation, on interest rates for example," she said.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says that information will come in the mid-year economic outlook next month, but he says the scheme is designed to protect everyone in Australia from the effects of the global financial turmoil."

Rudd's so predictable, isn't he?

The surplus Rudd "will deliver" versus that Johnny "did deliver"

Ernest William, the Australian Government 2008-09 budget might indeed state "The Government will deliver a strong surplus of $21.7 billion (1.8 per cent of GDP) in 2008‑09..."

But that sure ain't gonna happen now, is it?

The surplus Rudd's spending is not the future surplus he "will deliver", because that's not going to happen.

oil and home truths

Alga Kavanagh: "Paul Morrella, I am not a well educated man, but having had a look at the graph comparisons of oil prices and the Aus dollar, it seems to me that a few years ago they had the same parity as now and fuel was around $1 a litre. Yet oil company profits have almost doubled since that time. How can you explain that little anomaly?

You would have to supply the graph before I could make a comment. If you supply it I'll have a look and get back to you.

Why did oil rise so much in the first place, yet has now dropped so far, if it wasn't just a profit grab?

My opinion is monetary expansion. That is extra money (not value) in the world. Oil is priced in US dollars. The more dollars, the less value of the dollar, the more dollars it'll take to buy a barrel. The reverse of this is also true. You'll find that the price of oil began to slide as money was taken out of the system (those trillions lost). Take note of the Australian dollar slide (Aussie is a commodity currency), and you'll find a very similar comparison with the price of oil. There isn't any hidden conspiracy.

The current splash of money being handed out is just showing they are in la la land and haven't got a clue of how to approach this situation, other than from the failed one the lab/lib coalition have been using for the last 30 years. All the experts they are relying upon are the prime cause of the situation. Yet they are such educated qualified experts, they couldn't see it coming. Now that's what I call relying on nothing but hot air from elitist feather fluffing.

Your use of the term "elitist" is curious. The "feather fluffing" you speak of is middle-class feather fluffing. The lowest ten percent and highest ten percent have more in common with each other than with the "middle". Both groups are on the fringe of society without a voice. The nature of democracy (majority wins) dictates they don't have a voice.

What the western world has is government by the middle-class for the middle-class. That's why the parties around the world are so similar. It's because of that constant quest for the "middle". That majority wins, and its this middle greed element that's not only not being addressed - it's being ignored, and blame shifted everywhere else. One merely has to stamp ones feet and more and more is given. Governments have become like bad parents - never wanting to say no in case they're no longer loved. And their children have naturally got spoilt and gone feral.

It'll also be this exact distortion (it'll narrow even further) that brings down the current system we in the western world live with.

Thank God for John Howard

Paul Walter: "Actually, this is the second recession Howard has dumped on Labor."

"The surplus was a prudent and appropriate measure to build up for tough times ahead."

- Kevin Rudd today.

Who gave Rudd that surplus?

What God is that, Eliot?

The Australian Government 2008-09 budget states:

"The Government will deliver a strong surplus of $21.7 billion (1.8 per cent of GDP) in 2008‑09, with every dollar of new spending matched by spending cuts."

Conversely The Age reported during the 2007 election debate:

"PRIME Minister John Howard has denied breaking a widely publicised pledge to deliver annual budget surpluses of at least 1 per cent of GDP following his $9.4 billion campaign launch spending blitz.

An analysis by The Age shows that the 2008-09 bottom line has now been ripped back to a maximum of $10.4 billion — an amount that would be equivalent to 0.87 per cent of Australia's GDP." 

Although I am not positive, I believe that the last Costello budget allowed for a surplus of some $10 billion after a spending of $9.4 billion.

I suppose that the 2008-09 Swan budget of delivering a $21.7 billion surplus with every spending dollar covered by savings must be considered as the bottom line.

John Howard was the Fraser government's Treasurer for four years.  Each year was in deficit.  I don't think Malcolm Fraser would agree with you either.

NE OUBLIE.

Howard debt

Ernest W, I am not sure about the 'Howard debt laden economy', I think you are attributing Howard too much credit for causing this.  NZ and Britain with Labour Governments have the same debt laden economies.  I do however believe that the affluence created during the last ten years has been largely illusory, based on increasing 'value' of things which have not, in themselves, changed.  If you buy a house for $100,000 and it becomes worth $500,000, you still own the same house.  That is unless you want to live under the Alan Bond credo that wealth should not be measured by what you own, but rather by what you are capable of borrowing.  Didn't do Bond much good.

By the way, I can claim the moral high ground on my indignation over increasing first home buyer grants.  I recently bought a house (not a first so I did not miss out on anything), so theoretically I should applaud silly policies which retain inflated values.  But it doesn't matter.  So long as I can afford to service my debt, who cares what the damned thing's worth if I sold it, when I don't intend to.  By the time I get around to wanting to move, I assume all property values will have adjusted not just mine, so again who cares?

If anything, it is state and territory governments who really don't want property values to fall.  Stamp duty is calculated on a percentage of value, n'est-ce pas? 

Let me explain

G'day fellow contributor DM.

"Ernest W, I am not sure about the 'Howard debt laden economy', I think you are attributing Howard too much credit for causing this."

Far be it from me to give Howard recognition of being so important as to be involved in the greatest exhibition of corporate greed that the world is now suffering from.

Oh no, I simply say that some of us were warning of an unsustainable debt laden false economy for years which included, very much, Howard's own false prosperity housing boom the style of which, has now become known as "sub-prime mortgage lending" in the US.

The problem raised my interest shortly after I learned that the Howard government's $7,000 grant to first home buyers was not means tested.  Theoretically that meant that a wealthy banker, for example, could use that for each and every member of his/her family. Not really exclusive for the needy.

Then, increasingly, I knew several people who, even in our mini-populated regional area were being written up by the banks as earning as much as $200,000 per annum. None of them earned that much and a few didn't even have a full time job.

Where were the Howard government regulators then?

Where was regulation in Bush's US?

Ultimately, when this sort of thing happens, it has been allowed to happen and the government of the nation is ultimately responsible.

As Malcolm Fraser once warned "There is no such thing as a free lunch".

NE OUBLIE.

Please explain

Ernest William, so you knew several people who, even in our mini-populated regional area were being written up by the banks as earning as much as $200,000 per annum. None of them earned that much and a few didn't even have a full time job. Well your village was not short of a "village idiot" was it.

Why on earth did you not explain to them that you cannot borrow money if you do not have the facility to pay it back. Now your village idiots are going to be able to use the Rudd $21,000 grant to do the same thing.

Scott: for the first time ever Alan I'm in total agreement. None of these morons have the first clue as to the real problem.

Elitist feather fluffing

Paul Morrella, I am not a well educated man, but having had a look at the graph comparisons of oil prices and the Aus dollar, it seems to me that a few years ago they had the same parity as now and fuel was around $1 a litre. Yet oil company profits have almost doubled since that time. How can you explain that little anomaly? Why did oil rise so much in the first place, yet has now dropped so far, if it wasn't just a profit grab?

This country is not in a strong position; we rely solely on extractive exports and continuing environmental destruction and pollution. We also have a massive foreign and personal debt and all the money they are going to throw into infrastructure will go to large corporations, who will then charge us for using what we have paid for. This will not help the situation but make it worse. The intent of all of these measures is not to ensure economic stability, technological, social and environmental growth, but purely to prop up big business and restart economic growth through rationalisation and monopolisation, which is unsustainable, socially and environmentally destructive, as we are clearly seeing.

Ernest, I understand and appreciate your thoughts. I am happy and very positive, have been for years since I understood the reality of our existence and where it will lead. We don't have a stable government, but one controlled by ideology, and all current and past ideology is flawed, delusional and has only negative outcomes in the long term. The lab/lib coalition relies upon the people to provide its income, which it then squanders on itself and its corporate and ideological masters. We give all this money to big business constantly, yet only get higher costs and less services in return. Why do we give all this money away to them for nothing, why don't we demand, for every dollar we give to business in grants, exemptions and support, the people receive back in equal amount shares and control in those companies?

The current splash of money being handed out is just showing they are in la la land and haven't got a clue of how to approach this situation, other than from the failed one the lab/lib coalition have been using for the last 30 years. All the experts they are relying upon are the prime cause of the situation. Yet they are such educated qualified experts, they couldn't see it coming. Now that's what I call relying on nothing but hot air from elitist feather fluffing.

Rudd era entering a "New and dangerous phase"

The sudden turn around by Rudd and Swan concerning  what were formerly "reckless and irresponsible" big spending policies, combined with the repeated use of the '"New and dangerous phase" slogan by the PR boys writing their scripts, means three things:

  • the "inflation genie" has been wel nad truly replaced by the "recession genie"
  • the news about our great and powerful friend China must be even worse than we feared
  • panic has started to set in.

So, either the economic intelligence on China is now completely dismal - and there'll be near-double digit unemployment here real soon.

Or, the formerly "bad" but now "necessary" big spending "economic recklessness" of the Ruddites will cause inflation.

And interest rate rises.

Eiither way, we're entering a "New and dangerous phase".

The world has gone mad

D Markham "Seriously though, why would you look at a problem caused in large part by people borrowing more than they can afford, and decide that the response is to encourage people to borrow more than they can afford?

This isn't left or right this is crony capitalism and voodoo.

The sensible answer is that you wouldn't. You're right it's totally irrational. It's the boom bust cycle and crony capitalism all in one. Taken to a stage that I never thought possible.

Governments across the world have now become market players. Directly putting all taxpayers at massive risk. This isn't stabilization (guaranteeing basic classes of deposits). This is an out and out transfer of funds from taxpayers into the hands of cronies, shonky market players, flakes, bozo's, thieves, dead-beats, and even normal traders that once understood what risk meant. Even I'm being covered for a few high yield investments I recently wrote off! It's ridiculous! This is no risk high reward. This is the impossible made possible. This is a fantasy made reality.

Whose going to pay for all this? It'll be not just our children, it'll be their children, and probably their children. And riddle me this? What happens if in all its wisdom this is seen for exactly what it is? What then? Have a look at the currency fluctations we're dealing with at the moment - from day to day! How is international business going to operate in those conditions? What happens if God forbid some sensible soul recognises fiat currency isn't any longer worth the paper? What's the escape plan? No Government has an infinite money stream. And why would it? Everyones retired to play bank stocks!

You tell me what incentive there is to actually get employment where one pays tax rather than collects government charity? A world economy now based on some dupe guy selling from his corner store. Obviously he hasn't read the news recently.

I remember the Dot Com boom when people that had lost their jobs where cheering their once employers stock. Their stock options had become worth more to them than their job. That's crony capitalism and it ended in tears. That's the only way crony capitalism can ever end!

If you write loans for people that can never pay them back, they're going to de-fault. If you write a whole lot loans for these people, you're going to have a lot of de-faults. If you guarantee people that they will be rewarded de-fault or not, you're going to have a massive line-up. A line-up of the entire world wanting a piece of this "no risk action".

It's never been different and it'll never be different.

The analysis of corporations

I have often heard the expression that our police force are a necessary evil.

However, I think that the recent demonstration of corporate greed in Wall Street and the unrestrained exploitation of a careless government must shock even the most dedicated Liberal in Australia. For they are seen as the counterparts of the American Republican Military/Corporate.

Since a corporation is a legal "person" the pathology of commerce has been described thus:

"To assess the "personality" of the corporate "person", a checklist is employed, using diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists.  The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality".  It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism.  Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere.  Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered:  The institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath".

Do I believe that description? Yes, I do. 

Not because I have any particular knowledge of the capitalistic system of government but because I believe in everything in moderation.

Employers are taking calculated risks every day but, if their returns are of a satisfactory and not inflated profit, they create employment and prosperity.

IMHO I believe that when unrestrained, the concentration of power can only be destructive to the fabric of any society.  This is surely where communism, fascism and capitalism come together?

Unfortunately in Australia, the US Military/Corporate policies have been rampant for a decade and the attitude of profit at all costs must, consistent with that objective, create an enormous amount of poverty.

The Howard "New Order" created for the corporations an extremely skewed share of the wealth of our nation; and sold so much of our natural resources and government assets that our direct control of our wealth is becoming beyond the powers of the elected government.

That is surely not in the best interests of the people of Australia.

Think about Switzerland, their banks and their living conditions - are they feeling the effects of the Wall Street meltdown?

NE OUBLIE.

The ideas just keep coming

Ernest William: "IMHO at no time has the Rudd Labor government conceded to the demands of the irresponsible point scoring policies of Turnbull's mob."

Yes, it's just a string of extraordinary coincidences.

Buying up the Triple-A rated debt, the bank deposit guarantee, the pension increases...

"Irresponsible populism" one day. Then "strengthening the national economy and supporting Australian households" the next.

First home buyers

I will not bother writing to them Alan Curran but as a person who voted Labor last year and is generally supportive of KR, I would just like to say that a decision to double or treble the home buyers grant is quite breathtaking in its arrant stupidity.  Still it should make Zed Seselja here in the ACT happy - he has promised to assess nil stamp duty on any first purchase under 500k.  Idiotic decisions like this, with tumbling interest rates, should soon ensure that there will not be any properties that anyone would want to buy under 500k, so Zeddy's proposal should be cost neutral.

Seriously though, why would you look at a problem caused in large part by people borrowing more than they can afford, and decide that the response is to encourage people to borrow more than they can afford?

D. Markham, I disagree

G'day D.Markham. At first blush I understand where you are coming from.

The Howard "Pinocchio" trap is still being felt today.  Then - why would a Labor government of the people, by the people and for the people want to exacerbate the problem?

It seems to me that, having created a situation where a great deal of the nation's economy depends on the housing "boom", the Labor government inheritted a false economy.  True?.

Consider a business person, who has become the owner of a business so in debt to a false economy - how would you handle that problem?

You would insist on the constraints of the regulatiory authority be applied with their duty of care. The Rudd government did.

Then, you have a world wide catastrophe which is undoubtedly due to the greed of the Wall Street corporations of the United States of America.

Have a re-think of the Howard false debt laden economy. It was a duplicate of the Wall Street sub-prime housing boom.

Now, a stable non-risking government is taking actions in areas which need support - one of which is the Howard false housing boom.

Having so many Australian families already in that trap ,what would you expect  a responsible government to do?

Reduce their debts and encourage the industry that is necessary for a recovery from the Howard 'New Order"?

NE OUBLIE.

It's who you are....

Alan Curran: "I do hope you write to him and tell him the error of his ways."

Even funnier was some tosser, self-described as a 'Keynesian economist',  on Richard Glover's radio program yesterday who stressed the importance of fiscal stimulus going to people on low incomes and with low marginal propensity to save.

"So, basically, you'd support the pension increases that Malcolm Turnbull is calling for?" asked Glover.

There was a moment or two of silence before the 'Keynesian economist' replied wearily: "Yeeeeess. But he's a populist."

Like, it's not what you propose. It's who proposes it.

The War on Greed

According to the BBC:

The UK government has frozen all UK-held assets of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki after it collapsed.

Iceland's prime minister Geir Haarde said it was "not very pleasant" to learn that anti-terror laws were being used to deal with the company.

The war on terror is dead. Long live the war on greed!

Stunt watch: what Rudd will do now

The quite sensible Opposition suggestion, now taken up by the Labor government, to increase pensions as a fiscal stimulus has its primary virtue in the fact that pensioners have a low savings propensity.

That is, most or all of their marginal income is spent, rather than any or only little going into savings, so the multiplier outcomes will be quicker and bigger.

The trouble for Rudd is this is yet another Turnbull idea translated into government policy. So, how to distance Turnbull from it?

Here's what his PR advisers (the actual government) will suggest:

1)  table the draft legislation hastily,

2) conceal important detail,

3) invite the Opposition to support the legislation, and when they ask to see the details,

4) denounce Turnbull for "obstructing" the cash-flow to pensioners.

Work the general thrust of the stunt ahead of time with people in ther ABC.

Watch this space...

 

What garbage Eliot

Eliot Ramsey: "The trouble for Rudd is this is yet another Turnbull idea translated into government policy. So, how to distance Turnbull from it?"

Having watched the parliamentary question times almost religiously and kept up with the internet news, I know that your assertion is very naughty and comes at a time when the risk-taking Turnbull is desperate to create some misconception of what bankers are really about. Bad timing eh Eliot?

IMHO at no time has the Rudd Labor government conceded to the demands of the irresponsible point scoring policies of Turnbull's mob.

While Turnbull and his completely disenchanted "New Order" remnants have taken the plight of a single group of pensioners to try to make the Rudd government look anti-socialistic, Rudd and his ministers have refused to take the bait and have consistently made their position clear.

That is to address and reform the entire pensioner problems at the same time. As he has pointed out so many times since the May budget, Wayne Swan has approached the problem with tenacity and clear thinking.

How anyone could construe that Turnbull's uncharacteristic pity for even one group of pensioners has forced the Rudd government to implement their $10.4 billion stimulus plan is beyond me. That is why I think you are being naughty Eliot.

The whole attitude of the Liberal/Nationals in both houses of parliament is one of obstruction, diversion and deception. That makes them what Howard would call good businessmen.

I do believe that Senator Xenophon is fair dinkum in agreeing to support Labor's budget and I would also like to believe that of Senator Fielding - but I believe it to be just another "Barnaby Joyce" false appearance of being independent and to get back on the headlines.

I also suggest that when the matter comes before the Senate, the "New Order" will vote 50-50 (like the Republic sham) so as to create the illusion of a conscience vote - less damaging in the circumstances.

People should remember that in 1972 when Gough Whitlam's Labor government gave pensioners a rise, it was the first in 23 years! Courtesy of the immediately past Menzies era.

In addition, IF the media are fair dinkum in implying that Labor is moving to the right by being prudent in this orchestrated issue of only single pensioners, then they will also realise that, since the Liberals are wanting a pensioner increase, they are moving to the left. Social benefits of any kind are not Liberal policy.

I keep thinking of this financial disaster caused by the greed of the US financial institutions as a war.

We have the American War against Terrorism - the UN War against poverty - why can't we have a War against global recession?

Would the Rudd government then be able to declare a state of emergency and run the country without the interference of clowns like Fielding, Joyce and the Nationals?

We can only wish.

NE OUBLIE.

Sarah Palin just like the nation will go on to bigger things

Andrew OConnell, actually the frontier (can do) spirit of Sarah Palin is something I like - I like that spirit in any person that shows it. It also proves that America is the most diverse place in the world. Actually, the whole election proves that. That's the greatest strength of America.

There's many a circle with the belief America should be more like Europe. My belief is that America is great not being like Europe. America, probably the most powerful nation in history, was built on that principle. Hard work got America to where it is, and forgetting that, and falling into style over substance, has damaged America. Hard work will be that which makes America great again. There isn't any secret.

Fantasy media constructs such as Obama might make the world "feel" happy, I doubt it'll ultimately make Americans happy. When you're on top a mountain, there's a lot further to fall, and it's a lot more painful.

You have your opinion and I have mine

Andrew OConnellwhich particular Sarah Palin traits do you feel would be good for America, Paul Morrella? The cronyism? The abuse of power? The lying? The belief in end times?

1. People are elected to represent their community. Obviously her electors aren't unhappy. She is easily the most popular Governor in America.

2. The guy she wanted fired was a piece of garbage - I'd have wanted fired him also. In life some people are just never going to like you. Tough people can live with that. Sarah Palin will continue to be successful even if her election bid fails.

3. People's personal and especially religious beliefs are just weird. As long as it's not made compulsory what do I care what they believe?

Some man will always be scared of attractive women in powerful positions. That's their problem and only they can deal with that. Women on the other hand are sometimes inflicted with envy of other women - ditto the way of dealing with that.

Alaska is a highly successful State. People that do the small things right will also do the big things right. Companies that base promotions on this principle are generally successful. Companies that don't generally fade and die. Governments unfortunately just pillage the ever suffering taxpayer.

The only thing a President Obama will achieve is the future rise of another Ronald Reagan. The guy is looking more and more like Jimmy Carter everyday. A lot of people that vote for Obama won't be happy with whatever the result. Elections aren't, and never will be, a cure for self loathing.

Sarah Palin - good for America?

Lordy;

which particular Sarah Palin traits do you feel would be good for America, Paul Morrella? The cronyism? The abuse of power? The lying? The belief in end times? The quaint ideas about evolution and global warming? The secessionist sympathies?

Strikes me that you're very easily pleased.

Maybe it's time to get smart

Alga Kavanagh "The price of oil has dropped well below $90 a barrel, yet fuel prices remain exceptionally high and no matter what they tell you, it's not because of the exchange rate, but greed of the elite which will come back to haunt them very soon".

Check the percentage drop of the Aussie (commodities are priced in greenbacks) and the percentage drop of oil. I think you'll find it's currently priced correctly. If they'd have taken ten cents tax off oil it'd be a lot better. Though, I guess what would I know? Apparently oil was going over the two hundred mark. You'll also find revenue will fall markedly (even without the "non-oil tax break").

You can have a town hall meeting with patrons wearing ten-gallon hats, snake skin boots, and the best critter cook as the secretary deciding on monetary policy. If the mix is wrong it'll still create distortions - and that my friend is a simple truth.

Australia is in a position of great strength. The problem is Australians don't realise it. They've always been in a position of strength, and the only thing holding them back is themselves! Ideology or not; stupid is always stupid.

Told you so

What else can Rudd the dud say, but propaganda. This is only the beginning and I do remember the amount of disdain and ridicule thrown at me on this forum, when I predicted this collapse at least a year ago and the fact nothing they do would stop it, only bring it on quicker. Now it's begun, it's unstoppable as like a snowball on top of a mountain, it will just grow until it hits the bottom.

 

There is not way out, throw all the money you like at it, but the ideology of a global economy, economic rationalisation, privatisation and the shift from pensioned retirement to market driven retirement, is just the same as believing in god. Sounds nice, but no facts or positivity in the outcome.

 

All the bureaucrats and politicians think their super and pensions are guaranteed so they are all right, but that's not the case, as it won't be long before the governments of the worlds collapse under the weight of the disastrous mistakes they've made over the last 30 years. The only income they have now, after giving everything we own away to their mates, is from us and the population which drives this country, is broke and when the stock market crash is over, so will the future of those who relied upon the market to create a delusional future

 

The drought hasn't disappeared, just got worse. Infrastructure is collapsing, we have no manufacturing industry any more, all our commodity companies are owned overseas, we have no competition and because of that, the big banks will fall like nine pins in the near future. The price of oil has dropped well below $90 a barrel, yet fuel prices remain exceptionally high and no matter what they tell you, it's not because of the exchange rate, but greed of the elite which will come back to haunt them very soon.

 

What so what can be done? Nothing can be done, as long as we have the lib/lab coalition and party politics, controlled by the bureaucracy, academia and big business, its hopeless as they are the sole cause of the problem. Rudd the dud just babbles out rubbish and his millionaire mate treacherous Turnbull, is no different, in fact worse.

 

It will be interesting to see what sort of political situation arises out of the ashes, if any can. But I expect it will be a a number of years of attrition before anything sensible comes around and by then, there may not be to many around. Luckily I'm prepared as best I can, how about you.

 

Ian M (Ed): Welcome back, Alga. And keep posting please.

Oh me oh my Mr. Cavanagh.

G'day Alga,

Welcome back - I think.

Behind the 8 ball is not necessarily the end of the game - nor is a world war enough to stop civilisation IF the people decide to survive.

We are in a fortunate situation where we have a government that is not into the risk taking game - as Turnbull likes to be.

You say:  "This is only the beginning and I do remember the amount of disdain and ridicule thrown at me on this forum, when I predicted this collapse at least a year ago and the fact nothing they do would stop it, only bring it on quicker".

You ask us to remember?  Do you remember that for at least a year I too was complaining about the Howard government's enticement into the sub-prime [not my words] unsustainable "Pinocchio" first home buyers trap?  I kept repeating that such a system (which was a copy of the US) was a debt laden false economy and would lead to disaster for those poor souls who trusted Howard - and his blind-eyed attitude to the lending institutions.

Both of us will be accused of having hindsight Aga, and, either way we now have to deal with the problem without the un-Australian (or Irish) way of throwing in the towel.

Be positive friend, we do have a stable government which, in its first and only budget, built up a reserve surplus of $20 billion for just such an occurrence.

While Turnbull professes his support, it remains to be seen what the remaining Howard "New Order" culprits will do in the Senate.

I have said that we should treat this situation as a war - because indeed we are at war with financial distress caused by the greed of the professed leader of the free world. 

They are not leaders of a free world, even their rates are too high.

Cheer up Alga - we have faced bigger probems, both at home and world wide.

NE OUBLIE.

Selling yourself

Ernest William,you speak lot about "average people". Good for you. Thankfully that's not my dependency. I don't need votes.

If I took a case filled with a million dollars and dropped it in "your" average suburb, what would happen? The favorite would be at least 75% was spent on personal consumer products. I wonder how much would be given to "worthy causes" (I'd bet none)?

The second favorite would be the guy that dropped the case (or originator) would be blamed for the resulting carnage. The difference between true education and appealing to the mob (as politicians must). It's a great feeling being "free to choose".

There's ALWAYS BEEN A BETTER WAY!

The President for for free stuff

Michael Park "Yes Paul, possibly. I don't neccessarily think it is all to do with the most recent events though. The "half a day"  might well apply to Palin in this campaign - not that she did badly in the VP debate".

I think recent events have a lot to do with it. I also like Sarah Palin and there's a number of reasons for that  (I think she would be good for America). And no I am not religious.

I've never been good at picking the herd. and perhaps this won't be the start. I am still not willing to write McCain off though. And there's loads of reasons for me holding that opinion (in my mind at least).

PS nobody should be afraid of mistakes. If it wasn't for mistakes, we'd never learn!

Think for yourself

Ernest William "Paul Morella:  "I would say that adults make their own decisions. That's all part of being an adult."  Once again the broad brush which, in itself, makes most of your positive style statements unacceptable".

Why be negative? Haven't you got all you wished for? I mean the guy you respect runs the country, doesn't he? What more are you asking for?

Even family decisions are guided and constrained by law - as is everything else in a civilised country. The government of the day is responsible to the people to ensure that the laws are obeyed so that the behaviour of the entire population subscribes to the principles of democracy. Or else!

Borrowing money in Australia was against the law? Maybe I missed something. Or maybe it was against the law not to borrow?

Not only is this an exaggeration considering that perhaps millions of Australians whose budgets couldn't pay for financial advice but, they don't even have the money to consider it - let alone "make an adult decision".

There is a lot of good advice freely available.

So people can borrow hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, but they are constrained with affordability when it comes to sound advice? You really must be looking for votes.

The Menzies' decision for the adults and others, at least required them to pay "the rent" or the Sheriff came and removed the article - plus.

You're telling the tale????????

And:  "Why would I be against a person resolving debt?".  So far, your posts have advised that debt is a good thing.  You even believe that the credit card is a good thing - also a debt factor. Spending money on credit that you may or may not be able to cover. 

There is good and bad in everything. I don't run the world, and neither does the lifestyle I choose. If a person asked my advice I'd give the advice I believe is correct. I do, believe it or not, make mistakes (rarely), as humans are prone to do.

How similar is that advice to the U.S. lending principles that have caused the financial meltdown in the world today.

What advice?

You encourage people to risk their future by raising debt- and then - advise them to get out of it as soon as possible!!!  Fair dinkum.

And you misrepresent people. I never did write any such thing!

You're slant on life toward Messiahs repulses me. It's exactly that thinking that's made the world, exactly what it is.

Where is the test?

The Rudd government (not only for labor voters) has an obligation to protect our citizens in this financial crisis.

Doesn't  that mean that the government of the day is only able to handle the current situation as long as the Senate agrees?

At this time in non-war situations, whe should sit back and think.  What was the reason of the Senate?

As I understand it , the purpose was to protect the rights of the smaller states from the oppression of the larger ones. That is, if a decision of the House of Reprentitives by the majority of votes, may disadvantage the smaller states, then, they have the power to protect their independency.

And now, in an almost war situation, we have the example of greed and avarice, while the people who we are obligated to defend and die for our  future are the ones that are suffering the most.

NE OUBLIE.

What,where

 

 Ernest William, The Rudd government (not only for labor voters) has an obligation to protect our citizens in this financial crisis.

You must be feeling good this morning after Swan announced that we are now going to have BankWatch, after the outstanding success of FuelWatch and GroceryWatch this seemed to be a logical thing to do by a government who has no idea what it is doing.

Just make the voters feel as though something is happening,make plenty of announcements, NSW Labor has been doing this for years.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard hinted yesterday that the challenging economic times might force the Government to dump key commitments. Well we were not going to get High Speed Broadband or most of the Education Revulsion anyway.

Not so crazy, Alan

Sometimes the mention of an intention to highlight [that is to focus] on a problem is enough to advertise any insidious or otherwise deceptive behaviour. Like a warning - however invalid.

Kevin Rudd was roundly criticised for his conferences with world leaders to increase his knowledge of their attitudes to the world problems. Wise and hopefully worthwhile. That could be a Kevin "World watch".

And then there was FuelWatch where he implored the Big 8 to pressure the oil companies into increasing their output to reduce prices. Since then prices have reduced.

The fact is that it happened.

GroceryWatch - did that put pressure on the largest of the supermarketeers? In our area of the South Coast of NSW it certainly coincided with amazing specials and our weekly shopping bill did reduce.

The fact is that it happened.

The Liberal Opposition in Federal parliament is claiming support for the Rudd government's EconomyWatch, but who can believe them?

I have lived through so many wars where the good, the bad and the power of nations were exposed, or disposed of, and I tend to believe that the current world socialist attitude (roundly condemned by the Wall Street criminally negligent) may increase the tendency to revisit 1984.

Think positive Alan, in these times people should unite IF their objective is the same.

Be at war with problems, not each other.

NE OUBLIE.

FuelWatch / GroceryWatch - both duds

Ernest William: "And then there was FuelWatch where he implored the Big 8 to pressure the oil companies into increasing their output to reduce prices. Since then prices have reduced.

The fact is that it happened."

No it has not, Ern. We have had FuelWatch for some time in WA and it has made no difference. It's just a crock. I am certainly not going to travel to the next suburb because petrol is cheaper there, by 2 cents. (It's a false economy.) I go to my local station a few blocks away, close to where I shop.

Food prices too, have continued to rise regardless of GroceryWatch:

Soaring prices drive up Perth retirees' costs

It now costs Perth retired couples more than $51,000 a year to live a "comfortable" lifestyle, a new survey shows.

The quarterly Westpac ASFA Retirement Standard says an increase in fuel, health and food costs means a Perth couple looking to live comfortably in retirement would need $980.99 a week.

A couple looking to live modestly would require $27,807 a year, or $534.76 a week. A single retiree would need $19,943 a year ($383.52 a week) to live modestly and $38,270 ($735.98) to live comfortably.

That is a 3.8 per cent increase on the previous year, and a 1.4 per cent increase on March. The figures assume retirees own their own homes.

The increases are greater than the inflation rate, which the survey says is due to different spending patterns by retirees, who do not, for instance, spend much on education or mortgages.

However, in the past year they faced a 6.1 per cent increase in food and transport costs, and paid 4.7 per cent more for health services.

Last week, Council on the Ageing WA executive director Ken Marston said single aged pensions needed to rise from $14,000 to $18,000 to match inflation. He also called on the State Government to better target assistance to older people.

With commonwealth rent assistance for singles at $100 a fortnight, a single age pensioner received $300 a week, which Mr Marston said barely covered basic living costs.

First the cause and then the cure.

There are many views in this forum about almost everything but, I think that this thread is as important in time as was the WorkChoices of last year.

It would be nice if the freedom of expression in this forum produced a consensus of opinion, not as a blame game, but as a possible solution.

Personally I think that the basic cause of the present world crisis was greed, but, having said that it is like saying that we should have closed the gate. So let's learn by it.

I believe that the Howard ignorance of our banking system obligations in Australia is responsible for the credit card and mortgage debt, however now, with our regulations applied, the banks have had their greed restrained and that may serve to maintain our security.

As modest  middle class people, my Wife and I have never tried to gamble on the shares market because we believed that we did not have the money that such an adventure may cost.  A gamble is of course, only advisable if you have the money to lose.  Shades of Kerry Packer.

Under these extreme circumstances, wouldn't it be nice if the conservative opposition, especially in the shambles of the Senate, came together - as they should  during wartime - and dedicated themselves to the survival of our Australain financial system?

Is it possible under these extreme circumstances to declare a war against financial disaster? 

I believe that the people of Australia must listen to the calm advice of the Australian government because, without the Fielding and Joyce opposition, they are only responsible IF they have made the decisions.

Think about your responsiblity Fielding and big mouthed Joyce.

NE OUBLIE.

Obama the accidental messiah

Michael Park, the McCain wagon has certainly taken a nosedive. Events do have a habit of making and breaking politicians. Obama wasn't ready to be President one month ago, and he's not ready today. They voter may differ with that opinion I guess. It's starting to look a bit that way.

They will probably celebrate an Obama victory. That should last possibly half a day. Voting for a guy with promises of free shit for everyone has a certain Jimmy Carter quality written all over it. No doubt it'll end the same way.

Voting for a guy with

Voting for a guy with promises of free shit for everyone has a certain Jimmy Carter quality written all over it.

Yes Paul, possibly. I don't neccessarily think it is all to do with the most recent events though. The "half a day"  might well apply to Palin in this campaign - not that she did badly in the VP debate.

The mood for change is, I think, more prevalent than the last month or so. Within the Democrat camp it drove the Obama primary campaign: we don't really need another Clinton. This meltdown has been well telegraphed. I attended a mate's fiftieth August last year and spoke with a bloke from the UK whose business was headhunting top finance and banking people in the US and Europe . His view was that what we had seen up until then was the "appetiser". The serious shit would not hit the fan until the new year ('08) and would be signified by the first collapse and possible bail-outs. I suppose it is his business - I thought he was overplaying a little. He obviously knows the world he works in. If he could see, others didn't or wouldn't. Thank God for what regulation that still applies in this country.

Back to the campaign, voters, seemingly, are not convinced that there will be any significant change in a McCain presidency. He promises, in broad terms, a continuation of the foreign policy that voters rejected at the half terms and he is fatally tarred with the current administration's economic policies.

God knows that should Obama be elected he will be readily abe to supply everyone from the  serious surfeit of shit he will find himself encumbered with.

Father Park

I don't rule peoples lives

Ernest William"I know people who have so many credit cards that they try to balance one against the other.  Sure that is debt Paul, but I would guess that you would say "serves them right".  Meaning, they fell into the "Pinocchio" trap and they deserve the results".

I would say that adults make their own decisions. That's all part of being an adult. I'd also say that there's loads of sound financial advice out there, for those that are willing to make the effort to find it. One thing is for sure: nobody else will find it for you.

For my part I think credit cards are a great invention. Easy book keeping,  easy purchasing power, protection against carrying large sums,  free use of funds (accepting one pays what's owed in the allotted time period), and the added bonus of reward schemes. Yes, indeed a great invention.

The biggest polluter; the biggest consumer of the earth's resources; the most aggressive military/corporate in history; has now demonstrated to the world that they cannot be trusted.

and on and on and on............

You're talking and all I'm hearing is noise.

As a simple person, probably of  the majority in Australia, I believe that we should never let this happen again.

Enough with the appeals to the group already! I'm not voting for you.

So, I believe that debt is, financially or personally, something that should be resolved as soon as a decent person can do so.

Why would I be against a person resolving debt? A bit like why would I be against a person taking on a debt for a legitimate reason? Now the question of what is legitimate and what isn't is of course a personal decision. I'm not big brother, never wanted be, and never want to be.

You are so wrong Paul.

Paul Morella:  "I would say that adults make their own decisions. That's all part of being an adult."  Once again the broad brush which, in itself, makes most of your positive style statements unacceptable.

Even family decisions are guided and constrained by law - as is everything else in a civilised country. The government of the day is responsible to the people to ensure that the laws are obeyed so that the behaviour of the entire population subscribes to the principles of democracy. Or else!

And: "I'd also say that there's loads of sound financial advice out there, for those that are willing to make the effort to find it. One thing is for sure: nobody else will find it for you."

Not only is this an exaggeration considering that perhaps millions of Australians whose budgets couldn't pay for financial advice but, they don't even have the money to consider it - let alone "make an adult decision".

And:  "For my part I think credit cards are a great invention."  The only difference between this false, plastic card economy and the Menzies" hire purchase is the method of paying.

The Menzies' decision for the adults and others, at least required them to pay "the rent" or the Sheriff came and removed the article - plus.

And:  "Why would I be against a person resolving debt?".  So far, your posts have advised that debt is a good thing.  You even believe that the credit card is a good thing - also a debt factor. Spending money on credit that you may or may not be able to cover. 

How similar is that advice to the U.S. lending principles that have caused the financial meltdown in the world today. You encourage people to risk their future by raising debt- and then - advise them to get out of it as soon as possible!!!  Fair dinkum.

Ne Oublie.

Off thread, I know...

The  US Primaries  thread seems not to be open for comment - least not on my computer. Therefore I have addressed Mr. Morella here as this would seem to be his current interest. Editors might feel free to transpose it elswhere.

Mr. Morella:

Personally I think concerning ones self about Clinton supporters giving Obama their support is misplaced. Clinton will be the Democratic nomination in 2008. This thing is headed for floor deals and favors called in - "institution Clinton" is so far ahead in these stakes it is hardly worth the discussion.

Oh Dear. Brave call none the less. 

McCain isn't linked to Bush- that's just Dem wishful thinking, thinking that would be suicidal to take into the election.

Best let the US voter know: seems they've well and truly associated McCain with the outgoing administration's policies; economic in particular.

Perhaps we should then recall another couple of predictions...

There are opinions out there that this race will not even be close (easy McCain victory) - I'm tending to agree more and more with such opinions. ...

John McCain (for good or bad) will easily be the forty-fourth President of the United States of America.

One wonders whether those opinions are still  "out there".  The latest polling map, in the NYT,  would indicate that if McCain does manage to avoid his Waterloo it will be very far from easy.

Choose the red Mr Park

I rather think not. As with last Saturday's Turnbull Stakes I will prefer Obama's "Littorio" to your McCain "Weekend  Hussler" . The pity is I won't be offered 10/1 though...

Father Park

Answer

Scott Dunmore "If you can explain to me how borrowing at say, 10% and earning 8% simultaneously can possibly amount to good financial management, I'll apologise".

You're forgetting the equivalent sum is in other investments. Which should be earning more than 2%.

Leverage is a legitimate route to growth. The ratios of course are an arbitrary number that change from business to business. Generally we could refer to those that get the ratios wrong as now non-businesses. In most countries investment in growth also brings with it an added bonus in tax treatment.

Given the basic rule of business is to make a profit, it wouldn't be wise to invest in growth that's unprofitable. My example was asking to accept that the investment was for legitimate and profitable reasons.

Seize the opportunity

This thread has been provided for debate re the major issue facing the entire world today - economy - its insecurity and the result on ordinary citizens.

Accepting that the major cause was the greed of the massive American lending institutions who were the head of the financial octopus which straddled the world - then it is appropriate to start there.

The biggest polluter; the biggest consumer of the earth's resources, the most aggressive military/corporate in history, has now demonstrated to the world that they cannot be trusted.

If the Bush administration fades into oblivion by saying sorry and, contrary to some contributors to WD, there is no longer any trust, where do we go?

We have a situation that is similar to 1984.

I feel that the contributors to this forum are intelligent people, and whilst the government of the day may not pay any attention to us, let's discuss the feelings we have about this crisis.

As a simple person, probably of the majority in Australia, I believe that we should never let this happen again.

Debt in my Menzies era, was a burden and created a feeling of how to survive. It was called hire purchase. That is that you hire for the basic needs of your family but, you never own it.

So, I believe that debt is, financially or personally, something that should be resolved as soon as a decent person can do so.

Opportunity

Ernest William, As a simple person, probably of  the majority in Australia, no the majority of Australians are not simple people only about 5% would fall into this category, this is one of the reasons the union membership has fallen away, the smart people see no use for them. The majority of Australians are well educated and know what they want. The majority of people know how to handle their credit cards, and no government can legislate for the idiots out there who should not even have a card.

Then there is this, That is that you hire for  the basic needs of your family but, you never own it. My understanding of hire purchase was that you made all the payments and at the end of the period the goods are yours.

You are quite right when you say,  the government of the day may not pay any attention to us, you should not have voted for them you must have known that they were a con.

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