December 09, 2014 | Graham

Reminds me of Medicare Gold

Tony Abbott really is beginning to look terminal. It’s not that he’s doing a bad job, it’s just that he’s doing a good job poorly. It’s not what he is doing it is how he is doing it.

One of the themes the Liberal Opposition ran before the last election was that it was time that adults were put back in charge. That resonated well with the last three governments which were probably the worst the country has ever seen.

And Abbott’s first gambit as an adult was to go strong and silent. It was certainly a contrast with the previous ADHD performances from Labor, but it left a vacuum which they were happy to fill. We didn’t hear from the government, so the Labor Opposition framed them.

Now he is opening his mouth more, and some of us are wishing he would go back to strong and silent as he demonstrates not adult cadences but the tin ear of Julia Gillard.

Take his backdown on the extravagant and silly Parental Leave Scheme. It is long overdue. The scheme was never more than a bribe to upper middle-class female voters who don’t like him. As a result it was far too generous to women earning $150,000 a year who could well afford to take time off to have a baby.

But in what universe does a backdown which includes providing funding for nannies make the situation any better?

The frame that Labor has put around the government is that it is only interested in the top 1% and that it hates the poor.  This is nonsense, but it appears to be sticking.

Images like Joe Hockey and Matthias Corman chomping on stogies provides visual confirmation of this, and if you needed a better verbal companion, what better than the idea that the government should fund nannies?

And if you want to paint the government as deluded and juvenile, what better example than a PM who grandiloquiently compares his polling to problems to those of giants of the last century like Reagan and Thatcher

It all reminds me of Julia Gillard’s proposed changes to Medicare, which she labelled Medicare Gold. It was a backdown on a policy that was meant to win an election, but in reality was a demonstration of how she just didn’t get politics.

Abbott seems to have the same problem. At a certain level he is very competent, but at the level that wins and loses elections, he doesn’t appear to.

Posted by Graham at 7:51 am | Comments (11) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. They all fail to address the basic underlying problem. If 97% of all new money is created as debt by private banks, then more money leaves this country than comes in especially when bankers through QE (money printing) create so much inflation which far outstrips growth.

    It does not matter who is in power. Yesterday I heard Joe Hockey say we have to prepare for the next GFC and the banks needed to hold more cash as a % of their new debt loans. Hockey was really saying the banks need to reduce their money printing.

    A spokesman from the banks said this will mean higher mortgage costs. So the banks are depreciating our currency via money printing and this seems to be a God given right.

    Comment by Ross — December 9, 2014 @ 8:18 am

  2. Perhaps they achieved their major goals too quickly. It is as if, once they’d stopped the boasts, & got rid of the carbon tax, [& Gillard] they didn’t know what to do next.

    With a dysfunctional senate, & a media that appears to have gone further left than ever before, they have major problems achieving anything with the budget, & appear to be lost.

    Tony is doing the right thing on climate change, & is of course roundly hated for it, but Labors strategy of stuff the good of the country, as long as we can make Abbott look bad, does appear to be working.

    Should Labor get back this side of next centaury we will just have to join in the handout party, & think like those Roman gladiators. Eat drink & be merry, for tomorrow we die.

    Comment by Hasbeen — December 9, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

  3. Tony Abbott is my local member. I’ve sent him lots of information on the GFC and why policies of all our parties are doomed to fail. While I agree with Abbott on CO2 not causing warming and the need to stop ambit visits to your Doctor, both the Coalition and Labor have not the guts to stand up against the Central Banker criminals.

    We do not live in a free market economy shored up by democracy. It has been a lie for over 300 yrs. It has been about a few elites counterfeiting our currencies and keeping us in eternal debt. That is the reality.

    Comment by Ross — December 9, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

  4. Tony Abbott’s problem is Tony Abbott! Tony Abbott’s other problem is Tony Abbott’s ironclad ideology; and a perceived inherent inability to think like a team player!
    But rather, more like an Autocrat?

    And naturally an Autocrat is going to have a tin ear!
    And hit the airwaves with all manner of “thought bubbles” that have never ever been tested in cabinet!

    Tony may well, like also ran Mark Latham, been extremely effective as an opposition leader!
    But that just doesn’t translate to effective leadership of the entire country and a Statesman’s diplomacy! [Big stick in a velvet glove; courage of conviction approach!]
    Which in any of today’s parliaments; is the art of persuasion and taking the nation with you, even in the face of universal disapproval.

    But no, its crash through or crash and burn.
    Instead of a universal co-payment, mean and tricky politics and a veritable trail of broken promises, (opening your mouth to change socks) why not just mean test ALL GOVERNMENT LARGESS; but particularly, if there really is a GENUINE budget emergency!?

    I believe if the coalition would be returned at the next poll that counts; the Coalition is left with just one choice; and that is a return to a genuinely popular leader; namely one economically literate Malcolm Turnbull!

    And while there’s still time to turn their electoral prospects around!
    And follow that with a complete shake up of the front bench.

    And that front bench will need to be fair dinkum nationalists, not apparent quislings ready willing and able to trade away the national interest; or seemingly ready willing and able to get our canoes built in Japan or Germany!

    And for the sole reason to punish those who had the temerity to vote labor?
    But particularly when you consider the normal flow through economic benefits inherent in having all our canoes built here, even if that pushes the purchase price up by a further 50%? Talk about shooting yourself in your own economic foot!

    I mean, and lets face facts; skilled labor costs much more in both Germany and Japan! Therefore it stands to reason cost blowouts are sure to follow and push the price way beyond what they would cost to build here; for say, real bottom line cost plus ten percent; or war time pragmatism!

    All that’s missing here is a super competent no nonsense management team, and skilled artisans, both of which can be imported in a heartbeat, given the political will!

    Tony Abbott and most of his flip flopping front bench needs to be replaced!
    Preferably by those still able to use the brains they were born with!

    My choices include a redoubtable Mr Morrison for defense, numerically literate Barnaby Joyce as treasurer; with trade and foreign affairs left as they stand; as the competent core needed to build a much more capable team around?

    And we could do worse than bring in some of those outstanding and extremely talented back bench females, to take over social security, education and health?

    You can’t save the whole barrel of apples by leaving a few rotten ones in it, but rather sort through and chuck the bad one out! And that my friends is the only viable choice!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 10, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  5. Alan,Barnaby Joyce had fire in the belly for a brief moment until they came into power. Barnaby has just rolled over because of the fear that most of our pollies carry. This is fear of the power of our financial system which is destroying our social and economic fabric.

    We have to wipe the slate clean and start again. Both the major parties and the Greens have no answers to this coming financial collapse.

    Comment by Ross — December 10, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

  6. Okay Ross, assuming you’re right, what are the answers?
    Replace economically illiterate Abbott and Co, with economically literate Turnbull and Co?

    Mr Turnbull, a former merchant banker, must therefore know just how to pluck money (billions or trillions) from thin air; and in so doing, save our economic bacon! All we need is that formula and derived wealth! (other peoples’)

    Failing that, perhaps the answer is to outsource the entire gamut of government responsibilities, rather than the most economically strategic parts of it. [And acting to lock up our most important and large energy resources makes complete economic sense!]

    That way we can get our hospitals, schools and prisons, excetera etc, run for the least possible cost and by extraordinarily cheap guest labor! (a dollar down and a dollar a day)

    And see all our tax liabilities disappear, in a brand new user pays system!? Along with the dawning of a new dark age!

    Ain’t circular thinking a wonderful thing? I mean if it doesn’t work the first one hundred times you’ve tried it, just keep persevering! It worked for evolution!

    A new dawn, the coalition model, will require families to take care of unemployed immediate family!

    i.e., The Waltons on Walton’s mountain, during the Great Depression! (Good night Ross, John Boy, Violet, Rose, Daffy Dill, Ma, Pa, Granpaw, Granmaw, Deputy Dawg)

    Which by the way, is likely to be all of us, with the exception of self serving politicians/high ranking officials; and given history always repeats itself, their favorite cronies!?

    Wipe the slate clean?
    Fools never learn; so, good luck with that Mate!

    Perhaps we could spin our way out?

    Look what you think is happening isn’t happening; (trust me, I’m a politician/devout party member) or the actual events are challenging or overwhelming all the tried and failed economic theories!

    We just need to keep tightening our belts and try and try again! Who knows what’s possible in the next 3.5 billion years? (anyway me and mine are okay and even having to let our belts out a bit)

    How’d I do? Would I get a spinner’s Guernsey?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 11, 2014 @ 10:04 am

  7. “The frame that Labor has put around the government is that it is only interested in the top 1% and that it hates the poor. This is nonsense, ”

    Agreed, completely outrageous! Actually the Coalition’s policies favour the richest 15-20% of the population and members of the government don’t really hate the poor, they just don’t care about them because they believe that people are poor because of their own moral failures and the enervating effects of welfare, not because of the dysfunctions and inequities in the capitalist system.

    The plebs realise that most of the Coalition’s attempts to “fix the budget” are camouflage for attacks on social democracy, voters also suspect that the notorious ‘co-payment’ is the thin end of a very nasty wedge. The intention is probably to increase it year by year until the Medicare system is dismantled completely. if Abbott and his cabal really wanted to reduce budget deficits they would increase taxes, reduce middle class welfare and stop handouts to farmers who need subsidies to survive.

    Abbott is preparing the nation for the 1950s.

    Comment by RussellW — December 11, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  8. Well Alan Goulding, the solution will not come from the existing parties as they do not believe in Govt owned banks.

    It will have to collapse and the masses will have to rebuild it from the ground up, unless our financial oligarchs decide to toss all the gambling derivative tables over and bring on a nuclear war.

    Comment by Ross — December 11, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  9. Ross, pardon the intended satire in the previous post.

    Seriously, the Great Depression was just a manageable recession until conservative thinkers got their fundamentally flawed paws on it, and turned it into the enduring Great Depression it became, by doing more or less what Mr Abbott and co are busy trying.

    With the foreseeable result, further contraction!

    Not for nothing is it writ large that fools never learn, or that the lessons of history are never learned!

    Roosevelt, also a Republican conservative, hollered uncle and brought in his new deal founded on Keynesian economic (make work) principles; that dragged us and the kicking and screaming [Hasbeen’s holy (deleted expletives) handouts,] conservatives out of the Great Depression and into a period of unprecedented universal prosperity!

    Only to see it wound back by the very same fundamentally flawed economic theories (Thatcherism, Reganism) that alone created the Great Depression, with the first visible result, a basic wage that stagnated for thirty years!

    And just like history repeating itself, more and more of our finite wealth concentrating in fewer and fewer hands.
    The precursor for both the Great Depression and the more recent GFC; which by the way hasn’t finished with us by a long shot!

    The conservatives could fix their budget shortfalls extremely easily, by just acting to end all tax avoidance! (too easy) But don’t hold your breath, cause that would mean (in their eyes) attacking (welfare for the rich) their core support base/cronies/mates/”aspiration”!

    I mean, you can only sell something once!
    And then forgo what it used to earn for the budget bottom line forever!

    i.e., what telecom, the CBA and medicare excetera etc, used to earn for the commonwealth budget, would if still held; pay for all old aged pensions!

    You know the very people taxed into the ground and or enduring penury, to pay for those very things.
    And now some conservatives whine endlessly about handouts and or the cost of pensions!

    Instead, expect (fools never learn) further attacks on the recipients of government welfare (pensions/job start) and things like higher education, which was free for most of today’s ministers!

    I mean, the rationale will likely go, if the jobless can survive for six months?
    Why not make it twelve, and if kids can pay for half their tertiary education, why not 75%? (someone has to pay for Joe’s cigars)

    After all, its borrowed money that doesn’t need to be ever repaid until bracket creep forces them into higher income brackets.

    The problem with those very approaches, is the way it invariably shrinks essential discretionary spending; you know the very thing we need to keep the domestic economy healthy/out of recession!
    To reiterate, fools never learn!

    And to anticipate some of the “more robust” learned Conservative obfuscation, (an oxymoron if ever there was one) I don’t hold with any of the Chicago economic school of thought or theories!

    Which if fully applied as written, can only ever repeatedly create depression on depression!

    Nobody but nobody can borrow their way to prosperity!
    Particularly if every dollar of debt just creates 0.03 dollars worth of economic growth; or put another way, trickle down theory in action!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 14, 2014 @ 9:31 am

  10. Actually Allan, Keynesian policies during WW2 put an end to the Depression in the US, not the New Deal. Unlike all the other major combatants, America prospered economically during the War e.g. by 1944 U.S. production of consumer goods had actually increased by 15% over the pre war level while in the UK it fell by 45%, so the Americans had more guns and and also more butter.

    Comment by RussellW — December 14, 2014 @ 11:30 am

  11. Your point is well made Russell; and yes the US prospered at the beginning of the war, with their then cash and carry policies and their so called neutrality.

    Even so, the new deal had started to wind back the 30+% unemployment, and here we are referring to former bread winners rather than working wives, who took over so many of the wartime factory jobs.

    WW11, was quite a stimulus, given that even the US wealthy, with the most to lose; unsurprisingly came on board with the general thrust of Keynesian policies.
    Which were basically put on steroids once Pearl Harbor was attacked and forced the US into the war and a spend-a-thon!

    And none of the Allies ever once worried about burgeoning debt, but continued to spend like drunken sailors! Creating in the process, a period of unprecedented post war prosperity! Never since ever repeated!

    Maybe they lost the formula? Or were persuaded to buy all the emperor’s new clothes in the world, by radical Reganism/Thatcherism?

    However, most of the nations on the losing side, ended their war basically bankrupt, with the (free enterprise) Marshall plan pouring in cheap billions into and rescuing Germany, which went on to become the economic engine house of Europe!

    Japan was offered little more than occupation, and had to dig themselves out of war induced bankruptcy.

    They did this by basically employing the social credit construct; and cooperative enterprise.
    Cooperative enterprise that engaged the entire society/banks/factories and all employers, who rewarded their workers, once Japan recovered, with jobs for life and cradle to the grave care.

    However, even there, greed is good extreme capitalism and all that’s wrong with that reared its ugly head, with the industrialists responding by seriously overvaluing their holdings and then seriously over-leveraging those holdings, to promote growth?

    I mean there was a time when Tokyo real estate was sold by the square inch! It was so overvalued!

    The consequent crash ended cradle to grave care, and beefed up the Japan mafia/organised crime; which by the way, continues to prosper.

    So we don’t have to look very hard or very far to see what created sustainable economic growth and what (fools never learn) subsequently killed it!

    And it would seem, quite grossly overvalued real estate was seriously involved in many cases, with the worst crashes created by foreign speculation and or, carpet bagging; compounded in Japan’s case, by the first big oil shock!

    Made worse by a mindless clinging to the very capitalism constructs that alone created all the failures!

    Even so, Japan retains the cooperative capitalism/social credit formula that pulled them out of post war bankruptcy; and indeed, created the second largest post war economy.

    The real surprise is, why they and all the other basket case economies, don’t just reemploy/redeploy it!?
    Can flawed ideology and the then created flawed mindset be that strong, so as to force those failed ideologues, to continue to continue to try to make a fundamentally flawed economic construct work?

    Perhaps they are persuaded by the fairies at the bottom of their gardens, to keep on trying?
    Alan B. Goulding

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — December 14, 2014 @ 8:14 pm

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