ECONOMICS


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Abbott and Hockey more Prince John than Robin Hood

11 Comments
04 May 2014 | David James

Prince John from Disney's Robin HoodIn politics, one should never opt for a balanced and thoughtful description of the truth when wild exaggerations will do. Especially when you want to take from the poor and give to, if not exactly the rich, at least the investor class. The dire pronouncements from the Abbott Government in response to the Commission of Audit's 86 recommendations reflect not only the PM's relentless negativity, but also more than a whiff of class war.


Financial advisers can be more than bookies

6 Comments
25 March 2014 | David James

Man in suit holds up blank business cardRemoving the requirement that financial advisers act in the best interest of their clients will reveal financial advisers for what they really are: salespeople for the banks' wealth management platforms. Tony Abbott argues that the changes will remove 'red tape' and declaimed: 'We're creating the biggest bonfire of regulations in our country's history.' This is a duplicitous use of language that misunderstands how the finance sector works.


Unwinding the Coalition's economic pantomime

10 Comments
11 March 2014 | David James

Theatrical masksEconomics is full of circular arguments. The Government is on the one hand arguing — most notably with the SPC Ardmona case, the exit of the car manufacturers and Qantas — that it will not get involved in supporting Australia's industry base. But then it argues that its policies will boost Australia's industry base. Lower unemployment will inevitably follow. For the first time ever it is apparently possible to have it both ways.


Deciphering capitalism's corrupt metaphors

15 Comments
06 February 2014 | David James

Angry looking pigs sit at typewriters in an animated adaptation of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm''All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. This was George Orwell's parody in Animal Farm of the vicious use of language in communist states. It was one of his memorable depictions of how the absurdities of language not only reflect evil, but also predicate it. Language was a tool of oppression in communist states. In capitalism it is no less vicious.


Don't rob the poor to pay the rich

14 Comments
03 February 2014 | Bruce Duncan

Piggy banks look frightened at the sight of one of their peers lying shattered and empty on the groundThe budget problems are not caused by Newstart or disability pensions, which have been declining as a proportion of economic activity. Had the Howard Government not been so generous with its tax cuts to upper and middle income groups, there would today be no budget deficit.


Supermarket self-regulation is a joke

15 Comments
09 December 2013 | David James

Woolworths and Coles logos side by sideIt is hard not to smile over Woolworths' and Coles' 'voluntary' adoption of a code of conduct. Now that the duopoly has decided to mend its ways, it seems it can occupy the moral high ground and preach to everyone else. The Western world has been subject to a quarter of a century of propaganda about the virtues of deregulation. A closer consideration of the supermarket giants' promise to do the right thing offers little reason for confidence.


Abbott should not punish the ABC

14 Comments
24 November 2013 | Michael Mullins

ABC logoThe prime minister said he 'sincerely regrets any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused' Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Did he mean the media was doing its job and that the embarrassment was collateral damage? Or was he regretting that the media was out of line? Outspoken monarchist Professor David Flint says the government should retaliate against the ABC by reviewing the its overseas broadcasting contract.


Change tax tack to take power back

15 Comments
17 November 2013 | Jean-Paul Gagnon

Australian bills rolled upWhat if citizens were given the chance to fill out a preference form online as part of their own personal, digital tax portal? You could choose to pick 'below the line' and individually choose what your tax money can and can't be spent on. For example you might like to spend on funding public schools, the bullet train, hospital supplies and museums, and not to spend on nuclear power plants, weapons development, or the automotive industry subsidy.


Business voices competing for Tony Abbott's ear

2 Comments
17 November 2013 | Michael Mullins

Tony Abbott's earDr Maurice Newman is chairman of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council. It's his job to lobby for big business against, as it happens, the common good. But he is criticised even among some of his peers in the business world, particularly for his unwillingness to accept the need for a reduction in carbon emissions. Does Tony Abbott really listen to 'a range of voices' on business, as he claims?


Australia's Noah's Ark economy

2 Comments
04 November 2013 | David James

Cartoon depiction of Noah's Ark with two each of various animalsAustralia is very much the 'Noah's Ark' economy: two of everything. Consider the spate of industry sectors in which only two companies dominate: airlines (Virgin and Qantas); paper and packaging (Visy and Amcor); print media (News Corporation and Fairfax). The Federal Government's announcement that it will be launching a 'root and branch' review of Australia's competition law will, at the very least, make for a fascinating spectacle.


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