Contrary to popular belief, the word ‘mugger’ does not spring from American vernacular but from the Sanskrit word Makara which in its modern form of Hindi is pronounced Magar.
The word describes the freshwater crocodile which inhabits the lakes and rivers of the Indian sub-continent, and the description of its method of attack passed into the English language during the Raj, when British soldiers who were unwary or unwise enough to sun themselves on river-banks suffered the consequences of the mugger’s stealthy approach and its swift, deadly attack.
Like its saurian counterpart, the Institute of Public Affairs has been stealthily working towards its stated goals of ‘education reform’ and its privatization, the dismantling of Medicare, ‘welfare reform’, the ending of subsidies to manufacturing, and the dismantling of the ABC/SBS to name a few.
At the top of the IPA’s wish list is the dismantling of the minimum wage .
Late last week the Institute launched a two fronted attack in their ongoing efforts to destroy the egalitarianism of Australian society.
The first wave came from academic and economist, Sir James Mirrlees.
Mirrlees, shared a Nobel prize with William Vickrey in 1996 for his economic modelling which centered around the ‘asymetrical’ nature of economic information and its effects leading to ‘moral hazards’.
This theory was briefly summed up by Paul Krugman as “any situation in which one person takes the decision about how much (investment) risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly.”
For any contributor who heeded the Howard government’s urging to ‘top up their super in order to maximize tax concessions’, only to see much of their hoped for dividends vanish into the maw of the GFC, Mirrlees theory would hardly come as news.
Addressing the the Graduate School of Management at Sydney’s Macquarie University, Mirrlees warned that Australian wages would have to come down otherwise unemployment would rise, and economic disaster loomed soon after.
Australian wages needed to come in line with those in China, and were in all possibility “too high now”, he added.
Mirrlees allowed himself the caveat of “offering wage subsidies” as being among “the other things you can do to make labour cheaper to the employer, rather than taking on the unions straight away.”
Significantly, Mirrlees said nothing about lowering the cost of living accordingly to compensate for the lowering of wages.
If the good knight’s words were music to the ears of the IPA, they were only the overture to what was to come from two independent senators due to take their seats in the upper house on July 1st.
Bob Day of the Family First party and David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democracts have formed a voting bloc and seemingly, a mutual admiration society.
Day has agreed to defer to Leyonhjelm on matters of agriculture, while Leyonhjelm will defer to Day on industrial relations.
Both are agreed to vote as a bloc on resisting higher taxes, and in Leyonhjelm’s words ‘the nanny state stuff’ such as ending plain packaging laws for tobacco, lower taxes on the product itself as well as ending smoking rules that affect private property.
Nicotine fiends of the land ignite!
According to B&H Bob and Dunhill Dave, you’ve every right to give yourself emphysema as the next person – in fact, you can also give it to the next person through the joys of passive smoking without fear or favor.
Talk about altruism!
This however, is just the tip of the iceberg as far as ‘Good Deals’ Dave and ‘Benevolent’ Bob are concerned. There will be no more funding of those annoying public health advocates who want to control what you eat.
Feel free to stuff you and your kids faces with as much mono-mono gluto-gluto as you can shovel down your grocery chutes.
No need to worry about disposal of non biodegradable material or toxic waste either.
Bob and Dave plan on pulling the pin on any environmental organization “who oppose everything about modern society”, so throw all that shit on the front lawn and light a bonfire while you empty those pesky containers of old motor oil down the storm water drain.
Better still, make a family day of it, and drive to the local beach and dump it directly off the pier with the blessings of the dynamic duo.
Remember, pollution is the hallmark of progress.
Bob and Dave will also allay your fears over government funding of healthcare and education. What’s to worry when there isn’t any?
According to Dave, the government has no role as a service provider for hospitals schools and therefore no need to employ doctors, nurses or teachers when the whole shebang can be well catered for by the private sector.
Naturally, the issue which these champions of market forces find the most irksome is the minimum wage, with Bob Day querying the Newstart payment of $250 pw and the need to pay $650 (gross) minimum wage to people when they could opt to work for ‘something in between’.
Day bemoaned the fact that while volunteers worked up to 40 hours pw for nothing, the choice of employing a worker was either zero or $650 minimum, a situation which Bob felt to be “absurd”
Similarly to Mirrlees, Day seems to never have heard of the cost of living, and that $650 pw. is barely enough to support a single person let alone feed, clothe and educate a child.
All of the measures Bob and Dave so enthusiastically espouse are on the IPA’s wish list and it should come as no surprise that both Day and Leyonhjelm are long time members of the organization.
Any doubts about either Day’s or Leyonhjelm’s determination to fulfill the Institutes directives can be dispelled with Leyonhjelm’s statement that he had; “Every intention of making a difference. I will use argument, reason, pleading and occasionally, blackmail!”
Blackmail, eh? Whatta guy!
Mugwump Pop Quiz!
Can you tell which photo features Bob and Dave
and which photo features a couple of Looney Tunes© characters?
The minimum wage has been the central plank in Australian society since 1907. It has ensured that every employee has had the chance to trade their skills and labour for the guarantee of ‘modest comfort.’
It has ensured the creation and ongoing expansion of the middle classes, without whom Capitalism first divides into the haves and the have not’s, and then collapses into plutocracy and totalitarianism.
When the furor over the Budget begins to fade and morphs into an ongoing battle between the Senate and the Lower House, the next assault will be on the minimum wage and the need for Workchoices II.
The Murdoch press will throw its full weight behind the attack and the electorate can look forward to editorials along the lines of; We are the job providers! It is through our investments and risk taking, our brains, and our tireless efforts that the rest of you have employment!
We are self – employed. We do not have holidays, we do not have sick pay or long service leave. We must constantly compete in tough markets and they keep getting tougher!
The economy is faltering and it’s the result of having to pay award wages and penalty rates.
Well, the chances are strong that you’re going to hear it a lot more often after July 1st.