Armando Iannucci the political satirist who created the series The Thick of It would be hard pressed to come up with a show as farcical as the Abbott government.
In the ten days following the 2014 Budget Abbott, Hockey and Pyne have continually contradicted themselves, and managed more back flips than John Belushi performed in The Blues Brothers.
Questioned on the changes to University fees, Abbott tried to mollify voters with the assurance that students who had started under one system would finish under the same system and only those enrolling after 2016 would face the price hikes.
The Department of Education were quick to point out that all students enrolling in 2014 would only stay under the existing system until December 2015 and then be slugged with the higher fees for the rest of their course.
Meanwhile the Minster for Education Christopher Pyne, demonstrated why he needs a quick refresher in undergraduate politics by declaring health and education strictly fell under the auspices of the states and not the Commonwealth, and in fact the states should not bother Canberra with such trivial matters.
As any freshman knows, the states are reliant on the Commonwealth for funding health and education which is why COAG meetings are held.
When he wasn’t setting the record straight about states versus Commonwealth, young master Pyne was assuring the media that Tony Abbott had not cancelled his planned trip to Melbourne’s Deakin University due to security concerns; no, no, no, it was because the PM was so sensitive to the needs of students – especially his daughter, that he didn’t want to have their studies disrupted by a rabble minority.
On the health front, Treasurer ‘No-dough’ Joe Hockey was trying to tell low-income earners and those on a pension that the Medicare safety net was still in place and they wouldn’t have to stump up their $7 when they visited the doctor – well at least only for the first ten visits, and then the safety net would apply!
This is akin to telling a trapeze artist that they only have to perform a death defying act ten times and then the circus will allow the use of a net.
The best however, was yet to come.
To quell the howls of outrage from nearly every section of the community save for the filthy rich, Queensland LNP back bencher George Christensen, admonished the whingers by telling them to stop whining, and take it on the chin.
George is an expert when it comes chins, he’s got three of them.
George Christensen (above) tells whingers to suck it up
while the PM wonders why this fool has a steel
rod through his head.
Hard on the heels of Christensen’s paternal advice, the chairman of the National Commission of Audit Tony Shepherd, echoed George’s sentiments telling the electorate that they should “stop complaining and start asking what they can do to work toward a sustainable surplus.”
No satirist could write a scenario such as this for the simple fact that most people would find it too difficult to believe.
The irony of a well fed and larger than medically recommended politician and a very well salaried business executive telling low and middle income earners as well as pensioners to stop complaining and tighten their belts in order to subsidize the wealthy seems to have escaped both Christensen and Shepherd.
The real joke and perhaps the most cruel of all is not only are the Abbott government and its attendant cheer squads serious but they seem woefully ill informed on the real nature of ‘sustainable surplus’ and ‘paying billions in interest so that we can continue giving handouts’
As any secondary schools student studying Economics will tell you, that when the government sector is in surplus, the private sector is in deficit.
What this means in real terms is that the private sector has to shoulder the burden of making up the shortfall in government spending.
As the private sector is the user of currency rather than the issuer and is therefore restricted by how much it can borrow, this inevitably leads to rising interest rates followed by inflation and recession.
Nor is the government paying out ‘billions in interest in order to give handouts’
When governments run deficits, these monies are placed in the reserve accounts of the banking system.
The monies create excess reserves or more money than the banks need to cover their reserve requirements.
The banks then try to lay off these excess to other banks in order to earn interest on the ‘overflow.’
If the other banks are also in the same position, that is they also have excess to their reserve requirements, it places the overnight rate or cash rate in jeopardy of returning to zero instead of staying at the amount ‘pegged’ by the Reserve Bank.
In order to circumvent this, The Reserve Bank asks the Treasury to issue bonds. This interest on the bonds is created ‘ex-nihilo’ (out of nothing).
The corporate sector so beloved of Tony Shepherd, delights in bonds due to the dividends that they pay.
The ‘hand-outs’ as the Abbott government loves to portray them, are in fact a part of the Social Contract – the government’s responsibility to maintain the infrastructure of society such as health, education, welfare etc…
Abbott, Hockey, and Pyne however, seem to be under the impression that the Social Contract is something that you get from using the seat in a public toilet.
The other part of the joke is that like the Howard government, Abbott and Hockey continually try to convince the average Australian that government deficits are no different from that of household or business debt.
The Australian worker and tax payer are faced with ‘black holes’ of debt!
We’ve maxed out our credit card! We’re living beyond our means for Chrissakes!
The only way out, the only salvation to this God-awful mess is budget surplus.
Otherwise we will be leaving an unsustainable debt to future generations!
To our kids!!!
Jesus fucking wept!
You can almost hear the muffled whimpers of pain as they trudge along unmade roads in darkness to work their tiny frozen fingers to the bone in God knows what kind of unimaginable third world hell.
Our only salvation lies in budget surplus!
To achieve it we have to cut back on spending and privatize government services.
We have to get rid of those welfare cheats, the single mothers who breed like rabbits, the dole-bludgers who spend all day on their arses bonging on instead of looking for work, the bloody useless public servants who never read the paper in the morning because they’d have nothing to do in the afternoon!
But it’s all bullshit!
Government deficit is not the same as household or business debt, we’re not paying out billions in interest to continue to give handouts and there is no such thing as inter-generation debt.
Its a massive con-job in order to funnel more wealth to those who need it least.
As for the punch line to this sick joke, stop whingeing and start asking what you can do to work toward a ‘sustainable surplus’, as Armando Iannucci’s character of Malcolm Tucker might say: