Action against banks needed soon. The time is fast approaching when the Labor Government will have to do more than just go tut-tut when the banks move to protect their profit margins by increasing interest rates when all around them other companies and individuals are suffering from this global recession. There is no doubt about it; the public will soon turn on Treasurer Wayne Swan and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for being all talk and no action.
The Federal Government certainly has the power to limit the profits the banks make. All it takes is a modest return to some of the regulatory regimes overturned by the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments. That Messrs Swan and Rudd have not done that already was to avoid the risk of Australian financial institutions getting in to the same kind of mess as their overseas peers. Now that the danger of such collapses here has passed, giving banks one up the bracket has become possible.
And the politicians will understand the necessity of doing so too. There is nothing like fear of a little electoral unpopularity to concentrate the mind.
The punter’s lament. We was robbed has been the cry of the losing punter from time immemorial but I’ve no one to blame but myself. There I was on Friday putting my hard earned on the people of Iran throwing out a President without paying any regard to the possibility of a non-elected Ayatollah being just as likely to rig an election count as any other authoritarian ruler.
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Evidence of an electoral rort is not easy to find at this distance but the views of the New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof I summarised in this morning’s Breakfast Media Wrap make a compelling argument. Ahmadinejad’s victory, he wrote, looks extraordinarily suspicious.
If he won by that margin, he would be the most popular Iranian president ever – which he certainly isn’t. And it seems exceptionally unlikely that he won in Moussavi’s hometown, as the government claims.
That’s the problem with dictators — they don’t just try to steal a squeaker of an election, they try to steal a landslide. In the process they lose plausibility and legitimacy.
I notice too that the Al Jazeera website has chosen to put quotation marks around the word “victory”.
It is not just sore losers and Americans who are sceptical. Iranians are too as this moving account in The Independent tells:
Paying off the cards. Evidence this morning from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that at least some prudent people used their $900 bonuses to pay something off their credit cards. The figures for personal finance reveal that in April revolving credit commitments in seasonally adjusted terms decreased 2.9%. Overall the value of total personal finance commitments increased 0.2% with fixed lending commitments up 3.8% largely as the result of loans for housing.
Business lending remains in a decline with the seasonally adjusted series for the value of total commercial finance commitments decreased 12.9% in April 2009 compared with March 2009. This was driven by falls in fixed lending commitments (down 17.9%) and revolving credit commitments (down 1.2%).
The value of commitments for the purchase of dwellings by individuals for rent or resale (trend) increased 1.3% in April 2009, following a revised increase of 1.2% in March 2009. The seasonally adjusted series rose 5.3% in April 2009.