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Federal

Sep 14, 2009

We deserve better than legacy wars

Here we are, nearly two years out of the Howard years and happily consigning them to well-deserved oblivion. Then Paul Kelly released his book, and they all came lurching out of the political cemetery.

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It’s all Kevin Rudd’s fault. Here we are, nearly two years out of the Howard years and happily consigning them to well-deserved oblivion.

And then Rudd has to mention the war; and of course John Howard and Peter Costello lurch out of the political cemetery to boast about the size and quality of their tombstones and pretend they are not really dead after all, and Malcolm Turnbull feels that he has to join in and defend the two people in the world he most wants to forget. Such is the level of discussion in contemporary Australia.

The trigger, of course, was Paul Kelly’s latest blockbuster, a weighty, indeed ponderous, attempt to spin the 24 years of government by Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard with (in alphabetical order) Peter Costello into one seamless thread of economic reform.

Launching the book, Rudd predictably dismissed the Howard-Costello period as a mere hiatus; he and only he was the true bearer of the flame kindled in 1983. This admittedly partisan view was derided as mean-spirited and mendacious, but it did invite a critical appraisal of Howard’s legacy and what, if anything it has left us. And on close examination it is not a legacy which can be dismissed lightly. It can, however, be dismissed heavily, so here goes.

The proudest boast of Howard and Costello was that they handed over a robust and vibrant economy, free of debt and sizzling with growth. It was indeed free of government debt; on the other hand private debt, vigorously encouraged by government policy, was through the roof and still climbing. And certainly Australia’s economy was growing and had been for many years.

The problem was that the growth had been squandered on election bribes to middle class voters. Vast quantities of tax had been collected only to be handed back, although the hand outs disproportionately favoured the top end of town. Very little was invested in infrastructure and still less set aside for the inevitable downturn – thus Rudd’s need to borrow large amounts, which is now the target of coalition outrage.

Indeed, so extreme had been Howard’s profligacy that if all his 2007 election promises had been honoured, the budget would have gone into structural deficit even if the boom had continued. Not much of a bequest after all.

Howard also claims credit for workplace reform and indeed the legislation introduced early in his term built on the work of Keating. And it would have gone much further: we would have had WorkChoices in 1998 if the Democrats had not held the balance in the senate. And if we had there’s every chance we would have been rid of the Howard gang at the 1998 election, in which they were rejected by a majority of voters anyway — but not, alas, in the crucial seats. And of course WorkChoices would have been dismantled, as it has been. No monument there.

The Democrats also played a part in watering down Howard’s big one: the GST. The main — perhaps the only — point about a GST is its efficiency, which relies on its universality. As soon as you remove this, as the Democrats did, you are left with just another messy indirect tax. And like all flat rate taxes the GST is regressive: it hurts the poor more than the rich, and so effectively redistributes income upwards, just like Howard’s other so-called reforms.

Even economists admit this is unfair, but they justify it on the grounds of efficiency — it is easy to collect and hard to avoid. Rudd, incidentally, spoke passionately against the GST and has ruled out putting up the rate. He would undoubtedly like to repeal it altogether, but it’s too late to unscramble the omelet. We’re stuck with it, but we don’t have to like it. And in the end it remains a political cop out: we accept an unjust and inequitable tax because raising the same amount from a fair one is just too much like hard work. No wonder Costello was so keen.

He is also very proud of another cop out: handing the power to set interest rates over to the Reserve Bank. Taking his hands off the steering wheel is a matter for self-congratulation. Howard inveighs against a Bill of Rights because it would hand over decisions on human rights to unelected lawyers and judges, but he thinks handing over decisions crucial to the economy and living standards to unelected bankers, financiers and business tycoons is courageous and forward looking policy. Go figure.

And that’s about it. It is true enough that the economy was basically sound, with the big four banks providing a solid foundation: with the added protection of a government guarantee they were never going to suffer the fate of many of their overseas counterparts. Howard and Costello can take some credit for the most un-liberal regulatory regime by which the banks are governed, a regime on which Rudd will cheerfully build, but it is hardly what they themselves would characterise as economic reform. That consisted, in their view, entirely of deregulation, of giving the market more freedom, not less. And here, even by their own standards, they did very little.

Rudd’s principal charge against them is that they did almost nothing to boost productivity against the inevitable time when the mining boom came to an end. Education, research and innovation were all allowed to run down, almost to the point of stagnation. This is where the bonanza should have gone and this will be the priority in the years ahead.

In other words, economic reform will certainly continue, but not as an end in itself: it will henceforth be a means towards social reform. And it is by this criterion that Rudd’s own legacy will be judged.

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29 comments

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29 thoughts on “We deserve better than legacy wars

  1. pwnerous

    Isn’t the independence of the RBA a good thing?

    Could you see the Howard gvt (or any gvt for that matter) ever making the hard call for successive raises in interest rate? Especially when ‘low interest rates’ were their expressed point of difference.

    Otherwise, a good article; interesting point on Workchoices in 1998.

  2. Neil Summers

    Strangley Howard hasn’t come out big noting the several billion he ripped out of education soon after being elected. Neither doesn’t he mention how he broke his election promise not to touch ABC funding. Funny that! Some legacy.

  3. Cavitation

    Here was I over the weekend just admiring Rudd’s skill at reminding the Australian electorate of the unpleasant aspects of the previous government, now that Howard’s mistakes had disappeared from public memory. And now Turnbull adds to the unpleasant memories by revisiting “Workchoices” and individual work contracts during the most dangerous economic climate in the last few generations. You’d think the Liberals would have known better, since Howard pioneered the strategy of raising Whitlam and Keating every time political momentum started moving away from him, during his time in government.

    Surely this whole issue was a clever strategy from Rudd to remind the public about the nasty stuff the previous government did – people naturally remember the bad stuff more than the good.

    But I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that Malcolm Turnbull was offered Labor Party membership back in the past; but that he actually accepted, and kept it quiet. Is he a secret Cheryl Kernot? Is he really working for the Labor Party, as his recent actions seem to indicate, and will he jump ship once his fellow Liberal Party colleagues eventually catch on?

  4. redfrogs

    Pwnerous I think you are right in your question. Having a deregulated economy/currency/interested rates and therefore reserve bank would seem inevitable rather than a political football keen to be passed elsewhere.

    Mango I can see where you are coming from but not sure if I see all of these arguments being particularly strong. There are advantages in having a broad-based tax such as a GST as opposed to a more narrowly enforced income tax – which is only applied to the 10 million people in paid employment. Both have advantages and disadvantages and part of the reason why we have both.

    Incidentally I think it is clever politics for Rudd to speak out against a tax, which is by definition unpopular, which he knows he could not and would not repeal.

    I also don’t think the politics of a GST would be lost on Keating who was rolled by Hawke in 1985 on this same issue. Several Labor figures cite this as the incident which really soured the relationship between the two.

  5. John Inglis

    More Mungo please 🙂

  6. madeinaustralia

    “Rudd’s principal charge against them is that they did almost nothing to boost productivity against the inevitable time when the mining boom came to an end. Education, research and innovation were all allowed to run down, almost to the point of stagnation. This is where the bonanza should have gone and this will be the priority in the years ahead.”

    Lol at this whole arguement

    Rudd ran at the last election on premise he was infact John Howards long lost twin hibernating in his anus for the last 12 years, he promised to be exactly like Howard on all things economic and now Rudd is knocking his father after he shat him out and gave him life…

    cant work it out?

  7. evidently

    MIA
    Do B. Econ dropouts work it out with a pencil too?
    Mungo
    you are bang on. I said very similar things in a far more crude and overly detailed response to Bernard’s assessment of this matter last friday and got similar ugly imagery thrown at me by the rabid MADEINAUSTRALIA and his other nom de guerre.
    I remember you fondly for interesting me in politics in the mid seventies, yet you still seem fresh a fit for task in the face of this rampant ‘cult of the amateur’.
    Long may you rile the shallow ilk of MIA.

  8. jeebus

    Spot on analysis, Mungo. While other resource rich states like Norway, Chile, and UAE were able to build up sizable war chests during the biggest global boom in history, Howard and Costello left us with structural deficits, sorely neglected infrastructure, and a complete deterioration in our terms of trade.

    Yes, living standards increased for the majority of people over the last ten years, but how much of our economic growth was due to easy credit that led to the mother of all debt binges by the private sector?

    Hockey and Liberals have been thundering about the dangers of public debt when the private debt is what’s killing us.

  9. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Howard inveighs against a Bill of Rights because it would hand over decisions on human rights to unelected lawyers and judges, he thinks handing over decisions crucial to the economy and living standards to unelected bankers, financiers and business tycoons is courageous and forward looking policy. Go figure…”

    Such simplistic nonsense.

    Why would an “elected” official be stupid enough to set monetary policy as MacCallum suggests?

    Many of the metrics that influence and drive the Australian economy go way beyond our shores and deserve due consideration from a global perpective.

    Can the same be said of a non-elected judiciary setting an ‘Australian’ Bill of Rights?

    I’d hardly call Costello’s correct decision to insert an objective political distance to Treasury a “cop out”.

    Just as he rails against the monarchy and religious involvement in Australian politics, MacCallum would be screaming if there was any undue influence on the RBA Governor from the Treasurer…whatever their colour.

  10. Kirk Broadhurst

    The comments against the GST & Reserve Bank autonomy weaken this significantly.

    A flat GST (accompanied by a suitable raising of the tax-free lower bracket thresholds) is better than a random smattering of taxes across various goods while services remain untaxed – the rich do consume a lot more services than the poor, after all.

    Reserve Bank autonomy is absolutely essential to maintain a rational approach to monetary policy – I would much prefer to have an unelected & educated official set rates than an elected & uneducated politician.

  11. evidently

    Most peculiar Mama (awful name), you say

    “I’d hardly call Costello’s correct decision to insert an objective political distance to Treasury a “cop out”.”

    you would be way and double wrong here, my dear…

    There is (as much as Mungo appears to be ideological he is critical of all parties) no evidence to Costello’s claim that he set up the Reserve Bank independance, once again check your facts; it was Keating and the Unions that developed it and started up the implementation program. Costello, as Keating puts it, got a rainbow up his ar*ehole. If the interest rates went down, Costello did it. If they went up, the Reserve bank (swine) did it.

    How do you think such tosspots got so popular with the 40% of Australia who measure their own personal value in degrees of economic wealth creation?

  12. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Most peculiar Mama (awful name)…”

    Yawn. You’ve said that already. Flip it over.

    “…it was Keating and the Unions that developed it and started up the implementation program…”

    Wrong. Way and double wrong.

    Why do you struggle with facts, Evidently (awful name considering your ignorance of them)?

    “…Since 1996, the Governor and senior officers have appeared twice yearly before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics to report on the conduct of monetary policy and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Reserve Bank. At that time, the then Governor-designate of the Reserve Bank, Ian Macfarlane, and the then Treasurer, Peter Costello, jointly issued the first Statement on the Conduct of Monetary Policy, which clarified the respective roles and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank and the Australian Government in relation to monetary policy…”

    For the rest of truth go here:

    http://www.rba.gov.au/MonetaryPolicy/statement_conduct_mp_1_14081996.html

    Consider yourself PWNED!, “dear”.

  13. simmobc

    thats interesting Neil because if you would recall, the education system and public services generally, the bastian of left wing politics – were stuffed under Keating.

    Keating was not voted out for no reason, he was an unremarkable PM that will always be remembered as a Treasurer rather than a PM. Keating presided over a recession, high interest rates, high unemployment, masses of debt, negative real wages growth and a malfunctioning public service system before he was voted out.

    Keating and as history would say, Labor Governments in general, have never understood the actual relationship between taxes and spending – refer Whitlam, refer Hawke and refer Keaing. I often wonder what type of economic position we would have been in if the Howard Govt was not voted into power? Keating had lost his way economically and within the electorate.

    Jeebus – private debt is killing Australia?? hardly, but try living in London like me!! Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the Labor Government have pretty much killed the UK.

  14. evidently

    “…Most peculiar Mama (awful name dear)…”

    Well now you are Triple wrong – you have not read what I said

    “there is no evidence to Costello’s claim that he SET UP the Reserve Bank independance, once again check your facts; it was Keating and the Unions that developed it and started up the implementation program. ”

    Keating set it up, with years of cajoling of two successive leaders of the RBA, Costello signed the agreement within months that they got into power (how much ‘setting up’ could he have done) .

    From the AGE 25 October 2007 ‘Keating savages an ‘indolent’ Costello’
    “Mr Keating produced his notes of a 1995 cabinet meeting to underline his claim that wage restraint and an inflation target of two to three per cent were the socially responsible achievements of his government and Bill Kelty’s ACTU, not the Reserve Bank.

    “That’s how it was, let me tell you. I was there,” he said.

    “It (the inflation target) was adopted by the government and the unions, then co-adopted by the Reserve Bank and (former chief) Bernie Fraser.”

    From “How the Bank Got Its Groove Back”
    Stephen Bell, Australia’s Money Mandarins: The Reserve Bank and the Politics of Money,
    Cambridge University Press, 2004
    Reviewed by William Coleman

    “This is the story of how the Reserve Bank of Australia won its independence.
    The tale is told with a trove of interviews of the principal protagonists — Bob Johnston, Bernie
    Fraser, John Phillips, Paul Keating. ”

    MPM – I don’t see Costello’s name in there do you?????

    further into the review

    As Macfarlane explains, Fraser
    ‘had to go through a transformation as well, which he did slowly, at his own pace …There was no way
    you could bully him or anything like that. And gradually once we got him on board at his pace, he had
    the capacity to bring the government of board with him which was, it turns out, terribly
    important’(Macfarlane, p.121).
    Significantly, it was about this time, say 1991/2 that the inane policy of using the Current Account
    Deficit as a goal for the cash rate ceased. Things at the Bank now ‘felt independent’, says Macfarlane (p.
    121). ‘… for us it sounded as though we were very independent because we were giving our views to
    Bernie, and Bernie was either accepting … or accepting after a bit of discussion … . But I don’t know
    how many conversations Bernie had with Paul. I mean maybe Bernie only agreed with us once he’d
    already cleared it’.
    For all these uncertainties, it seems true that in his final years Fraser was captaining his own vessel.
    Keating in interview with Bell states that in the run-up to the 1996 election he wished to have cash rate
    reduced more sharply than it had so far been.
    The option for me, near a difficult election, was to have an open brawl with the Bank and Bernie
    Fraser. Further away from an election, I would have dealt with the Bank’s unreasonable
    intransigence in much sterner and more decisive terms’. (Keating, p. 127)
    That ‘difficult election’ concluded Keating’s role in this story. And Fraser, the Bank, and Australia,
    was preserved from ‘stern and decisive’ action.

    Now there is nothing wrong with your quote but the twice yearly statement has nothing to do with how the Reserve Bank became independent. I repeat in PK’s colourful prose, “Costello got a Rainbow up the ar5e” It fell in his lap and he spent ten years in that hammock.

    You have been totally fact backwards by your typical decontextualised and irrevelent counterclaim.

  15. Most Peculiar Mama

    Once again you’re churlishness is matched only by your inability to grasp simple facts.

    Did you even read MacCallums original statement? You clearly didn’t understand it.

    Here’s a refresher:

    “…He is also very proud of another cop out: handing the power to set interest rates over to the Reserve Bank…”

    Who cares if Keating “set it up”.

    He was out of office by the time it became L-A-W.

    It took Costello to effect the change.

    Do you deny this?

    Do you deny this is what MacCallum wrote?

    But hey, don’t let your insufferable demagoguery and fact-challenged partisanship blind you.

    You can’t even provide EVIDENCE of Costello’s (but really yours) claim that HE “set it up”.

    Just go on seeing what you want to see.

    The rest of us will just keep laughing at your attempts to “contextualise” your paladin’s profound political influence.

  16. pwnerous

    (don’t feed the troll)

  17. evidently

    MPM – fact backwards again, dear, double thrice

    I don’t deny that Mungo’s made the statement, and if you weren’t so cranky, you would have noticed that I agreed with you, that the independence of the RBA is no cop out. You are just having trouble accepting that Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating (from whom Kevin lifted the line) were right; the Howard years were indolent.

    “It took Costello to effect the change.
    Do you deny this?”

    Yes most definitely … and you know it is true because you purposely decontextualised the quote you posted.

    Here is the important part which addresses, your (narrowing) argument now, that Costello “effected the change”. There was no change and you cannot get it any more independent that this from the RBA’s own History pages…

    “In August 1996, the then Governor-designate of the Reserve Bank, Ian Macfarlane, and the then Treasurer, Peter Costello, jointly issued a Statement on the Conduct of Monetary Policy, which essentially reiterated and clarified the respective roles and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank and the Australian Government in relation to monetary policy and provided formal Government endorsement of the Reserve Bank’s inflation objective, which had been in place informally for some time.

    http://www.rba.gov.au/AboutTheRBA/History/history_of_the_rba.html

    And from your earlier link to the Statement of Monetary Policy at the RBA view these key notions which are proof positive that although he put his imprimatur on the statement he did not change anything …

    1. Consistent with its responsibilities for economic policy as a whole the Government reserves the right to comment on monetary policy from time to time. However, the Government will no longer make parallel announcements of monetary policy adjustments, when the Reserve Bank changes the overnight cash rate. This will enhance both the perception, as well as the reality, of the independence of Reserve Bank decision making.

    2. In recent years the Reserve Bank has taken steps to make the conduct of policy more transparent [take note- that is Pre-Costello]. Changes in policy and related reasons are now clearly announced and explained. In addition, the Bank has upgraded its public commentary on the economic outlook and issues bearing on monetary policy settings, through public addresses and its regular quarterly report on the economy. In furthering the arrangements already in place the Governor (designate) will support the release by the Bank of specific statements on monetary policy and the role it is playing in achieving the Bank’s objectives. It is intended that these statements will include information on the outlook for inflation and will be released at roughly six monthly intervals.

    The Treasurer expressed support for these arrangements, seeing them as a valuable step forward in enhancing transparency and accountability in the Reserve Bank’s conduct of monetary policy – and therefore the credibility of policy itself.

    http://www.rba.gov.au/MonetaryPolicy/statement_conduct_mp_1_14081996.html

    That is to say my dear, the Treasurer Costello did nothing except endorse the process which had been in place for a number of years; support the release of a statement on monetary policy every six months; and relieved the Government from reporting parallel statements whenever the RBA changed the overnight rate.

    Bernie Fraser at his talk to the National Club on 15 August 1996, the day after that document was signed, said this toward the end of his address…

    “My thoughts for today’s talk were assembled before I became aware of yesterday’s accord between the Treasurer and the new Governor. The words and the emphasis are different, but much of the thrust of the framework I have been describing is reflected in the agreed statement on the conduct of monetary policy.

    ….It is no longer my business, but so long as that basic consistency with what is in the Act is maintained, the statement would not cause me any particular difficulties. In fact, because it essentially formalises current practices, it has a rather sweet ring to it for me. It suggests that we are all marching to the same tune now, something that seemed impossible only a few years ago when the present Government was in Opposition.”

    Yes Bernie, and Mr Costello liked the practice so much, he claimed it was all his doing and that labor is ‘renewing ‘ his work.

    Melbourne Press Club, Lunch with Peter Costello, The Windsor, Tuesday, 28 October 2008
    The Central Bank Governor has enormous power over interest rates. With the power should come great scrutiny and accountability. People forget that the independence of the Reserve Bank is of comparatively recent origin – introduced by an Agreement between the Treasurer and the Governor initiated by the Coalition in 1996 – an Agreement that is still in force and was renewed by the Labor Government.
    – From petercostello.com.au

    Really, did I forget or am I one of the few that remembered what really happened and in what order? So you probably guessed, that is in answer to your ‘living under a rock ‘ statement/challenge that…

    “You can’t even provide EVIDENCE of Costello’s (but really yours) claim that HE “set it up”.

    I think that is, as they say, out of the horses mouth. Do you really think I would take the handle “evidently “and have no evidence to back up what I say?

    Have another go at me. Is this getting a bit hard for you? Come on, I want to see that big old mother hubbard mumu flaying at me.

  18. Most Peculiar Mama

    “don’t feed the troll”

    My sentiments exactly.

  19. A government big enough to give you everything, is strong enough to take everything you have.

    the worst part about this is people truly believe that the role of the government was to arrest this indolent period…like they should have been doing anything other then providing the basic services for our community….

    as if it was not private enterprise that drive alot of the growth in this period.

    we were all the richer in this period for the government staying out of our lives and returning our money back to its rightfull owners.

    Australians will have to realise everything our government touches creates further problems and greater errors.

    As the great Milton Friedman correctly pointed out, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

  20. simmobc

    not sure what is funnier, Rudd trying to position himself in the same light as Keating and Hawke or the fact that our PM is an Arts Graduate!!

  21. evidently

    Big enough, Strong enough

    “providing the basic services”

    The indolence ran down and choked off basic services, health and education and the corporate memory of many a valuable Government funded service that helped to raise you, your parents, and their parents, which was grown in cycles since Federation.

    “we were all the richer in this period…..returning our money back to its rightfull owners”

    money makes your world go around clearly, but others feel things like stability in the community, culture and collective efficacy will provide more long-run happiness.

    “As the great Milton Friedman…”

    You have to be joking, this the same Friedman, fellow bloggers, that said there is no role for Corporate entities than for stock-holder value creation; no space for Corporate responsibility beyond this, no room for environmental responsibility or the social responsibility for the companies workers and management. Friedman is now pilloried by all but the most extreme of let ‘er rip, free market fundamentalists. It makes me nervous thinking that we would be going back to the pre- Exxon days by raising that stinking corpse.

    This reminds me of times not so long ago, where I have attended dinner parties with decent looking folk, and after everyone has a few drinks the conversation turns to investment properties how much they got for them in how short a period; and this is between total strangers mind. This happened frequently enough for me to think it must be happening all over the place; when? – during the first ten years of the last government; Even though my family only have enough to scrape by, I find it all a bit gauche and hollow all this money obsession.

    SimmoBC
    I think the former is funnier, but I feel comfortable about that, knowing that the reflected glory extends further and wider than the party, and I think the reason we have legacy wars now is that we have some solid legacy for the next lot, whichever side chooses to claim it. What’s your beef with Arts grads being PM’s again?

    MPM
    Come on, have another go at me

  22. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Come on, have another go at me…”

    My point has been proven.

    Again.

    You’re now simply tedious.

    Flagellate yourself elsewhere.

  23. evidently

    MPM STatement
    “Did you even read MacCallums original statement? You clearly didn’t understand it.
    Here’s a refresher:
    “…He is also very proud of another cop out: handing the power to set interest rates over to the Reserve Bank…”

    My reply was:
    I don’t deny that Mungo made the statement, and if you weren’t so cranky, you would have noticed that I agreed with you, that the independence of the RBA is no cop out. You are just having trouble accepting that Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating (from whom Kevin lifted the line) were right; the Howard years were indolent.

    = MPM factually wrong

    MPM Statement
    “It took Costello to effect the change.
    Do you deny this?”

    My Reply was:
    Yes most definitely … Evidence from RBA History pages
    “In August 1996, the then Governor-designate of the Reserve Bank, Ian Macfarlane, and the then Treasurer, Peter Costello, jointly issued a Statement on the Conduct of Monetary Policy, which essentially reiterated and clarified the respective roles and responsibilities of the Reserve Bank and the Australian Government in relation to monetary policy and provided formal Government endorsement of the Reserve Bank’s inflation objective, which had been in place informally for some time.” (re-iterated and clarified, endorsed, what had been in place for some time)

    = MPM factually wrong

    MPM Statement
    “You can’t even provide EVIDENCE of Costello’s (but really yours) claim that HE “set it up”.

    My Reply was:
    “Melbourne Press Club, Lunch with Peter Costello, The Windsor, Tuesday, 28 October 2008
    The Central Bank Governor has enormous power over interest rates. With the power should come great scrutiny and accountability. People forget that the independence of the Reserve Bank is of comparatively recent origin – introduced by an Agreement between the Treasurer and the Governor initiated by the Coalition in 1996 – an Agreement that is still in force and was renewed by the Labor Government.
    – From petercostello.com.au”

    = MPM Factually wrong

    MPM Statement.
    “My point has been proven.”

    My Reply is:
    Oh really, and which point was that dear?

    MPM Statement:
    “Flagellate yourself elsewhere.”

    My Reply:
    Why? Have you maxed out the flagellation account again? It is your angry type that brings Crikey undeserved opprobrium, and drives away new membership. You can express another point of view, but jeering, table thumping and slagging-off nerdy expressions don’t win argument, its just juvenile bully stuff.

    Address the facts as presented, because I have patently undone you, point by point.

    Look this is just a guess we’ve made about you, but we also think you should also get out of that sticky chair in your locked bedroom of your parents house more often and drop all that “role playing gamer” virtual big talk, “paladins, trolls, and pwned”; or does that stand for ‘real power’ these days?

    Come on, have another go at me.

  24. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Come on, have another go at me…”

    Yawn.

    Your confected rage is HILARIOUS.

    “…its just juvenile bully stuff…we also think you should also get out of that sticky chair in your locked bedroom of your parents house more often…”

    Kettle, with such a deep sense of irony and profound wit you should work in breakfast radio.

  25. evidently

    MPM

    Your failure to address the facts as I have presented them, because I have patently undone you, point by point.

    There isn’t a shot left in your locker is there?

    It is your angry type that brings Crikey undeserved opprobrium, and drives away new membership.

  26. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…I have patently undone you, point by point…”

    Hardly.

    At best you’re struggling for coherency.

    “…It is your angry type that brings Crikey undeserved opprobrium, and drives away new membership…”

    Bells already rung there I’m afraid.

    A long time ago in fact.

    Some sympathetic introspection may give you the answers you so cravenly seek.

    Post under your usual nick too so they can all see who you really are.

    Go on…just for a laff.

  27. A government big enough to give you everything, is strong enough to take everything you have.

    evidently,

    I would check the size of government now, and 40 years ago when my parents were growing up…..not anything like the size it is now.

    If you think Milton Friendman is a fool, try reading his work, chances are the intro stat redux would through you. If you dont understand his work their is no need to tarnish him.

    The man is a Genius and one of the main reasons australia has a floated dollar and many of our other open market monetary policies.

    His Political economy work on freedom isnt for everybody, but he was an american.

  28. A government big enough to give you everything, is strong enough to take everything you have.

    evidently,

    I would check the size of government now, and 40 years ago when my parents were growing up…..not anything like the size it is now.

    If you think Milton Friendman is a fool, try reading his work, chances are the intro stat redux would through you. If you dont understand his work their is no need to tarnish him.

    The man is a Genius and one of the main reasons australia has a floated dollar and many of our other open market monetary policies.

    His Political economy work on freedom isnt for everybody, but he was an american. No doubt his purley economic work though is genius.

    you hate him for what he believes, not his academic work.

  29. evidently

    Big enough Strong enough

    Size of governments is your fixation – I’d prefer you check the size of government including, not for profit government supported organisations of your grandparents era and divide by the population, we had brilliant collective efficacy built on community knowledge, supported in part by gov, and in part by fund-rasing. My father was born on a kitchen table and delivered by a midwife with nothing but home training who was my mothers aunt, my lineage like so many is criss-crossed with the collective ability of generations of ‘can-do, will-do’ people who expected the worst and usually got it but strove for better for their children. The encouragement of individualism and striving of personal over the community wealth is what put, to this day, such a nasty taste in my mouth about the Costello Howard era where my own aunt, a nurse with many years community health experience had the regional family health centre closed down after 100 years of continuous service.

    I am not a hater of anything.

    Better man than you have disputed the overblown claim that floating the dollar has anything to do with free markets or Milt Friedman. Jude Wanniski @WorldNetDaily the political economist who wrote “The way the world works” blogs in a response to an op od piece in the NYT by a former Reagan staffer.

    “It was, in fact, Friedman and his dopey monetarist idea that you could manage the national economy to perfection by increasing the money supply by 3 percent a year that caused the worst inflation in world history! When he persuaded Richard Nixon in 1973 to formally break the dollar’s link to gold, the world economy went into a tailspin, from which it has not yet completely recovered. Witness the poverty of five-sixths of the world’s population. It was not until Ronald Reagan abandoned Friedman’s experiment in 1983 — when to continue it would have meant the collapse of all our money-center banks — that the 17-year expansion began. The Fed then was allowed to provide the liquidity being demanded by the market in order to capitalize on the lower Reagan tax rates….You say: “Obviously, something started in the 1980s that energized the economy like never before. What was it? Markets simply were allowed to work.” For your information, Larry, a floating dollar has nothing to do with “free markets.” That is a gross canard that Milton Friedman has circulated for decades. It is when the dollar is fixed to gold that the market determines both the demand for dollars and the dollars supplied. When the dollar floats, it is the board of governors that determines the supply of dollars, which in some ways also determines the demand for them. Don’t take my word for it, kid. The subject came up on July 22, 1998, at a meeting of the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy of the Banking committee, with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in the witness chair.”

    I don’t hate him, and I don’t think he is a fool – they are words you’ve put in my mouth; it is just that I disagree with you most strongly that he is a genius, and I believe he misunderstands the notion that he is performing a political act when he is perjorative of politics entering business and society and HE is tarnishing social responsibility as an explicitly collectivist doctrine, as if collectivism is something to be feared; in his own words…

    “But the doctrine of “social responsibility” taken seriously would extend the scope of the political mechanism to every human activity. It does not differ in philosophy from the most explicitly collectivist doctrine. It differs only by professing to believe that collectivist ends can be attained without collectivist means. That is why, in my book Capitalism and Freedom, I have called it a “fundamentally subversive doctrine” in a free society, and have said that in such a society, “there is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.”

    Last para from “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” by Milton Friedman, The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970.

    I am sorry I didn’t understand this bit “try reading his work, chances are the intro stat redux would through you”

    MPM
    “Post under your usual nick too so they can all see who you really are.
    Go on…just for a laff.”

    Crikey! Who do think I might be? I am afraid you are projecting again, you get so mixed by your own split characters that you ironically called me ‘kettle’ which means what followed was the pot calling the kettle black…. you are becoming your own worst enemy, worse, you can’t admit when you have been shown the evidence that blows away your claims so now you change tack to claim I am using an alternative nickname, which is what many on this site are leveling at you my dear flip-flop, boy-girl, wrong-is not wrong, friendless-role playing an invented friend so you can agree with yourself, arrested development blog somnambulist.
    In contrast to yourself, I have one handle; evidently.

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