Believing the unbelievable

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Crikey says: protectionism and parochialism” (yesterday). First the editorial and then Bernard’s Keane’s lead article in Crikey yesterday make me think we really are in wonderland with Alice.

Latham arguing that market competition is clearly all there is — no government intervention ever — and Crikey agrees! Keane argues the coalition will be economically OK, no cuts really a nice slow steady climb out of the economic “slump”! Too much late night moonshine alcohol, you people.

First, we have witnessed the utterly devastating discrediting of “market uber alles” — remember the GFC et al, not to mention Thatcherism, Reaganism, trickle-down rainbows and other fairy floss, including globalisation (and the list is endless) as examples of unchecked market economics.

Equally, government intervention gave Australia Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity, the NBN (in the making), a manufacturing industry, a ship building industry, a motor vehicle industry and a munitions industry, and we built planes as well.

Government intervention by way of a Commonwealth (and state) bank didn’t hurt either. Planes, trains and automobiles — and control of our money.

Now look at the economic shit heap that’s called Australia. A giant quarry owned largely by foreign interests stealing our mineral wealth as well as fisheries and other raw materials and allowing “market forces” to import often toxic foodstuffs and just about every other product, up and down the consumer chain, charging inflated prices and making monster offshore profits along the way.

All because of withdrawal of government intervention — from the time my hero Gough Whitlam lowered tariffs in 1973 right through to now when we want to have more and more so called free-trade agreements. We are the laughing stock of every capitalist in the world. We don’t even have a suit straight from the sheep’s back. So much for the utter rubbish that government intervention is inefficient. Look overseas at virtually every democratic country and they are all in the same boat because they have done the same thing.

Secondly, anyone who believes this extremist cabal who currently own the Liberal Party of Australia will let things slide when they become a government really needs medical attention. This mob can’t help themselves. Of course they will cut taxes, slash welfare, withdraw even more from “government intervention” and create more unemployment because it is in there DNA. Then they will blame it on the other mob — and cut more taxes. They really believe the extremist crap of utter capitalism.

Crikey — recant now; you can’t honestly believe the unbelievable.

The Member for Israel

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Standing up for Israel” (yesterday). I’ve known Michael Danby for many years, particularly when he supported my challenge for ALP preselection for Melbourne Ports in 1995. No one can doubt his Israeli bona fides, but that’s the problem. He is the de facto MP for Israel as well as the MP for Melbourne Ports for most of his parliamentary term. So much so that he cannot serve the electorate fully and is consequently blinded to the correctness of Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s position. The occupation of the West Bank by Israeli settlements is illegal, and I’ve never known Danby to ever criticise this occupation. Additionally, how Danby can expect the Palestinians to be able to negotiate in good faith at the same time of increasing occupation is beyond belief. Having said all this, I hope he is re-elected, because the horrifying alternative of a Liberal MP is beyond comprehension.

Paying their share

John Richardson writes: Re. “The case for why Australians should pay even more tax” (yesterday). Dear Miriam, Shaun, Adam and Adrian: maybe you could come back and talk to us about paying more tax after you’ve ensured that Sydney Airports Corporation starts to pay its way, or you’ve fixed the mining tax, or done something to ensure that our banks make a more equitable contribution?

Better still, to avoid anyone being accused of favouring one sector of the economy over another, how about you come back when the level of company tax paid as a percentage of GDP has been restored to pre-2007 levels?