Australia’s Federal Budget – Fat Fairies sprinkle Magic and Bull Dust

Last week the Federal Treasurer handed down his Budget with an opening announcement that “for the first time in 12 years, our nation is again paying its own way”!

The Treasurer projected annual budget surpluses for the next four years totalling $45 billion with surpluses continuing to build “as we climb the mountain and reach our goal of eliminating commonwealth net debt by 2030 or sooner”. This is debt that the Treasurer would have us believe was inherited from the previous government. Not completely true but I won’t focus on the pejorative commentary.

Anyhow, net debt is the government’s gross debt less its financial assets; however, it is the gross debt that needs to be serviced with the annual interest cost for the national debt now a massive $18 billion. That’s approximately $50,000,000.00 a day! The reality is that the surplus projected for next year of $7.1 billion would be wiped out if interest rates increased by just 1%, that’s how sensitive and vulnerable the numbers are.

A little drilling down on ‘the numbers’ in relation to the nation’s gross debt is necessary to add clarity to the truth. The previous government was in office from 2007 to 2013 when the nation’s gross debt grew from $58 billion to $257 billion, an increase of $199 billion.

The current government has taken the nation’s gross debt to $692 billion, an increase of $435 billion.

How can our representatives overspend by $435 billion and then beat their chest about restoring the nation’s finances without increasing taxes? How is that responsible progressive disciplined management? If we can’t reduce expenditure to live within our means, then perhaps we should increase taxes (not reduce them), rather than continue to fund deficits with unconstrained borrowings, a debt of $692,000,000,000.00.

Higher growth has been underwritten and financed from excessive debt which means the record number of new jobs/lower unemployment and reduced welfare costs have been synthetically manufactured; funded by enormous amounts of borrowed money at a rate that is straight up irresponsible! These apparent positive economic indicators are the result of artificial market intervention and not a consequence of a stronger economy. Thus, the Treasurer’s performance figures are skewed with massaged statistics that are not reliable or sustainable in the long-term.

It is unbelievable that populist politicians think that they have demonstrated budget discipline for a stronger Australian economy when the whole system has been pump-primed with cash to stimulate debt-funded growth. When it comes to the goal of eliminating debt I can only quote Kevin Costner in JFK the movie, “I find your story simply not believable”.

So this is how the federal government celebrates being “back on track”. It’s a race to the bottom as all political parties advocate delusional strategies i.e. that lower taxes will somehow balance the budget. Smoke and mirrors, magic and bull dust, it smells like the absence of ‘truth and honesty’ as all political parties promise the electorate more of what is already unaffordable. It’s becoming a case of who you mistrust the least!

One undeniable truth is that at some point, a future generation will need to significantly forfeit their standard of living to pay for the debts that funded our irresponsible and excessive lifestyle.

8 April 2019

When all else fails there’s always delusion. Conan O’Brien


IMF and You: Global Growth vs Environmental Sustainability

In January 2019 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a warning that global expansion is weakening at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected and that the risk of a more significant downward correction is rising.

Why was it critical to issue this warning? Are the capitalist market economies that vulnerable and sensitive to the smallest variation in global growth, that the slightest downturn has economies teetering on the brink of a global recession?

To counter declining growth there are calls for additional quantitative easing, i.e. where central banks increase money supply to artificially stimulate growth in the economy. This strategy effectively brings forward future consumption, however it has limited effect over the longer term.

The difficulty for market analysts calling for monetary policy stimulus to reduce interest rates, is that global financial capital markets are tightening, creating conditions where borrowing costs will be higher irrespective of the actions of central banks.

These mounting headwinds – the risks of rate hikes and declining GDP – give rise to the inevitable lending constraints and loan serviceability pressures on those populous western capitalist governments who choose to slowly drown in debt rather than risk electoral defeat with responsible fiscal policies.

We cannot prolong the inevitable indefinitely. Markets will remind the electorate that there are limitations i.e. that your government can only kick the can down the road so far, as Debt to GDP ratios reach levels not seen since World War ll.

The capitalist economies are addicted to debt-funded growth – growth at any cost. They are consumer driven economies, where the expectations are for continual improvement in prosperity through higher wages, bigger homes, newer cars, more and better consumables. We want to continue to lift our standard of living and to get what we want by voting for those populist politicians who irresponsibly promise more, not what is sustainable.

Eventually it will be realised that you cannot continuously have higher wages while global growth is in decline and for those who haven’t noticed, while the planet’s stressed environmental health is rapidly deteriorating.

The capitalist global economies are effectively a pyramid system where the efficient market hypothesis and rational market theories are founded on the premise that global population continues to double every 30 years. However this is about to change for the consumerist as clearly planet earth is approaching the limits of populous sustainability; the catalyst being when the world is inevitably forced to modify its carbon footprint and possibly face the consequences of a significant decline in global production.

It is this unsustainable global environmental health trend that should be concerning the IMF … and you.

What the capitalist didn’t envisage in the 19th century was that the planet would face such rapid population growth (370% in 117 years) and the negative consequences associated with the unpredicted challenges and ramifications of climate change: Arctic/Antarctic meltdown, excessive carbon emissions, landfill limitations, loss of recycling markets, deforestation, air pollution, water crisis, atmospheric build up, ocean dead zones, natural resources drain, soil degradation etc.

Global growth will progressively decline under the weight of a choking planet if you extrapolate the impact of the current global environmental health trends to their natural prognosis. The assumptions reasonably lead to a world population eventually facing the grim realities of intractable food inflation, a risk that will initially challenge the survival of the most vulnerable the world’s poorest countries.  

If we could simply start making decisions based on sustainability rather than expedience (economic, political or otherwise), we stand a chance of managing our decline in a controlled, humane and possibly bearable manner!

Meanwhile sharing a common desire to seek reasonable reward for our labour is antithetical to our aspirations for a healthy sustainable planet. The unresolved quandary of our inaction is the mutually exclusive cause and effect of climate change. Saying we are advocates for the planet is fashionable but ultimately we will be judged by our actions.

10 March 2019

“The time is past when humankind thought it could selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity.” Francois Hollande.

13 Dead Indigenous Children – Washing Hands of Blame by Pointing the Finger

In February 2019 the Western Australian Coroner released her findings into the deaths of 13 Indigenous children in the Kimberley. The report concluded that 12 of the deaths were suicides, with some of the children as young as 10.

The Coroner blamed this Cluster of Kimberley child suicides on ‘tragic inter-generational trauma’. Meanwhile children are still dying, yet the wider reaction from the numerous ‘responsible entities’ was open defiance as they completely denied accountability. This is scandalous although it helps explain the atrocious historical track record of inaction. How is this acceptable?

We witnessed a number of contemptible interviews following the Coroner’s report; the responsible Ministers, Indigenous politicians, bureaucrats and Indigenous leaders representing the countless government-funded Agencies, Aboriginal Councils and Departments. Not one stated ‘what they should have done’, ‘what they will do’ or ‘what they can do to help’; rather they point the finger of blame elsewhere and accepted no responsibility for their inaction; detestable behaviour!

Don’t get me wrong they were empathetic, just not responsible, so what do these professional ‘desk riders’ do for their generous taxpayer-funded remuneration?

If Government funds over $30 billion a year to Indigenous Australia, shouldn’t the entities and agencies accepting the funding be responsive for the devastating outcomes we are witnessing in Indigenous communities.

Are we effectively condoning the ‘washing of bloody hands’ by accepting their denials of accountability?

If these taxpayer-funded institutions are not performing, why do they continue to be financed? If they are not capable of doing their jobs; the basics i.e. protect innocent children, then who can? The answer it seems is ‘no one’. Apparently not a single person and $30 billion could save these 13 vulnerable Indigenous children, those with the most desperate rudimentary needs for living!

I’m not sure if it’s a remote tribal problem, between those who control the money in the cities versus those with needs in isolated communities, but what is certain is that very little of the $30 billion a year is being spent where it is needed most, on the front line in Indigenous communities.

In fact, if you look at the conditions on the ground, it leaves you wondering where the money is being spent and whose pockets are being lined? We’ll never know while accounting firms are reluctant to reveal the truth in their audit reports, dare they be labelled racists and face being black banned by the lucrative ‘Indigenous industry’.

If the only reaction from the entities with the power and money to effect real change is to point the finger of blame elsewhere, then something significant needs to change (a complete overhaul) if we are to help Indigenous communities in desperate need.

The sad reality is that the message to the children of the Kimberley is the same, nothing has changed, nothing will change, you’re on your own, and help is not coming!

Meanwhile, after 11 years of the failed Closing the Gap strategy, we still think that continuing to throw more money at the problem will resolve the deeply ingrained duplicitous laundering of taxpayer money that never reaches the remote communities where it is intended and acutely needed.

This deceptive behaviour, in the hands of those who control funding is vaguely fraudulent, where mismanagement (at a minimum) deprives those in need of the intended benefits. Those in control of taxpayer monies are prospering at the expense of those in desperate need, innocent dead children; children whose final act at age 10 acknowledges their desperation, the realisation that they will never have hope for a meaningful future because the promised help and support is not coming.

It’s clear that Indigenous symbolism takes priority, e.g. mourning Invasion Day, the populous protest that is apparently more important than any issue that requires tangible action, like saving the lives of Indigenous children. Who mourns for these kids in the wider national community?

Culpability lies at the feet of all those who take the cash in the name of advocating for Indigenous Australians, those getting fat, by deliver nothing short of banal noise, insincere rhetoric and disastrous outcomes that contribute to the despair and deaths of the most vulnerable and innocent!

A complete re-examination of the immorality of our actions is required if we are to improve the basic Human Condition for Indigenous Australia, or at least those People in the wider Indigenous communities who don’t control or influence the allocation of funding.

Imagine the scandal if there were 13 child suicides in an Australian offshore detention centre, the atrocity would potentially bring down the Australian Federal Government, accompanied by a choir of global condemnation from all quarters. Every citizen would feel the national shame of such a horrendous scenario.

But when it actually happens in an Indigenous community in Australia, the silence is deafening. Why are humanitarians invisible on this, why are Indigenous activists so quiet, why is the wider community unsympathetically blind? There should be indignation and outrage, contrite, guilt, shame, pain, anger, sorrow…. but nothing ….not a drop of cold sympathy…. and you know why!

15 February 2019

U.S.A. Today

Sunday morning, slept in and didn’t dribble on my pillow, good start! Time for coffee and see what’s happening in the world.

Still half asleep, hit the radio, it’s politics and ‘midterm elections’ deflowering the morning air. By the first bathroom break and coffee number two, midterm coverage had consumed about 95% of my time. Does the media not realise that the majority of people with the actual power to exercise their democratic right, don’t care. Only approx. 40% of eligible voters turnout for midterm elections. Time to change the channel!

Hello, good news, unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years. Surely, this must be fabulous news for all Americans, but somehow an opinionated detractor has managed to deflect the noise so it’s about discrimination and gender issues. Apparently we should be setting aspirational targets (100%) and not outcomes we could realistically achieve. Maybe it’s about the difference between theorists and the ‘practical application’ that is used by those who actually work. Time to change the channel!

A story about a warning from the U.N. Population Fund and the famine conditions in Yemen. They predict that some 2 million Yemeni mothers face starvation. Why the gender breakdown when the U.N. has already warned that 13 million Yemeni civilians face starvation in what it says could become “the worst famine in the world in 100 years”. Why sanitise the truth for your target audiences. Time to change the channel!

Here we go again, a story about the right to bear arms and the relevance of a Constitution that was drafted in 1787, back when the arms borne were muskets and not semi-automatic rifles. There is something like 12,000 firearm homicides in the U.S. each year and about 22,000 suicides. But today’s horrible news tops all that! The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency reports that ‘drug overdoses’ killed 72,000 Americans in 2017 and it wasn’t even a headline story. Time to change the channel!

A story about ‘Punishing Iran’ and how U.S. led sanctions are about stopping oil exports from Iran, the source of 80% of the country’s revenue. The story leaves me wondering who will benefit from the sanctions, given that neighbouring Saudi Arabia is the world’s number one oil exporter and the country with the largest oil reserves, the same country who denies murdering a U.S. citizen in their Embassy in Turkey. Will Iran resemble Yemen in a couple of years if this administration has its way? Time to change the channel again!

Now a legal story about whether Harvard admissions are unfairly discriminating against Asian Americans. The story states that Harvard is stereotyping Asian Americans, accusing the institution of racial balancing when it’s illegal to use quotas in college admissions. Meanwhile, the data shows that Asian Americans make up 22% of admitted students at Harvard compared to 6% of the U.S. population. I wondered how Native Americans feel about this apparent discrimination, the real ‘forgotten minority’ in higher education. Changing the channel!

Good Lord a story about how busy all our lives are now and what are we to do? Come on, seriously, compared to who? For a starter, google how to improve your ‘time management’ skills.  Don’t sit around while you’re whinging, learn how to multitask and double your productivity by ‘whinging while you work’ to gain ‘favour’ with your colleagues. Maybe whinge instead of eating so much and improve the robustness of my energy levels and save the environment by displacing less bath water. Organise yourself better, do what you say you’re going to do and get off social media, yep social media! You’re not busy, just disorganised; get over yourself!

That’s it no more, too much bullshit for me, radio off and back to bed. Maybe I need to sign up to twitter or facebook so I can have a fanciful virtual life, one that is too busy and unfulfilling enough to complain about!

4 November 2018

“We cannot make good news out of bad practice” – Edward R. Murrow

The United Nations & Mad Cow Contagion

The United Nations (U.N.) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have delivered (independent?) research with alarming recommendations. Apparently objective academics sold their U.N. masters the outcome they wanted to hear. This is common practice where institutional executives pay academics to legitimise their policies, while constraining the ‘terms of reference’ to compromise the findings.

In summary, the research (reasonably) recommends the phasing out of coal by 2050 (assuming there is no potential scientific advancement in clean coal technology over the next 30 years). But the report vacillates from these sorts of credible recommendations to non compos mentis with crazy meat-eating climate change warnings and lunatic recommendations to move away from meat.

How can these bureaucratic diplomats and their academic lap-dog theorists be taken seriously…or are they just having a lend of us? Perhaps the eccentric intelligentsia are too isolated in Geneva and out of touch with the realities of the practical world? Why is the press not questioning the legitimacy of these claims and the basis on which they’re made, because the problem is coal, not cows!

This idiocy leads to a loss of institutional credibility and public confidence and as a result, the message gets diverted and the serious warnings about coal get lost in the noise. Meanwhile, the conversation continues about eliminating anything that farts.

It’s a bit hard to just blame the poor old cows after taking a closer look at the Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the statistical correlation between the big CO2 emitting countries and the number of coal power stations they have, not to mention the number of stations planned or under construction; plants with a working life well in excess of 40/50 years.

The top three countries making the largest contributions to world CO2 emissions are China 30%, USA 15% & India 7%. The top three countries by number of coal power stations are China 119, USA 20 & India 15.

It seems that the cows are the patsies, taking the rap for the countries like China who knowingly set misleading emission targets, in the full knowledge that they will never meet their future commitments, but apparently the U.N. doesn’t want to know about that!

What chance do minority groups have without representation when their existence is challenged by the might of the United Nations? Who will defend the genocidal motives of the U.N. against the innocent, those without a voice, the udderly defenceless, … our bovine brethren,…the humble cow?

With the global population doubling every 30 years, food inflation will be inevitable when climate change forces a decline in primary production. The U.N.’s outlook for 2050 will be grim enough without letting the ‘theorists’ have their way by banning meat. We could be looking at a world with food shortages and constant intermittent power interuptions (similar to that of the impoverished U.S. territory of Puerto Rico), living in a vegan world governed by oppressive anaemic autocrates.

In truth, history tells us what unseemly behaviour, cold & famished human beings inflict on one another when forced to survive. The music will stop, meanwhile these vandals at the U.N. are rewarded with a ‘job for life’ for attempting to stall the world economies…

At least cows know bullshit when they see it!

15 October 2018.

“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” – Robert A. Heinlein

The Sydney Opera House – Sacred Site???

Last week we witnessed ‘people power’ in action as thousands of heavily subsidised arts-loving theatre & opera patrons protested against the misuse of our ‘national icon’ – The Sydney Opera House.

What resulted was days of national backlash as we witnessed first-hand how the elite, socially-minded and affluent mobilised to demonstrate their outrage against what was obviously an obscene first world problem.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Indonesia over 2000 people lost their lives in a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, with over 5000 people still missing. It’s nice to know what’s trending as ‘important’ to the ‘outraged hipsters’ who are completely ignorant of their vulgar, morally-vacant, conceited, self-indulgent view of injustice.

What I can’t understand is why ‘they’ have not objected in the past, when the Sydney Opera House has been (mis)used for other than the ‘intended purpose’; particularly when it involves offensive ‘commercial gains’ which is the source of the current public consternation.

For example, does a rock concert really meet the intended purpose of an Opera House? Why was it commercially acceptable in 2017 for an English Boogie Rock Band who promoted Coles Supermarket’s ‘prices are down‘ (see video 1:42), while playing at the Sydney Opera House, but it’s not acceptable to promote an Australian sporting event like the Everest Race;…yet it was ok to support Wallabies Rugby.

Why the flip-flop double standard?

Was this not the same offensive misuse of the Opera House for inappropriate commercial purposes? In the space of 12 months the 50-year-old Sydney Opera House has become the Caucasian version of a ‘sacred site’, protected by the street protestors, objecting to the “commodification of their beloved building”.

The Sydney Opera House has apparently become the ancestral Everest for the royally sanctimonious aristocracy in white Australia. It is lovely seeing the ‘privileged‘ following the herd, as they find a worthy ‘plum’ cause to vent their incensed outrage, all from the comfort of their city foreshore residence. It’s so convenient for them, particularly when they don’t need to lift a finger,…short of signing a virtual online petition to protest against, of all things…the Sport of Kings.

14 October 2018

“An arrogant rich and a humble poor both need help! The former needs help to be human; the latter needs help to live humanely!” 
– Mehmet Murat ildan

The Global Ramifications of the Complacent Citizens of the USA

We Australians understand that voting in a Presidential election in the USA is not compulsory, but surely the complacent citizens who couldn’t be bothered participating in the election can’t be satisfied with the outcome.

Why is it that the USA is prepared to go to war at the drop of a hat to defend ‘democracy’ yet its citizens can’t be bothered participating in the democratic process themselves?

A large percentage of the voting population in the USA may not care about the political outcomes in their country but their non-participation in Presidential elections is a dangerous niggardly act, considering the ramifications for the rest of the world.

It could be that Trump’s ‘very very large brain’ is a symptom of encephalitis. Whatever the case, we all have to deal with the precarious consequences of US citizens’ electoral complacency.

27 September 2018

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.