3 December 1982. Thought for the Week: "The world is governed by very different personages to what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes"
Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister
Stripped of all the jargon, the "wage restraint" policy being promoted by Federal Treasurer John Howard and his colleagues is a proposal that living standards should be reduced. The smug, self satisfied Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Mr. Macphee, has at least been quite frank about this, stating in a recent television programme that the government was advocating "a reduction in standards of living". When asked about this admission being a novel way to campaign for the Flinders by-election, he replied, "Yes, it is a novel way, but it's honest."
Mr. Macphee and his colleagues do not
propose to extend their "honesty" to include a reduction in
their own standards of living. At least during the depression
of the thirties, when the financial witch doctors were preaching
that Australians "had lived beyond their means", reductions
in wages included everyone. But today there is no suggestion
of "restraint" by the politicians.
Few if any can truthfully say that they study and thoroughly understand the flood of legislation upon which they vote. If the politicians were receiving only their salaries, they would be in a comfortable situation. Ministers' salaries are excessive by any reasonable standard. But Mr. Fraser, Mr. Anthony, Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Nixon, for example, all have incomes from private activities. That great apostle of "restraint", Mr. Doug Anthony continues to pay off his Canberra home bought with a long-term loan and an interest of only 4.5 per cent. And then there are those "extras", extravagant electoral allowances, the infamous travelling allowance, to which Cabinet Ministers have been helping themselves in the most blatant manner. At the end of all this the retired politician can look forward to lavish superannuation payments indexed against inflation.
We are not aware that the present advocates of "restraint" urged such a policy in August when Parliamentary salaries were increased by another seven percent. We have seen no suggestion that parliamentary salaries be "frozen" for at least twelve months. The manipulation of travelling allowances, particularly by Ministers, is a sickening example of that greed which ordinary wage earners are charged with displaying. Consider the case of Minister for Defence Sinclair, who headed the list this year with a tax-free allowance of $21,314, for domestic travel. Add this to his $20,000 a year tax-free electoral allowance, and Mr. Sinclair obtained a total of $41,614 tax free in 1981. That is $800 a week or the equivalent of a taxable income of $104,000. But Mr. Sinclair also receives a salary of $69,300.
If the advocates of "restraint" at Canberra wish to be taken seriously, they could start by reducing their own standards of living. Foreign aid programmes, which further bleed Australian taxpayers to finance pro-Communist gangster regimes, should be halted, as should the financing of immigration policies designed to bring increasing numbers of non-Europeans to Australia.
What is urgently required at present is a display of integrity. Obviously little can be expected from most of the present politicians. Electors can however, start to provide an example of integrity by making it clear that their votes cannot be "bought" at the next elections, and that they cannot be blackmailed into voting "for the lesser of several evils". Regeneration for Australia will have to start back amongst the people. Such regeneration will eventually eliminate the rot so prevalent in government.
FRASER GOVERNMENT ADOPTS KEYNES
The essence of the Keynesian financial theory is that governments must periodically "stimulate" the economy with "pump priming" deficit budgets. The deficit budgets require the creation of new money. Keynes admitted that this policy was inflationary, but that this was the price to be paid for expansion. But Keynes argued that inflation could also be "controlled"'. The control of inflation is in reality the control of the people. That is why all the better-informed Marxists welcomed Keynesian policies as a means of advancing government control over the individual.
The calls of the Keynesians are currently
strong throughout the world, demanding that governments resort
to expansionary credit creation in an attempt to alleviate
the deepening recession. Former President Richard Nixon, allegedly
a conservative Republican, made the famous comment when he
was resorting to deficit financing, "We are all Keynesians
The Keynesians are gloating that the "monetarist" policies of the Fraser government have failed to bring either price stability or halt rising unemployment. Much as they may deny it, the Fraser government is now openly committing itself to the type of Keynesian programme advocated by the Labor Party. The proposal that the government deliberately "makes work", something strongly condemned until now, is a further concession to a creeping socialism.
No realist is concerned about money creation, anymore than he is concerned about ensuring that there are sufficient numbers for all the pages of a book. It is the purpose and method of the money creation, which is the core of the problem now threatening society. New money can be created to keep forcing prices up, requiring still greater money expansion to finance higher wages, or it can be used to reduce prices and eliminate the necessity for wage increases.
It is elementary if Sales Tax were abolished completely; the total price of a wide range of consumer goods would be reduced by approximately $3,000 million. That would be an extra $3,000 million of increased purchasing power in the pockets of consumers. And where would the government get the $3,000 million to offset the loss in Sales Tax? From the same place that it is getting it now. And the money could be created as a credit instead of an interest bearing debt. But such a simple constructive policy will not be adopted until there is an enlightened public opinion. And the most bitter opponents of this policy are all the Marxist revolutionaries.
The gradual encroachments of "reversal of proof" legislation, and regulations, are gratifyingly now being exposed by the Senate, which appears to be playing its intended role of watchdog. It was intended to be, in particular, watchdog for the States. A Senate committee has called for the rewriting of 220 laws, which now force the accused to prove innocence; a reversal of the traditional principle in British Common Law that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. Worse still, as The Australian (November 26th) commented there are "non-elected and irresponsible statutory authorities which also reverse the traditional onus of proof standard."
These Young Liberal types are ambitious hopefuls. We well recall that one of their numbers, some few years ago, had the "bright" idea of adopting an attack on sex discrimination as a coat hanger. This particular "whizz," thought it a wonderful idea that women's age pensions be paid at the age of 65, not 60. Then there were a spate of letters in the print media: why not - better still - pay men's age pensions at 60, not 65. Someone must have told the "whiz" the facts of political life; we didn't hear any more of it. Now Mr. Mark Birrell, the present Federal President of the Young Libs. wants the Commonwealth Government to act against the Tasmanian Government over the Gordon-below-Franklin dam. This Wilderness issue is an emotive one, and perhaps rightly: no one wants to see beautiful country ripped about unnecessarily. Still; do the people of Tasmania have the right to say what goes on in their own State, or not?! Next we'll be having some power happy political animals calling for the United Nations to overrule the Commonwealth Government. This isn't as wacky as it sounds, because it has already happened, thanks to our "new" High Court's validation of the Racial Discrimination Act, based as it is on a Declaration of the United Nations.
So now because of those horrible world economic realities the most recent G.A.T.T. meeting has dissolved in inconclusiveness: even "Australia's own" Doug Anthony, our Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Trade, couldn't pull a rabbit out of the hat. Now that we are likely to see dumping of primary and manufactured products on a large scale (to the further detriment of general employment) we were nodding our heads as we read Michelle Grattan' s comment in The Age (Melbourne, Nov. 29th) viz..."The Fraser Government has for years failed to practise domestically what it preaches internationally. However, despite the all round failure of the G.A.T.T. meeting, if Mr. Fraser allows this tide to sweep over his Government it will be a breathtaking example of hypocrisy.''
VALE JIM HOBSON
Marxist Economist Warns
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.