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29 August 1980. Thought for the Week: "... perhaps I may emphasise the absurdity of talking about systems, as if systems could be run without men. Deep down below questions of finance the fundamental issue that is at stake in civilisation at the present time is that of personal responsibility. "You cannot fight a system, you can only fight the people who put a system into operation. You cannot fight robbery, you can only fight robbers. You cannot fight malaria, you can only destroy mosquitoes. One of the most pestilential features of our present civilisation is the idea that if someone is paid by an organisation to do an injustice, the responsibility for the injustice lies upon the organisation and not upon him."
C.H. Douglas in "Dictatorship by Taxation."
TURNING THE FINANCIAL SCREW
The essence of the 1980 Federal Budget is that
the Fraser Government and its "experts" propose to continue
turning the harsh financial screw under the guise of continuing
with "sound economic management." Confident that the Government
will be re-elected with a comfortable majority, the Fraser
strategy is to attempt to use the budget, which offers few
election sweeteners, as an example of its "consistent" and
"responsible" economic strategy, thus turning it to political
The increase of the defence vote by approximately
7 percent in real terms will make little contribution to an
effective defence strategy, nor to the Australian economy,
but is an attempt to promote defence as an election issue
as a result of the Afghanistan affair. In the meantime Australian
exports to the Soviet Union soar while, primarily with a view
to offsetting threatened electoral losses in Tasmania, the
Fraser Government has already started to back away from its
ban on the proposed joint Russian-Tasmanian fishing venture.
A study of the budget and associated
documents reveals that a Government, which boasts, of its
"sound economic management" concedes that unemployment will
continue at the present disastrous level, and that inflation
will be a fraction higher. Failure to implement the promise
of full tax indexation means that the Government will continue
increasing the tax rip off through inflation. As pointed out
by taxation experts, the effective purchasing power of the
majority of Australians will be progressively reduced with
a serious impact on the economy. The growing number of business
bankruptcies, most of these the smaller and medium-sized organisations,
are, together with unemployment and inflation, a reflection
of what is called a "responsible" economic strategy.
If Australian electors are prepared to uncritically endorse, a "responsible economic strategy" which has required a trail of broken promises, they will confirm the famous comment by the Canadian political leader who told Canadians during the Great Depression of the thirties, "If you feel you haven't yet suffered enough, it is your God given right to suffer some more." But we are of the opinion that increasing numbers of electors are looking for some way to record a vote of censure against the Fraser Government without endorsing an Opposition which offers no real alternatives. The Senate elections offer the obvious choice to record that censure vote.
THE TRAGEDY OF YOUTH UNENPLOYMENT
Reflecting once again his own puritanical philosophy, Prime Minister Fraser's latest gaffe, that Australians should "get off their backsides" and work harder, provides further evidence also of Mr. Fraser's appalling ignorance of finance economic realities. Healthy human beings will willingly engage in all forms of physical and mental exertion if there is adequate incentive. The call for people to "get off their backsides" must have sounded like a sick joke to the tens of thousands of Australians who cannot obtain paid employment. Such a comment from a Prime Minister can only increase the growing alienation from traditional society and its institutions amongst young Australians who, through no fault of their own, can find no place in the production system.
Every Australian family is concerned about whether their children are going to be able to obtain paid work when they finish school or University. It is true that some young people have been so ruined by the "educational" system that they lack both initiative and ability. But the great majority is anxious to obtain money through useful activity.
The basic aspects of the situation are quite clear: If Australia as a nation requires more production, either for domestic use, or to exchange for required imports, then financial policies which prevent hundreds of thousands from being employed must be altered. But if the whole population is not required to work until 65 to produce what is required, then the obvious first step towards dealing with the situation is to make it financially possible for people to retire from paid employment at an earlier age so that the young can find an outlet for their creative abilities in the production system.
Those who claim to be engaged in "sound economic management" are in fact creating a growing potential subversive and revolutionary force so long as youth unemployment continues to grow. Juvenile crimes of violence are increasing. Eventually there will be political violence. The Frasers and Howards must not be allowed to wipe their hands of any responsibility for the manner in which Australia's future is being endangered by the policies they endorse.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?
Any realistic financial proposals for ensuring that Australians have access to their own production capacity - their real credit - are met with the tired old bleat, "But where will the money come from?" During the coming election campaign there will be much controversy about the "deficit", and dire threats about "printing press money". Mr. Howard, Mr. Fraser and colleagues are making much of how they have reduced the deficit, carefully failing to stress that to the extent they have done this has been at the expense of the Australian taxpayers, who have had the most staggering increase in taxation in history imposed upon them at the petrol pump. And there are more increases to come.
The Budget allocates $1 million for the
Government to "explain" its energy policies! This means more
brainwashing on the "energy crisis". In a realistic article
on the creation of money in "The Sunday Mail", Queensland,
of July 27th, economist H. W. Herbert explains how the bulk
of the nation's money supply is created by the banking system
in the form of financial credit, with the Central Bank controlling
the rate of credit creation and the basic interest rate.
Essential reading at present is "Natural Cost and The Ownership of Money", by J. D. Malan, price $1.30. Readers will be interested to know that this valuable essay has been placed in the hands of Mr. Howard and Mr. Fraser, asking if they can point to any errors of fact. The silence is deafening!
BRIEF COMMENTSWhen confronted with a problem, the legal mind tends to run automatically to passing more laws. President of the Australian Society of Labor Lawyers, Victorian Senator Evans, said last weekend that one of his Society's priorities was a "declaration of war" on tax avoidance, which was now a "national scandal". Senator Evans described lawyers who devote their talents to devising tax schemes, as "parasitic". But are those attempting to avoid the growing ruthless demands of Caesar any more parasitic than those devising schemes to oppress the taxpayer?
President of the Taxpayers' Association of Queensland, Mr. Ted Ranson, recently said that the Australian taxation system was heading for a breakdown. The only realistic answer to the threatened breakdown is a substantial reduction in total taxation in order that the individual will not feel that he is being robbed by Caesar. More attempts to bolster an oppressive policy can only lead to the Police State.
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