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Edmund Burke
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21 February 1992. Thought for the Week: "Christ had a tolerance for sinners; the Archbishop of Canterbury has a tolerance for sin. To my mind, that defines him as a modern liberal rather than a Christian. The distinction is important as it bolsters the sense that many of the problems Britain now faces are the fault of the moral and intellectual laziness of our religious, political and intellectual elite."
Barbara Amiel writing from London, U.K., as reported in "The Calgary Sun", January 16th

THE MOMENTUM OF DESTRUCTION

In a desperate attempt to save himself from political disaster later this year, President George Bush is attempting to do what Prime Minister Paul Keating is proposing to attempt in Australia: reverse the effects of the worst depression since the 'thirties by increased spending, primarily by governments or by government agencies.

The American interest rate is now the lowest since the end of the Second World War. But in spite of this one headline reads, RED INK STILL GUSHING OUT OF DETROIT. The Ford Motor Company has announced a loss of $3 billion (Australian) for 1991, the worst in history. This follows the announcement that Chrysler Motor Corp. lost $US795 million. And when General Motors reports on 1991 shortly, it is anticipated that the total loss will be $US6 billion, making it the worst year on record for the American car industry. And the "Big Three" continue to shed labour in attempts to meet a worsening situation.

The public opinion polls suggest that the continuing depression conditions in the United Kingdom now make it doubtful if the Major Tory Government can be re-elected. A Labor victory would result in a further surrender to the programme for creating a Federation of United States of Europe. The economies of all Western European nations continue to be depressed, while hopes that the Japanese might start to improve their economy, have been dashed by the news from Japan, where a series of major political scandals are not helping. The ruling Japanese Government is clearly losing electoral support.

Every nation in the world is gripped by crisis conditions, these primarily because all nations are following basically the same type of finance economic policies, with all stressing the alleged virtue of achieving a "favourable balance of trade" in order to make domestic economies work. But the more highly centralised do nations and their economies become, the more difficult does it become for them to change direction at short notice.

It is probably true that Paul Keating was being truthful when he said that "the depression we had to have" inflicted far more damage than was anticipated. The policies he and his "advisers" set in motion are still creating havoc and will continue to do so for some time to come. The damage in all developed nations has been so great that anyone who suggests that there is going to be any quick turnaround, merely because the pressure on the financial brake is to be eased slightly completely misunderstands the realities of the situation.

The "internationalising" of the Australian economy has made it more vulnerable to external factors over which it has no control. There are no signs of increased export earnings, which means that Australians must solve their own problems by action inside Australia. With a series of "leaked" statements, Prime Minister Keating has made it clear that his grand economic strategy is to increase the Federal deficit, probably by up to $6 billion over the next 16 months, primarily for capital works in the transport field. How the Government plans to finance its programme is not clear at present.

It is interesting that the Japanese Government plans to issue $50 billion bonds to attempt to pump prime its depressed economy through a massive capital works programme. But Mr. Keating is going to find that what he proposes is not going to halt the momentum of destruction. Given time, it will probably ease slightly the unemployment problem. Under orthodox financing, it can only add to the total indebtness of the country.

The psychological impact of the Keating policy statement may lift his electoral ratings, but not sufficient for Keating to have a realistic chance of winning the next Federal elections. What is needed to start regenerating the Australian economy is to increase purchasing power immediately without increasing financial costs. Real help for the rural community could be provided by writing off a large amount of debt, with provision for long-term low interest credit. Low interest finance should be made available for a major housing programme. The benefits of a major housing programme would be felt immediately.
Dismantling of protection for Australian industries should cease and the flood of foreign primary imports into Australia halted.

Australia's transport system, particularly its rail system, badly needs upgrading and when completed should be listed as a national asset, not further debt, in the nation's records. But an improved transport system is not going to solve Australia's basic problems. And the building of it under orthodox finance is neither going to halt the present momentum of destruction, nor result in the re-election of Paul Keating. But it might well narrow the political gap to the point where there is some type of a balance of power, with one or two Independents being elected.


BRIEF COMMENTS

President George Bush originally attempted to brush aside the opposition of Patrick Buchanan, the brilliant American columnist who opposed the Gulf War, has been extremely critical of Zionist Israel, and wants the U.S.A. to substantially cut all foreign aid and to adopt an America First policy. But when the surveys revealed that the President's rating had dropped to 43 percent while Buchanan has 29 percent, Bush decided upon fear tactics. And rushed in his wife to campaign for him. If Bush polls badly in the New Hampshire primary Republic vote, and Buchanan registers a creditable vote, this could change the whole course of the American Presidential campaign. Is Foreign Minister Evans aware of the realities of the American situation?

The major oil producing countries are in conflict concerning how much oil production should be cut in an endeavour to prevent any further price reductions. With the Islamic Republics of the former Soviet Union now moving closer towards other Islamic nations, there is considerable speculation concerning their influence on international oil politics. The former Soviet Islamic Republics were the producers of Soviet oil production, the biggest in the world.

One of the tactics of the Republicans is to continue to suggest in a matter of fact manner that "it is, of course, inevitable that Australia will become a Republic". A typical example of this approach is provided by Melbourne Sunday Age reviewer, Julia Wilson, reviewing John Parker's biography of the Queen: "Australians are now moving quietly and steadily out of an old relationship with the monarchy, not in anger or dispute, but knowing that one day we will want to start afresh, on our own."

Primary Industry Minister Crean has complained that the bankers were getting tougher on farmers and had forced hundreds off their properties. The Crean statement suggests that the Federal Government is feeling the pressure from rural action groups across Australia. The banks are only able to do what they are doing because since de-regulation they claim to be free of any government direction. A top priority for national salvation is the re-regulation of the banking system, making it responsible to the elected representatives of the Australian people. The Federal Government could, for example, direct that adequate credit be made available for the planting of this year's wheat crop.

National Farmers' Federation representatives and others continue to display an almost childlike simplicity by their continued claim that they can influence American agricultural policies by meeting with an American President, or talking to American officials. Immediately after President George Bush's visit to Australia, when he said he was "grieved" to hear about the plight of Australian farmers, his administration subsidised more wheat exports. Now the U.S.A. has brought back export subsidies for American dairy products. Australian dairy producers are expressing concern. They may as well save their efforts. They are not voting in this year's American elections. But American dairy farmers are!

The Australian Guarantee Corporation Ltd. (A.G.C.), a member of the Westpac Group, is the largest (non-bank) finance company in Australia. It has issued most interesting information to its investors, viz., the ratios of company liabilities to shareholders' funds among leading financial institutions (published by Australian Ratings Pty. Ltd. in 1984). They are: Trading Banks …18.3 times shareholders' funds; Savings Banks … 32.6 times shareholders' funds; Merchant banks 18.0 times shareholders' funds; Building societies … 32.8 times shareholders' funds ... we would be very careful, with the banks, not to confuse "shareholders' funds" with "deposits".

Mr. Dennis Stevenson has comfortably held his seat in the recent A.C.T. elections for its Legislative Assembly in spite of the high-pitched campaign against him, using the "League of Rights" weapon. The "expert" psephologist, Malcolm Mackeras, is really miffed. There must be a message for the "League haters" here ...They sure expected to see Dennis Stevenson defeated.


REDUCING INFLATION

from Geelong Advertiser, February 4th, 1992
The following letter was sent to the Prime Minister, Mr. Keating, on January 13th, 1992:
"I write to you in the hope that you may be aware of a technique adopted by a Labor Prime Minister, Mr. John Curtin, in 1941. "The technique of subsidising prices in the 'C' Index Series was so successful that there was no inflation or price rises until this technique was dropped. "It is undeniable this method would be just as successful in 1992 as in 1941 and the person who introduced it would be a hero in our time. "It would be appreciated if you could give me your opinion on this matter and what you intend to do to reduce inflation.
"As no reply has been received, I assume that the Prime Minister has rejected the example set by John Curtin for keeping prices down. "If there is any validity in the Curtin method of keeping prices down, why has this not been tried in 1992? "Why do we have people out of work when there are sufficient materials and technology to produce almost anything? "The reason is that the cry would be 'there is not enough money' and yet the financial system is 'man made' and 'made for man' and should be used to the benefit of all the community. "Are we to have a reflection of production through an inadequate supply of money or is the economy to dictate our standard of living?" (J. Johnstone, Retreat Road, Newtown, Vic.)

Our Comment
We welcome Mr. Johnstone's reminder of the direct subsidy method to certain items that was employed by the Curtin Government during the years of World War II. However, we don't think that Mr. Keating would re-employ this method. Mr. Keating would say, we are certain, that he HAS REDUCED inflation, to its lowest level in many decades. He believes this himself. It is rubbish, of course. The reason for the low inflation is the recession, induced by Mr. Keating, with his over-the-top interest rates and punitive taxation, over several years. Be more specific?? The issue of bank credit has contracted severely over the past two years, at least, meaning that the costs of bank interest on loans have not been shoved forward in the prices of goods and services. This is the reason for falling inflation. Other Reasons: "Involuntary" subsidisation of prices by hordes of bankruptcies; the writing off of (countless) millions by the banks, is a type of subsidy. We could go on.

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159