Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Rich and the Poor

Under the Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher's UK rule in the 1980s, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.

Under President Ronald Reagan's US rule in the 1980s, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.

Under Prime Minister Bob Hawke's Australian rule in the 1980s, the rich became richer and so did the poor. How did he get it right when neither the UK or the US did? It wasn't all about inflationary rising wages, which were held down. It was about societal benefits to the working class and to a lesser extent the lower and middle, middle class.

While Hawke's sweeping statement that no Australian child shall live in poverty by 1990 was predictably untrue, he did improve welfare for poor families and their children. He did improve health care hugely after the earlier public health care for all by PM God Gough Whitlam was wound back by the following conservative government.

There were many things with which I did not agree with Hawke and his government, including and especially the floating of our dollar against foreign currencies and the dropping of tariffs when no other country was doing so. Italian canned tomatoes by the ship load anyone?

As I was reminded in comments on my recent post about Barnaby Joyce, Hawke was hardly a paragon of virtue in what could be called 'personal morals',  but then he never lectured others about their personal morals. He could hardly do so.

Anyway, Joyce has now resigned a Deputy PM due to his hypocrisy and lack of media management skills by him or his staff, and also from his ministerial position. Of course, the National Party, formerly the Country Party, is of little interest to most Australians, a minority party that keeps the conservative party in office.

Now our PM Turnedballs wants to lower company tax significantly, paid for by increasing the GST from 10% to 15%, that is a sales tax on pretty well everything that both the rich, pensioners and the poor will pay. Apparently the very experienced ABC journalist and presenter Emma Alberici had her piece of writing on the matter spiked by the ABC until it was edited to be 'more factual'. You can read the edited version here.

There is great social inequality in Australia like I don't think we have seen since before WWII. This will just add a bit more.

22 comments:

  1. Must be about time for another Bob Hawke to step up and take over. I didn't agree with his lowering or removal of tariffs, but I certainly did appreciate the improved welfare at a time when I wasn't working. I think he did more good than harm, but that's just my view.

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    1. Someone with vision would be really good, River.

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  2. Kudos to Hawke's. I truly admire the folks that try to balance the scales. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer theme is still alive and well in the US.

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    1. Sandra, I think that is the case all over the world, especially extreme in developing countries.

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  3. For all their perceived individual faults, Hawke as Prime Minister and Keating as Treasurer formed a very effective team. I don't see their like in the current generation of either of the major parties.

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    1. Victor, and in spite og then 17% mortgage interest rates, I think we felt more secure on a number of levels.

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  4. Yes, if only we could have Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke & Paul Keating running the country again.....

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    1. Allan, it was such a long time ago. I wonder how they would fare now.

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  5. Nahh the National Party is not a minority party that "keeps the conservative party in office". It is a conservative party in its own right and doesn't make the slightest difference to the Labour or Green vote.

    Dear god almighty!!! Lowering company tax significantly is a huge windfall for the rich. But increasing the GST is a total tragedy for working families, pensioners and the unemployed.

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    1. Hels, you are quite right, on both counts. I've yet to see the trickle down effect work.

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  6. Politicians can only put into place the opportunities for people to advance financially. Thatcher created huge wealth for anyone who wished to grab it, but not everyone did (it involved some work). So for the lazy ones she also allowed them to buy their 'council houses' at knockdown prices, and even they made lots of money by doing nothing.

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    1. Cro, your knowledge must be superior to mine but there were decent hard working people who were left behind, many I think.

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  7. Bob Hawke did many good things for us - he certainly was one of a kind.

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    1. Indeed he was, Margaret, and I doubt we will see another concensus leader like him.

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  8. Conservative parties believe in the trickle down theory and it doesn't work. Hawke and Keeting didn't use the trickle down economics and that is why things got better.

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    1. Diane, how come we know that as do many economists yet politicians still espouse such nonsense.

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  9. This is one of the reasons that I really enjoy your blog. I get to see what's going on in other places to see the similarities and/or differences that can bring the world together. Thanks so much! Hugs...RO

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    1. Thanks RO. Isn't it always so interesting to see how things are done differently, with neither being wrong or right, just different.

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  10. When a lot of multinationals already don't pay their fair due of tax, I can't imagine why company taxes should be lowered. GST in Portugal is 23% (with some articles having a lower percentage) and it hasn't helped to grow the economy, on the contrary people avoid spending as the taxes are so high! I wonder who thinks up these (not so) brilliant ideas?

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    1. Wow Sami, that is extreme. Some countries, including Australia, allow tourists to claim back GST when departing. I wonder if Portugal does. If I knew it was that high, I may have tried.

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  11. It's happening here again too. The rich are getting more and more breaks. The poor get poorer. But both sides do it. Gas is going up, to improve roads, primarily in Portland. Some fancy carbon reduction plan, that will also cost the poor, and make little dent in atmospheric carbon when they could eliminate a lot of atmospheric climate change gases simply by decreeing instead that all people in the state will be vegetarian, a practical healthy way to manage reduce atmospheric methane, not nearly as popular to speak about as carbon, but just as troublesome. It's very PC and popular with democrats to talk about carbon and make laws that are not only ineffective but costly to the common person and to the poor. Anyhow, rant over.

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    1. Strayer, thanks. I'll just say that even by reducing the amount of red meat we eat will make a contribution to the lessening of cattle methane.

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