Thursday, 16 October 2008

ten billion dollar$$$!

Instead of giving ten billion dollars in cash to people to spend (and isn't this actually somewhat like the Alaskan oil & gas citizens' dividend that has rightly exercised critics of Sarah Palin recently) why oh why couldn't Swan and Rudd have tremblingly yielded it up in some manner that might make a positive contribution to dealing with our imminent appalling environmental catastrophe?

Or could they at least treat climate change as an actual emergency and respond to it with the same alacrity and quickness as they have responded to this economic situation?

Stupidly and arrogantly framed as Barnaby Joyce's comments yesterday were, I find myself somewhat in agreement with him: if what the economy needs is for us to spend billionz, like right now, then maybe we shouldn't buy Christmas presents with it, since partying and buying unnecessary crap (according to Kevin's stern homily yesterday - & doesn't he grip the sides of the lectern like it's a pulpit?) is what got us into both kinds of the holes we're about to be sucked into.

Why couldn't they have bought ten billion dollars worth of insulation, solar panels and rainwater tanks, for instance, and lotteried off household-sized bundles of them? I guess there aren't enough panels & tanks in the warehouse. Joyce mentioned desalination plants. Those too. Help me with this: how is personal spending better than community projects (apart of course from being more effective in the Alaskan-style voter-bribery stakes)?

I'm not just having this whine because of being, along with Amanda and one or two other people, not in line for a cheque myself. I know perfectly well that if the government gave me a thousand dollars and urged me to spend it tomorrow I'd have no trouble complying. The amount of noise being made over the collapse of capitalism is really very troubling. It's such a distraction from the real problems we've got. And it gives Turnbull an opportunity to be embarrassing.

12 comments:

Wendy said...

i couldn't agree more...it seems all very "short term band aid" solution to me.

innercitygarden said...

Oh it would have been so nice if they'd tried to kill two birds with one stone and invested in solar.

I'd have given up my Christmas Bonus for that one.

JahTeh said...

I was so annnoyed with one woman who was interviewed about the payment, "I'll be able to buy all the grandkids Christmas presents now".
I'm putting most of mine under the mattress, what's left that is, after seeing the dentist, the physio and the skin doctor about little moles that might need to come off. I am so pissed that after 4 months of saving I finally bought new glasses but I really couldn't wait any longer.

librarygirl said...

I completely agree with you...every single house should be given a water tank along with their recycling bin (but only the tanks made in Australia - the overseas ones split and crack).

Unfortunately though I think the government is rightly in panic mode trying to prevent businesses going to the wall by giving people some cash to plug back into the economy (and not just on plasma tellys and beer). This week I've had conversations or dealings with an electrician,mechanic,fashion designer, dentist and chef (not my usual cohort, I can tell you).Every single one of them has substantially less business, and is really worried (perhaps not the dentist so much). The electrician only had 2 days work last week.

Yes, the death of capitalism is what we are witnessing.
(and I didn't get any money either, and nor should I. And any middle class person who does should send a sustantial part of it to Africa to feed people).

lucy tartan said...

JahTeh, no doubt the journos kept interviewing people until they found one who gave them the soundbite they wanted.

I'm really glad you'll get to see the dentist and the physio and the skin doctor, but oh my god, nobody should have to put off those things because of a lack of money.

lucy tartan said...

Belatedly it occurs to me that the 1% interest rate cut is a boon to us so I do get something - always assuming our credit union passes it on as they may or may not do.

It feels very strange to be admitting to seeing some merit in some notion dribbling out of Barnaby Joyce....

Another Outspoken Female said...

I'm just glad I have a couple of decades of working years ahead of me. Wow, I never thought I'd ever say that. Though being self-employed I am not sure I will have any clients to keep me paying the mortgage.

The pension, like all government payments, forces people dependent on the nation to forage on the poverty line. The handout is just a little sweetener to distract people from the fact they aren't raising the ongoing pension just yet.

Raintanks and solar panels would be very nice. Bugger the banks, give us veggie gardens!

cristy said...

um yes. I couldn't agree more. It is depressingly predictable and,therefore, we are truly stuffed...

Zarquon said...

The PM already announced speeding up of funding for infrastructure projects at the COAG meeting 2 weeks ago. Major projects can't be started on a whim, but you can give more money to pensioners, FHOG etc. much more quickly. It's not like there's nothing else besides the 10billion happening.

Bernice said...

Private consumer spending is all about consumer goods - more potential landfill, more resources pointlessly gobbled up, more CO2 released into the atmosphere.

It is appallingly short sighted not simply because it continues doing all the stupid things which have brought us to this brink, but worse still, it tells us, foolishly, that it is necessary and good and right to continue on like this.

peacay said...

I'm sure I don't know enough but I've never let that stop me..

Zarquon has a point. And bernice, injecting money into our consumerist economy doesn't tell people to triple mortgage their home or acquire a couple more credit cards. We could round up all the advertisers of products if we want to find the real culprits on that front.

What the big spend does do, if I have a vague handle on this whole deal, is help provide an optimistic set of data to help stablise the markets/bank credit lines. Stable consumer spending, however vacuous a topic, is one of the most basic floors under the economy, in terms of confidence. Tweaking it with an injection of money is also the quickest lever a government can pull.

Not that I'm sayin' that boosting the 'green' economy isn't a worthy idea, but it is not a short term stabilising measure, as far as I understand it. And this intervention is all about preventing a slide into recession ... or worse.

I have no money, kids, mortgage, credit cards or debt. I get nuffin'.

M-H said...

I will get a cut on the mortgage, but nothing else. But then, I'm not sure I really *need* anything else. Of course I'd always like more, but I'm on a good screw and have a nice house on a good bus route, a ssteady job and a shared car.