What The MP Writes To Us

Craig Laundy, Federal Member Of Reid

The Federal budget has been such bad politics, the MPs have been asked to go stump for it in their electorates, trying to explain the extraordinary political stink bomb let off by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey.

Laundy LetterIn the cover letter, Laundy insists that there is a budget emergency. He cites in his letter that Australia’s debt – Federal government debt – is 200billion for which we are putting ourselves further into debt at the rate of 1billion more to pay the interest rate on the 200billion. Just looking at the numbers, it seems he is saying we’re paying 12billion a year on 200billion which is about 6%.p.a. This can’t possibly be right because the RBA has its rate at 2.5% – the lowest in the history of the RBA – so even the numbers don’t stack up in first glance. Australian Treasury Two-year note yield rose significantly today and was 3.74% today. So either Laundy can’t do the maths or the people who ghost wrote the letter for him can’t do maths.

It’s almost as if these people want to cut the budget because not only do they know they’re no good at maths, but also that they want to do away with complicated compound interest rate calculations from budgets forever, and that’s the only reason a surplus looks so-o-o-o attractive to these munchkins. It’s not for their mendacity (which they are mendacious, but we’ll let that slide for a moment) but their willful stupidity and fearlessness in admitting it, that they even mount their position in this way.

Debt – bad. Surplus – good. D’uh. Complicated compound interest calculations – bad. Surplus – good. D’uh and double D’uh. The worrying thing is that just because they insist it’s 6% doesn’t make it 6%.

And you worry about people who want to shortchange you 2.26% even in a hypothetical discussion. That’s a 60.43% inflation in the interest rate right  there. Leaving the total dodginess of the sums aside, economists have determined that running a budget surplus is going to be a 1% drag on the GDP growth, so the assumption that surpluses are good for economic growth is completely stupid.

Laundy then argues that the people who argue that there is no emergency are “engaging in political spin”. It’s a firm assertion, but most sensible people would see it the other way around – that it is Mr. Laundy and the Coalition who are busily “engaging in political spin” to somehow force-feed us the unpalatable budget they have concocted. After all, if it weren’t such a shitty budget, why would they have to come up with a super glossy A3 brochure as well as this cruddy letter?

The sentence which follows is even more strained:

What use is having the lowest mortgage in your street if you not only can’t afford the repayments, but have to ask the bank to borrow more money to pay the interest on your loan?

In a way, perhaps yes, it’s interesting they picked that as a metaphor. First of all, likening government debt to being underwater with a mortgage is deeply suspect. We’re not all working to pay off Parliament House – we’re paying taxes so the government can do things. That’s not a small difference. That’s a big difference. You worry about people who conflate their arguments – especially straight after they’ve tried to con you out of 60.43% of the interest rate return. After which he insists for the third time “be in no doubt this is a budget emergency and it is clearly unsustainable.”

I understand that the Abbott government is doing its best to overstate the dramatic need for cutbacks but coming up with stupid metaphors isn’t exactly persuasive. The letter says “something has to be done”. Well, even if that were true, the case certainly hasn’t been made that something should be what the Coalition is proposing in its budget.

Glossy But Crappy

Glossy Brochure Of Slogans

The chinless wonder with the gerbil charm in the bottom left is our local honorable Federal Member for Reid. Enough to make your knees weak with the fear that a rodent may be gaffer taped and inserted into one of your orifices by this man.

The Coalition never really sent out what their exact policies were, prior to the September election. They were going to stop the boats and repeal “the Mining Tax” and “the Carbon Tax”. They repeatedly told us there would be no cuts to health or education. So what does the glossy brochure tell us?

1 We’ve secured Australia’s borders

2. We’re fixing Labor’s debt and deficit mess

3. We’re laying down a strong foundation to grow the economy and create more jobs

Well. I. Never. Would’ve – in my wildest dreams – thought they would do such things. Not only did they not have policies worth writing about – they had handy slogans instead – they’ve lied about what they would do. They’ve raised taxes, cut health and education and they’ve gone bananas in trying to shut down science and technology development in this country, not to mention done their best to shut down agencies dealing with climate change. That bit was predictable.

What was not predictable was that they would then send out a glossy brochure that hurls even more slogans off the page.

The problem with democracy is that we are always held hostage by the lowest common denominator of intellect. The dumb-and-ignorant, amassed in numbers will always beat the individual thinkers with their puny one vote each. And thus sloganeering has replaced proper discussions of policy. It’s as it is with Gresham’s law where bad currency rids us of good currency, bad ideas have rid us of good ideas and bad thinkers have rid us of good thinkers. What’s remaining is the media spectacle that is the Abbott government and their flunky right wing nutjob media commentators. You never would have thought Australia would sink this low, but … it has. Let the gerbil-baiting begin!






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