Bring back poll-driven politics

Remember when political parties were condemned for being “poll-driven”. If only they were poll-driven (rather than donor-driven) now. We would have good population, climate, energy, tax and defence policies, as various publications in the past week or so reveal.

Let’s take them one by one.

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Covid: debt to young must be repaid

Amid the sometimes heated Covid-generated debate over economy vs lives, one thing is certain: people over 60 have a large debt to younger people. The debt should be repaid through tax and payments changes that favour the young.

Health Department figures show that 97.7% of Covid deaths were among people over 60. Essentially, Covid does not present a death risk to the young. But younger people have paid dearly in economic terms because of the shutdowns that were necessary to prevent more Covid deaths among the over-60s.

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Changing corporate malfeasance

Another week and yet more examples of corporate greed and wrong-doing emerge. Big for-profit corporations are using JobKeeper funds as DividendKeeper and BonusKeeper. Facebook is making bullying threats over the Australian Government’s reasonable move to make it pay for content. Big business is urging the Government to scrap superannuation rises for wage and salary earners so it can pocket the money for profits, bonuses and dividends.

It does not seem to stop. Wage theft, water theft, theft from bank customers, tax dodging, and dodging responsibility for dangerous goods and environmental clean-up have been rife in corporate Australia for decades.

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More pro-population growth propaganda

There was more fear-mongering, self-serving, and flawed guestimates over population this week – this time from the quintessential accountant and consultant to big business and government, KPMG.

Shock, horror, Australia’s population would be 1.1 million less by 2029-30 because of the reduction in immigration caused by Covid. That would be a “$117 billion” hit to the economy over the decade by dragging down economic growth, KPMG calculates. That would leave every Australian $2850 worse off each year, KPMG says.

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Quit ANZUS if Trump wins

If Donald Trum is re-elected President in November, Australia should withdraw from the ANZUS treaty and encourage New Zealand to do the same thing.

If he wins, it must mean only one of two things: that either he has succeeded in cheating at the election by stymying mail voting and undermining the election’s legitimacy, or that the American people have genuinely re-elected him despite his dangerously erratic foreign-policy forays; his destructive trade policies; his employment of toadies and cronies and his supplicancy to autocrats and dictators. Indeed, they would have endorsed those actions. Either way, the US would be neither a worthwhile ally nor a worthy one.

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Trump trapped by Covid stats

President Donald Trump, for once, could not ignore, deride or distract attention from the undeniable statistics in his interview last week with Axios journalist Jonathan Swan. As Trump stumbled over Covid figures Swan made it plain that whichever way you look at it the US is performing abominably.

The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly does not apply to the US health system.

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Cut the corporate stranglehold

Covid has caused quite a lot of changes of heart, most recently the Federal Government’s attitude to paying sick leave to those who do not have it. Before that, it was increasing unemployment benefits and giving free child care. It gives rise to the question: why did it take a pandemic? If they could be afforded when the economy is on its knees why couldn’t they have been afforded earlier when economic times were much better?

When this pandemic ends, people will ask for, or perhaps demand, a fairer system. This is what happened after World War II. In the quarter century after the war, income and wealth distribution became more equal. There was a much greater trust in governments and institutions.

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Only some of the way with LBJ

At last, after more than half a century of Harold Holt’s “All the way with LBJ” and the USA, Australia is showing some caution and seeing some reality.

At the Ausmin talks in Washington this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds politely declined the US’s typically bellicose and militaristic invitation to join it in more forays over and into the territory and seas illegally claimed by China in the South China Sea.

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Govt debt is not to be feared

There is no equivalent of a trench-coat-bedecked debt collector with rottweiler and baseball bat at the front door demanding that the Australian Government repay its debt. Nor will there ever be.

To the contrary, there is an orderly queue of businesses and individuals desperate to buy more Australian Government bonds which would put Australia into greater debt. Why? Because they know the Australian Government will never, cannot ever, default.

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