The biggest whingers on the planet are rich people in Australia and their representatives. Just look at the reaction to the ALP’s proposal not to give them any more tax cuts.
“Labor is setting itself up for a war on business; they are setting themselves up for some kind of class war”, Malcolm Turnbull said after Labor started criticising the federal budget.
“They reek of … class conflict”, the Daily Telegraph editorialist wrote.
“I despise class war talk from Labor”, Andrew Bolt fumed.
More baby-wants-his-rattle sooking is coming from all quarters of the establishment now that the ALP has decided not to go along with everything the Liberals are proposing.
Actually, that’s not fair to babies. Small children generally are content with the basics: get fed, have a nap, fresh nappy, rattle in hand, and life’s not too bad.
Not so for the rich and corporate boardroom tantrum throwers. You want to cut tax breaks on my fifth investment property? Wah! You won’t give me more corporate tax cuts? Wah! You want working class kids to be able to sit next to my precious darling at university? Wah! Why won’t poor people stop interrupting the experts on Q&A? It’s a communist plot! Wah! Wah! Wah!
Don’t they know how good they’ve got it? These people are among the wealthiest people on the planet – the top 0.1 percent. Why are they always crying for more?
It’s true that there is a class war in this country. But it is being waged every day of the week against workers and the poor, relentlessly, by these spoilt, entitled born-to-rule brats.
The real scandal is that no-one, and certainly not the ALP, proposes to end it and wind back the gains that have been made by the corporate elite over the last decades.
For example, the average wealth of a person in the richest 20 percent increased by 28 percent over the past eight years, while for the bottom 20 percent it increased by only 3 percent, according to figures from the Australian Council of Social Services.
The 2010 Productivity Commission enquiry into executive pay found that the average pay of ASX100 company executives increased by between 170 and 210 percent between 1993 and 2009 – from 17 times average earnings to 42 times average earnings.
Not to mention the $110 billion in unpaid overtime performed every year by workers throughout the economy, according to estimates by the Australia Institute, a think tank. Straight into the corporate profits that they want to pay less tax on.
And scores of big companies don’t pay tax anyway. The Australian Taxation Office says that one-third of corporations reporting revenues of more than $200 million per year pay nothing in tax – zero, zip, zilch, nada.
Add in the handouts to the elite private schools of these people’s children – $2 billion in commonwealth funding alone every year. Funding has been growing at twice the rate of that for public schools, according to Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority statistics. As Australian journalist Natasha Bita wrote last year:
“Overall, total government funding for public schools fell by $224 per student, in real terms, between 2009 and 2013 while funding rose by $716 per student for Catholic schools and $574 per student in independent schools.”
Then there are the corporate scavengers. The mining industry received $174 billion in export earnings in 2014-15, revenues that should have been used for the collective good rather than being funnelled into the bank accounts of people such as Gina Rinehart, who has never worked a day in her life.
And we can’t forget the banking industry, which routinely takes $30 billion in profits per year, ripped out of the pockets of mortgage holders forced to take out large loans to buy into the property bubble.
Yet, despite these figures, which are not even half of the ruling class’s rip-offs, look at the slew of position papers put out by employer associations calling for the curbing of benefits to the income poor and the cutting of pensions and health funding.
Look at the relentless attacks on penalty rates, the cries to hold down the minimum wage, to kick people off the dole when they can’t get work and the schemes to turn them into a cheap labour force under work for the dole or Malcolm Turnbull’s new “intern” program.
When, every now and again, a group of workers – firefighters, construction workers, nurses – manage to get a half-decent pay rise, listen to Mr Diddums from the Chamber of Commerce squeal about how “greedy” those workers are and how their unions should be spanked. Yet there is hardly a peep when we discover yet another group of workers being paid well below the legal minimum wage.
The ALP might be waving a semi-oppositional flag today, but it has gone along with or prosecuted this class war for the rich for decades. The fact that Bill Shorten now is being accused of being some kind of warrior shows only that those at the top of society believe that if they are not screwing people ever more, every day, then they are somehow being robbed themselves.
They should engage in a little self-reflection.
A class war from our side wouldn’t resemble anything that is currently on offer in the parliament. A class war would have demands to reverse the gains made by the rich, at the expense of workers, over the last decades.
People would be running amok, not just sharing memes (although that would be happening a whole lot more as well). There would be strikes, strikes and more strikes.
Strikes for pay rises well above the rate of inflation so that living standards for workers were pushed up decisively.
Strikes for a living wage for all people so that no-one was left behind: not one pensioner, not one disabled person, not one unemployed youth.
Strikes to put a cap on executive pay so that they couldn’t race ahead while screwing their workforces.
Strikes to nationalise the mines so that the income could be spent on public housing, hospitals and other public infrastructure, rather than going into the pockets of big money investors.
Strikes to nationalise the banks so that the debts of workers struggling with mortgages could be slashed.
A class war from our side would be a mass movement to stop the age of entitlement that has propelled the rise of a nasty, greedy, self-absorbed group of parasites that is sucking workers dry, yet sooking about how the wealthy are somehow the big victims of Australia’s economic system.