March 9, 2009
It is going to be fascinating to see how long Kevin Rudd, the greatest illusionist ever to become prime minister of Australia, can maintain this illusion of omnipresent leadership created by his energy, his ubiquity and his hypocrisy. Underline hypocrisy.
Rudd is on course to become the next Gough Whitlam, but Whitlam without the wit. Like Whitlam, he may win a second election before the electorate wakes up. At least Comrade Whitlam was stuck with a claque of criminals in his ministry - Al Grassby, Jim Cairns, Rex Connor - whereas Rudd has no such impediment.
So remember the words, uttered last night, by Rudd on Channel Seven: "Any person's job loss through no fault of their own is a lost job too many when it comes to me. I'm the Prime Minister of the country, the buck stops with me."
Was Rudd able to save a single one of the 2000 manufacturing jobs lost at Pacific Brands last week? No, the buck stopped with the workers. This is the man who increased the immigration program to the largest annual intake in Australia's history, and it is now swelling the ranks of job seekers. This is the man whose Government will, tomorrow, introduce workplace legislation which will increase the power of unions, and give pause to job creators. This is the man who has offered no structural relief to the great job-creating engine of the economy - small business. And this is the man who panicked at the first sign of danger and sprayed the entire $20 billion budget surplus he inherited up against a wall.
If Rudd wants to be Everywhere Man, then let him play the role and bear the consequences. Like most other Western leaders responding to the global financial freeze, he is making it up as he goes along, because we are in uncharted territory. Global industrial output has fallen faster in the past six months than it did at the advent of the Great Depression in 1929-30.
The response of policymakers has been to pump a massive increase in liquidity and government debt obligations into the system. But as the eminent economic historian Professor Niall Ferguson, of Harvard and Oxford, recently warned on his website: "The general assumption seemed to be that practically any kind of government expenditure would be beneficial, provided it was financed by a really big deficit."
Sound familiar? Ferguson continued: "There is something desperate about the way people are clinging to their dog-eared copies of John Maynard Keynes's General Theory. Uneasily aware that their discipline almost entirely failed to anticipate the current crisis, economists seemed to be regressing to macroeconomic childhood, clutching the multiplier like an old teddy bear.
"The harsh reality that is being repressed is this: the Western world is suffering a crisis of excessive indebtedness. Many governments are too highly leveraged, as are many corporations. More importantly, households are groaning under unprecedented debt burdens. Worst of all are the banks. Some of the best-known names in American and European finance have balance sheets 40, 60 or even 100 times the size of their capital …
"The delusion is that a crisis of excess debt can be solved by creating more debt. Yet that is precisely what most governments currently propose to do." Space precludes listing Ferguson's prescriptions but they can be found on his website, and summed up with this sentence: "The solution to the debt crisis is not more debt but less debt."
Tell that to Kevin Keynes. In opposition, Rudd opposed the GST, which in retrospect has been a tremendous stabilising influence in the economy, thanks to John Howard. During the last election, Rudd campaigned as an "economic conservative". Upon winning office, and inheriting a $90 billion financial buffer from outgoing treasurer Peter Costello, he accused the previous government of creating a dangerous inflation threat. It was a fabrication.
After the global financial storm broke, Rudd attacked the excesses of neo-liberal market capitalism even as he spent the entire $20 billion budget surplus he had inherited from the neo-liberals in an absurd attempt to claim he had kept Australia out of recession. The evolution of his economic position has been an opportunistic fraud, exposed by those on his own side of politics.
As the former Labor leader Mark Latham wrote on February 20, in The Australian Financial Review: "When Kevin Rudd lobbied me in October 2004 to become Labor's shadow treasurer, his sales pitch was straight from the neo-liberal playbook. He was enthusiastic about pro-market policies such as deregulation and reducing the size of the state. [As leader] he went to the polls as Howard-lite."
Michael Costa, former Labor treasurer of NSW, dismissed Rudd's recent attack on the excesses of market capitalism, in a critique in The Australian on February 6 as "rambling and selective" and warned that Rudd's response to the global crisis "is likely to do more damage to the economy".
As Niall Ferguson has also warned. When the recession in Australia gets worse, and Rudd's Keynesian cliches have increased the long-term cost of the government intervention, Labor will run a diversionary personal campaign against the Leader of the Opposition, simply because Malcolm Turnbull is a wealthy former merchant banker.
What, you may ask, about the multi-millions the Rudd family has made from neo-liberal policies of the Howard years? Latham had something to say about this, too: "Rudd's wife created an impressive business network and fortune from the Howard government's privatisation of labour market programs."
Rudd can trim his economic sails to pick up whatever political wind he can find because he embodies the hollowness of the pursuit of power before principle.
The Leader of Australia's largest Socialist political party,the Australian Labor Party, ALP, financed by the Marxist based Australian Council of Trade Unions, ACTU,has done very nicely indeed from the policies of the previous conservative Liberal Government of John Howard, he and his wife, Therese Rein (Madame Rudd?) are very wealthy and good luck to them, it was only mid 2008 that the former public servant and his partner were searching for a holiday home and were looking at holiday homes in the vicinity of 10 million dollars, Conservative Capitalist Australia has allowed them to drop the chant of "four legs good two legs bad" and replace it with "four legs good two legs better"
Who can forget Kevin 07's answer to a question during the 2007 election campaign,I believe he asked himself, "I have never been a socialist" clearly he and his wife reject totally the platform of the political party he is now the leader of.
I have never seen an Australian Labor Party leader or politician or their bankers in the ACTU, LIVE the ideology they demand be imposed upon those they despise so much,the Australian people, Mr Rudd and Madame Rudd are doing nothing any different than every other Socialist here and through out the world are doing have done and will continue to do, it's "do as I say not as I do"