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The Forum > Article Comments > The big election myth - is the economy strong? > Comments

The big election myth - is the economy strong? : Comments

By Valerie Yule, published 24/10/2007

Almost all voters believe that Australia has a strong economy, but the full picture may tell a different story.

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Of course we have a weak economy, I suspect most voters don't want to know, they seem to live in an eternal present. In reality, the Howard government has ruined the economy and wasted chances for economic development because of short term electoral considerations. After the debt bubble bursts the adjustments might take a generation to correct the situation and will be very difficult politically, ask the Argentines. The economic fantasy is that since our foreign debt is private we are magically protected from disaster, we will see. I'm sure that if Labor wins office, the Liberals and the Murdoch newspapers will suddenly become alarmed at our debt levels.
Posted by mac, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 11:07:38 AM
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This is the best comment on our future economic problems that I have read. John Howard's economic credentials were always suspect once he commissioned the Campbell Report. Placing a real estate businessman in charge of a financial institutions investigation was a recipe for the wrong outcome and that is what we received.
Each treasurer since that time has been devising means of delaying the day of reckoning but that day is getting closer. The prosperity of the citizens of both the USA and Australia are now at the whim of the Japanese and Chinese governments.
Our industries are now at the stage that we could not supply our own troops with boots and clothes let alone munitions, armaments, truck transport and planes if we are at any time called on to mobilise to defend ourselves. I doubt if we could build an electric motor on short notice.
Our infrastructure is deplorable and in this age an effort like the Snowy is beyond the mental concepts of our political leaders, or at least the leaders of the present government.
We need an industrial development policy that defends any Australian genuinely productive industry using near world's best practice. If that requires some tariffs so be it.
The article mentions what is included in GDP. That figure includes coffee serving, waiting on tables and many other services that we could each provide for ourselves, tasks best described as "taking in one another's washing." These tasks really add nothing to the real worthwhile economy. If those are the only jobs our economy can create we would all be better off if more people stayed at home to look after the children and to do woluntary work for the less well off.
But no politician close to an election would dare point out the truth of Australia's economic position.
Posted by Foyle, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 11:14:48 AM
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The article quotes:

"The proud claim of an unemployment rate of only 4.2 per cent is achieved by including everyone with over one hourís paid work a week."

Can anyone out there point me to a source (ABS perhaps?) which clearly states this 1 hour per week statistical input?

Thanks.
Posted by Iluvatar, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 12:03:10 PM
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I would agree that this is an excellent article. I cast my vote for article of the year.

It always rains eventually, and the draught is guaranteed to finish within a few years, but what is happening to Australiaís economy and industry can go on for decades.

In an act of total economic stupidity, our treasurer now wants to reduce tax rates for the rich, instead of spending the windfall from the resources boom on skilling up the workforce.

The brain drain is now becoming a major problem for Australia, but meanwhile our universities are becoming training grounds for the opposition. In some of the more technical subject areas, there are now more foreign students enrolled in Australian universities than Australian students.

A major industry in Australia has become building houses, although the population is hardly growing, and the total population will begin to decline within a few decades.

The Australian economy is now copying the US economy in many ways, and the US economy is on the verge of collapse
Posted by HRS, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 12:05:10 PM
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Iluvatar,

Have a look at this website. The one hour a week business is not an urban myth.

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/stories/s236260.htm

I agree with Valerie Yule and all the previous posters. Part of the problem seems to be that many important people in politics and big business see themselves as part of a cosmopolitan elite and feel no special concern about the Australian people and environment. They can always take their loot and move on as the rest of us go down the toilet. One method of regaining control might be to simply put all incumbent politicians last and keep doing it until they pay some attention to our long term future. There is a US website devoted to this

http://www.voidnow.org
Posted by Divergence, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 12:42:04 PM
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I have one slight quibble with the article, which is the idea the only way voters can influence economic policy is via elections.
Not true. As voters, we can refuse to buy imported goods. We can refuse to borrow more than we can really afford. We can refuse to partake in activities that supply profits to industries that aren't doing everything they can to reduce their environmental impact.
Our foreign debt is bad, but ultimately it's the outcome of the individual choices of Australian citizens. At some point we have to take responsibility for it - government policy can only go so far in swaying consumer behaviour, and worse, can backfire if not implemented wisely.
We can "vote" with our wallets just as powerfully as we can at the ballot box.
Posted by dnicholson, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 1:06:14 PM
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