“Corona virus caused the economic downturn”. Did it? No. What caused the downturn was the reaction of governments around the globe, or at least those of First World economies and countries.
Quite what Laos, Liberia, Chad, and Mali are doing about the virus doesn’t make it into the media, so no-one knows. They have hardly any economy anyway.
This virus does not kill everyone. It targets the elderly and those with poor health. Many think the world is overpopulated, and that it is the pressure of enticing a vast and growing population with never-ending consumer goods and travel which causes Global Warming.
The medical and pharmaceutical professions have sold us the idea that they can cure us and save our lives. What they actually do is postpone death for a while, but it gets us in the end, so we have more chance to be bedridden or demented before we get there.
And it all costs a fortune. Many drugs have serious side effects. Chemo undermines our immune system, which is what Aids does. Babies and children who would once have died from birth defects or childhood illnesses are kept alive. Women who cannot have babies and men with weak sperm are given IVF or surrogate mothers are used, when once those children would not have been born at all, despite there being perfectly healthy children all over the world who need adoption. All weakeners of our genetic and immune material help the virus.
When Christian Barnard invented heart transplants in the 60s, he started a trend of postponing people’s deaths. The medical profession makes money out of it, some became incredibly famous; we all say it’s a miracle, but the fact it crams the planet with too many people, and lines the doctors up with vulnerable patients for years is ignored. It is politically unacceptable to talk about it. Yet wars over water and food are forecast, if not already happening. There is no historical perspective.
When the Black Death hit Britain in 1348 the population was about 4 million. It returned thrice in the next two decades. A third of the people died. This virus will not do that, and if it did, overpopulation would be set back a long way, and so would Global Warming. It may remove a lot of old folks like me, but we are a problem anyway.
China reversed its “one baby per family” policy when their workforce was becoming too small to maintain the pensioners. In the UK and here the retirement age has been raised so pensions are paid later in life and people are forced to work longer; which only works if they are fit.
The alternative is massive rises in taxation.
It follows that letting the virus rip is economically and environmentally sensible and would strengthen the immune system of survivors, but politically unacceptable, so we get a massive lock-down.
The PM destroys the economy simultaneously whilst trying to prevent healthcare overload on Medicare. Can an adequate health system exist when taxpayer subsidies are used to reduce premiums for private cover?
The solution of using stimuli based on printing piles of dollars is nothing more than devaluing the currency or, in old language, debasing the coinage. When kings did the latter, revolution often followed. The consequence of this “quantitative easing”, or reducing the value of the dollar in your pocket or bank account, is usually to trigger high inflation. The rich may be able to protect themselves; the poor cannot.
And when it is all over, who pays for it? The budget has been blown to pieces. It was never going to be balanced anyway, and balancing revenue and expenditure does not reduce government debt unless there is a large surplus. At the end of this virus panic, debt will be massive.
Margaret Thatcher used to say: “The government has no money; we spend yours.” Likewise it has no debt; the debt is a burden on the people, and can only be repaid by cutting benefits and pensions, and increasing taxes. Looking forward to that, are we?
That didn’t happen here with the Global Financial Crisis, because Labor pumped the money into jobs with pink batts and school infrastructure. People had money to spend and spent it, and kept the economy going. Rudd has been heavily criticised by the right wing, but it was brilliant financial management. Everyone went on paying tax, and the debt would thus be manageable.
Not so this time. The money has been directed through business, but you cannot go shopping even if your boss chooses to pay it to you. So no tax will be collected from the businesses which closed, some for good. The first stimulus round went to business to invest. Would that give workers money to spend? Bosses invest today in better robots, machines, and computers to control it all so they can sack more workers and send the profits to tax havens, buy holiday homes abroad, and luxury cars made in Europe.
For months the Federal Reserve Bank told the PM that reducing interest rates would not balance the budget; he must stimulate the economy by creating infrastructure and increasing benefits like NewStart. No; ideologically unacceptable. Interest rates were reduced so pensioners and others with savings have less money to spend. Now he has no choice but to put billions into stimulus when there is less economic activity to stimulate.
Starting twelve months ago that amount of cash could build high speed rail links across the country. Our shipbuilding industry could be modernised to use the high grade steel we make to build the warships and planes we apparently need to buy from France and the USA. It might cost more, but the companies and workers making them would pay tax which would stay here. New small businesses could be bank-rolled by government as no-one will be able to borrow to start one.
We should have let the virus get on with it, even if it carried me off. At least everyone’s grandchildren wouldn’t be paying for it for the rest of their lives. When the Black Death did its worst, the wages of the poor went up as they could go to places which were forced to offer more money to the reduced work-force. If there are millions of unemployed and more homeless people on the streets receiving reduced benefits causing civil unrest, will the troops and Police shoot them? Yesterday they were respectable workers; today they are the scroungers the PM despises. Tomorrow the PM will use them to drive wages down. It’s called a Depression; it’s caused by the PM’s great money management.
Tinonee, NSW 2430.
(The views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the stance and opinions of this newspaper. Ed.)