Thursday, 14 March 2019

The Labor Party: lapdogs of the big end of town

You see these graphs all the time these days showing how increases in productivity have been captured by the managerial class since the beginning of the 1980s. Here’s one that I saw just the other day.

This graph shows the change in relative growth to incomes in the US since the 1980s, when neoliberalism kicked in under Ronald Reagan. There are others and they’re not even hard to find. Here's another one which I also saw just recently. 

In this graph the black line shows that average incomes in the US between 1946 and 1980 doubled. In the years between 1980 and 2014 they flatlined for the majority of the population, with the notable exception of the incomes of the very rich.

All of these diagrams (and they appear all over the place all the time, you don't even have to go looking for them) show the same thing: that beginning in Reagan’s day the salaries of the middle class have stagnated in the US. And it’s not just in the US either. Even the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia thinks that unions have to be given more power in order to make sure that wages start to rise, since they have been flat for years here.

On the last day of February, the Sydney Morning Herald tweeted: "The NSW Business Chamber has filed a groundbreaking application to create a new type of employee in between a casual and a permanent worker: 'permaflexi'." Here you have the managerial class still trying to squeeze more profits out of employees without giving them a just wage in return. 

In the run-up to the federal election we have the Labor Party looking set to win. And what do they do? They go after retirees. Instead of picking on the big end of town and its tame attack dogs, the Murdoch press, the ALP has decided to go after grandma and grandpa, those twin evils of contemporary society, people so heinous that they remember your birthday and send Christmas cards even though no-one else does. They deserve everything they get from Bill Shorten and his loyal troops.

But the rot set in a long time ago. Back in the day, Whitlam actually had policies worth believing in. Things went downhill beginning with Hawke, who began to liberalise the economy to suit employers. Then Dawkins with his university fees for students. (Can’t have people getting educated for free! Oh no!) The less said about Rudd the better. Labor is now the party of faceless apparatchiks and technocrats, people with the sort of vision that you would expect from a manager at a bank. They are spineless and full of wind, like some special tribe of puffer fish. They are beneath contempt.

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