May you live in idiotic times

You want socialism we’ll give you socialism. This is the front page of The Oz this morning: DEPRESSION BUSTER with the headline all in caps just as you see. We are going to keep handing out money to people for not working and let them stay at home. Maybe this is what people really have always wanted. I wrote my own post last night but didn’t put it up and I, too, used caps, just like this. Here is my take on where we’re off to from last night. It was addressed to the Prime Minister.

WORSE THAN WHITLAM

If I hadn’t just listened to Steve Conroy present the Labor side of things on Andrew Bolt, I would not have known that they are even more absurd than you and your national cabinet. But I don’t really blame you since you are an economic simpleton. I blame those buffoons in Treasury who are giving you and your Treasurer this advice. They are your enemies. They are incompetent. Don’t you know that?

The important part of what first needed to happen was to ensure that no one runs out of purchasing power, which means that no one runs out of MONEY. This was not supposed to be an endless supply of cash unbacked by any productive activities. It was only supposed to be a stop-gap of a week or two and only for those who have been caught short of cash to spend.

If you think this kind of funding of unproductive activity can go on for even a couple of months, never mind six, you will go down in history as WORSE THAN WHITLAM.

I understand that such considerations have gone out of fashion, and are never mentioned in an economics text, but have you ever heard of this thing called the private sector? Do you understand the conception surrounding the notion of value added? If you do not do as much as possible to ensure that incomes are related to productivity, you are guaranteed to run the Australian economy off the rails. You will make the Liberal Party poison for a generation if not longer.

I am perfectly aware that governments skim billions that have been earned through actual value-adding work through taxation and other forms of revenue acquisition. I am just as aware that these tens of billions you gather in are spent on producing assets that never have a positive return on funds invested. The NBN, the train lines in Melbourne or the streetcars in Sydney are a sinkhole of loss that must be covered by actual value-adding projects in the private sector. The ratio of wages paid to value produced in the public sector is a massive negative. You guys have never managed a payroll in your lives which shows in almost every economic decision you make.

But to take these stupidities and extend them even farther is gross negligence. To fund the economy’s wages bill while you have shut down productive activity all across the continent is nuts.

We have eighteen dead from the Corona Virus. People are getting sick, and anyone of us, particularly our older citizens, might end up with this disease and some may die. But to crash and burn an economy because there might eventually be a few thousand of us caught up in this medical firestorm is so bizarrely disproportionate as to defy belief. Have you no sense?

Say you are doing everything you can to overcome this virus, and then do everything you can. There are cures coming, vaccines being developed to prevent its spread, forms of isolation and treatment on the way that will limit how much further the disease continues. Common sense ought to be the prime prerequisite for a Prime Minister. That is why we elected you, to make difficult decisions. People will die from the Corona Virus, that is a certainty. They will also die from incompetent economic decisions.

You must open the economy up as much as possible and do it as soon as possible. Everyone now knows they need to be careful of what they do. Everyone is aware of what they must keep an eye out for. But if you do not let us get back to work, you may ultimately be held responsible for the greatest economic disaster in Australian history.

Anyway, we shall see. We have become the stationary state that John Stuart Mill used to discuss and even looked forward to. All that for a subsequent post.

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