JOHN HOWARDS LEGACY
As John Howard moves towards the end of his term as Prime Minister I must admit that I am awaiting the day with some dread. Not because It will not be a great day that the most divisive, devious and dissembling man who has ever held the position of Prime Minister of Australia will be gone, but because I dont know if I will be able to stand all the platitudes that we will be subjected to by the media mates about this little so and so when he finally departs the scene on how he has done such a great job ect ect. The most odious, the man of steel tag given to him by 'W' in particular makes me want to puke every time I hear it.
As Prime Minister for me Howards main legacy will be that he has paid out enormous sums of our money to the big end of town (his rich mates) through tax cuts, real wage cuts and his privatisation onslaught which have provided his cronies with an absolute fortune for doing sweet FA. Worse in his last term he is screwing the very battlers who put him (and kept him in office) over the last decade with his Industrial Relations changes that will act as straightjacket for many working people whom are trying to aspire to improve their families working conditions.
Howard's time as PM has seen crony capitalism reach a nadir in Australia. He has delivered public monies to his big business mates in spades despite all his declamations about the virtues of free enterprise and the free market.
His ideological inconsistency has been chronic. In Howards new Australia business interest lies as much in their freedom to achieve monopoly over their competitors as in their freedom to trade and make a profit.
His Governments main economic aims have been to ameliorate the economic boom and bust cycles that are endemic to an economy that is now dominated by monopoly capital with huge indirect subsidies to the "mates".
As competitive new ventures in Australia have required larger and larger amounts of capital to establish, large business have sought and received guarantees that their investment will be recouped. Wage control, moderation of the economic cycle and government bail-outs, if necessary, are all now seen as essential in Australia.
Howard's team has believed first and foremost in business deals and preferment. Their construct an odious form of capitalism where the favoured elite receive subsidies and special deals from government at the expense of all others. Fair trading and an open market economy are just catch words to these people to be used and abused at will.
This 'crony' capitalism involves the allocation of publicly funded privileges to the few at the expense of the many (in the main middle and working class taxpayers and consumers). Sadly it is also being widley practised by a number of the State Labour governments in particular NSW.
The defining characteristics of crony capitalism: the funding of sectional interests ahead of the national interest is well and truly apt to describe Howards Australia. I fear this abuse will impact on Australia for decades to come.
Howard and his political allies legacy I believe will be to leave our country a far worse off place to live in than when he first came to office. Further by inhibiting future generations from their ability to make good in what used to be after all known as the "lucky country" the term the 'Howard Years' I believe in future will become a curse for all Australians.