Monday, August 16, 2010

The Leftist attitude to money

I once had the misfortune of working with some ‘Labor types’ in a commercial setting. Didn’t they turn out to be a bunch of rapacious little capitalists! They had a cartoon image of what business is: shamelessly and greedily gouging customers.

My ‘comrades’ – few of whom remain in the commercial world – thought business was a big game and a bit of a hoot. One of them asked me to refer to him as a ‘businessman’. (I’ve never known a proper businessman who wants to be referred to as one.)

This election campaign is a reminder that Labor and left-wing types have – and always will have – a problem with money. They have complete contempt for it; a total lack of respect for it.

This contempt manifests itself in waste; and in this election campaign, Julia Gillard’s bizarre defense of ‘wasteful’ spending of other people’s money.

Most Labor people either loathe money, and especially people who have it, or think that it’s something you just ‘get’. The former is an old relic of tedious class warfare, grounded in an element of truth that greedy people aren’t always noble.

But it’s this ‘getting’ attitude that is, perhaps, most damaging. Watch Labor and left-wing types around money and they’re always getting: the unions ‘get’ money from their members, the politicians and their staffers ‘get’ money from taxpayers, their allies in the universities and in the arts ‘get’ grants, Labor-aligned lobbyists ‘get’ concessions for their clients.

What they’re not doing – particularly now they’ve abandoned their working class roots – is ‘earning’ or ‘creating’ money. I’m not talking about earning in the sense of getting a pay cheque, which of course union and party hacks all get; I’m talking about earning or creating by providing value to an employer or customer.

Earning or creating money is hard. You work long days for your boss, or create a great product that meets a customers need. When the money comes in you respect it, because it was so difficult to get the darn thing.

So when you see a government that takes the money, and shows lack of respect for it by wasting it and pissing it up against a wall, it’s infuriating.

Because Labor types don’t earn or create money, financial waste doesn’t matter as much to them. When Labor sees money they only see numbers to be manipulated. Earners and creators see time, sweat, risk, hard work, commitment.

Labor’s warped attitude to money is why we can have the schools building program waste, the bungled home insulation scheme, and the oversized stimulus package.

It’s why Julia Gillard in defending the school halls program has effectively said financial waste is fine so long as it stimulates the economy and saves jobs.

This strange financial moral equivalence was given intellectual credence by left-wing economist Joseph Stiglitz who said there “will always be some” waste with stimulus packages. Well, there always will be, Joseph, if Labor governments are implementing them.

But the left’s attitude to money is also why the 7.30 Report’s Kerry O’Brien seemed to think the $20 billion difference between what the Coalition would have spent stimulating the economy during the GFC, and what the government spent, was neither here nor there.

Where would $20 billion come from? From hundreds of millions of hours of Australian’s working and earning time: of electricians fixing, bakers baking, writers writing, salesmen selling. As Tony Abbott said: “$25 billion – that’s quite a lot of money.”

It’s clear during this election Australians are keen to give Labor the benefit of the doubt. But when it comes to Labor and money, Labour and financial discipline and respect for taxpayer money, the doubts are considerable.


The next two reports below illustrate what was said above

Report confirms the huge waste of school building funds

Nearly a two billion overspend in just three States -- all run by the Labor party

THE taskforce report into the $16.2 billion schools stimulus program has raised some questions for the nation's three biggest state governments.

The Building the Education Revolution taskforce has called for a range of immediate reforms: that the present program be dismantled, that costs are published for all individual projects, that builders be forced to repair shoddy work and that school communities be better consulted.

Longer term, the taskforce calls for standardised construction contracts to be implemented to deliver "better value for money", for state governments to overhaul their approaches to master-planning, and for the creation of a government division to review and monitor the "lessons learned" in the use of school building templates and design standards.

Within minutes of the report's public release last week, Julia Gillard said all the taskforce's 14 recommendations would be implemented.

But the central problem the report highlights will not be easily rectified, and likely will be met with strong resistance from state governments struggling with a particularly inconvenient truth. While preliminary, the findings of the taskforce indicate that authorities ordering school construction at public schools in NSW, Victoria and Queensland have not only substantially overpaid under the BER but have long been doing so.

According to the survey of 420 projects, NSW public schools are paying 38 per cent more for buildings than NSW Catholic schools, which are in their own system, and Victorian schools are paying on average 26 per cent more for buildings than their Catholic counterparts.

In Queensland the figure blows out to public schools paying a hefty 56 per cent premium for school buildings compared with the Catholics.

In a detailed analysis, The Australian in May revealed the substantial differences in costs between NSW public and non-government school buildings.

Subsequently, the NSW government vigorously claimed those differences were because of quality differences, with NSW Education Department infrastructure co-ordinator general Michael Coutts-Trotter memorably likening school buildings delivered by Catholic schools to "high-quality sheds".

However, BER taskforce head Brad Orgill said, in response to that debate, an independent architectural firm had been engaged to examine the quality of buildings in Victoria and NSW and found "no significant systemic differences" in quality.

"The architects did not observe any significant systemic differences between government and Catholic schools in either NSW or Victoria in the quality or building, fabric, services and furniture, fixtures and equipment," the report found.

Applying Catholic school construction rates -- which are roughly in line with construction industry averages -- to buildings delivered to NSW, Victorian and Queensland public schools shows an over-spend under the BER by those state governments of $1.913bn.

More here

Expensive water bungles by Queensland's Leftist government

DAMS are full and millions of dollars worth of water infrastructure is sitting idle, but residents are still being forced to pay for the white elephant projects with rising water bills. Homeowners have lashed out at waste involved in delivering the $9 billion water grid and blamed it for blowing out their household water bills.

Queensland Water Commission figures reveal it could be more than a decade before the Western Corridor recycled water project adds a single drop to the region's drinking supply after the State Government backflipped in 2008 on plans for an earlier start date.

While a length of pipeline sits ready to pump millions of litres a day of recycled water in to Wivenhoe Dam, government predictions show it will remain shut for years.

The QWC's Operating Plan for the southeast reveals there is a less than 5 per cent chance of dam levels dropping to 40 per cent within the next five years – the trigger for recycled water to be added to the drinking supply. It means there is only a slim chance of recycled water being added to the region's drinking supply before the next state election, due in 2012.

The Gold Coast desalination plant – the "showpiece" of the water grid – has been closed for repairs after ongoing problems, including rusting pipes.

Taxpayers are also facing millions of dollars to pay off the scrapped Traveston Crossing Dam proposal, with $265 million already written-off. Angry ratepayers have criticised the costly water grid bungles at public forums held to protest the sky-rocketing water prices.

Three new council-owned water entities – Queensland Urban Utilities, Unitywater and Allconnex – took control of water last month under the Government's reforms.

Water bills in Brisbane will this year rise 12 per cent, or by $100, to $947 a year. Meanwhile, bills on the Gold Coast and in Logan will jump 20 per cent. Residents in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area, north of Brisbane, face some of the biggest rises, with bills soaring 66 per cent in Redcliffe, or $552.

Residents there will be saved from the full impact for the next two years after council stepped in to pay half the rise.

The South-East Queensland Council of Mayors has blamed the rises on the State Government and the ongoing cost of implementing water reform. A Council of Mayors spokeswoman said State Government bulk water charges had risen 25 per cent and would treble to $2074 a megalitre by 2013.

Local Government Association of Queensland executive director Greg Hallam said increases in State Government water charges, electricity price hikes and the money spent on creating the new water entities was responsible for more than half of the water bill increase.

The State Opposition has blamed blunders in building the water grid for further driving up costs.


Abbott to take personal control of illegal arrivals

TONY Abbott will personally make any decision to turn around boats carrying asylum seekers if he becomes prime minister.

As another asylum seeker boat arrived at the weekend - the 152nd since Labor won office - Mr Abbott revealed yesterday how his pledge to turn back the boats would work. "In the end it would be a prime ministerial decision," he said. "It would be the Government's call based on advice of the commander on the spot."

Mr Abbott said the phonecall from sea would come to him - on the boatphone - and it would be his choice whether or not to turn a boat back if it was safe to do so.

Asked how he would measure the success or failure of his pledge to "stop the boats" Mr Abbott set himself a three-month deadline to see results. "If we hadn't been able to dramatically arrest the rate of boat arrivals within three months I would be very, very disappointed," he said.

Mr Abbott's plan involved reopening the Pacific Solution processing centre for asylum seekers on Nauru. He said one of his first acts as PM would be to start negotiating a deal to move asylum seekers to Nauru. "I think reopening Nauru would send an immediate signal to the people smugglers and their customers or potential customers that the game is up," Mr Abbott said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

They've already mastered the art of wrecking the boat as soon as an Aust. Navy ship appears, thus making it 'unsafe' to turn them away. Will Abbott allow a couple to sink in order to send a message? In fact will that be what he has to do to send the message? And if he doesn't then is that not also compassion worthy of a leader? This will place him in a true dilemna.