You liked Pink Batts? You’ll love Funny Money! Why? Well, I am now convinced that the Liberal party has gone completely mad. How else could you describe the extraordinary policy, announced in the death throes of the campaign, for the government to lend homebuyers half the deposit on their new homes? In other words, they are incapable on the normal tests of putting up the money for a deposit, so the government will pay it for them. And it will conjure it out of the air with ill-defined bonds and who knows what form of security? So the government is to become a money lender? We are all socialists now, it seems, for that is what it is. Socialism is when governments do for people what they should do for themselves and, as a result, the government welds one more link into the chain that binds them to the state. This new policy ticks every box and all of them are bad. It is hasty and smacks of desperation. It expands government involvement in the market and the economy and therefore distorts it. It saps the personal responsibility of individuals and tells them that the state will look after yet another part of their lives. None of these schemes work; like the first home buyers’ grant, they simply mean that the seller increases the price by the amount of the loan, because he knows this is one part of the price that the buyer can easily pay. (The Labor party will also find this if they win the election and pay part of the wages of child care workers). It is another expansion of the federal government and will lead to more central government. It is, in particular, one more step along a well-worn path trodden by the Liberal party to splash money around like confetti. The spivs will start moving into the new home loan business. It can only be set up by a new bureaucracy with new processes and a high potential for failure; like all such gimcrack schemes it creates more room for wheeler-dealers of the sort who have moved into the renewable energy market. It ignores the fact that house prices have rocketed because there are too many people bidding for a limited number of properties; the only way of letting the market find a real price is not to throw more government money at it but to cut migration, release more land for development and put an end to environmental and Aboriginal appeals that have frozen development. Worse still, it will not make it easier for people to buy a home; we saw this in the US when Clinton paid for African-Americans to get into the housing market under the same delusion; the result was that they borrowed everything, defaulted en masse and the market collapsed. Has everyone forgotten about sub-prime lending? This type of lending encourages buyers to go in over their heads, borrow too much and then default. And an essential element is that participants will not have to take out mortgage insurance, although the risk must surely be greater. And as a matter of raw politics, if this hare-brained scheme were of any appeal and of any real value, why announce it at a time when two million people have already voted? It fills me with despair that the Liberal party, that once believed everyone should stand on their own two feet, now says that the best social policy is that the government will always prop you up. Finally, what does it tell us about Josh Frydenberg who was supposed to be the great hope of the free enterprise side of the Liberal party? That he believes the state should own a share of every property bought under the scheme? That as much as he talks about free enterprise, when a problem arises, he looks for a government handout to solve it? I can’t wait for the sequel to Funny Money; From Here to Bankruptcy?
If Mr Morrison wants an issue to galvanise attention, and show that the Liberal party stands for something, he should announce that the Commonwealth is taking over mining approvals and that after the seemingly interminable examinations to which the Adani mine has already been subjected, it is hereby approved. Now. Full stop. Finally, here are our awards for the most creative contributions to the 2019 election campaign. The Chutzpah Prize for Election Campaigning. The advertisements on behalf of the arts community: ‘Vote for the party that will give us the most money.’ The Einstein Prize for Precision. Bill Shorten on the cost of his voodoo policy on Climate Change: ‘That is just dumb, nitpicking trivia because we will work it out later’. The Mother Teresa Prize for Helping Former Colleagues in their Hour of Need. Posters decorating the lamp posts of Higgins in Melbourne and quoting Kelly O’Dwyer MP for the locals’ assessment of Liberal MPs: ‘homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers.’ The Australian Greens’ Human Rights Award for Non-Judgemental and Multicultural Inclusivity. Jay Dessi, Greens candidate for Lalor, for his collected jokes on sex with children and the dead, Asians’ eyes, oral sex, abortion, and child pornography. The Janus Award for the best expressed statement that there is no bias at the ABC. The new MD of the ABC, David Anderson, noting that a certain government had imposed a disastrous freeze on funding and that it was ‘much better’ that a certain unnamed alternative government would reverse it. And going straight to the poolroom at The Speccie Hall of Fame for Electoral Reform, Chris Bowen: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t vote for us.’ And my final thought about the election? What a shame it is that elections have become vehicles for the hateful denigration of people, egged on by the likes of Paul Keating and encouraged by the media.
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