Last night I had the strangest dream – a nightmare. I was in a land called Oz, a land where the government taxed productivity. There were taxes on people’s earned incomes, on the goods and services they produced and purchased, and on their comings and goings in general. If businesses produced anything at all, they were fined for so doing. If they employed too many people they were slugged with something they called a payroll tax.
This was ‘post industrial’; this was an economy of high finance.
Oz had a Productivity Commission to ensure that as little real wealth as possible was produced. It did a fine job.
But they did give tax breaks to property speculation in Oz, calling it property ‘investment’, or an impetus to ‘the provision of housing’. You could ‘negatively gear’ your investment property and exaggerate your depreciation and repairs, so other taxpayers helped you buy your property. Nice?
Having fined the hard-earned salaries of the people of Oz with taxes on their efforts – as though they had just punched a policeman in the eye, or committed some other crime – the prices of their land shot up spectacularly because that’s what this strange tax regime had encouraged. Their ecclesiastical high priests preached that the phenomenon was “simply a matter of supply and demand: the tax system has nothing to do with high land prices.”
Look, I know this all sounds too stupid, but that’s often the way it is with dreams, isn’t it?
On top of their taxes and a Mediplank levy, the sad little wage earners of Oz were slugged a further 9% penalty called a superannuation levy, because it was thought they were too stupid to provide for themselves in retirement. Truly!
With all these taxes and the skyrocketing land prices of Oz, many people could no longer afford food, clothing and shelter without assistance – much less money for entertainment or recreation – so they increasingly turned to the banking sector or government for help or, at times, for their very survival.
Meanwhile, important people in charge of things called trusts and investment funds shunted around hither and yon the billions to which people had to wave goodbye as it disappeared into almost certainly depleting superannuation funds playing favourites with share and property markets, and inflating with gay abandon bubbles in both. When the bubbles burst, so much for retirement, folks, but gee it has been quite an entertainment with your money, a regular hoot for fund managers and their minions!
Oz’s once efficient shipbuilding industry and most other significant manufacturing had long been shut down as a side effect of all its taxes on production and real wealth creation. It had now become a fantasy land where finance ruled the roost, and any manufacturer wishing to remain in business was forced offshore to where taxes and land were cheaper; or, as the financial spin had it “to where labour is cheaper”. It seemed, however, a well paid workforce in counter-culture land, Germandom, where manufacturing wasn’t regarded as some sort of sin, had no such problem. Nor did it prioritise home ownership as the sine qua non for heavenly bliss. Two-thirds of Germaniums actually rented their homes on long leases and knew not real estate bubbles.
Meanwhile Oz banks continued, unimpeded, to lend on bubble-inflated land prices, their CEOs paid handsomely in multi-millions to completely disregard the prudent risk management practice of not advancing funds into a soon-to-burst residential real estate bubble.
Journalists had become fascinated with the lively, if sometimes incredible, stories in and around the banking sector, putting banks on their front pages and upon a pedestal, quite oblivious to the pedestal’s precarious tilt.
Natural monopolies, once under government ownership and tight management, were sold off to private companies in the name of business “efficiency” and “competition” to help fund extravagant government, the companies craving to suck at the teat of the public’s surplus land rent. Freeways became tollways as the poor were directed into intentionally constructed labyrinthine side streets.
At the first sign of the real estate market flagging, more Oz revenues were directed into home-vendors’ schemes, in order to re-inflate their property prices and keep this unreal finance-based economy happening. They had to be kept primed or it was ‘game over’.
With household debt at record levels and economic instability now abounding, it was thought best the government should guarantee Oz banks, rather than let them go to the wall like failed businesses once ought.
Wasn’t this service industry capturing the public’s rent, that is, the common wealth, per medium of bubble-inflated capital and interest repayments on mortgages, more important than wealth creation itself? Banks were most certainly ‘too big to fail’ in this Noddy land, so the peasants could readily be taxed to bail them out if needs be.
The plutocracy ruled with finance and taxes as their weapons. As the poor and middle class in the land of Oz were left with little wherewithal and pitloads of debt, the economy turned ‘cactus’. So, what was to be done?
Maybe a $900 handout, maybe a BER program here, a home insulation program there, not to keep people paddling, mind, but to keep the weirdly-lopsided financial system and the uber wealthy of Oz afloat in this concocted life raft.
There was a fallback plan in this land of which I dreamt. If things turned really grisly, why not simply roll the money-printing presses, just like its gargantuan neighbour, Brobdingnag, had done? That’ll fix things. It’s that easy!
Suddenly, a bloke by the name Hen Kenry broke into my dream, crashing through a brick wall with a ponderous mallet, announcing Oz to be a financial mess. He and his Alice-in-Wonderland tea party panel that followed him through the wall opined that Oz abolish its taxes and instead tap its vast reserve of land and natural resource rents.
Killjoy! That certainly wouldn’t go down well in the land of Oz.
I awoke in a state of utter confusion and déjà vu. Had I not visited this fantastic place before …… somewhere? ….. sometime?
3 thoughts on “Financial havoc in the land of Oz”
Now Australians are waking up to this madness and is campaigning for change at social media
Nicely sung, Ned! You sound a bit like Mark Seymour. 🙂
Creative writing piece on the GFC (OPINION ONLY)
Adaptation of the Australian rock band Hunters and Collectors,
1993 song Holy Grail: ‘Woke up this morning from
The strangest dream / I was in the biggest army the world had ever seen (Baby Boomer first home buyers) We were marching as one (biggest generational negative gearing property bloc vote) on the road to the Holy Grail // Started out seeking fortune and glory [rent seeking investment properties] / It’s a short song but it’s a hell of a story / When you spend your lifetime trying to get your hands / on the Holy Grail (more & more rent seeking investments) // Well have you heard about the Great Crusade? / (GFC Housing bubble was a deliberate inside job by the Elite as a pretext to devalue the currency, steal the pension and reduce the Arab debt T bills to junk status in exchange for all the oil since the 1970’s. The T bills ran into the trillions We ran into millions but nobody got paid Once the dollar was dead, so was the status of the T bills, so our debt was reduced to junk status[ property’s were worth millions on paper, but then, the land bubble bursts leaving us in negative equity and the feds started printing treasury bonds at a crap price they bought with trillions of our taxpayer bailout money, the people and economy got none] / Yeah we razed four corners of the globe for the Holy Grail // (by creating artificial shortages in markets and futures speculation trading, we created artificial runs and shortages in commodity’s & food riots and inflation by dollar devaluation, fueling Riots in Egypt, Libya and the middle east though dollar devaluation. All the locals scattered… The Riot police started firing on the crowds in Middle East meanwhile in the west (The pseudo Mc Mansion community’s were a farce and investment sham of falseness, investment snakes- they were hiding in the snow. (Millions were tufted out on the streets and onto reservations where huge tent city’s sprang-up while snowstorms blanketed the continent. Australians got suckered in to buy up property in defunked mortgage backed security over sea’s economy’s property’s without secured deeds where the property bubble had deflated, only to get burned when the market went double dip and the deeds were not legitimate, but were held by the fed’s] / We were so far from home…so how were we to know / We speculated and invested far from family and did like wise splitting up the poor and genuine community for our own property greed. There’d be nothing left to plunder. [We were played for greater fools] / When we stumbled on the Holy Grail? // We were so full of beans but we were dying like flies (Our heads so full of Neo-mercantile junk economics we were all now slaves to the new world order of debt peonage] / and those big black birds…they were circling in the sky. Martial law was declared when the economy didn’t recover, and the drones were sent out to hunt down the Patriot movement when the economy turned to an empire of dirt / And you know what they say, yeah nobody deserves to die // Oh but I’ve been searching for an easy way / To escape the cold light of day [We used sophisticated financial tools and unfair tax property privileges to keep ahead of the pack and to play out, cover up The Grand deception, But the Banks saw us coming and did us like toast with confidence trick that we were the elite smart investors] / I’ve been high and I’ve been low [Deluded and scheming unrealistic lifestyle propped up on fine dinning, alcohol and anti-depressants to BS# everyone we
Knew, that we had high status and wealth and successful] / But I’ve got nowhere else to go [we now live in a tent city in Queensland on a sports oval, when our house got flooded out and so did our ten investment property’s/ There’s nowhere else to go! //. God knows where I’ve been /. But I woke up alone, (my wife divorced me) all my wounds were clean (she was only their for the money and all the psychological garbage and luggage is gone now, and with understanding community matters more after the flood clean-up than screwing over others in society like those landlords in Tully, your conscience is clear, and your respected] / I’m still here, I’m
Still a fool for the Holy Grail / I’m a fool for the Holy Grail [I will go back to my rapacious rent-seeking, for a free lunch, by ripping-off young people again, once the new world currency is in place and the economy recovers, just as your Baby Boomer cohorts have done for the last four decades, with all our rent seeking grandiose, that hurts and fractures genuine productive activity’s until the economy is finally gridlocked again and yields withers and dies because of more of the same intergenerational inequality.