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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Saturday Sanity Break, 19 January 2019 – Bad times a’coming

Big headlin e in the Oz yesterday will spook the punters – the government’s label for us ordinary folk. ‘Are we headed towards high noon for democracy?’

Henry Ergas reached back almost 100 years. ‘In 1923, as the Weimar Republic struggled with chaos, the German polymath Carl Schmitt wrote a short but enormously influential book, The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. Schmitt later destroyed his reputation through his collaboration with the Hitler regime. But if his work is increasingly cited, it is because its contemporary resonance is undeniable.

‘To say that is not to suggest that today’s circumstances resemble those that drove ­Europe into the horrors of totalitarianism. Yet with the US government plunged into a shutdown that only a presidential declaration of a state of emergency is likely to end, and Britain in a crisis that seems ­irresoluble, Schmitt’s warnings cannot simply be ­dismissed.’

Maurice Newman, a warrior for clarity of thought, starts his column: ‘It should be of concern to all who value personal freedoms that more and more ordinary folk are losing confidence in democracy, for which also read competitive capitalism.’

In another unusual contribution, Robert Gottliebsen says the RBA should apologise.

‘Australian consumers have not yet started to panic but if politicians on both sides and the bank regulators keep up their uncoordinated attacks on ordinary Australians and small business then this nation will suffer a severe downturn.

‘And if the current Chinese measures and/or the US-China trade talks fail to reverse what is a sharp downturn in the Chinese economy, then that severe Australian downturn will turn into something worse.

‘What adds to the danger is that our central bankers at the Reserve Bank completely misread the clear signs in the economy despite the warnings from economists like Westpac’s Bill Evans and Foreseechange, plus business journalists like me'.

Finally, smart people are joining Henry’s attempts to point out that the Australian establishment has got the narrative completely wrong. The coalition spruiks the strong jobs growth on its watch, and the real possibility that the budget will finally be in (minor) surplus. Strong jobs growth is largely due to nervous workers not wishing to be fired or made redundant combined with an overheating economy boosted by strong migrant inflows. The coalition gets approval for spending restraint but it seems most Aussies fail to care about debt and deficit spending, with household debt around 2 times household income.

Bill Shorten’s Labor party is promising to ‘soak the rich (and the merely well-to-do)’ and thus punish these groups for initiative and success. Plus spoil the jobs flow but helping the union movement obtain large wage increases that will slow, even put into reverse, jobs growth..

So be prepared, gentle readers, for Bill Shorten’s government to bring severe discomfort to people who contribute most to Australian prosperity.


Vice’, directed by Adam McKay has Fiona Prior pondering what is now the historic rise and rise of Dick Cheney. More here.

Sporting life

One day men’s cricket lost another series 1-2 but played slightly better without main bowlers (being rested) and two best batters in the land. (Soon able to play again, subject to elbow injuries.)

The Demon did well to make it to the third round but did slightly better than his game against Nadal in Wimbledon last year. Other Aussie lads and lasses are doing well, especially Ash Barty who has taken some big scalps lately.

Soon it will be the footy season, and here’s to a few wins for Caaarlton!!!

Image of the week - Banana Republic #2

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