The economy – XIII

Will it be a lucky 13 today for the markets, or an unlucky 13?

Yesterday the ASX/200 smashed (yes – smashed Shane) the 4000 barrier closing at a remarkable 4001.1 points (up 4%). Overnight, Wall St was up 2.1%, but the Australian futures are down slightly.

Well – at least the markets are doing better than our cricket team.

We will leave this economy thread open over the weekend.

(previous thread now closed)

83 Responses

  1. Interesting comments from Rick Battalino reported in the SMH today:

    nlike the US, Australia’s housing bubble had already burst, about three years ago, Mr Battellino said. “The Australian housing boom ended because prices rose to levels that severely strained the financial capacity of buyers to pay higher prices, not because too many houses were built, as in the US.

    “The overhang of unsold houses in the US has created downward pressure on house prices as builders and developers have been forced to sell.” This had not happened in Australia, he said. “Rather, the shortage of housing here means that there are buyers waiting for better circumstances – for example, lower interest rates or rising incomes – to facilitate their entry to the market.” This latent demand would support the market.”

    This is similar to what I was saying last week or the week before about house prices in the context of the increase to FHOG; there is still greater demand than supply for housing so prices should hold up pretty well regardless of the FHOG increase. The increase should help, at least to a small degree, FHOs entering this market. If it also stimulates new housing projects then that is good for employment as well I guess.

    (This is Dave55 comment from XII which was posted just before I closed the thread – so I thought I’d bring it over here for him).

  2. Well, our family has been looking at the economic turmoil with mixed thoughts because of housing. Twelve months ago, our current circumstances would have allowed us to obtain a home loan with not problems… We have over 10% deposit, a steady (though self-employed) position, and incredibly low debt (a car-loan arranged through our previous employment).

    However, banks now require the self employed to have a years worth of financial records (hard given I’ve only been contracting for six months) regardless of the business assets/cashflow. I’m only $2K short of paying me for the next six months without any income to the business whatsoever and I’m still working solid with no problems on the horizon. Not that I blame the banks too much, not every small business has that stability guaranteed…

    On the other hand, economic turmoil is driving the housing prices down (funnily enough while our rent is going up!). Perhaps in six months we’ll be able to purchase something a little more respectable for a lower price. Shame that (as far as housing goes) it is mostly a zero-sum game here *sigh*


  3. thanks joni – saved me doing it. 😉

  4. There are plenty of people here that are geared to the hilt. Brokers of all forms that have heavily relied on big bonuses will be hit hard, they won’t cope with a $500+k mortgage without the bonus.

    The top end of housing, and the 2br apartment level (attractive to both investors and 1st home buyers) are likely to plummet. Holiday houses too.

    This is a good thing overall, it will help wash a lot of speculation out of the system. Housing will be more affordable for those that want to live in the houses. This is why the government should stop these measure that artificially prop up housing prices.

    This policy is just dumb, it is populist politics at its worst.

  5. Tom

    So I guess that you will be pleased that people will go into negative equity if prices drop?

  6. How is it populist Tom given what its aim is?

  7. Actually, I agree with Tom on this.

    From my perspective it is a populist move because increasing the FHOG artificially maintains (and possibly will increase) the value of existing and new properties.

    In NSW for example, property prices have been pretty much stagnant, if not dropping in value for the last 4 or 5 years.

    It’s the correction we had to have.

    While negative euqity is a horrible situation to be in, as Tom says, this is because everyone was geared to the hilt – based on the assumption, and actively encouraged by Banks and Financial Advisers, that assets are going to increase in value for ever.

    The Government’s increase to the FHOG will appeal to those who are already in the property market as it will serve to maintain the value of their existing property/investments.

    It’s really just postponing the inevitable I reckon..

  8. Tom

    4. Absolutely! on the mark.

    And yesterday the RBA saw fit to focus on incomes without factoring in a multitude of other factors likely to effect any households:


    “The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) expects household incomes to be more subdued over the next two years, as the global financial crisis impacts and the economy slows.
    RBA deputy governor Ric Battellino said real income would grow at a slower pace compared with the period before the onset of the credit crunch.

    “I think it is now widely accepted that growth in real incomes over the next year or two will be more subdued than over the past five years,” Mr Battellino told the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia national bankruptcy conference in Sydney.
    “How subdued will depend importantly on the effects of the financial turmoil.

    “Nobody knows how significant they will turn out to be but it would be reasonable to assume that income growth for the household sector will be noticeably below average over the next year or two.”

    Mr Battellino said the RBA was expecting global economic growth to slow by more than previously forecast.
    “The bank has been factoring weaker global economic growth into its policy assessment for much of this year,” he said.
    “Throughout this period, we have been forecasting lower growth than the major international forecasters.
    “Even so, the events of the past couple of months have caused us to revise our forecasts down further.”

    Why don’t the RBA factor in other elements such as the prospect of reduced working hours as business slows and are forced reduce their scale of operations, increased unemployment, and the record levels of personal debt and the obvious need for deleveraging that are likely to have a significant and continuing impact on the economy for some time to come. Also add as an obvious result a significant reduction in consumer spending, increased housing foreclosures and personal bankruptcy claims, potential and further share market declines as company earnings suffer etc etc.

  9. SMH’s Elizabeth Knightly rightly notes that it’s “Too soon for any pats on back” especially for the banking sector.

    “As Gail Kelly of Westpac wrapped up the last of this profit season’s big bank results with a performance that rated well against the bank’s peers she displayed the same self-congratulatory tone as the others.

    The profit was lower than the double-digit growth that most have experienced over the past decade but, given the hostile financial environment, it was a pretty good effort. And, of course, compared with the billions lost by US and European banks, it was an amazing performance.

    Westpac and Kelly’s previous bank, St George, have come through stage one of this banking crisis in a strong position.

    The most important aspect of running a bank is managing risk, and Australian banks – with more than a little help from strict prudential regulation from APRA – have excelled.

    In the early 1990s when the previous banking crisis engulfed Australia, the experience was quite different. Most of the big banks were crippled by enormous losses on corporate loans and Westpac came seriously close to peril.

    There is universal agreement these well-capitalised, conservative institutions are now fortified against a repeat performance.

    But the financial crisis that began with US housing and has spread rapidly around the world is not over, and the ripples are only starting to be felt here.

    Kelly, like our other big bank bosses, is sticking to the line that Australia will not fall victim to recession as the US and Britain have, and most of Europe is about to. It is in the interests of those running Australian banks to push that line, whether they believe it or not. They point out that Australia’s economy was stronger than the others when the credit crisis hit and that the economy was riding a resource boom.

    Both these statements are true.

    But just as almost no one predicted the US housing disaster would bring on a world slowdown, it is too soon to say when the slowdown will stop and whether growth in Australia will come to a grinding halt.”

    Editor joni: John – we need to teach you to link.

  10. Thanks stuntreb & John – both right on the mark.

    I’ve found the entire materialistic, consumerist culture of Australia quite repulsive. It is like we’ve all moved to Sydney and boastful talk about the value of our real estate (that’s the extent of Sydney dinner party conversation in my experience).

    “More, more and bigger. NOW!!” has become our mantra, particularly regarding housing.

    Some will have negative equity in their housing. The fall won’t be too painful at the lower to middle end of the market, I don’t think. But the fall will help affordability for the next generation, which is my concern.

    Those that have borrowed $800k to live in the “lifestyle” house will be in for a big fall.

    Many people (and not just those that live near me) have borrowed 100% of the value of a house in an inflated market. They then borrow a little more to cover stamp duty, more for new furniture and more still to cover the cost of a couple of 4 wheel drives to decorate the drive way. These people are in for a painful adjustment.

    First home buyers no longer seem to collect the spare fridge from the patents, the old couch from the family room, the second hand dining table with 6 odd chairs. Everything has to be NEW, and add it to the mortgage.

    The government should stop measures that encourage people to borrow more, which prop up inflated values and consumerism. They’re populist because they are intended to appeal to a target group, they have a short term objective.

  11. Add to that Tom, the thousands of people who took out loans based on their equity to purchase share portfolios.

    Share portfolios that are now worth about 60% less than they were 12 months ago, yet the repayments remain the same.

    Then there are the people who took out additional loans based on the value of the shares, to buy even more shares…!

    Meanwhile the banks and financial advisers actively encouraged and facilitated this behaviour!!

    Personally I’m worried about low and middle income earners who may be tempted to put Christmas on the plastic this year.

    I think we’re in for a rude awakening, in terms of credit card debt in the new year.

  12. No I can’t agree with any of you on this as you are just taking a single aspect of why a FHOG was introduced to stimulate an economy. The side effect is to keep housing prices at high levels, but it is the other factors that were the ones tabled as being the reason this form of stimulus was implemented.

    To look at just the one consequence of a FHOG in isolation from the other actual intended factors and then label it as populist is to completely misrepresent the whole $10.4 billion package. Quiggin and a few others out there would disagree with your isolated assessment as do I.

    Someone in the opposition in criticising the FHOG came up with the alternative of customised national infrastructure projects, and then quickly became quiet when it was pointed out even the simplest one would take a five to ten years to get rolling, require skilled workers we are extremely short of because of the previous government’s demonstrable neglect in this area and have in place a project management and R & D base also demonstrably neglected by the previous government.

    So unless you can come with a scheme to keep the widest amount of people employed nationally, that utilises the most diverse existing skill sets and can be implemented almost immediately, apart from just throwing everyone onto the doll, I’d like to hear it?

  13. Tom – I generally disagree with you, but on this we’re perfectly aligned. Any government effort used to artificially prop up housing prices is simply delaying the inevitable. One of the funny things about being in a capitalist society is that sooner or later the market “adjusts” for any tampering governments and other organizations try to use.

    The US economic fallout is proof positive that manipulating the appearance of growth without actual extra work/labor going into the system only makes the plunge (when it comes) bigger. Houses are not a constant source of “work” and, as such, cannot simply increase in value constantly without a resulting price plunge to balance the equation. Capitalism (and all economic models really) requires extra WORK to go into the system. The problems we’re facing is what happens when people try to have the system grow more than the work/labour going into the economy.


  14. Mind you – I’m all for the FHOG for myself. After all, $14K is nothing to shake your head at!

    That said, the $14K version is a simple once off swap (home buyer to home seller). The $21K has alot more chance of spreading throughout the economy by employing builders, purchasing materials, etc.

    The unfortunate side effect though is that it simply adds $14K-$21K to the asking price of any home bought/built. It’s a hatchet where a scalpel is needed.


  15. But B. Tolputt you miss the point as do the others.

    If this measure was purely one of artificially propping up house prices the Rudd government would have bought in a $50 billion dollar over 5 years FHOG (and extended) as the Howard government did.

    Instead the Rudd government has used just a one off grant of five billion out of a $10.4 billion package. If after this one of grant Rudd extended it or bought in another FHOG package then I would agree with your assessment, but since it doesn’t look like he’s going to do that I’m taking this as being for the intention tabled and not as a populist policy to make the government look good. From where I’m standing all the populist politics are being played by the opposition.

  16. Adrian, I realise that you are arguing that is an economic stimulus, but I’d have been happier if the government had put plenty into requiring every new home have a water tank, and then substantially subsidising (additional to those now available) the cost of installation in existing houses. Maybe even apply the new subsidy to a particular standard that is domestically manufactured, eg steel rather than plastic.

    That would be a stimulus with significant social benefit.

    Mass installation will offer plenty of employment. Perhaps a million houses a year at a thousand dollars time takes care of a lot of it.

    Of course, there would need to be some regulatory changes, there aren’t enough plumbers, but installation of water tanks is hardly complicated plumbing.

    Similarly, I’d be just as happy to see additional subsidies for domestic solar power installation.

    I don’t think pushing/encouraging people into an ever increasing suburban sprawl and is good policy.

  17. The facts back your argument TOM, in fact, I did post on this not that long ago.

    Sean Parnell, FOI editor of the AUSTRALIAN wrote recently:

    AUSTRALIA’S big banks ignored the sub-prime crisis in the US and actively took greater risks in the home mortgage market to see off a challenge from rival lenders.

    The banks not only relaxed their lending standards in recent years – ultimately luring many customers into financial distress – but held off tightening their terms of credit to build a better market position.

    Reserve Bank documents, obtained by The Australian using Freedom of Information laws, show the change in lending standards was driven by competition and the housing boom.

    In the last six months of last year, banks informed the Reserve Bank that the proportion of new mortgages described as non-standard – such as low-document loans and those with high loan-to-valuation ratios – was increasing.

    That was despite the sub-prime crisis, rising interest rates and evidence that more of their existing mortgage customers were unable to make repayments.

    In April this year, as the Reserve Bank ended its run of interest rate rises, an RBA analysis found the relaxation of lending standards had allowed some Australians to take on extraordinary debts. Households with annual incomes of $60,000 or more could borrow up to five times their annual income – up from 4 1/2 times in 2004 – requiring repayments of about 50 per cent of gross income, up from 45 per cent in 2004 and well above the common cut-off point that lenders applied of 30 per cent.

    Single individuals could borrow amounts requiring repayments of 50-75 per cent of their net income, about 5 per cent higher than in 2004.

    Although most borrowers had not utilised their greater borrowing capacity, the analysis found “recent low-income home buyers do appear to have taken on relatively larger loans”.

  18. One thing I can say for Kevin Rudd at the moment is that he is trying to tell it like it is… he claims at least two years of hardship to come … my guess is a little more than that … then add the ETS (aaargh!),27753,24580019-462,00.html

    I’m 61 and the worst unemployment I can remember was 15% but as I told my troops at the time that meant 85% of us were still employed …

    The Minister and I went off to a Sunsuper Seminar on Retirement last night (really to watch/listen to the fireworks). Very quiet bunch…some in shock(?)…a lot of questions about the role of Centrelink (that’s where a big chunk of the surplus will end up of course – the ignorant will blame the ALP government for doing its job)…

    Anyone see the Menzies doco on ABC last night? Typical example of how the Liberals hand the reins to the ALP when time’s are tough and then take the credit when the crisis is over and good times kick in…as for Churchill (won’t go there!)

  19. Tom:

    “I don’t think pushing/encouraging people into an ever increasing suburban sprawl and is good policy.”

    Agreed. Nor is encouraging first home buyers to enter into huge debt in an over-inflated property market. And in the face of increasing unemployment.

  20. 16. Tom of Melbourne | October 31, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I argued the same on Blogocracy, Tom. Every home with a water tank (minimum 5000lt – food grade stainless steel cost us an extra $400), solar hot water system (minimum 3000lt) and solar power (minimum 1Kw – about half of requirements).

    The need for dirty power would decrease as the new industries kicked in – the power for industry (not enough from domestic panels) would then be the big issue but should be halved(?) by domestic panels.

    Practical – NO TAXING, market driven with government support, puts in the forefront of alternative energy generation and saves Australia, sets an exam0ple to the world and creates a new industry (with research assistance) to sell to the world!

  21. No Tom that would fail as an economic stimulus of the type required but I’d argue that should be done anyway, whether a stimulus is required or not.

    No matter which way you look at there is no other form of a one off stimulus that can be implemented in a short time that can utilise a wider skills set, employ more people across a broader spectrum and manufacture a wider variety of goods and services than home building.

    The probable intended side effect is to drive up or keep house prices high. I guess it’s no coincidence that many politicians have investment properties and holiday homes which maybe why you are not hearing the opposition attack the FHOG side of the package. The South Coast of NSW is littered with them as Batemans Bay is only two hours from Canberra,

  22. Adrian

    “Batemans Bay is only two hours from Canberra”

    and that’s the most positive thing that anyone can say about Canberra.

    With all the public servant economists, surely the government could have come up with a more socially responsible economic stimulus than encouraging people into suburban housing debt. It reeks of opportunism dressed up as responsibility.

    How about this site start a list of suggestions for socially responsible economic stimulus, someone can send it on to the government.

    My start is –
    – Water tanks & solar energy installation subsidy, as indicated above.
    – Fix up the water mains in each capital city. Here in Melbourne they leak to the extent that we would not need water restrictions if they were repaired. This repair work is relatively labour intensive (ie employment generating), and probably requires similar skill availability to housing.


  23. Two more points Tom that may be of interest. Both of which point to the very real prospect, in fact, for a real need for a change in the direction of house prices to more affordable levels.

    $21,000 ‘no use’ argues Symond,22049,24548195-5013110,00.html
    AUSSIE Home Loans boss John Symond claims $21,000 grants will be of little use to Sydney homebuyers unless more affordable land with services is freed up.

    Mr Symond said house prices had “spiked artificially with no value add” such as services.
    “The Commonwealth has to take leadership here. They have come up with saving initiatives but it’s not a unified strategy,” he said.
    “This is a very complex problem and there is not one silver bullet. It’s all very well to provide bandaids by giving out $21,000 but you’ve got to get the land first.
    “The land is too expensive anyway,” he said.

    Price sting in the first-home buyers grant,25197,24573904-601,00.html

    FIRST-HOME buyers risk going backwards if they take up Kevin Rudd’s generous cash handouts to enter the market over the next eight months when prices are already falling in two of the key cities that will decide whether Australia avoids a looming global recession – Sydney and Perth.

    Median house prices have been tumbling in Sydney’s outer suburbs since 2004 and have also begun dropping in Perth, based on an exhaustive study by The Australian.

    But prospective buyers in Melbourne, Brisbane and especially Adelaide may enjoy unexpected windfalls because some of the affordable postcodes are still recording double-digit price rises.

    Property experts warn that if unemployment climbs towards 8per cent, then even those voters who claim the first-home owner grant at the right time, and in the right city, may find their mortgages harder to service despite lower interest rates.
    “No one knows how high unemployment will go,” Tim Lawless, the research director of property market analysts RP Data said yesterday”

  24. Tom

    I agree however tanks were deemed to be unhygenic a number of years ago and banned under council laws in many areas of the country. I was raised on tank water in the country and never got ill form it, even when we found unwanted things in the tanks. Only recently faced with the reality of running out of water have they changed their mind.

    Labour intensive or not the outamnce at the end justifies the means. Same as Emissions cuts, its the end result that justifies the cost at the start.

    Problem regarding Tanks and Solar is that our water assets are run like private enterprise and as a result will vigorously defend their margin. Also the massive energy companies whihc now own and run our electricity assets are all for profit too so no doubt the lobbying at the political level would be huge if their income was threatened in the name of socially responsible ecenomic stimulus. This is what happens when you seel off assets which are a necessity to the whole community. You have a completely altered reasoning and lobby group which is to the detriment of the community as a whole.

  25. Sorry Tom none of those things do smick as a stimulus as worthy as they are as causes which should be done regardless.

    As much as I rack my tiny brain and minuscule understanding of this, including researching, I and so far from what I can see in response to this situation, noone else has come up with anything that can achieve a fraction of what building houses can in the short time needed.

    The opposition attempted to do so with major customised national infrastructure programs and then rapidly fell silent when the obvious was pointed out to them. Great if you to start something in five years time to finish in ten and you somehow can entice all the skills needed from overseas.

    How many skill sets is your solar and water tank idea going to involve, how many workers, how many different industries, services and materials.

    Construction industries, road building, land clearing, infrastructure implementation, transport, forestry, metal (of all types), architects, real estate, builders, carpenters, tilers, brick layers, plumbers, electricians, labourers, local council, State government, furniture, retail, plant nurseries, landscapers, swimming pool, water tanks, solar industry, telephone companies, internet providers, Pay TV, power companies and probably a half dozen or more I can’t think of at the moment.

    There is not a single other activity out there that can mobilise such a wide variety of the workforce in such a short time as saying you are going to build a new housing estate. This FHOG stimulus keeps more business afloat and people employed than any other you can name. It was the same stimulus Howard used over a sustained period of time to make what was otherwise a fairly ordinary economy outside the resources sector look good, and he started the FHOG before the resources boom took off in any way an without knowing the full positive impact that would have.

    Howard’s FHOG is still in place.

    A correction to a previous post, Rudd is only going to spend a one off $1.5 billion on the FHOG to benefit 150,000 people, I said five billion. So it is a limited stimulus considering Howard spent $50 billion and it’s still going.

  26. George Megalogenis over at The Australian wrote an interesting article concerning FHBG.

    There is method to this madness and I posted it over there…but which comment???

  27. Adrian, I’m not sure that we can make an accurate assessment of the economic impact of this grant. We can estimate the cost, but the actual impact? How many extra homes will be built? That’s the critical question.

    There’s a report out today that indicates that home building in Sydney has fallen 74%, Brisbane down about 60%, Melbourne up 19%. Melbourne caps the cost of services to $6000 per block (apparently), while these costs in Brisbane and Sydney can be $40K or more.

    I simply cannot see that this additional grant can/will make any measurable difference to economic activity. And if you can’t measure it, how can a government justify the additional $bn++ expenditure?

    On the other hand, we could accurately identify how many water tanks are installed, how many litres of water are saved through leakage prevention, how many solar power systems are installed…

    Public expenditure is best when it supports both economic and social objectives.

    This home buyers stimulus supports neither objective in any measurable way.

  28. What it can’t be worked roughly how many houses can be built for a 1.5 billion housing grant, and you have an historical precedent in Howard eight years of RHOG to go on, especially since the doubling in 2001? Accurate assessment, it was an emergency measure bought in as a response. I suppose you now want him to send it away to a committee?

    150,000 people will benefit, it will come on top of a cut in official interest rates and other stimulus.

    Did Howard know that his $50 billion would be in a large part responsible for a drop in housing affordability, he’s denied it to this day still blaming the States?

    Did Howard know of the impact of the NTER, he took a guess and said it would do a lot of things, some of has come to pass and as much again hasn’t and there have been unintended consequences but he didn’t wait for an accurate assessment before launching it?

    Did Howard know with all his modelling the negative impacts of WorkChoices that had major rewrites throughout its history, one I believe only a month after it was passed.? Take that back as Hockey let drop they did know of the negative impacts but went ahead anyway.

    You’re asking for absolute certainty in a time when there’s no certainty anywhere in the world. Given the situation and the negative predictions for the economy Rudd had to do something quickly and the things he had to do had to have the most economic impact in the shortest time span covering the widest possible sectors of the economy, and he had to bring certainty to the banks.

    Water tanks and solar doesn’t do that and the thing is that under new laws in some States along with rebates all these new houses will probably have water tanks and solar panels.

  29. 26. scaper… | October 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Very astute by GM.

    I also read into that looming trouble for the WA Liberals who harped on about WA State Labor not being able to fix these things and they would if they won power.

    Won’t look good for them down the track if it turns out Federal Labor helped them out.

  30. Adrain – now I think the previous government was motivated by a fair bit of social engineering.

    This is a political objective of the major parties.

    But this policy has been presented as 100% economic. Therefore it should be capable of being assessed for economic effectiveness. Otherwise how do we know whether we obtained any value?

  31. Tom of Melbourne: you’re certainly rubbing me up the wrong way today.

    I’m geared to the hilt in regards to my residential house. I borrowed 100% plus fees and stamp duty, purely because I have heaps of equity in investment properties in SA & Qld. According to you it will be a good thing if people like me won’t cope.

    I’m sorry that my obsession with buying properties to ensure that my wife and I have a good retirement portfolio goes against your grain. Perhaps you’d prefer that we fall over and rely on a pension in later life.

    I also am part of the materialistic, consumerist culture which disgusts you. But I won’t be doing away with my Ford G6E or 50 inch plasma to make me a better person in your eyes. I’ve worked hard to get where I am & I’m quite happy to reap the rewards. My wife and I have a sizable income between us, and guess what: we like to spend some of it.

    I also live in Canberra, and gosh, I’m a public servant! You say that it’s us people that need to make sure that the Government is more socially responsible. Give it a break.

    And one more thing: I’m a Leftie.

  32. “I’m a Leftie”

    and what every self-respecting person should be.

  33. Thank you Sans Blog. I’m also a blues loving leftie.

  34. I lost my big toe on my left foot…do I qualify?

  35. I can imagine what might have been happening right about now if Howard and the Liberals had been returned.

    Businesses all over the place would be losing their nerve, slashing jobs (the mass lay-offs the conservatives said would never happen) and using the legislation to cut wages.

    The economy would be swamped with huge numbers of employees suddenly with less (or none, if laid off) spending power than previously.

    This would have fed into the worsening jitters of business, causing them to lay off more workers, cut pays more.

    And onwards and downwards would have gone the spiral domestically, even as external conditions buffeted the economy as never before.

  36. I lost my big toe on my left foot…do I qualify?

    No. You didn’t make the cut. You are eliminated.

  37. I find Tom’s claims to despise the ‘materialist society’ we have become quite amusing given his claim yesterday that he wanted a Merc, plus other posts in the past that I can’t say indicate that he has opted out of said ‘materialist society’.

  38. Re – 37. Pollytickedoff

    I notice a couple of times lately you’ve misrepresented my comments, either deliberately or through ignorance. I think I’ll put it down to ignorance.

    You obviously prefer your political opinions to be “off the shelf”, without too much originality. Following a standard left mantra is so much easier then thinking form yourself, isn’t it?

    I’ll but a good 2nd hand car that will be worth about the same in 3 years. You and many others will probably buy a brand new fluro coloured one with mags and fats that will be worth about 30% or 40% of the purchase price in that time.

    Consumerism is characterised by the need to continually update to the latest fad/model, the value of this purchase is quickly eroded by a new version. A new purchase is then needed.

    My purchases are entirely the opposite. You obviously have no idea.

    Re – 31. Miglo

    I don’t wish personal harm to anyone. But there has been far too much speculation in property, this is one of the causes of the lack of affordability. People have simply bought on the expectation that there would be a never ending capital increase, we’ve had a bubble, and they always burst.

    I’d like the next generation to be able to but a house before they retire.

    Personally, I lead a very low debt life and accumulate with care. I’ve probably suffered a very large decline in financial assets as well, but the lack of debt lets me sleep at night.

    I don’t think the correction in real estate will be too serious in the middle level sector.

    I don’t know what a Ford G6E is. It sound like a large motor vehicle that you’d be better off without.

  39. PS – please excuse but = buy, & spelling errors.

  40. I don’t know what a Ford G6E is. It sound like a large motor vehicle that you’d be better off without. (Tom).

    Well excuse me. I’ll decide on that. A G6E is a family saloon and if I wanted to buy a car that suits me and my family (and not you) well I guess that you will just have to lose some sleep after all.

    You wouldn’t be self righteous by any chance?

  41. I can imagine what might have been happening right about now if Howard and the Liberals had been returned.
    35. Caney | October 31, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Yes Caney, but that is all you have your perverted imagination.

    However let us look at the facts.

    Last time Labor was in power they 1. Created the largest debt in our nations history 2. Produced the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. (Lest we Forget)

    If H&C had been returned there would have been no run on non-bank funds. I have never heard of anything like what has happened . In fact it has probably not happened very often in our nations history. People with money in financial institutions cannot get access to their money.

    Last time i heard of something like this was when i was living in Geelong. The Pyramid Building Society went bankrupt, when the lefties Cain/Kirner were running Victoria. The ALP almost sent the State bankrupt. The ALP in Victoria produced the highest state debt in all of Australian history (what a record)

    The people I worked with had money in the building society. Do you know what it feels like when you are told that you may lose all your deposits??? I think the ALP stepped in and said they would guarantee their deposits but they would lose their interest- or something like that.

    The ALP is good at only two things.

    1. producing debt
    2. creating unemployment

    And they are useless at anything else.

  42. Tom, meet Neil. Neil, meet Tom.

  43. “Tom, meet Neil. Neil, meet Tom.
    42. Miglo | October 31, 2008 at 10:27 pm”

    How long did it take you to think of writing this?? What a useless comment.

    Another waste of space comment from a leftie. How about some comments about the useless ALP govt.

    Education revolution.???? Where is it?

    Broadband Plan??? Perhaps Dudd lost it at the Strip Club he likes to visit.

    He did sign the Coyote protocol but what has he done about CO2 emissions??? Perhaps he said he would do something just to get elected???

    The Murray River?? What increase in flows has he achieved???

    Wake me up when ShowPoney does something

  44. How long did it take you to think of writing this?? What a useless comment. (Neil).

    I agree Neil. It was a useless comment. But it aptly matched your useless rant.

  45. Neil @ 43 – The Murray River?? What increase in flows has he achieved???

    Well he’s only one man, now that Peter Garrett is Minister for Arts – it takes a lot of time and barley water to increase the “flow”, TYVM.

  46. Yes, the Murray River.

  47. Re – 40. Miglo

    Well Miglo, when I suggested earlier that materialistic people buy fluro coloured cars with mags etc, that will depreciate by 70% over 3 years, I actually had no idea that I was referring to purchasers of Ford G6Es. Never mind.

    I have since googled Ford G6E (whatever that stands for) and I hope your real estate investments are more discriminating. This one won’t stand the test of time.

  48. I speculated at #35 that, had the Liebrals been returned, employers would right now be using SerfChoices to cut jobs and pay. Neil of Sydney says that’s my perverted imagination.


    Well, Heil , it wasn’t me who conceived of WorstChoices, the most extreme anti-union legislation of any western country, the most draconian IR in Australia in a hundred years. It was your mob!

    More on the Liebrals and the economy …

    John Howard was the only treasurer in Australia’s history to engineer, simultaneously:

    – double-digit inflation
    – double-digit unemployment
    – double-digit interest rates

    John Howard as PM he presided over interest rates that reached the second highest in the developed world, behind only New Zealand.

    Under Howard and the Liebrals the proportion of average household income needed just to pay the interest on the mortgage reached the highest levels ever, making the Liebrals the undisputed “leaders” of housing and interest rate stress.

    By the time Howard had left office in 2007, Australia’s national debt was at record levels, household debt at record levels (among the highest per capita in the world), business debt at record levels, Current Account deficit at record levels (fourth highest in the world in dollar terms, behind countries with massive GDPs such as the US and UK), housing the most unaffordable in the world relative to income.

    Household savings under the Liberals reached historically-low levels: almost zero.

    The Howard government was one of the world’s biggest per-capita spenders on propaganda, notably their pursuit of the unmandated WorstChoices agenda, which had three main objectives:

    1) Give employers the means to cut pay and conditions – endearing the Liebrals to their core support base

    2) Destroy workers’ unions, making the future prospects of fairness in the workplace very low

    3) With the destruction of unions, a financial blow to be inflicted on the Labor Party, thus weakening the biggest rival to Lieberal Party hegemony.

    FascistChoices was the Lying Rodent’s weapon to bring in place his dream of a one (major) party state, with sweatshop serfhood for employees, and employers (Lieberal supporters) rolling in the loot clawed from the pockets of workers and their children.

  49. “Well, Heil , it wasn’t me who conceived of WorstChoices, the most extreme anti-union legislation of any western country, the most draconian IR in Australia in a hundred years. It was your mob!
    48. Caney | October 31, 2008 at 11:57 pm”

    Well Heil also?? What is it with you lefties and the Nazi’s. I could say lots of things but do not have the space.

    But i will say this- you were handed unemployment at 4.3%, inflation at 2.9%, a $20B surplus, no Federal govt debt and $60B in the Future Fund.

    If labor stuffs this up (like they did last time) you will have no-one to blame but Labor.

    As for your comments about Howard when he was Treasurer way back in 1982- there was a world wide recession which was very severe and lasted for two years. Unemployment in the US was 10% which is very high for that country and unemployment was also at 10% in Australia.

    However in Keatings recession which we had to have, when unemployment was 11% in Australia it was only 8% in the US.

    LEST WE FORGET ( and especially you Caney)

  50. As ever for a Liebral Neil always finds someone else to blame for things that go wrong when the Liebrals are in government.

    Howard presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression and Neil says it was a worldwide thang, you know.

    Now in the beginning of a global financial crisis (eclipsing that which happened in the rodent’s day as treasurer) Neil says that if things go wrong, “you will have no-one to blame but Labor.”

    Liberals and credibility: “Sorry, we haven’t met.”

  51. What is it with you lefties and the Nazi’s

    Howard deployed SerfChoices as a stealth weapon to financially weaken the Labor Party. Using the legislative powers of the federal parliament to seek to eliminate the major rival to Lieberal Party hegemony.

    He proudly self-declared himself as “the most conservative leader the Liberal Party ever had”.

    He had a blind following of adoring ideologues.

    … They are all symptoms of nascent fascism, Neil.

  52. Caney – I thought you didn’t want to talk about IR any more! It is very naive to imagine that it was the conservative side that politicised IR.

    By maintaining political affiliation, the unions politicised themselves.

    Various ALP luminaries have acknowledged this.

  53. Tom, I never said I didn’t want to discuss IR anymore. What I did say was that I find your obsessive dislike of unions, and the gratuitous introduction of the topic into every thread tiresome, as I believe you’ve said your friends and family in the real world do.

    But while you’re on unions (again), they had to resist SerfChoices. Their survival depended on it. They knew it; Herr Howard and the Liberals knew it.

  54. “Howard presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression and Neil says it was a worldwide thang, you know
    50. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 12:17 am”

    What is it with you lefties and the facts???

    Lets go through this one more time for the dummies (ie. you Caney)

    Unemployment rates- I got this from here

    1991 Dec- 10.1%
    1992 Jan-Dec- 10.0, 10.2, 10.2, 10.3, 10.5, 10.7, 10.8, 10.5, 10.4, 10.7, 10.7, 10.9
    1993 Jan-Dec- 10.6, 10.8, 10.6, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.5, 10.8, 10.5, 10.7, 10.6, 10.3
    1994 Jan-March- 10.2, 10.0, 10.0

    Twenty eight months of double digit unemployment with Keatings recession. And during this time our unemployment rate was way above the US.

    Keatings recession was the worst since the great depression.

    Furthermore they produced the largest government debt in our nations history ($96B)

    But with Caney and Labor it is like the three monkeys- See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

  55. Neil, you can cut and paste numbers till people’s eyes glaze over, but it does not alter the reality of Howard’s ineptitude as treasurer. He was the only treasurer in history to engineer, simultaneously:

    double-digit inflation
    double-digit interest rates
    double-digit unemployment

    As PM he brought the second-highest interest rates in the developed world to Oz (after promising to keep them at 30-year lows).

    He presided over the most unaffordable housing in the world relative to income.

    Poor housing affordability, together with Highrate Howard’s interest, meant that under the Lieberal government, the proportion of average income needed to pay the interest on the mortgage was the highest ever.

    The Liberals are thus the party of housing and interest rate stress.

    They left office in 2007 with inflation at a 16-year high – and rising

    Interest rates at 10+ year highs – rising

    Foreign debt at record levels – rising

    Household and business debt at record levels – rising

    The most draconian workplace laws in the western world – aimed at delivering declining pay, conditions and job security

    Under Howard (2005), workforce casualisation in Australia reached the highest of any advanced economy, masking the problem of underemployment, and inflating the real employment figures.

  56. I have since googled Ford G6E (whatever that stands for) and I hope your real estate investments are more discriminating. This one won’t stand the test of time. (Tom).

    Next to your Merc Tom, I’m sure it won’t.

  57. The 1982-83 recession, which Howard presided over, was the worst since the great depression according to the former governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Ian Macfarlane

    The Canberra Times, 9 April 2007

  58. “They left office in 2007 with inflation at a 16-year high – and rising
    55. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 12:51 am”

    Actually inflation was at 2.9% when they lost the election. It is now at 5%. Labor has blown at least half the surplus they were handed. Large numbers of Australians cannot access their savings. Confidence is at an all time low. Unemployment is predicted to increase.

    But, but, but labor is now in power so we have no need to worry.

    “Neil, you can cut and paste numbers till people’s eyes glaze over”

    Yes I know. facts are useless to people like you. However the fact is according to the link I gave, Keating precided over 28 months of double digit unemployment from 1991-1994 but Howard only precided over 8 months of DD unemployment and he was faced with a much worse worldwide recession back in 1983.

  59. “The 1982-83 recession, which Howard presided over, was the worst since the great depression according to the former governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Ian Macfarlane
    57. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 1:00 am”

    Yes thats true Caney. Have a look at this link from Wikipedia

    “The early 1980s recession was a severe recession in the United States which began in July 1981 and ended in November 1982.[1][2] The primary cause of the recession was a contractionary monetary policy established by the Federal Reserve System to control high inflation.[3]
    The recession was not only unexpected but was the most serious recession since the Great Depression.[4]”

    I got this from here

    The 1982 recession was a bad recession worldwide lasting two years. These things happen from time to time.

  60. But, but, but labor is now in power

    If Herr Howard had been successful with his FascistChoices agenda, the Labor Party would have been financially weakened, perhaps even destroyed.

    The former federal Labor leader, Kim Beazley, told the Herald earlier this year he feared for Labor’s future if it lost the next election because the new workplace laws would destroy the ALP’s union base.

    Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2007

    So you might not have had to worry much about trifling matters like being ousted from government. It could have been Howard’s First Reich, right.

    (And sweatshop employment conditions for your grandkids).

  61. “An enlightening post on the right-wing nasties …
    61. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 1:18 am”

    I actually think you are a nasty person. But labor is in power Federally and in 5 states.

    So we should have nothing to worry about.

  62. One more and I’m outta here for the night. A comment to an SMH blog, 29 October 2007:

    “I’m chaffing at the fact that people believe that “historically” Howard is the better economic manager.

    History actually says that Howard is a very poor manager – in 1983 he handed over rising inflation, rising interest rates and a dysfunctional industrial realtions system, despite having control of the Senate.

    In 1996, he inherited from Keating, falling inflation, falling interest rates and a workable industrial relations system.

    Now what is he handing over?

    Rising inflation, rising interest rates and a dysfunctional industrial relations system and once again he’s had control of the Senate.

    Couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag I suggest! History will judge him and I don’t think it will be very kind.”

    (All glory to the rat)

  63. I actually think you are a nasty person.

    Like I care. You’re the Liberal.

  64. # 62. Neil of Sydney | November 1, 2008 at 1:26 am

    I actually think you are a nasty person. But labor is in power Federally and in 5 states.

    So we should have nothing to worry about.

    NSW should and does.

    But apart from NSW, where even a drover’s dog would be an improvement, what are Liberal State governments going to do that’s better? The WA Libs promised heaps and improvement for all because of State Labor neglect, yet the same things they said Labor neglected are getting worse and they look like getting help from a Labor Federal government.

    I think apart from NSW (and it will be very interesting to see if O’Farrell really does improve things there when he wins the next election) State Liberal parties would be no better and in some cases worse than current Labor governments. I believe the people know this, which is why they have stuck to Labor, even poor Labor governments. This puts State Liberal parties between a rock and a hard place for if they don’t improve things and show better competency, as they continually promise they will, then they will be on the outer for a long long time. It will always be used against them that yes the current State Labor government is bad but whenever the Liberals are in as much as they promise the world, they are worse. Previous Liberal governments in the States weren’t banished to the opposition benches for such long periods of time even against poor Labor governments, because when they were previously in government they were fantastic.

  65. You’re a laugh Neil really.

    Here you are attempting to excuse Howard’s past poor performances because of world wide situations, yet in the same breath blame Labor excluding the world wide situations.

    In other words Howard’s failures are not his fault but that of outside influences (which includes States according to you), yet negatives when Labor are in power are all their doing with no exceptions and totally divorced from outside influences.

    Disingenuous doesn’t even come close.

  66. Did anyone watch Sky news this morning.

    It seems that mortgage belt stress is increasing and there will be more to come.,23739,24583520-3102,00.html

    Northlakes was always going to be problem because these developments were built on credit given way too easily…I suspect it will be the same in similar developments around Brisbane like Forest Lake and Springfield Lakes.

    When I get enquiries for works at these places I decline as they are depressing places to work in…a sea of tiled boxes and they will be future slums in my opinion.

    Mrs scaper had to fill in at the other office for two days and it was a real culture shock…the second day she took a packed lunch as the experience at the shopping centre was intimidating.

    By the way, that entry wall at Northlakes on the news was built by me almost a decade ago.

  67. Adrian at number 66

    It is what being part of a blind following of adoring ideologues is all about. The cult of personality of the Little General.

    Questioning or criticising his record is tantamount to heresy, in their blinkered eyes. They take it very hard, almost personally.

  68. Nation Exhausted (from SMH):

    All five of the marquee Wall Street investment banks have been either wiped out or taken shelter under government guarantee in the form of a banking licence. Much of the banking system and the insurance sector has been nationalised

    Now – I might be wrong, but telling financial institutions to get a banking licence to get government guarantees sounds an awful like what our government proposed.

    So is it the right thing to do or not?

  69. Adrian @ 66.

    Good point. But don’t forget that the Murray flowed under Howard.

  70. Yes, but Howard just called it “the murray” at least us lefties call it the “murray, darhling!”

  71. Conservative environmental socialists call it the “Murray Darling System.”

  72. 68. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 10:12 am

    It is what being part of a blind following of adoring ideologues is all about. The cult of personality of the Little General.

    In all the things about the almost unquestioning following of Howard, the thing I understood the least was this holding him up as a sacred cow who was not to be touched. No previous PM of any persuasion was held to such a high untouchable status, it was as though he was too fragile or unconscionably vindicatory to be berated. The slightest criticism, the most inane negative remark or the minutest disparagement was often viciously leaped upon across the board, from his blind party followers (many of the same ones who now put Howard down) to the media. There has never been a PM in our history who was left alone as much as or criticised as little as Howard and who had such an easy run in the media, yet the wingnuts still attempt to state the media was pro-Labor. Just look at the decade of Howard and see how cushy he had in the media and that included little scrutiny or questioning from a cowed ABC.

    Seemingly very intelligent people openly seem to believe what were obvious deceits by Howard. His word was sacred and not to be doubted, even when time and again his word was found to be false. This appears to be a belief of cult where even the wealthy, doctors, lawyers and business leaders follow a cult or cult figure, sometimes to their deaths, like the cult of Scientology. Yet no matter how you looked at it Howard didn’t have the charisma of a cult leader, he was the most charismaless (my made up word) man on the planet (except for Ruddock), as Rubbery Figures lampooned in their Star Trek take off, Howard was anti-charisma.

    Politicians are always hoed into, especially PMs. I remember having digs at Bob Hawke on Friday nights at the pub, goes at Keating’s arrogance, yet somehow for a reason I cannot fathom Howard was untouchable, unless you wanted great scorn bought down upon you.

    Yet here we now are at a time when many of his own have abandoned him, kicked him the teeth and told the truth of the deceitful little man, there are still those willing to defend him with the same old tired, disproved and nonsensical arguments mostly based on a disingenuousness and double speak.

    Well before Howard became PM, but especially after 1996, I said of Howard (having formally met the man twice) that history would not be kind to him, and I still fervently believe that.

  73. “It is what being part of a blind following of adoring ideologues is all about. The cult of personality of the Little General.
    68. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 10:12 am”

    Actually thats my opinion of you and your worship of Keating. You keep posting that link by Ian mcFarlane describing how bad the 1982 recession was. Yes we know!!! This from the Wikipedia link i posted talking about the US economy

    “From a high of 10.8% in December 1982, unemployment gradually improved until it fell to 7.2% on Election Day in 1984.[5] Nearly two million people left the unemployment rolls.[32] Inflation fell from 10.3% in 1981 to 3.2% in 1983”

    If the US had double digit unemployment and inflation chances are we would also. Whether Howard did a good or bad job when treasurer i do not know. But he was not responsible for the US having 10.8% unemployment.

    And Caney why no mention of 28 months of double digit unemployment when Keating was in charge??? When we had 11% unemployment in 1992 it was only 8% in the US.

    Why so selective??

  74. your worship of Keating

    Not sure why you are inserting this falsehood. Distraction? Red herring?

    Please show me some quotes where I have “worshipped Keating”. I don’t believe I’ve even mentioned the man’s name once here on Blogocrats. And precious few times on Blogocracy for that matter!

    Throwing in handfuls of mud to muddy the water does nothing to enhance your credibility, especially when it comes from such a low base.

    For your information (not that you believe anything we “lefties” say anyway, as you’ve said before) before SerfChoices came along I was politically-neutral. A swinging voter, I voted for the Liberals in 2004, sorry to say.

    Everything changed when I realised what he was trying to do with SerfChoices. That is, make sweatshop serfs of my kids and coming generations, and to destroy the political alternative of Labor.

    As for yourself being an outspoken Liberal. You were willing, probably even enthusiastic, to vote for them last election. In doing so, your vote was to contribute to undermining the workplace fairness for generations of Australian employees to come. It was an endorsement of cuts to pay, conditions and job security. You voted with intent for fewer workplace rights for your kids than you inherited and enjoyed as employee.

    Most reasonable people strive to leave the world a better place for their offspring than they inherited. But not LIberals. Endorsing Howard in 07 was to actually endorse unfairness for your own kids in the workplace, knowingly and deliberately undoing a hundred years of one of the world’s most envied IR systems, ripping away from them conditions you yourself enjoyed in the workplace.

    If you vote this way because as an employer it gives you greater means to exploit employees, then remember this. Just as you gleefully exploit Howard’s disempowered workers, so your own working descendants will be disempowered by the Howardism-type policies you favour, subjected to greater greedier degrading exploitation by others such as yourself.

    It is the height of anti-evolutionary selfishness to put oneself before the interests of even their own descendts.

    You used the word “perverted” as an attack on me in number 41. Such a fitting word. You described your own political bias (and its implications) perfectly.

  75. Adrian #73

    Thanks for the thoughtful, interesting response.

    It is the cause of utmost bafflement how someone with a Treasurer’s record as disastrous as his could later be made PM, and even later claimed to be one of the greatest ever. He almost lost the 1998 election, won 2001 on the back of 911 and the Tampa (lies about kids being thrown overboard), and he won 2004 on the back of a scare campaign about interest rates, a lie which later showed the Liberals as the party that cannot be trusted on rates.

    Worshipful types like Neil here claim him as the greatest economic magician in history (or something like that), but the truth is he failed maths at school and happened to be in power during one of the most spectacular periods of global prosperity ever.

    Any government or party can look “good with the economy” during favourable global conditions, boosted along domestically by the resources boom.

    It’s what he did with the hundreds of billions from the boom that shows him to be anything but a responsible manager. Pissed against the wall in selfish short-term vote-buying, porking to his wealthy support base, neglecting infrastructure.

    I agree fully with you. History will judge him harshly (and won’t have flattering words to say for the uncritical brainwashed adoring followers who allowed him to perpetrate a huge confidence trick on them).

  76. ABC news in reporting that the effect of the interest rates cut and the increase in the FHOG has caused the sales in real estate to jump by 5%.

    So it seems that the government interjection has helped.

  77. Yes joni just heard on ABC News NSW of all places is bucking the trend of downward house prices, it will also help the Libs in WA, but I don’t expect them to thank Rudd.

  78. Wow… bucking the trend, it is about time for a correction but who flucking cares about the generations that follow…rejoice for your time in the sun…how sad!

  79. Oh c’mon scaper it’s not like you to exaggerate like that. Generations for a one off $1.5 billion injection? Howard injected $50 billion and though criticised there was nothing about destroying “generations”.

    Foreclosures in the US are reaching 1 in 4 home owners and expected to go to 1 in 3, I suppose that would have made you happy if it happened here?

  80. The conservatives have a political culture of not questioning the authority of successful leaders.

    It is a more sycophantic political orientation. The comparisons between Hawke/Keating and Howard/Costello are illustrative. Liberals are more respectful of past success and incumbency. That’s why they are conservatives.

    Perhaps I have lost my sense of humour, because if is difficult to imagine that this comment is made seriously –

    Caney @ 75, – “one of the world’s most envied IR systems” this would qualify as a huge joke. Cannot be serious. Australians IR system has simply been a drag on our development.

    Unions disempowered”? Quite the contrary they simply had to observe due process and laws! Unions hate due process and observing regulation about their behaviour. They prefer to simply please themselves, and bully and intimidate anyone that does not agree with their narrow and increasingly irrelevant positions.

    You should get past your obsession with unions; they represent 14% of the private sector workforce. They are marginal organisations; they use the ALP only as a tool to advance their own narrow interests (rather than those of their members). You should stop defending the indefensible.

    Kind regards!

  81. ” I don’t believe I’ve even mentioned the man’s name once here on Blogocrats
    75. Caney | November 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm”

    Thats my point about your selectivity. No mention of Keatings 28 months of DD unemployment but lots of mentions of 7 months of DD unemployment way back in 1982 (before many people were born). Its interesting that the US did not reach DD unemployment in 1992 but did reach 10.8% in 1982. Perhaps Howards role as treasurer was not so bad given the economic conditions around the world.

    “Everything changed when I realised what he was trying to do with SerfChoices. That is, make sweatshop serfs of my kids and coming generations, and to destroy the political alternative of Labor.”

    Well this may be your belief but it is only your belief. I don’t know enough about WC’s to argue. I found this on the Uni of Sydney website

    “While Work Choices remains in place for now, it will be superseded by the Rudd Government’s Forward with Fairness legislation. “The precise details are unclear but we do know that enterprise bargaining is the centerpiece of the Government’s new laws,” said Dr van Wanrooy.”

    The second year of the Australia at Work study was released last week and commented here. According to Dr van Wanrooy WC’s is still in place and will be replaced by Forward with Fairness. I have seen many people say that FWF looks awfully similar to WC’s but i do not know enough to comment.

  82. Tom at number 81 wrote:

    You should get past your obsession with unions

    LOL, do you write such irony with a straight face, or are you falling about like me?

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