Economy XIX

(I think XIX is 19… but will stand being corrected).

Overnight, as reb has mentioned, the Dow fell by 5% to it’s lowest level in five years.

Last night I woke at 2am Manila time and could not sleep and ended up watching the US Congress sittings with the CEO of the four car manufacturers. I was half asleep and so may be mistaken in what I heard but I think this was the gist of the what I heard.  The CEO’s want an immediate cash injection of $25 billion otherwise woe-be-tide the consequences.

A republican was asking the CEO’s questions like:

  • How can we be assured that you have a plan for the $25 billion? as they keep mentioning it but never reveal what it is.
  • How can we be assured that you wont come cap in hand in a few weeks/months (like AIG) for more money?
  • You are saying that the credit squeeze is what is putting pressure on your companies, but what about all the small companies around the US who are suffering too? They do not have lobby groups to come to Washington to plead their case. How many small businesses could the $25 billion help?
  • And if you are saying that the credit squeeze is what is causing the problem because people are not buying cars, how will giving the companies money help that? The company will have money but still no one will buy the cars as the consumers do not have money!

I was actually very impressed with the republican guy asking the questions… they all seemed quite valid to me and were not answered by the CEO’s.

And I notice that Glenn Stevens has said that Australia still had nothing to really worry about, and that the doom and gloom should not get us down. I have been following his advise for a few months now – I am not going to look at my super account until the markets pick up.

A few mates in IT at CBA are now looking for work after their contracts have not been renewed. So – the squeeze is beginning and it looks like it’s not gonna be pretty for my friends.

Anyway – this is the new thread for all matters economic. Previous thread will be closed. 

joni

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52 Responses

  1. The local car industry is also in for an iminent major shakeup…

    “Holden will shut down local car manufacturing for an extra 25 days in coming months due to falling sales, and as Volvo cut 130 jobs at its truck assembly plant in Brisbane.”

    “Figures for new car sales in October were also down almost 11% on a year earlier, adding to signs that the economy could be following the rest of the developed into recession.”

    “The car industry crisis is becoming increasingly centred on dealerships, many of which are in strife due to the freezing of international credit markets.”

    “At least two regional Victorian dealerships have closed in the past month, blaming credit problems. The latest to go was Peterson Motor Group in Ballarat, which closed on Monday, leaving 15 people out of work.”

    “James McCall, of the NSW Motor Traders Association, says up to 40% of dealers were at risk, and that some could go to the wall within a fortnight in the absence of a government rescue package.”

    “On top of the credit problems, dealers are facing intense competition and tight margins. “I have heard of some Ford dealers selling new Falcons for $80 less than they cost them,” Mr Purchase said. “They are hoping to make it up later in service and part sales.”

    “The big car makers are also slashing margins in a bid to move unsold stock. Ford has been selling at fleet prices to clear a backlog stretching back to August, Holden has been offering incentives of up to $10,000 to dealers to sell Commodores, and Toyota is offering cheap deals to clear a stockpile of 40,000 vehicles.”

    “But with 300 to 400 dealers across Australia struggling to find finance, the incentives may not stimulate sales.”

    “The collapse of some country dealers has meant new cars are being sold at auction — a development that Mark Thorne, of Pickles Auctions of Sunshine, believes is unprecedented.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/local-car-industry-on-brink-20081119-6blb.html?page=-1

    joni: wow – that was almost a McPhilbin. 😛

  2. As we all know the global economy is not in great shape. I believe the unlimited bank deposit guarantee and the wholesale credit funding guarantee were important decisions taken to restore confidence in the banks and free up the credit market.

    However, it has emerged that the guarantee is not water-tight. It could be, if only the government put legislation before parliament. Malcolm Turnbull has said that his party would support such legislation. However, the Government seems to be bauking at the idea of putting legislation through parliament. One might be curious to ask why?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/17/2421982.htm

    http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-arent-we-properly-guaranteeing-bank.html#links

  3. What upset me the most about that congressional hearing on the US car manufacturers begging for US$25 billion, which makes the Republican question even more poignant, is these same manufactures asked for and got US$25 billion in assistance before. This is the second occurrence in recent times they have begged for $25 billion in assistance from the US taxpayer.

    The previous public finance assistance was to help them out because of their own stupidity and bad decisions, and as was pointed out in the hearing this current request is also a result of the US car makers making bad decisions, the credit crunch acerbates those bad decisions and is not the cause of their problems as the CEOs are trying shift the blame onto.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if not one of those CEOs has taken a pay cut and that the last lot of $25 billion was used to keep their high salaries and bonuses, just as this lot of money probably will.

    From generous tax breaks, industry incentive schemes, government industry marketing and promotion, favourable IR legislation, union suppression, employee redundancy payouts and assistance, pollution cleanups, poisoned land reclamations, tariffs, handouts, infrastructure assistance schemes, bailouts and dozens of other ways the taxpayer “helps” industry and business just where is this “free market” they keep talking about?

  4. I think the “free market” refers to the “free handouts” that big companies get when they stuff up… as opposed to the “free handouts” that small business have to rely on from family and friends when their companies go bad.

  5. Alastair

    Hopefully they will introduce legislation. I do not know their reasons for not introducing it at this stage.

  6. The first question that should be asked, is how much the decision makers pay packet is going to be reduced, gioen that the perfoemance is shocking. I don’t like the idea of propping up an industry that is inefficient and has no long term future…without constant tax payer funding. The US and indeed Australia cannot compete on this stage, and should stay out unless thay are prepared to put long term practices in place to ensure the viability of the industry on a user pay basis. Levies for imported cars would be a good start. The money that has been thrown into this industry without return and no long term certainty in employment for the workers could be well spent on infrastructure for the country. This will create jobs and who knows they may be permanent. The first thing that needs addressing is for the fat cats of the industry to be paid acordingly to their performance, and that there be a time limit on viability of the industry. This is akin to the war expenditure of the US…a bottomless pit. How long does the poor old punter keep dipping into their pockets to pay the salaries of inefficient fat cats.

  7. David,

    Absolutely – let’s use the money to start new environmentally friendly businesses that will help us well into the future.

    But I can see one reason why companies are not wanting to do this. Most environmentally beneficial solutions mean that they are self sustaining, that is, they do not followup revenue. Cars need petrol – which keep the petrol companies making money. Whereas solar and wind power mean that the continual revenue source dries up.

    But we should be viewing this economic turmoil as an opportunity for renewing the types of businesses that we want to survive – and not continue to prop up the ones that are failing.

  8. Ford decides to keep Geelong factory open..

    One small dropping of good news amid the sea of Coogee Bay shite…

    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,27753,24679997-31037,00.html

  9. But I can see one reason why companies are not wanting to do this. Most environmentally beneficial solutions mean that they are self sustaining, that is, they do not followup revenue. Cars need petrol – which keep the petrol companies making money. Whereas solar and wind power mean that the continual revenue source dries up.

    Exactly Joni. The motives for the companies are clear enough, but why do Australian Govt/s continually legislate in their favour and not ours (the ones they are supposed to respresent)?

    Obviously they are thinking of their post political careers and/or their share portfolio.

    There is enough evidence now that the promised benefits of the free market system are as elusive as those WMD’s.

    Of course some (like Tom of Melbourne) see no immorallity about puttings ones financial affairs above the good of ordinary people (a la Geoff Dixon), but isn’t this where capitalism has gone so wrong?

    Our Govt has a responsibility to curb the most destructive social and environmental aspects of capitalism, otherwise the system ends up just as corrupt and unsatisfactory as communism.

  10. This is corporate welfare and add that to the lower and middle class welfare there is not much room in the trough and the money will run out…meanwhile this nation’s infrastructure is so run down not even Infrastructure Australia will have enough funds to get it up to speed.

    Gee, if I was a single taxpayer I would be pretty pissed off that my taxes are going to support mostly peoples and corporates choices and mistakes.

    When I went into business it was about risk and reward and also failure but there seems to be this safety net that softens the landing and in many cases is the bounce back to eventually fail yet again.

    I’m a firm believer in the law of the jungle…if you are weak in business you get eaten up financially and it is best to let industries die a natural death so new industry can rise from the ashes to fulfil the needs and demands of the future.

    No wonder this nation is meandering on the road to nowhere!!!

  11. scaper – now there’s a song you should youtube link to.

  12. On it already.

  13. The answer is outside the box.

    Music break.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=SKqzayNo4Dk

  14. hehe – thought you might be

    and on the car place wanting you to buy a new car using credit, that links to what I wrote above in that people are not going to get a car loan at the moment not because credit is scarce, but because they are frightened about paying for the loan if they lose their income stream.

  15. Hey – nice blog!

  16. 1 more question that the car makers were actually asked

    1) Why did all 3 of you guys from Chrysler, Ford and GM fly to Washington in the companys’ corporate jets. Do you think that was a really good look ?

    2 more questions that could have been asked

    1) Why does Chrysler have 8 corporate jets ?
    2) If the government agrees to bail you guys out when will you actually start manufacturing cars that people actually want to buy.

    I don’t know if it’s just me but the Chrysler 300C sedan must be the ugliest piece of automotive crap that I have seen on Australian roads in the last 3 decades. If you are not familiar with it it is really really boxy to the extent that the arse of it also looks like the front of it.

    Plus the US car industry seems to only produce vehicles for the US market. Sure it sells a few Jeeps over here and the odd Hummer. But does America have an icon vehicle to export.

    If you look at all the healthy car industries they produce for the World ( a potential market of 6 billion). They don’t just produce for 300 million Yanks.

    To a lesser exent that goes for the Aussie manufacturers as well although we increasingly do export in larger numbers each year.

    The US car industry needs to start producing for the World.

    If it refuses then they should let it die.

  17. My son in law has just been told he will lose his job before Christmas – Rio Tinto are outsourcing their engineering…

    …from six figures to “0”

    …they have three sons – 17, 14, 6 yo, luckily my daughter works p/t…

    …he won’t be the first nor the last…

    …thank you, Mr Bush, thank you, thank you Mr Blair, thank you, Mr Howard…oh! and the world’s greatest treasurer…thank you Mr Custard!

  18. TB… one word. SHIT!

  19. oh – and sorry to hear that news.

  20. Sorry to hear about that TB.

    And I agree, it’s going to get worse…

    😦

  21. Ya got it in one! joni (Ta)

    It was “expected” but still a shock…I am surprised it came so quickly…luckily they had put some plans in place but with almost $300,000 mortgage its going to be a bit tough for a while…

    …I know a lot of people scoff at JMc and me for our “gloom and doom” but we are just the messengers…you may recall that I have said in the past that everyone will be affected by what is coming…even the innocent…

    …might consider a thread next week…explaining why the truth is important with regard to our economy…and why I reach certain conclusions…

  22. You aint wrong Walrus, I pass a black one each day going home from work. Ugly

    chrysler300c

  23. Scaper @ 10. This is corporate welfare and add that to the lower and middle class welfare there is not much room in the trough and the money will run out…meanwhile this nation’s infrastructure is so run down not even Infrastructure Australia will have enough funds to get it up to speed.

    Absolutely spot on my friend. I didn’t know that you were in the same audience as I today attending an Access Economics’ lecture. (Many of you may be familiar with Access Economics). The message was so very familiar with your comments.

    We were told that over the last 4 years of there term in office the previous government earned an extra $29B from company tax alone based on earnings due to the resources boom, or should we say, due to the money coming in from China.

    And what did they do with all that money? They offered bribes.

    Not one cent of it went into infrastructure, and we are now paying the price for this mis-management.

  24. What i find strange is why is it that GM, Chrysler and Ford are in trouble????

    Japanese companies also manufacture in the US using American workers (eg Toyota) but this foreign company is not having any problems.

    Can someone tell me why it is US companies having problems but foreign owned companies manufacturing in the US do not???

  25. TB (17) that is terrible for your family. So sorry to hear this.

    BTW you forgot:

    Thank you free market capitalism.

  26. Can someone tell me why it is US companies having problems but foreign owned companies manufacturing in the US do not??? (Neil).

    Neil I heard an interview recently about this issue. Apparently when the US Govt wanted exhaust emmissions reduced the American car manufacturers tried to sue the Govt. In the meantime, the Japanese manufacturers started to build cars for the US market that complied with what the Govt was trying to achieve.

  27. Neil of Sydney | November 20, 2008 at 10:18 pm
    What i find strange is why is it that GM, Chrysler and Ford are in trouble????

    Neil…!

    I refer you to Gecko’s post at 8:47pm. Specifically the link he put in which refers to my earler post.

    Enough said………?

  28. “Thank you free market capitalism.
    25. TracieofFNQ | November 20, 2008 at 10:22 pm”

    What a perverted comment. You are actually happy that someone lost their job due to free market capitalism (in your dreams).

    Spare me the crocodile tears.

    “…thank you, Mr Bush, thank you, thank you Mr Blair, thank you, Mr Howard…oh! and the world’s greatest treasurer…thank you Mr Custard!
    17. TB Queensland | November 20, 2008 at 7:07 pm”

    What a perverted comment. These are the unemployment rates from 1991-1994 when your heroes the ALP were in power

    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, 10.5, 10.8, 10.5, 10.7, 10.6, 10.3%
    1994 Jan-March- 10.2, 10.1, 10.0

    Twenty eight months of double digit unemployment brought to you by the ALP and all the leftoid perverts.

    EDITOR: This is the first time I feel compelled to edit a post. Normally I am against censorship. But your post goes beyond just making your point, and degenerated into just abuse and personal insults. You are welcome to participate and argue your point but please do not resort to just deliberately offensive name calling. It really doesn’t help support your argument for one thing, and for another just reflects on your ability, or lack thereof to argue your point maturely.

  29. Adrian of Nowra,

    Damn, I was almost in complete agreement until I read “union suppression”. Not much suppression going on in that industry in my humble opinion. Currently, their employees make approximately 73 dollars (US) an hour compared to their closest competitor Toyota at 48.00. Now take into account the more than generous retirement benefits and health care and it is no wonder their model is failing. But you are right, at the heart of this is inept leadership but giving a pass to the Unions is a bit much. Capitalism, yes where the hell has it gone over the past 8 years!

  30. Very selective there Neil and it’s the one thing you hammer time and time again as a great mantra to hit Labor over the head.

    Labor was in power from 1983 – 1996 not just 1991 – 1994, and unemployment was falling when Howard took power in 1996. For the first five years in office the Hawke/Keating government had to fix the absolute mess left by Fraser/Howard and started the major economic and industrial reforms that so benefited the Howard government.

    From the Australian Government Employment site:

    Unemployment Rate:
    1991-1996 -2.4% (that’s right the unemployment rate was going down)

    1996-2001 -1.8% (OK Neil can you explain how Howard took a -2.4% employment rate and slowed it down?)

    It was then that the world economic boom and Australia’s resources boom landed into Howard’s lap and the unemployment rate improved. If not for that Howard would have looked at a continuing declining unemployment rate for outside the resources boom just about all other indicators for his government were negative. The resources boom and the huge revenue it gave to the government hid the decline in most other areas of the economy.

    What about the Fraser years Neil where Howard earned the reputation as one of the worst treasurers ever?

  31. That’s an average wage Sparta and from what I’m reading it includes redundancy and other benefits. I’m not certain but it seems the report on those wages might be misleading as it is comparing apples to pears as can be seen from this statement by a US Financial website in which I’ve highlighted the relevant bit.

    Should U.S. taxpayers really be providing billions of dollars to bailout companies (GM (GM), Ford (F) and Chrysler) that compensate their workers 52.5% more than the market [b](assuming Toyota wages and benefits are market), [/b]

    Also this is average wage across the board including management, in which US auto manufacturers are extremely well remunerated as was pointed out in the hearings.

    I bet if they slash the US auto workers wages they won’t do the same for management, and as one poster here stated will they sell their corporate jets, of which one US manufacturer has eight?

    Also don’t forget that Toyota is also in trouble but less so than the US companies because at least they make cars the market wants unlike the dinosaurs the US car makers kept pumping out.

    But here you are implying that the apparent problem is US car manufactures paying their workers a decent wage and to compete they have to pay them working poor labour rates. Fantastic lets just add a whole lot more poverty to the heap whilst those at the top scam more money from all quarters.

  32. I think the US should ask Wayne Swan how to fix their economy. On the Daily Telegraph web site he is claiming (with a straight face) that “back in May we did the hard yards to build a solid budget surplus in case times got tougher.” It’s comforting to know that once Labor have pissed our surplus up against the wall and stop making irresponsible one off lump sum payments to pensioners, he will magically be able to build another surplus overnight – and all just by doing a few hard yards! What a fraud.

  33. “That’s an average wage Sparta and from what I’m reading it includes redundancy and other benefits.”

    I am not so certain about that one but regardless, Toyota’s stats are just as applicable then.

    “Also this is average wage across the board including management, in which US auto manufacturers are extremely well remunerated”

    What CEO of any industry isn’t “well remunerated” I would ask?

    “Should U.S. taxpayers really be providing billions of dollars to bailout companies”

    Unequivocally NO! We do have Bankruptcy laws in place just for scenarios such as this. Bailing out every industry or company that comes knocking is absolutely to our peril!

    “But here you are implying that the apparent problem is US car manufactures paying their workers a decent wage and to compete they have to pay them working poor labor rates. Fantastic let’s just add a whole lot more poverty to the heap whilst those at the top scam more money from all quarters.”

    Relax and take a deep breath, I wasn’t implying that the ineptitude stay on. However, in more than any other industry, the car unions are way out of control. True it is the lack of ingenuity on management’s part that led them to ask and receive the 1st 25 billion but much like social security in this country, the numbers are simply not sustainable! They are definitely going to have to downsize, improvise and restructure. This includes the Unions! There is going to be layoffs, no question about it but poverty? You looked at some of the severance packages for some of these soon to be impoverished? Let me be clear, those layoffs need to start with the CEO’s hobnobbing around on the taxpayer’s dime!

  34. Neil of Sydney @ 28. Probably the nastiest post I’ve ever read on Blogocrats.

    Do you yourself get any sexual gratification when writing such crap?

  35. “But does America have an icon vehicle to export.”

    Um, but that is the dirty secret belying this “global economy” and exemplifies how it really works. We import from the developing economies even items we can get for less elsewhere in a form of “global welfare” and they import very little from us outside of the essentials. Even those essentials they get at rock-bottom prices. In return we get “cheap crap” that poisons are citizenry and falls apart in short order made by some 9 year old in India or China. Not only does the US need a signature vehicle to export but we need foreign nations and a willing US government to push our exports in reasonable quantities to begin with. Looked at the US’s trade deficits lately? Outsourcing etcetera, it all boils down to CEO’s making money and propping up the 3rd world while our citizenry suffer. Meanwhile politicians around the world tout the growth of Asia. Anybody else think our politicians and company heads have everybody else but us in mind?

  36. Good points Sparta.

    I would like to know the remuneration packages of the US car makers as compared to the foreign ones because from memory of something I read a long time ago their packages are amongst the highest in the area.

    Wagoner GM – $US15.7 million last year
    Mulally Ford – $US21.7 million last year

    When asked if they would take substantial pay cuts to help their companies Mulally said he was happy where he was.

  37. TB andy_j thinks giving money to pensioners is irresponsible.

  38. And Chrysler is not even a public company – so why should the US bail them out?

    And here is what Mitt Romney has said:

    Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course – the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

    Seems to be a good point to me.

  39. Gecko (like it!)

    Not much point in replying to virtual trolls just waste my time – I ignore ’em in the real world – virtual is just the same…

  40. Neil of Sydney @ 28. Probably the nastiest post I’ve ever read on Blogocrats.
    34. Miglo | November 21, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Well i was upset at TB blaming the unemployment of one of his relatives on Bush, Blair, Howard, costello

    I thought it was a cowardly comment typical of what left wingers say all the time.

    Howard/Costello actually took unemployment in this country from 8% to 4% and all they get is abuse.

    I never hear anyone blaming Keating for 28 months of double digit unemployment when the ALP was last in power. I remember this time quite well since I was one of the unemployed myself.

    Also Tracie says that the unemployed relative was due to free market capitalism.

    How does she know???

    A cheap shot.

  41. For deities sake Neil – you continually want to bring up ancient history. We are just talking about the last government.

    Are you sure you are not Annie in disguise?

  42. andy_j thinks giving money to pensioners is irresponsible. (Gecko).

    Probably the first time I’ve found myself disagreeing with you Gecko/Adrian.

    I noted yesterday that the previous government earned an extra $29B over its last 4 years from increased company tax due to the China boom. In 2004, with an election looming, Howard offered a one-off bonus to pensioners/carers etc as an election bribe.

    This alleged one-off bonus was continued each year. It was expected.

    The opportunity to put that money into infrastructure for the benefit of pensioners etc was gone. Whilst I don’t begrudge something being done to assist the plight of pensioners, I do think throwing money at them in them in the manner that the previous government did, purely as a vote winner whilst ignoring how this money could have been better used for the benefit of pensioners, was irresponsible.

  43. Howard/Costello actually took unemployment in this country from 8% to 4% and all they get is abuse. (Neil).

    I am trying to understand your frustration Neil, but does it really give you the right to in turn abuse them?

  44. Neil you are a nasty piece of work. First you misconstrue my post to TB, and then just get abusive to myself and TB.

    There is really little point in responding to you, as you appear to have real comprehension problems in some cases, and refuse to answer legitimate questions directed to you.

  45. Anyone remember the good-ole-days when we used to guess if the AllOrds was going to be above or below 4000… what good days they were.

    AllOrd at midday: around 3200.

    :/

  46. Miglo my barb on pensioners against andy_j was inline with TB’s sincere posts on the plight of pensioners, which he was doing from first hand experience. Far from being irresponsible the one off payments to pensioners and low income workers of Australia is a sensible move as these people are more or less forced to immediately spend it, which quickly stimulates the economy.

    The Rudd government were more or less forced into the one off previous pensioner payment because of the dual shame and wedge campaign run by the opposition and pensioner groups, and compounded by Rudd’s poor handling of that campaign. Rudd was wanting to get rid of the annual one off payment system introduced by Howard but do it in his usual thorough time consuming way which the opposition used to whip up a fear campaign of pensioners on pet food and starving in flats.

    Pensioner groups are now organising again to ask for quite considerable increases to their payments and changes to the system. I agree with much of their thrust and ideas which Rudd had hinted out anyway, but the huge increases in payments ($100pw) and more one off payments on top are a little unrealistic.

    More generally on welfare, this leads me to the point as to why these groups only start organising in this manner and begin demanding huge amounts of payments when Labor governments come into power yet are mostly silent or half heartedly protest when Liberal government slash and burn their services?

  47. Gecko,

    I just hope that people don’t spend the cash handouts on the pokies.

    The scourge of the pokies – probably worth a dedicated thread maybe…?

    Wouldn’t some sort of voucher redemption thing be better than a cash handout?

  48. Gecko I agree whole heartedly with your above comments. In my earlier post I took the opportunity to be critical of the previous government, whose manipulation of pensioners for the sole purpose of winning their votes was typically void of ethics.

  49. Neil, your continual abuse of other commenters with whom you disagree is quite disgraceful. That you think others are being unfair is no excuse. If you’ve got a point to make, can you do it without abusing others?

    On pensioners, I agree with Adrian the Gecko at #46

  50. Looks like my wife’s boss is playing that game…due to economic conditions your review that incidently was supposed to be three months ago, will not be happening in the near future.

    That’s what I really hate about employers…the ways they downtread people in the name of their own greed.

  51. Gecko, just to clarify – at 61 I’m not eligible for any pension – and luckily, when I am, I will be 90% self funded.

    Having said that my personal experience is that my mother and auntie are both pensioners (paid by Vets Affairs – both in the army during WWII) 86 and 85 respectively…

    …that does bring up a point about a misunderstanding GenY and X often have – about them having to pay for “baby boomer” pensions…

    …compulsory superannuation came in, in 1992 (I personally didn’t recieve any ’cause that’s when I started my own business) in leiu of a pay rise at 3%…with Paul Keating’s expectation that it would steadily rise to 15%…(thank you, Mr Howard and Mr Custard)

    …prior to 1992 the Federal Government had always taken responsibiity for pensions and that was always reflected in the higher income taxes paid…

    …no-one ever believed that baby boomers would fund their own pensions – it was economically impossible within the time frame, for most…

    …the government of the day changed the rules – not the baby boomers…

    …trouble with youth is that they are often unaware, or disinterested in, how the history of where we are today and how it impacts on their daily lives… (and history does repeat if we don’t learn its lessons)…

    …and while we are on the subject of changing the rules – it was because people like me were called up for National Service at twenty before we could vote that the voting/drinking age was reduced to 18…

    …seems we’ve made some awful mistakes along the way…

  52. Talking about GM, chrysler and ford

    Rep. Ackerman: Auto Execs’ Private Jet Travel Like Guy At ‘The Soup Kitchen In High Hat And Tuxedo’:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/11/19/big3-private-jets/

    and the ‘adjustment’ made for public sensitivity.

    GM execs give up some private jets after embarassing hearing:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/11/21/gm-jets/

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