Simpletons …

From the very outset of Gillard’s government, she and her ministers have seen Tony Abbott as an easy target. Let’s face it, he’s stiff and he’s religious, nerdy. It obviously seemed like a good idea to play the man not the ball. Everything was blamed on the AbbottAbbottAbbott. Even the famous misogyny speech was an ad hominem attack … the ball, for those who lost sight of it, was Mr Slipper.

Tony turns out to a bit like an onion. As the attacks took off layer after layer it revealed a fresh, juicy, wholesome interior. Is he a simpleton? How many simpletons were Rhodes Scholars? He graduated with a Master’s degree from Queens College, Oxford. A whole bunch of other things weren’t obvious on the surface, years of voluntary work with aboriginal projects and with the Rural Fire Brigade. He’s the misogynist with a female chief of staff!

You’d think they’d learn. Someone once said “No publicity is bad publicity”, to which Brenda Behan added ” … except your own obituary.” Mr Abbott can thank Julia and Penny for giving him plenty of publicity and as they have done so their standing has fallen and his has done nothing but rise. They are writing their own obituaries.

So desperate are they to land a telling blow on Mr Negative they have not paused for a moment to consider the counter punch. This last jibe is a gift to Abbott, a free kick and fifty meter penalty … Abbott is an economic simpleton, Abbott is a wrecking ball. This from an outfit that had the luxury of being elected with a budget in surplus and have run up a massive debt, and with modestly declining income are determined to spend vastly more. They did promise to get back to surplus and as with all their promises they’ve got nowhere near keeping it.

Do you remember this little interview ... ?

JOURNALIST:  If you don’t make a, get the Budget back in to surplus in 2012-2013, this is a question to both of you, the cameras are on – will you resign?

PM:  (laughs) The Budget is coming back to surplus, no ifs no buts it will happen.

JOURNALIST:  So that’s a ‘yes’?

PM:  Matthew, I know and you know like these questions during campaigns but the Budget’s coming back to surplus.  There’s no credible analysis on our economic plan that it won’t come back to surplus.  I haven’t added a cent to it during this election campaign.  The figures are plain, they’re transparent, they’re from the Budget.  They’re there from the Mid-year Fiscal and Economic Outlook, they’re there from the Pre-Election Fiscal and Economic Outlook.  The figures are there for all to see.  

The figures are there for all to see, simpletons …

From Kate, our European correspondent …

Dummies’ guide to what went wrong in Europe.

Helga is the proprietor of a bar. She realizes that virtually all her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Helga keeps track, in a ledger, of the drinks consumed (thereby granting loans to the customers).

Word gets around about Helga’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer – the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Helga’s gross sales volumes and paper profits increase massively. A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognises that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Helga’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

He is rewarded with a six figure bonus.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS. These “securities” are then bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as “AA Secured Bonds” are really debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

The traders all receive a six figure bonus.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga’s bar. He so informs Helga. Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Helga cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Helga’s 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt, losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations.Her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar ”no-strings-attached” cash infusion from the government.

They all receive a six figure bonus.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who’ve never been in Helga’s bar.
Now do you understand?