Labor, the Greens and the Neo-Plutocrats

In the latest issue of National Review, Reihan Salam writes about the changes within the US Democratic Party.  The very first paragraph caught my eye.  So much so that it is repeated below with 1 very important change.  The reference to the “Democrat party” is replaced by the “Labor Party”:

The Labor party faces a dilemma. Since its inception, the party has defined itself as the champion of the little guy and a bulwark against plutocracy. Over the past few years, however, a funny thing has happened: The plutocrats have been joining the party en masse, and they’re changing it in the process.

The above would read similar if the “Labor party” was replaced with the “Australian Greens”.

But through this lens, consider the Labor Party’s headline positions on immigration (increase), mining (end), electricity (make more expensive) and manufacturing (suffocate).  Now consider whether the current Labor Party”s policies align to the interests of Labor’s earlier constituents – blue collar workers from mining, manufacturing and services.

Perhaps the plutocracy has not entirely captured the Labor Party, yet, but the inner city academia, public service and expert class wield significant influence.  It is these people, for whom government is a source of income and livelihood and not a framework for organising and ordering society, that are now running the show.

If plutocracy is defined as:

a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens;

then perhaps the neo-plutocracy should be defined as:

a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of politically connected and influential citizens.

For these neo-plutocrats, it is very easy to demand greater taxes to pay for greater and more expensive services because these people disproportionately benefit.  They often provide the public services and so are quite happy to be paid more to provide the same.  For these neo-plutocrats, they see no problem seeking to ban political donations from property developers by are quite comfortable to allow and enhance political donations from public sector unions.

These neo-plutocrats have also redefined what being rich is so the the “rich” can be taxed more; to pay their “fair” share.  But the rich aren’t the ones earning $180,000 per annum struggling to pay rent or a mortgage.  The rich are the ones who own their own home in the inner city suburbs and have a defined benefit pension.  These rich don’t have to work or have their income indexed.  They don’t really care about income tax rates.  And they aren’t employed by business so care even less about company tax rates.

For these neo-plutocrats, increasing services funded by increasing taxes on someone else is never a problem.

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19 Responses to Labor, the Greens and the Neo-Plutocrats

  1. miltonf

    The last ten years in Australia has seen ‘the revolt of the elites’ (title of a book I read many years ago). Exhibit A- Removal of John Howard (he had faults but consider what came after him). Exhibit B- Knifing of Tony Abbott. Now we have a political class that seems to be intent on crashing the economy but they obviously reckon they’ll be ok.

  2. Bruce of Newcastle

    Nah, you don’t need to redefine it, it’s just the same old plutocracy.

    Public sector salaries over the last decade have risen about twice as fast as the average.

    Median salary for level SES 3 positions grew to $327,000 last year – up 64 per cent from $198,994 a decade earlier.

    The plutocrats are rewarding themselves in the same way that plutocrats always do.

  3. Phill

    Its not a plutocracy, it is a matriarchal gerontocracy.

  4. IRFM

    Nightly on TV when you can see the sleek coiffured looks of the male (why only male?) strutting trade union officials… sic ‘Animal Farm’ for an expanded description of the points made by good olde Spartacus that are well made.
    This nightly TV procession does underscore the comments about the neo-plutocracy, populated by persons of interest in taxpayer funded jobs and its subsequent role in Australian society.

  5. Bear Necessities

    The private sector unions have been happy to fund the ALP even though they may dislike a lot of their social policies. Their reward for holding their noses on these matters is having Fair Work Australia do their bidding.

    Unfortunately their share of the private sector workforce continues to decrease. It’s only the graft, corruption and industry fund revenue which is keeping them afloat.

  6. Shy Ted

    Only Popeye can sort out these plutocrats.

  7. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    Now we have a political class that seems to be intent on crashing the economy but they obviously reckon they’ll be ok.

    The fabians expect communism to rise from the ashes.

  8. Rob MW

    In the latest issue of National Review, Reihan Salam writes about the changes within the US Democratic Party. The very first paragraph caught my eye. So much so that it is repeated below with 1 very important change. The reference to the “Democrat party” is replaced by the “Labor Party”:

    The Labor party– Democrat Party – faces a dilemma. Since its inception, the party has defined itself as the champion of the little guy and a bulwark against plutocracy. Over the past few years, however, a funny thing has happened: The plutocrats have been joining the party en masse, and they’re changing it in the process.

    FMD so the fucking Democratic Party of that great nation, the US of A, was always battling for the little guy whilst protecting their slaves from that evil Republican Lincoln dude and playing fuck-er-me-doo-dah with the aristocracy of the southern manor born. Yep, the democrats were never made up of a bunch of plutocrats eh ?

    The equivalence to the our Labor party is what……….oh no……it’s the fucking AWU and all those snobbish well-to-do slave owning shearers.

    Sorry Spartacus, the ‘inception’ is completely wrong. The Democratic Party was always run by plutocrats and the ALP morphed into one when Whitlam ran out of other people’s money and Hawk & Keating elevated the union bosses from organising the shearing shed to running a trillion dollar investment scheme which attracted all the compassionate elites like fly’s to shit.

  9. Boambee John

    Labour (as then spelled) started as the party of the industrial and agricultural working class.

    Labor (as now spelled) has become the party of the inner city academic and bureaucratic hectoring class. Their common cause is the continuation and expansion of their taxpayer-funded sinecures.

  10. Turtle of WA

    Labor haven’t cared about the working class ever since Gough sent them to Uni for free.

  11. Squirrel

    The gentrification of the ALP is not exactly news – it has been going on at least since Whitlam’s time. The truly grim thought is that there is so little difference between Labor and Liberal on the size, cost and intrusiveness of the state – with the current (and recent) crop of Liberals apparently thinking that product differentiation (from Labor) on some social issues makes up for this.

    Arguing against (and resisting the temptation to indulge in) the proposition “vote for me, and I’ll take money from other people and spend it on you” is not an easy way to win a majority of votes in an election, but the Liberals could try harder.

  12. Iampeter

    Don’t disagree with the post Spartacus but why are the Liberals not mentioned?

    No one has done more to advance big government, left wing policies in this country over the last generation than Conservative government.

  13. Maurice Marina

    I was on a very expensive 2-week cruise recently, organised by an Australian company for Aussies and a few Kiwis, on a luxurious small ship run by a French company. We cruised the Adriatic and the Aegean. Highly enjoyable, and a very civilised and pleasantly urbane group of passengers, with an average age of maybe early 60s. Almost all retirees.

    There appeared to be three main types of people on the cruise: a few company exec/own business types (like me); retired farmers (lots of these); and – people on some form of taxpayer-paid defined benefit pension (lots of these). This last group included teachers (typically both husband & wife had done this), university staff, ex-employees of government utilities, a judge (Fair Work), senior or semi-senior public service bureaucrats. There was also the odd inheritor of wealth.

    There were many, maybe even the largest group, who were enjoying this very luxurious and expensive lifestyle whose income clearly came via taxpayer’s generosity. Not that there was anything wrong with these individuals, many of whom travel regularly to Europe and are very decent people, but the feeling that I’d not only paid for my wife and I, but contributed megabucks (I’ve been fortunate enough to pay about $6.25m income tax over the last 20 years or so) to many of my fellow passengers pleasures, was quite amusing.

    They will have better-funded and far more secure retirements than I will, with those lovely CPI-linked, final average salary multiple, reversionary benefit pensions, for life. Wish I had one.

    No wonder our ‘public servants’ class costs so much, fight so hard,, and supports – in fact owns – the party that guarantees this largesse will continue to flow.

    Greece here we come – I reckon about 15-20 years.

  14. EvilElvis

    Plenty of different ‘cracys here but in reality, it’s just fucked.

  15. Quantity so does not have a quality of its own, … lotsa alt facts.

    Since the elections the Netherlands – as in more progressive on social matters, and more conservative on taxpayer dollar matters – has a caretaker gov, given a coalition hasn’t been formed.
    New Netherland is still in the middle of Trump …, a wall on the southern border, a wall on the northen border and all that is needed is a lid, which presumably beats a revo.
    New Holland so needs to ditch Washminster-style repressive democracy, as in special privileges for some and common law for the rest, and go for more direct democracy instead.
    When’s the last time opportunity, cost of living, education, healthcare, human rights, infrastructure (comms, energy, transport, water) and for real public safety and security, because of policy, competency, services delivery?
    Have mandatory and binding referendums for anything over x dollars, y people, z levels of gov, if not part of a published election program (including ADF adventures more than 1000 kilometers from Australia’s economic zone or territorial waters).
    Ditch the money/ pollyTICs/ media spin cycle that is Versailles on Lake Blwxyz Griffin, and focus on advancing Australia, fair.
    Move into experiences, knowledge and services, beyond non-value added manufacturing (subs that left France with nuclear tea kettles and unlimited range by way of Adelaide SA become diesel electric), resources and agriculture.
    Reduce the FIFO that is Canberra ACT to about five ministries (DPC/ COAG/ benchmarking, dollars, justice, trade, defence), have state and local govs do the rest.
    Broaden and raise the GST, and lower income/ payroll/ stamp grabs.
    Have public service exams for aspiring pollyTICs, and a minimum requirement of 5 years of real working experience (stop PR staffers, union reps to pollyTICs, …)
    Allow voting from parliamentary offices, and use COAG’s high end teleconferencing system, so we get pollyTICs that go home to their families at night.
    Term limits, recall provisions, popular initiatives.

  16. Quantity so does not have a quality of its own, just lotsa alt facts, noise, …
    From that bastion of socialism, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/dutch-doing-just-fine-without-government-on-decade-high-growth.
    Since the elections the Netherlands – as in more progressive on social matters, and more conservative on taxpayer dollar matters than New Holland – has a caretaker gov, given a coalition hasn’t been formed.
    New Holland so needs to ditch Washminster-style repressive democracy, as in special privileges for some and common law for the rest, and go for more direct democracy instead.
    When’s the last time opportunity, cost of living, education, healthcare, human rights, infrastructure (comms, energy, transport, water) and for real public safety and security improved, because of policy, competency, services delivery?
    Have mandatory and binding referendums – anonymous, unlike some postal surveys – for anything over x dollars, y people, z levels of gov, if not part of a published election program (including ADF adventures more than 1000 kilometers from Australia’s economic zone or territorial waters).
    Wanna grab more dollars, run a mandatory and binding referendum, online, I am hearing yah, no.
    I’d like to see pollyTICs put up more cases (the why before the how and what), and less rethoric, in the meantime note that Northwestern Europe and Canada are in the top of the UN’s inequality adjusted Human Development Index …
    Ditch the money/ pollyTICs/ media spin cycle that is Versailles on Lake Blwxyz Griffin, and focus on advancing Australia, fair.
    Move into experiences, knowledge and services, beyond non-value added manufacturing (subs that left France with nuclear tea kettles and unlimited range by way of Adelaide SA become diesel electric), resources and agriculture.
    Reduce the FIFO that is Canberra ACT to about five ministries (DPC/ COAG/ benchmarking, dollars, justice, trade, defence), have state and local govs do the rest.
    Rotate the state premiers and governors through the PM and GG slots annually.
    Broaden and raise the GST, and lower income/ payroll/ stamp duty grabs for dollars.
    Half parliament, and pay those remaining double.
    Have public service exams for aspiring pollyTICs, and a minimum requirement of 5 years of real working experience (stop PR staffers, union reps following the beaten path to pollyTICs, …, may be limit the number of lawyers any party can put up to a third).
    And you either get paid by the taxpayer, or special interests, not both, so have a federal ICAC.
    Allow voting from parliamentary offices, and use COAG’s high end teleconferencing system, so we get pollyTICs that go home to their families at night.
    Should also cut down on expenses to taxpayers.
    Term limits, recall provisions, popular initiatives.
    New Netherland is still in the middle of Trump …, a wall on the southern border, a wall on the northen border and all that is needed is a lid, which presumably beats a revo.

  17. Rococo Liberal

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised that democracy has eaten itself.
    The ghastly Americans with their need for politics to take over every aspect of life have led us up an awful cul de sac of regulation and soft-headedness.
    Did any of us really expect that once governments got themselves a huge share of the economy that they’d stop wanting more and more control over the rest? Didn’t anyone realise that the legitimacy of democracy made it far more injurious to freedom than monarchy?
    Let’s face it, the vast majority of the citizens of Western democracies don’t understand how commerce works. They don’t want to go out and make a profit. They want a guranteed payment for doing as little as possible whilst complaining about the boss. They are thus prone to believe that governments can wave the magic wand and provide their dream.
    The best way government could help would be to repeal about 1 million pages of legislation.
    There is wonderful story about a double intersection in Machester. For years the local council tried all sorts of ways to prevent accidents at this intersection, to no avail. Then the just removed most of the signs, the traffic lights and the roundabouts. Accidents dropped dramatically, because drivers, cyclists and pedestrians had to think for themselves and took much more care. Governments could learn a lot from that.

  18. Zatara

    The ghastly Americans with their need for politics to take over every aspect of life have led us up an awful cul de sac of regulation and soft-headedness.

    The Americans don’t have rediculous government imposed “award” rates of pay that drive small business out of business and keep youth unemployed.

    The Americans don’t allow warrantless search of their homes.

    The Americans allow child care to be done in the community with only the necessary health and safety regulations rather than impose draconian rules that put neighborhood Nanna’s out of business.

    The Americans would farking revolt before they allowed stupid ass green driven government rules to double their electric bills.

    They would also revolt before they would accept only being allowed to mine a tiny bit of their massive amounts of coal for sale to China, but none to burn to keep their seniors alive in the winter.

    Did any of us really expect that once governments got themselves a huge share of the economy that they’d stop wanting more and more control over the rest? Didn’t anyone realise that the legitimacy of democracy made it far more injurious to freedom than monarchy?

    You don’t mean monarchy. You yearn for, and yet are confused by, the wonders of Stalinist central planning. I’d suggest moving to Russia but even they gave up on that years ago.

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