Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Pulling our weight, corporate welfare and The Story of Broke

What Annie Leonard outlines below is the American experience.  Many of the subsidies the USA provides that Annie mentions in The Story of Broke don't occur in Australia.  There are instances when Australians and Australian business are disadvantaged by American corporate subsidies. That is not to say that there is no corporate welfare in Australia.  There is.  And the corporates don't want to be weaned off their welfare unless there are trade-offs.  

The classic example in Australia is the unedifying public debate over the Resource Super Profits Tax. This led to the downfall of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with Australia's major metalliferous mining union, the Australian Workers Union, leading the charge against him, supporting Julia Gillard, putting her in the job, and then organising discussions with three major, major international miners - Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and XStrata (two Australian and one Swiss) and sorting out a much modified form of the tax. Twiggy Forest and Gina Rinehart have not stopped complaining. And they have extended their complaints to the carbon price as well.

It can be very difficult to touch the corporates.  
They bite back with vengeance and money. 
Let's fight back with the facts.

However, let Annie's work in The Story of Broke inspire us to take a hard and detailed look at the Australian experience and get a handle on how we can bring corporate welfare under the spotlight here.  We all need to pull our weight: rich or poor; big or small business; corporates and individuals; in the cities and in the bush.  It is when we all contribute according to our means that we become a more equitable, just and involved society.  At this point in time, we are in danger of establishing a society where the greedy just get greedier and the gap between rich and poor widens and people who once didn't consider themselves poor suddenly find that they are.

Further reading:
It may be a two-speed economy but we all share the dividends

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