“Agnotology – the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt”
What happened to the surplus?
Remember that? It was sooooo important it trumped everything else. As a country, we had to be careful not to spend too much on education, health, public transport, employment, social housing or we would run out of money. It was something we were always reaching for but never attained.
We had the need for all those important services. We even had the resources. But sadly didn’t have the money. Which is strange because creation of money is an easy thing for a Federal government to do as the Covid-19 crisis has shown. Our media stars like Leigh Sales were never stuck for a question when they could ask: “Where will the money come from?” This passed for cutting edge journalism. No-one betrayed the secret.
One of the great lies that went along with this was the unpayable debt; the debt we were creating and leaving for future generations. A debt in your own currency is a funny thing. You shouldn’t have much trouble paying it back.
If you really want a future for our children, making sure they have the best possible education, meaningful, rewarding work, good health and a stimulating cultural life seems a pretty good investment. You don’t need research or a taskforce to figure out this is a good idea. All of this was subordinated to the surplus.
There must have been a good reason for this, mustn’t there?
There wasn’t really. It suited government and their business mates. It allowed them to ignore things they didn’t want to do. Artificial shortage of money also allowed them to argue we needed private investment. We needed public private partnerships.
It was all lies. None of it made sense. I followed these debates for years on ABC flagship programs. I watched as the media went along with these lies. Fulminating at TV screens I’d yell, “Can’t you see it?” I watched as a class of economic experts were sought for their opinion and told us what we must accept, even if it made no sense.
More lies. Lies about how the tax system works. Lies about inflation. Lies about unemployment. Lies about government bonds posturing as our debt (see great discussion of bonds and debt). What I came to realise was that it wasn’t a question of convincing experts, media or even the truth. Important people knew how things worked and were happy that we didn’t know. Even some of the media understood. Others lived a sycophant’s dream. Paid for their ignorance or their complicity as they sold us the benefits of Laffer’s trickle down economics.
So what was it all about? Firstly, scaring us unnecessarily about a problem that didn’t exist. Secondly, lowering our expectations so politicians can do the things they want to do. Otherwise we might expect government to act in our interest. It’s sort of “Oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it, there’s no money”. Thus they place artificial limits on what we might achieve collectively. Shrink the world to one you can control. That is the politician’s dream. That was the era of the great surplus lie.
This quote can’t be repeated often enough which is fortunate because I repeat it too often:
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”Upton Sinclair
Now we have a new set of lies
Whoosh. The surplus is gone. Having watched that deception, it was easy to pick this new one.
The first thing we noted was the absence of any media questioning of the new fairy story. The only questioning was happening in the streets of our towns and suburbs. Was that why we had to be locked down. NSW chief health officer, Kerry Chant, gave this game away when she told us:
“The evidence around curfews is mixed but I also think it sends a significant signal about the crisis we are facing”.
The evidence around curfews is mixed but I also think it sends a significant signal about the crisis we are facing.
This is a 6 part series. Part 2 will be out tomorrow and is headed:
LIE NUMBER 1
THE VACCINES ARE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD