War footing groupthink; subsidies and socialism; glasshouses and stonesApr 16, 2021
Upside down, inside out and black is white. Journalists fall over themselves to paint Scott Morrison as a courageous leader, the Financial Review lauds the “very affordable” housing market, in defiance of just about every expert in the country, and Tax Office attacks from an employee of Murdoch’s News Australia, whose approach to tax surely needs little explanation.
The Australian Financial Review published an Op-ed calling on the government to ditch socialism, embrace the free market and … subsidise gas users?
Prime Minister a courageous leader?
Australia is returning to a “war footing” appears to be the latest slogan in the vaccine roll-out debacle. “Front of the queue” and “it’s not a race” have been thrown under the proverbial bus, after being been shown to be the farce they always were.
However, despite what appears to be a cohesive and co-ordinated message emanating from all the mainstream media outlets, it remain unclear whether Scott Morrison actually used those words.
Not a single one of the following media outlets could identify which person in government actually attributed to Morrison the words “war footing”.
ABC got the closest, referring to unnamed “senior government sources”. The rest didn’t even try. The Australian Financial Review quoted Morrison as saying the government was on an “operational footing”, but that doesn’t quite convey the same pathos as the valour a leader must show when leading a country to war.
The Australian Financial Review
The Australian Financial Review ran an Op-Ed about why housing is “very affordable”, even as the rest of the media highlighted the prevalence of six-figure deposits being required, houses selling for $100,000 over their reserve, the need for the bank of Mum and Dad to step in as a line of credit, and the fact that this boom doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Could it be because the author is a fund manager and invests in housing? Hardly circumstances that can be extrapolated to an ordinary member of the public.
The Courier Mail
The Australian Financial Review
And as Peter Martin so eloquently explained in The Conversation, house prices have reached stratospheric heights even in the wake of a pandemic because investors are falling over themselves to get in ahead of first home buyers and other investors, ably supported by government policies of negative gearing and a discounted capital gains tax, combined with record low interest rates.
Home prices aren’t soaring because there aren’t enough homes. Rather, “the supply of places to own has not” kept up with demand.
“Twenty years ago only one in 15 of us were landlords. It’s now one in ten – more than two million of us. To get those properties … they’ve had to outbid at auction the people who would have bought the houses to live in.”
But perhaps there’s something in Joye’s argument.
As Matthew Cranston reports, again for The Financial Review, the end of JobKeeper and the resulting financial stress could increase the number of properties for sale, thus having a “significant cooling effect on the hottest market in 32 years”.
How grateful we should be that government policy will force people to sell their properties to be snapped up, potentially by benevolent fund managers.
In other news
The Australian showed its concern about the Australian Tax Office’s “abuse[s] of power” in collecting “exorbitant fines” and “interest”, with columnists happily oblivous of the irony that their employer, Rupert Murdoch’s News Australia Holding, has paid zero tax on its $16 billion income over the past six years or even any tax on its $246 million declared taxable income. Priceless.