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November, 2010

  1. Lefter 29 ~ class, with no class

    November 15, 2010 by emweb

    Class, with no class

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the National Party’s agenda is more about class protection than anything else.

    And if you still subscribe to the myth that New Zealand is a classless society, open your eyes. This may have been true on and off over the last few decades, but it’s certainly not true of this decade, with Labour as much to blame as anyone else for making the wel-off wealthier.

    But it’s got a lot worse under John Key.

    True, we have not reached the stratified and moribund type of class system that England maintained until, say, World War Two, and I sincerely hope this never happens – but it seems National sincerely hopes this will occur.

    It’s hard for a left winger to understand the right, as everything that happens seems to be the result of one overriding principle – greed.

    OK, tat should be by ‘one overriding lack of principle’.

    How right wingers justify this is beyond me. I guess a donation here or there and letting someone in at an intersection occasionally lets them qualify themselves as ‘decent people’.

    I don’t know.

    Perhaps they are so inculcated with the belief that profit is god, its pursuit is perceived as ‘good’, or at least, as ‘righteous’ and/or justifiable.

    But it’s pretty clear where the impacts of National’s policies are falling:

    Cuts on preschool – the poor or, increasingly, those we can refer to as ‘the lower classes’.

    Raising GST affects the poor. Rich people write it off, or they don’t pay full price anyway because of their connections, or they simply swap merchandise with mates in other industries.

    Education cuts – the poor.

    Labour invested heavily into early childhood education, introducing 20 hours free ECE. This government has cut hundreds of millions from ECE.

    Primary Schools have been landed with an untried and untested scheme – ‘National’ Standards – that means more work for overworked teachers for the same pay, and potentially less teacher time per student. This won’t effect the wealthy schools because they’ll just hire more staff – drawing good but underpaid teachers from the public schools.

    Raising the cost of universities closes the door on the poor, not the wealthy. The wealthy will pay for educations for their kids whether their kids are clever or not, and pay for the resources to have them succeed.

    Funding for adult and community education was cut last year, and National withdrew of tens of millions from industry training.

    Who does this effect? Think about it.

    Financial policies that hurt the poor also either don’t effect the rich at all, or give them subtle advantages.

    Why? To protect National’s class, to the detriment of the others. It’s the same reason rich people build f__k-off walls and fences around their properties. They’re scared and they protect themselves.

    They’re scared because they know what they’re doing is reprehensible, at least subconsciously.

    Have you noticed that when times are good, directors and company owners hire padding management from outside the company to keep them even further away from the hoi-polloi? This padding is drawn from their own class – it’s how offspring begin their personal ascensions.

    I love the ‘trickle-down’ theory. It goes like this: rich people get breaks so they prosper, and this prosperity trickles down.

    It doesn’t. It doesn’t happen anywhere:

    1/ A rich person gets a 10% increase in revenue. Do they invest it in the business? Maybe. Maybe not. It most likely pays a debt, buys another boat or another holiday.

    If it is invested back into the firm, why? To make even more profit for themselves. Remember, every worker is just a unit of profit to the owner – especially so in the very badly run NZ business model.

    2/ Say it does trickle down to employees. They’re all on much lower wages, so 10% is not as much – but do you really think they’ll get 10%? People strike for wage rises of just 1 or 2%.

    So … no.

    3/ The easiest way for a company owner to raise profits is to fire people, and scare everyone else into working harder for the same money. Or less. And this has been happening a lot over the last few years.

    How many of you have had the company director arrive in their flash car to address a staff meeting where they, ashen-faced, tell you ‘times are hard, everyone needs to work harder, forget this year’s bonus and we may need to lay some staff off. “It’s hard on us all …”

    And they prove it by only going to Fiji instead of Paris at Christmas.

    Anyone who expected National to get New Zealand out of a recession needs their heads examining. There used to be an old joke in National: ‘we’ll get in power, spend lots of money and get Labour back in for a term to sort the government coffers out’.