Out of ideasPosted: March 26, 2016
There’s a reason why Donald Trump’s rallies amount to hate-fest pep-talks empty of any actual policy ideas. It’s the same reason his Republican opponents are finding it difficult to differentiate themselves from each other, or from Trump. And it’s also why our very own Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has become chief-ditherer, the-dog-ate-my-home-work, ‘I’ll-get-back-to-you-about-that-budget’, culture-wars-advocate without any actual economic policy ideas to contribute. The reason is that, world-wide, the right side of politics is out of ideas. They literally don’t know what to do with either the power they already have, or the power they’re campaigning to win. So instead of contributing anything new, they’re filling this policy-void with hate and fear in an attempt to legitimise their power, in order to distract voters from realising the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.
But the game is up! We can see you’re naked. You’ve got nothing!
When you’re arguing with someone and they start flinging personal insults, you know they’ve lost. This is where the right is at. Literally the only thing Trump is promising a Trump President would do is to build a wall to stop Mexicans ruining the country. Not just Mexicans. Rapist Mexicans. But Trump isn’t alone in this petty game. Malcolm Turnbull is building his own wall to keep his conservative backers safe from teenagers who need counselling to deal with being bullied about their sexual orientation. See what I mean about petty cultural wars replacing productive, effective government?
This type of infantile, destructive and divisive behaviour is just a symptom of the disease suffered by conservatives and neoliberals across the globe who have served up policies time and time again which only benefit the richest of the rich. As this privileged little enclave gets richer and richer, and fewer and fewer in number, as their wealth becomes more concentrated, the rest of us, the 99.9% who thankfully get one vote per person and not one vote per dollar, are starting to awaken to the absurdity of the right’s bald-face-lies about their policies supposably benefiting everyone. Because their policies don’t benefit everyone. Clearly. The right’s policies only benefit a tiny number of influential, yet democratically scrawny, greed machines. I recall an Occupy Wall Street placard which read: ‘the rich have had your tax cuts. Now where the fuck are our jobs?’ The jobs never materialised. Without jobs, there is less consumer spending, which in turn means less business investment, therefore less growth, less income tax going to the government, less company tax and in the end, less government. This might sound like a great idea to the right, who have always strived for small government, but they’re starting to realise small government comes with a catch. When government can’t actually do anything, because they have no revenue, they’re left with an impossible situation to sell electorally. Not only do the masses actually need government services like health, education and social security, and get a tad upset when they’re taken away from them (remember the reaction to Abbott’s first budget?), but the right also can’t bribe voters with tax cuts and middle class welfare when they’ve got no tax revenue to hand-out. So they’re stuck between an ideological hard place and the reality of their previous bad policy rocks.
For decades now, the right has been arguing that the free market will solve all our problems. They have been stripping away regulation in an effort to free-up markets, when in reality this cutting of red tape has let greed run selfishly rampant, at the expense of everyone – both the rich and the poor. The world felt the full force of the right’s sham through the slap-in-the-face Global Financial Crisis and learned the hard way that the free market isn’t actually the messiah the right have always claimed it to be. I can’t imagine how it feels to find your ideological heaven isn’t as profitable as you always hoped it would be. But I can guess it’s not a fun realisation to not only feel wrong, but also poorer for it. To add insult to injury, the left is finally waking up too, to realise they can argue for their policies using the ‘wealth inequality is bad for everyone’ narrative, where everyone really can see benefit in a well-resourced government equipped to tackle societal problems a free-market not only fails to solve, but also makes worse. Climate change, education, health, social welfare, job creation, technological advancement, the continuation of our species – all problems the right have no solutions for and the left have aplenty.
My guess is that Turnbull has political-writer’s-block with his budget, and is arm-wrestling with his Treasurer because of it, due to the little voice in his head telling him the only way to retain his power is to use left-wing policy to grow the economy through stimulus, to at least have a go at delivering this ‘never been a more exciting time’ promise which is so far as hollow as a full-of-hot-air-balloon. The truth is, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a progressive watching the right crumble, and to know the left’s time has come. It’s time (again). Pass the popcorn.