Kevin Rudd’s recent article “Pain on the road to recovery” attempts to highlight the challenges of the economic crisis and the Government’s current and future response to it. It also makes clear that the Labor Government wants workers to carry the burden.
By Socialist Party reporters
Rudd maintains that the Government’s stimulus packages, along with the fall in interest rates, have ensured that Australia has not fallen victim to the “technical recession” experienced throughout the rest of the world. It is estimated that low interest rates have contributed an extra $6000 to the average family’s income! The first warning Rudd gives is to expect a rise in interest rates soon. This will hit those with mortgages hard.
Whether we are in technical recession or not, unemployment is still forecast to reach 8.5 percent by June 2011. This does not take into account the huge amount of workers that have already accepted forced unpaid holidays or reduced hours in a desperate attempt to hold onto their jobs.
According to Rudd, “economic crises contain a paradox of recovery. As growth returns, the economic conditions facing many families will deteriorate.” Basically, recession or not, Australian families will suffer from worsening economic conditions even when growth resumes and profits return to the wealthy.
The Government’s plan outlined in the article is for workers to increase their productivity whilst working for less. At the same time Rudd wants to ensure bosses receive tax cuts despite the fact that many have continued to receive huge bonuses throughout the crisis. Rudd readily admits that a massive transfer of public wealth to the private sector will characterise the next few years – money paid by workers to ensure that the rich are protected.
Not only will workers suffer from unemployment, lower wages, an increased workload and the effects of higher interest rates, but Rudd has identified that as the economy “recovers” and demand is increased, commodity prices will rise and Australians will be paying far more for the basics – food, petrol, energy, housing and otherwise.
To make matters worse, Rudd says that in order to return the budget to surplus this “will mean tough decisions, unpopular decisions and budget cuts”. The fact that the best capitalism can offer in a “recovery” is economic pain and misery for ordinary people speaks volumes.
We can’t allow Rudd and the bosses to force us to pay for a crisis that was created by their system. We need to fight back and campaign for an alternative to capitalist crisis – a system that operates in the interests of workers. We need socialist solutions to ensure that ordinary people do not bear the brunt of this crisis while the rich receive tax cuts and bailouts.