Friday, May 16, 2008

Brendan wants Bitty

In Dr Nelson's budget response this week, we came to see an rather lame attempt at automotive popularism. Nelson wants to make a 5 cents per litre cut on the fuel taxes. He claimed that this proposal would be "modest but meaningful", yet it would also cost the government $1.8 billion a year in lost revenue. According to Dr Nelson:

This is a modest but meaningful way of helping all Australians - families, small businesses, pensioners and working people so dependant on their cars... Ninety per cent of Australian households have a car. Right now, they all need some help. Real help.

The short-term popularism of such a policy is embrassing. Rather that accept that world oil markets are changing (like a liberal), and that oil prices will increase as demand rises and production falls, Nelson is effectively trying lure an automotive public with a quick fix that might improve his popularity problem, but it won't improve peoples' mobility problems. Petrol prices will continue to go up, and the five cent saving will be made effectively meaningless if not already gobbled up by the oil companies. Remember the first home-owners grant? All it did was raise the bidding and further inflate housing prices. My guess is that Nelson wants to see if Rudd will cave in and follow the automotive popularism. However, I’m fairly confident that if Rudd wants to keep any green credentials he'll let Dr Nelson hang himself (or let Turnbull do it for him). We'll have to wait and see. The whole scenario of cutting taxes on petrol makes me ponder some more rather vulgar psychoanalytic thoughts. This is something I often do. I see the car as a breast like object that we are all supposedly ‘dependent’ on with petrol being the good mothers’ milk. Dr Nelson’s tax cuts are nothing more than an attempt to pacify the automotive public with a petroleum-like ‘dummy’. Nelson’s super-nanny state aims to make us feel better. In it, we are all addressed us as a nation of needy ‘motorists’ rather than a nation of citizens with different mobility needs.

Isn’t it time we grew up a bit Dr Nelson? Isn't it time we thought beyond this popularist BS*?
This doesn't look likely, I think Brendan wants bitty:


Sean said...

We've got that same bullshit making it's way around political talking points here in the states also. It angers me to no end the way that we are so tied to the tit. Conservation? That's no way to win an election.

Adrian E said...

i think weening the australian and american populations off petrol will be a traumatic experience for many. some people will have to discover that they have actually bodies that are capable of doing stuff.