Sunday, August 03, 2014

In which the pond announces a grand joint venture with rapper Franklin D. guaranteed to send the reptiles and Hayekians everywhere into a deep rapture ...

The pond is today exceptionally pleased, delighted, honoured and humbled, to announce a new program, a joint venture with Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Now it is well known that the pond, like rapper Franklin D., is a firm believer in big government, government action and Keynsian economics.

The pond reminds readers of Keynes' great insight:

If — for whatever reason — the rate of interest cannot fall as fast as the marginal efficiency of capital would fall with a rate of accumulation corresponding to what the community would choose to save at a rate of interest equal to the marginal efficiency of capital in conditions of full employment, then even a diversion of the desire to hold wealth towards assets, which will in fact yield no economic fruits whatever, will increase economic well-being. In so far as millionaires find their satisfaction in building mighty mansions to contain their bodies when alive and pyramids to shelter them after death, or, repenting of their sins, erect cathedrals and endow monasteries or foreign missions, the day when abundance of capital will interfere with abundance of output may be postponed. “To dig holes in the ground,” paid for out of savings, will increase, not only employment, but the real national dividend of useful goods and services. It is not reasonable, however, that a sensible community should be content to remain dependent on such fortuitous and often wasteful mitigations when once we understand the influences upon which effective demand depends. (here)

Now this is sometimes crudely and outrageously summarised as saying the government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up, but really:

If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing. 
The analogy between this expedient and the goldmines of the real world is complete. At periods when gold is available at suitable depths experience shows that the real wealth of the world increases rapidly; and when but little of it is so available, our wealth suffers stagnation or decline. Thus gold-mines are of the greatest value and importance to civilisation. just as wars have been the only form of large-scale loan expenditure which statesmen have thought justifiable, so gold-mining is the only pretext for digging holes in the ground which has recommended itself to bankers as sound finance; and each of these activities has played its part in progress-failing something better. To mention a detail, the tendency in slumps for the price of gold to rise in terms of labour and materials aids eventual recovery, because it increases the depth at which gold-digging pays and lowers the minimum grade of ore which is payable. (here)

Take that Friedrich Hayek and all your free market pawns. And on with Franklin D's program:

The pond is proud to be associated with Franklin D. and the revival of his great New Deal.

Remind us in particular of one of many of your honourable programs, Franklin D., the one that started way back on 10th April as part of a suite of New Deal deals:

On this day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an innovative federally funded organization that put thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits. 
In 1932, FDR took America's political helm during the country's worst economic crisis, declaring a "government worthy of its name must make a fitting response" to the suffering of the unemployed. He implemented the CCC a little over one month into his presidency as part of his administration's "New Deal" plan for social and economic progress. The CCC reflected FDR's deep commitment to environmental conservation. He waxed poetic when lobbying for the its passage, declaring "the forests are the lungs of our land [which] purify our air and give fresh strength to our people." 
The CCC, also known as "Roosevelt's Tree Army," was open to unemployed, unmarried U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26. All recruits had to be healthy and were expected to perform hard physical labor. Blacks were placed in de-facto segregated camps, although administrators denied the practice of discrimination. Enlistment in the program was for a minimum of 6 months; many re-enlisted after their first term. Participants were paid $30 a month and often given supplemental basic and vocational education while they served. Under the guidance of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, CCC employees fought forest fires, planted trees, cleared and maintained access roads, re-seeded grazing lands and implemented soil-erosion controls. They built wildlife refuges, fish-rearing facilities, water storage basins and animal shelters. To encourage citizens to get out and enjoy America's natural resources, FDR authorized the CCC to build bridges and campground facilities. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC employed over 3 million men. (here)

Oops, it's a pity about the blacks and the young gels, Franklin D.,  but hey it was 1933 and the pond gets the general idea. Unemployment done down, and the environment fixed. What's not to like?

And best of all while not paying the full quid, there's an associated vocational and educational quid. Like working for the dole. Keeping food in hungry mouths:

Why every believer in direct government action and lover of big government, and every pinko commie social democrat socialist pervert must have been cheering like mad, and will be cheering again when the pond announces its new initiative.

Tree army? Roosevelt's tree army? The pond loves the sound of it, and anyone who wants to find out more about Franklin D.'s initiative can head off here. Or many other places on the vast, full to overflowing intertubes...

...Because it was a great hit, a precursor to other splendid government programs, such as a hall in every school or a pink batt in every roof. Take that Hayek and your lickspittle cohorts and allies.

And now Mr Roosevelt, if you'd just step up to the microphone, wheel chair permitting, to announce the new joint venture, your inaugural program with the pond ...

What's that you say?

Owing to the untimely death of Franklin D, the pond is today exceptionally pleased, delighted, honoured and humbled to announce that it has gone into a joint venture with Mr. Tony Abbott, who has devised a wondrous and remarkable direct government action initiative, henceforth to be known as Tony's Tree Army ...

Oh wait, scrub that, it sounds a little too derivative, too nakedly socialist democrat. Let's call it Abbott's Green Army.

No that's a bit surname brusque. Let's call  it Tony's Tree Army or T's T and A if you want an acronym ...

Now it turns out that this wonderful initiative is designed to do down climate change.

Now as you, the Bolter and the pond knows, the climate doesn't change, except that it changes all the time, and it changes not because of human activity, but because it's fickle like a woman, but if human activity had anything to do with it, it is modest and very limited, because why do men always cop the blame, and in short and in essence, thanks be unto St Bolter, the world's greatest climate scientist, climate science is crap.

But the Vatican needed its fig leaf, and so Tony needs to be seen to be doing something, and what better than a scheme which involves a kind of superior work for the dole.

Yes, it doesn't pay the minimum wage, but it's better paid than other work for the dole schemes, and sure the terms and conditions of employment aren't quite up to scratch, but hey these are difficult times and there are hungry mouths to feed and fig trees to plant and ...

What? This just in?

It's not work for the dole! So it seems if you read Fairfaxian Risso here.

But Monsieur Tony, if it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, pays like a duck, and does all the ducky things that Franklin D. loved, won't someone twig that it's a reincarnation of Franklin D.?

Oh what to do, what to do, the Murdochians and the Hayekians will be all over it like a rash. You know, just another example of big activist government pissing cash against the wall on futile schemes designed to solve crap, when we all know it's coal, coal, coal for Australia:

The Coalition’s Green Army has been launched with the announcement of 196 projects, with five environmental and employment organisations chosen to roll out the program. 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt have announced projects including revegetating river catchments, constructing boardwalks, pest animal management, monitoring threatened species and koala habitat restoration. 
"They are things such as this Georges River Recovery Plan, which starts with eight projects this year," Mr Hunt said. 
"It’s working on cleaning up the local environment, giving young people opportunities, and, at the end of the day, leaving things better for 20 and 30 and 50 and 100 years." 
The hourly rate of $10 to $16 an hour has drawn criticism for being lower than the minimum wage. But Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it's in line with trainee wages. 
 "This is not a Work for the Dole project. I want to stress this – it’s an environmental traineeship. "It’s the same sort of money that people would get if they were doing any other traineeship in any other field," Mr Abbott said. (here)

Ah, that's it, it's Tony's Traineeship Tree Army, otherwise known as T's T T and A.

But didn't we already have Landcare?

Mr Bland has rejected criticisms of the Green Army that it will essentially be a work for the dole scheme. 
 “It’s a very different program than the work for the dole. The people who are on the Green Army teams have been interviewed and have decided to be there. They are not being forced to be there." 

Yes, because volunteering for an army which pays like work for the dole is not the same as being conscripted for an army which pays, and offers terms and conditions, like work for the dole ...

The Federal Government has committed $525 million over four years to the Green Army scheme, after slashing close to $500 million from Landcare. 
There are concerns that Landcare community projects will be mothballed because of a lack of funding, which means finding projects for Green Army groups to partner with Landcare groups could be an issue. 
Mr Bland has recognised that this will pose challenges. 
“There is no doubt that the Landcare networks are a bit under the hammer at the moment, a bit depleted. “But we would hope to see that the 20 million tree program that we are about to see unfold will help in that regard. 
 “There are also a lot of projects that can be done that don’t necessarily require a lot of resources, like seed collections and propagation."

Hang on. The pond was never very good at maths. Slash 500 mill, in one year, recurring, and then commit $525 million over four years. That's a net $25 million plus over four years, unless you count the other $1500 mill that might have been expended on Landcare on a recurring basis ...

Who knows if the maths is right? Who cares? If you have to hair split about three fifths of fuck all regarding a humble net $25 mill in new expenditure, what's the point.

Now can we just have a product shot please?

Ah yes, Franklin D. could rap to that:

What is it with politicians and trees? Yep, here's Johnson honouring Franklin D. here:

Now that's a tree!

Meanwhile, it behoves everyone to now plant a tree in honour of our PM, Tony "government action, pinko, pervert, socialist, social democrat, climate change is crap, but we need a fig leaf" Abbott ...

And the pond waits to hear the expressions of wonder and delight emanating from the reptiles in Murdoch rags and the IPA and all those filthy perverted Hayekians and all those who slagged off school halls and pink batts and so on and so forth ... or if you like to put it more simply and directly, those fuckwits ... righteous and indignant one moment, hypocritical, fawning and knob-polishing servile the next ...

And now, while the pond is in the history business, could we just pause for a moment to honour Tim Flannery's effort in The New York Review of Books, who recently hit the pond's post box with A Natural Wonder in Peril.

It's inside the paywall, but inter alia, the world can still cop this as Flannery broods about the Great Barrier Reef:

Just who discovered the reef is a matter of conjecture. Certainly Captain James Cook encountered it in 1770 as he charted Australia’s east coast in His Majesty’s bark Endeavour. But did he recognize the formation as a whole? The reef forms a kind of funnel that narrows northward. In its southern reaches it is so wide-mouthed that Cook failed to notice it. Only as he approached the latitude of present-day Cooktown did he realize that he had become ensnared in a coral maze.

Ah good old terra nullius lives. But let's face it, those pesky, difficult, dumb blacks wouldn't have recognised a coral reef if they'd cut their toe on a bit of coral, and it would have been much too difficult for Flannery to scribble:

Just who discovered the reef, from my narrow, parochial, Anglo-Celtic, European, white as the driven snow, nakedly 1950s colonialist perspective, is a matter of conjecture ...

No doubt there will be letters to the editor, but hey, the pond honours the achievement.

Give that man a year's subscription to the rag that publishes the Bolter, or better yet, enrol him in Tony's Tree Army ... he sounds like a right T, T and A man ...


  1. Remember Whitlam's Regional Employment Development (RED) schemes?

    Here's The Australian praising their virtues in 2009. I don't seem to remember them being so in favour at the time of their introduction. Several commentators calling them crypto-communisim.

  2. By the read of it, the miracle of dominion over the fates of twenty million treeforms is almost as good a preoccupation as the miracle of dominion over the shifting fortunes of millions of tonnes of abiotic mining-extractions and dredge-spoils. Onward environmental soldiers!

  3. After today's Devine rant against the Human Right's Commission, Carlton has coined a new term for her - the SheBolt.

  4. A marvellous trip back to the FDR New Deal days with details of which I'd been unaware. My knowledge was, however, furnished by Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath , which portrays that era superbly. From memory he described a camp set up, probably not the one you cited. For it had accommodation for families. The greatest impact is the dignity and self-respect given to those homeless and unemployed people.

    Another poster has mentioned Gough's RED and like job creation schemes. They did have a similar value to that of the FDR project mentioned. In Warrnambool where I live for 25 years, Lake Pertobe recreation area was created from previous swamp flats and lagoons under such a scheme.

    When people scoff about the value of such schemes I always think of that. It has become a major resource as a safe recreation and picnic area for the city. It is a major tourist asset. It a very concervative estimate, I'd say that it has paid for itself at least ten times over.

    Sadly, Work for the Dole and now the Green Army as half-arsed put up a bit of window-dressing for the shock jocks programs cannot be compared. The latter may have some beneficial value, but it is a lot of smoke and mirrors as you mention.

    The key, aside from the economic benefit of such programs, ought always to be to restore pride, self-respect and dignity to people. The rest they can do themselves without much guidance from Twiggy.

  5. I note that out Tony is getting in the true "no OH&S required" spirit of the project by shunning his customary hard hat and hi-vis vest.


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