Enough already, with the propping up of the auto industry. If this ongoing saga were represented graphically, it'd be a roof made to last a hundred years, constructed from the most expensive and durable stainless steel, on top of a straw house with jelly foundations. Then every few months, when a bit more of the house drops off, the government just spends more on the roof.
So why is the government spending five billion dollars over ten years to keeping the car industry going? One argument is that a fair chunk of that money is being used to develop greener cars. If anybody was really interested in a greener form of transport, they'd just build bikes. With five billion to spend, everyone in Australia could get one.
Saving the auto industry is all about jobs. As jobs get votes, and politicians like votes much more than they like be economically responsible. It's not the government's responsibility to give everyone a job. That's communism. The government's responsibility is to provide a base standard of living for all Australians, and part of that is facilitating a flourishing economy so there are enough jobs. The government does provide some jobs, in the public service, but they're really only half jobs.
In a capitalist society, you make a profit, you flourish. You don't, you die. Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? When it's going well, big business is all about less government involvement and regulation. As soon as it all heads south, there's a row of well-manicured, smooth skinned, chubby-fingered hands out, for a hand out. Can't have it both ways, fat cats.
The government spends my tax dollars on some really stupid stuff. Like internet filtering, the Olympics, the Army and Canberra. However, that's their choice. The car industry is not owned or run by the government. So why do they get so much money?
I don't see the government stepping in to save other noble but less high profile businesses. Like the local butcher, bookshops, newsagents, the baker or even the candlestick maker. Thanks to globilisation and electricity, I haven't come across a decent candlestick for years. The flames are tiny and they all smell like lavender. Or jasmine. Where are the ones that smell like wax? Also, once all those businesses are gone, thanks to chains and supermarkets, prices will likely go up but whatever.
There is a lot of government support for farmers, and I'm all for that. Especially when they're struggling due to weather conditions and price squeezes from the aforementioned chain stores. Without cars, we'd either get them from overseas, which is exactly where some of Holden and Ford's biggest sellers are manufactured anyway. Or we wouldn't have any and we'd all be healthier, and so would the planet. Without food, if we couldn't get that from overseas, we'd all die.
In Australia we're very proud of our Australian made cars, and our auto industry that's been running for years. Problem is, we say that we care, but if we really did, we'd buy more Australian made. Instead we go for the car that's the best value for money, or European, or the biggest, or the shiniest, or has the most cup holders.
The government is continuing to fund a life support system for an industry that hasn't shown any signs of life for a very long time. Both sides of politics are for propping up the car industry because jobs mean votes. In a decade or less there won't be an Australian car industry, and because both parties were for the handouts, nobody will even mention the gigantic waste of money.
If you didn't mind this rant, why not come see some of it live? My stand up show 'White Trash' is at the Butterfly Club in South Melbourne, from Nov 22-25. Tickets from www.thebutterflyclub.com
More articles: www.xaviertoby.com
Follow Xavier Toby on Twitter: www.twitter.com/xaviertoby