Grant Robertson : Protecting the interests of the one percent.
As the world heads into a  major recession, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says that 'generations' will pay the heavy price for the crisis. He's assuming that we're going to allow him to protect the interests of the one percent while offloading the costs on to the rest of us. But we cannot allow things to simply 'return to normal'.

THE WORLD is heading into a deep recession, even a depression, that will far outstrip what occurred after the 2008 financial crash. Already corporations are shedding workers at an alarming rate. The World Bank says that the world faces an 'unprecedented economic shock' . Last week over two million Americans applied for welfare.  In New Zealand it has been estimated that unemployment could rise to as much as 200,000 people. Air New Zealand's decision to immediately dismiss a third of its staff is a taste of worse things to come. As the Canadian philosopher Bachman Turner Overdrive once observed 'you ain't seen nothin' yet'.

While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - sans hugs - plays her usual simpering role as the 'compassionate' face of the Labour led government, her finance minister is talking...more austerity. He told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking on Tuesday that 'generations' would be paying the price for this present crisis.

'Generations will be paying for it, that's the truth. The massive investment we are making and that other countries are making ... will take many years to deal with. That's why we have to have a plan for what the economy looks like ... one that allows us to pay debt back, have taxes at a reasonable level and allows us to maintain living standards.'

With friends like Richard Wagstaff, who needs enemies?
By 'generations' Robertson means you and me. The Government's $12 billion 'business rescue package ' has only underlined whose interests Grant Robertson intends to protect. And it ain't yours. Or mine. That's because 'we're not all in this together'. We will be expected to pay the heavy price of this crisis. As Naomi Klein has observed this crisis, if we allow it, will be the catalyst to shower aid on the wealthiest interests in society, while offering next to nothing to most workers. We've been here before.

But we cannot allow this crisis to be yet another occasion where the interests of the one percent are protected while the rest us get redundancies and cutbacks. We cannot allow the Government , whether it be Labour or National, to protect corporate interests while offloading the costs on to the rest of us. We have to fight for a society to make sure that - when the corona crisis is over - capitalism will not simply return to normal.

Unfortunately some of us who profess to be on our side are anything but. The president of the Council Trade unions, Richard Wagstaff, applauded the $12 billion corporate bailout. He declared that it demonstrated that 'there’s a real sense that we’re in this together as a nation.' With friends like Richard Wagstaff, who need enemies? This crisis, among other things, will press people to decide whose side they are on. 


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