Back to the Future

A couple of actions appear to be happening at the moment, which the MSM, seem to be either reporting very lightly, or not reporting at all. I think this could be due to the fact that these actions would not have the desired outcome for the media barrons or their CEO counterparts in other conglomerates as well. While I appear to have seen very little reporting on these matters I believe they should be much more forward in the media at the moment.

1) Sham Contracting: The construction industry in Australia seems to have a substantial number of sham contracts going on at the moment which are currently under investigation. Unions, for many years have been labelled the bad sector of Industrial Relations with claims of intimidation, thuggery and underhanded tactics. This is used at every single opportunity to alienate the general community against unions.

Little did we know that possibly the biggest sham and underhanded member of Industrial Relations, especially in the construction industry is the contractor. Contractors have been signing false statutory declarations claiming their sub contractors have been paid properly, when this is obviously not the case. It is estimated that up to $2.5 Billion in tax revenue is lost each year as a result of these sham contracting practices. In addition it is estimated that up to 168,000 sham contracting arrangements exist in the construction industry alone and this represents up to 46% of all independent contractors.

Hopefully the tide is turning and employees are seeing through the scam that is outsourcing and contracting in the name of avoiding the benefits of Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Superannuation, Long Service Leave, Payroll Tax, Work Cover, etc, etc, while paying exactly the same rate of pay to the contracted worker. If this was the actions of Unions then there would have been a military Intervention of the Waterfront type against the unions. Hopefully the correct outcome from the investigations will see the worker actually rewarded the way they should be instead of the way their crooked contractor deems it. Will we go back to the future where employees were actually employees with benefits and rights? I hope so.

2) There seems to be a growing protest movement in the USA against large corporations and against obscene profits. It appears to be growing in size and momentum. I wonder if this is the start of the lower and poorer classes of the USA (which have exploded as a percentage of the classes over the last 15 years) finally deciding enough is enough and it is time for their voices to be heard and time for change, but an even bigger change than what the current 2 major parties propose.

History shows that once the total wealth shifts too far to the very few at the top (no matter whether they are Government or Private owners) instability in the political system can erupt with dire consequences of the election of extreme leaders on either side of the political divide with a commanding electoral margin. This margin then allows them to alter the constitution in the extreme to favour their own political bias either left or right.

The snippets of protests I have managed to observe remind me a of the protests in the peace era of the sixties. These protests are not the type of violent protests against the G8 but rather the sit in type protests against the Vietnam War. With almost 10% unemployment and wealth distribution continuing to skew to a mega wealthy few, the USA appears to be heading towards a hotbed of “us versus them”.

While there is the emergence of the Tea Party to the right, there also appears to be, the emergence of a number of groups to the left as well. If these groups merge, like the Tea Party, it will make for very interesting politics indeed. Overall there are far more Lower and Poor socioeconomic groups in the USA than there are wealthy groups, due to the continuing concentration of total wealth to the few at the top. Will the USA go back to the future and have a much fairer taxation and social system, which existed before the election of Ronald Reagan? I hope so.

24 comments on “Back to the Future

  1. Sham contracting steals from the taxpayer and the employee.

    There is very little in it for the employee. He loses all, including his super.

    It is greedy bosses that uses there workers this way. Some poor employees cannot add up or are on welfare and are getting some income on the side.

    This greddy boss also puts at risk others in the same businesses that play by the rules.

  2. Shaneinqld
    good article. the trade unions hope to include sham contracting in the talks this week, taxation and employment forums. lets hope someone is prepared to listen and do something. but it is a two way responsibility issue, government in laws to stop it and workers not underselling themselves.

  3. CU and Sue. This type of antics by business is one of the reasons Greece is in the mess it is. Once business starts corrupt practices to avoid paying their fair share of tax the stability of the countries finances starts a slow spiral into disaster. As for the employees, they are simply treated as disposable costs.


    Occupy Wall Street is one of them but there are a number gathering momentum and if they join forces they will be a force just like the Tea Party. Just shows that not everyone in the US supports big business rorts and no tax.

  4. shane @7.24pm, the gathering momentum of this little man’s uprising might not only rival, but destroy, the Tea Party which supports the very things they oppose.

    They might even demand and get, a real overhaul of the US health system. And it might spill over into this country. If it does, the Liars Party could cop a big fat reality check.

  5. Jane

    I think the people that need to cop the big fat reality check are the CEOs and Big Business that continue to blame everyone and everything other than their own greed for the current situation the world finds itself in.

    I am not a communist or socialist but until the scales of wealth tilt a bit more back in favour of the masses the current situation will only get worse inbetween the wild economic gyrations we are currently seeing.

    When you have a company like Wal Mart swallowing up the US, selling overseas made goods and paying wages so low that 75% of its staff required top up welfare from the government, there is no future for the country. Until both sides of politics in the US actually wake up to these types of facts their country and capitalist model is eventually doomed. The loss of almost all their manufacturing industry due to the greed of Mega Corporations like Wal Mart and Costco is the catalyst.

    There will be fits and starts in the markets but the financial industry and big business learnt absolutely nothing from the GFC. The link Min provided says a lot of it in sensible language rather than political speak.

  6. shane @8.35am, I agree with what you’re saying, particularly about the financial industry and big business which definitely learned zip from the GFC. However, neither has the conservative side of politics in the USA and here.

    We still have the Liars Party and their cheerleaders saying that the GFC was a northern hemisphere problem when it suits them, or that it hardly impacted this country. What they carefully avoid saying is that it was prompt action by the government which saved the day.

    And the Liars Party, at the behest of big business, is poised to reintroduce SerfChoices should it win government, which would have the same consequences for workers in retail and the hospitality industries here, as it has in the US.

    And like the US, workers in this country are prepared to vote for a political party which is extremely hostile to their interests. Go figure.

  7. Jane

    The conservative side of politics will not learn while their supporters ( big business) claims it is everyone elses fault but their own greed. The conservative side of politics tends to be the weathervein of big business.

    While it will be very painful at times I certainly hope there are no more bailouts of taxpayers money to any business that continues to pay the CEO leeches luidicrous amounts of money while crying poor. The greed culture needs to be halted.

  8. Now that the Federal Government’s Tax forum is in progress, we now have Mr Abbott mouthing off that he and opposition treasury spokesman Mr Hockey were not invited to participate, if I recall Wayne Swan saying last Friday they were invited to attend but got no response what so ever regarding the invitation.

  9. shane @10.54am, and I don’t hold out much hope of big business pulling their heads in any time soon.

    And as for those CEO salaries, they aren’t just ludicrous, they’re appalling, particularly as the CEOs of these companies were and are the greediest and most grasping mob that ever drew breath.

    You’d think that companies would have woken up that these bloated leeches were responsible for their parlous positions when the GFC hit and have slashed their salaries.

    Crowey, @12.52pm, there was a news update before Lateline last night and I’m sure Swan mentioned it then. Liealot caught in another lie, but no mention in the msm. I am surprised!

  10. Jane

    Big business share holders are also big corporations themselves with CEOs in the trough of plenty as well.

    The small shareholders are absolutely horrified at the way salaries at the top have become so out of kilter with outcomes, yet their voice is silenced by the massive shareholdings of banks owned superannuation and investment funds who side with CEOs obscene salaries becuase their own Bank CEOs are in the saqme trough.

  11. Shane, I’m glad your post and Min’s comment has raised the the issue of the Wall St protests. Apart from coverage in Facebook and the independent media, until now it has been completely ignored by the MSM.

    One would have thought it’s a big news story.

  12. Here is another article worth reading
    “Five Facts You Should Know About the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans

    As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters enters its third week — and as protests spread to other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles — demonstrators have endorsed a new slogan: “We are the 99 percent.” This slogan refers an economic struggle between 99 percent of Americans and the richest one percent of Americans, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth to the detriment of the middle class.”

    1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth
    2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income
    3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds:
    4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation’s Personal Debt:
    5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s:

  13. Sue

    The stats of the 1% are really amazing arn’t they. The Tea Party claims to be the slient majority is just rubbish. Here comes the real silent majority. The ones that want a fairer country for all.

  14. During the Whitlam and later years we heard nothing but the evils of social engineering. That is transferring of income from the wealthy to the poor. It was in the same category as Reds under the bed. Labor would cause the world that we know it to collapsed.

    In reality very little was transferred from the rich. Any study of economic will show that welfare payments come from the income of the masses, not the rich. Yes we pay for our won benefits.

    In reality it was the taxes of the rich that came down the most, whether it was income or direct taxes.

    We had the removal of death taxes. We had the upper tax rate brackets halve. We had a regressive GST replace a wholesale tax, that was the highest on luxury goods. He wholesale tax did not affect services such as the plumber etc. Yes a regressive tax that falls hardest on the lower income earner. This is because they spend most of their weekly income and only fresh food is exempt.

    What we have seen in the last twenty or thirty years is the greatest example of social engineering across the western world, that has ever been seen.

    The transfer of income from the lower rungs to the top have been massive. The result, the economy coming to a halt. World wide unrest and in country’s such as the UK and USA, massive increase in jail numbers.

    If the trend continues, we will see the growth of gated suburbs and more spent or wasted on personnel security.

    It is time to call a halt and examine what has occurred. What is occurring is not fair. Why should some earn more that 300 times more that those on a normal wage.

    The tax system needs to be about redistributing income. If it does not do so, the economy becomes unbalanced and unrest occurs. Unfairness and injustice is the result, leading to a uncivil society.

  15. “One would have thought it’s a big news story.”

    The ABC mentioned it this morning, with the comment that the media was criticise for ignoring the story.

  16. Watch on line. Transcript given as they speak.

    Mr. Abbott was challenged on not being invited. He was not so clear in his answers but went on with his slogans.

    He gave the impression but did not say it, that he did not get an personal invitation. He also would not say whether he would go if he was invited.

    His views seem different to many I have heard on the ABC during the day. Most seem to believe it is not only worthwhile but necessary.

  17. One would have thought it’s a big news story.

    One would, wouldn’t one, Migs? Unfortunately, Emperor Rupert ain’t on the side of the angels. Particularly given the content of Sue’s link and knowing how notoriously thin skinned the Murdochracy is as Robert Manne discovered.

    shane, hopefully the 99% will now start to realise just who the Tea Party represents and will put an end to it. They must maintain the impetus and push really hard for political reform.

    I hope they have also begun to understand how they were manipulated into acting against their own interests re health reform and will push for long overdue wage and tax reforms which don’t favour the mega wealthy. That would certainly set the cat among some big fat lumbering 1% pigeons, you’d think

    CU @3.52pm, got it beautifully!

    CU, are you sure it was the ABC and not a figment of your imagination? Do you think they might have slipped momentarily into our ABC?

  18. “Their Liberty Square encampment might look chaotic at first, but look again. It includes a medical clinic, media center, cafeteria and library. Food? Their widely viewed website lets anyone in the world go online and have pizzas delivered to them from a local shop. They even produce their own newspaper, appropriately named the Occupied Wall Street Journal.”

    “Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

    You need to know this. Today is a big day for the Occupy Wall Street movement – as members from several prominent labor unions are expected to take to the streets in solidarity with demonstrators who’ve been camped out in New York City since mid-September. Unionized transport workers – teachers – and nurses are all expected to be on hand for a march across Manhattan today – and similar demonstrations will be held elsewhere around the nation.”

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