On “The Fatuous 50″
The Australia Institute, a far-Left think tank, recently published an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull. Full of factual errors, value judgements masquerading as facts and liberal doses of the word “fairness”, the letter demanded large tax increases to fund an unspecified “pursuit of equity”. I haven’t seen such baseless sanctimony since my days on the UWA Student Guild when the Revolutionary Socialists demanded an end to “the fascist neoliberal capitalist class war”. Hey, at least they had the misplaced idealism of youth on their side.
Not so the Australia Institute’s “Fatuous 50″ signatories, who include fallen former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence, feminist activist Eva Cox and ACTU President Ged Kearney. A quick glance reveals all the signatories come from the public service, political/social activism or, like one class-action lawyer, industries that live off regulation. Not a single wealth creator among them. No wonder they believe that Australia’s future depends on the government spending more taxpayers’ money on people like themselves. As Institute of Public Affairs chief John Roskam commented, they “spent so long on the public teat… their real world experience, for so many of these people, is limited to the university common room. They have little idea about what it takes to run a business, employ people and create wealth.”
A couple who are friends of mine are the antithesis of the Fatuous 50. Marta is a small business proprietor who has won many awards in her industry while Dan, a former soldier, has applied his army skills to run a business in the industrial sector. Each have nurtured businesses, climbed mountains of red tape, taken risks, worked long hours and made sacrifices to provide for themselves, their family and their employees. I’ll take the perspectives of Marta and Dan – just two of the millions who each day, go about building our country and adding to its wealth – over those the cosseted academics who issue vain declarations while living off the rest of us.
On the Students Who Make my Day
I love my role as Mannkal CEO for many reasons, one being that I get to deal with inspiring students, day in, day out. We have a massive demand for Mannkal’s Economics in One Hour student seminars where we give an “outside-the-textbook” view on issues including economic fallacies, the challenges of renewable energy and the likelihood of another financial crisis.
Today’s seminar was at standing room only and 12 people over capacity; it’s been great to see students pre-read lecture material, come with questions and discuss the issues among each other. I’m impressed that so many take time out of their day to attend, some even cancelling their work shifts and travelling from as far as Bunbury. I spoke last week to a big crowd at the Wall St Club at Curtin Uni, when a 45 minute discussion ended up going for two and a half hours. Likewise, our recent UWA Alumni night brought together a crowd of talented UWA former Mannkal scholars, and a recent awards night I attended at Notre Dame highlighted many very bright and eager students. As I type this, another student just emailed asking for more reading material (thanks for helping make my point, Connor!)
Gen Y are often typecast as being surgically connected to their phones, but the ones we meet are the opposite – each day, we have sharp young people coming through our door, and I’ve noticed they’re generally a very pragmatic lot. They understand that the world economy still hasn’t recovered since 2008 and expect that if they manage to get a job after their expensive degrees, they will struggle to buy a house while paying higher taxes to fund pensions for the elderly – pensions that won’t exist when they retire. They also understand that the digital revolution has destroyed the last ramparts of Fortress Australia and that they must be far more internationally competitive and productive than any generation before them. The thirst for ideas and the sense of realism are very apparent among the students who come through Mannkal – they are the polar opposite of the “Fatuous 50″ above. We have a wonderful time helping them to develop themselves as candidates in the graduate job market and can’t wait to see them making great waves as their careers progress.