"Are people reassured by a cheque with a large "DON'T PANIC!" sign attached?" is roughly one of the take-homes out of the article. Want an answer? From me, being one of the pensioners the article refers to and the bonus applies to, the answer is a resounding "shit no, I'm gonna panic!"
Some of us lived through tough times as kids. Our family was never affluent, we had enough, we never went hungry or poorly clothed, but we sure didn't exactly wallow in it. We remember either living through, or hearing about our parents living through, depression. And now we're being told we can spend our way out of a recession. Hell yeah.
The article says it's thought that most of the handout will be saved rather than spent. Again, speaking from the point of view of a pensioner, I can answer that too: "hell yeah I will put some of this aside!"
You know why? Because after living on the starvation borderline shit scrap of income they call a pension, it feels good to have some spare cash around for the bills that used to cripple me financially. It's good to know that there's a safety net. Even if it will only last a short while, at least it is there...
And here's another reason I won't spend it immediately - it's because the people who will be "bailed out" by me spending my bonus won't be myself, or the kid working down at Woolies pulling down an even more shit income than I am. No - it'll be companies like Woolies who reap the benefit. Giving us this bonus ends up much the same as if K-Rudd had just given my $1400 to some rich arsewipe on the board of Coles or Telstra or any other of the dishonest bastards that run the money machines.
Australia will slip-slide its way to a recession not because we lack confidence that our leaders can rein in the economy, but because we've had proven to us time after time by the previous government that they will stick money - preferably our money - up the arses of every large corporation they can find, and there is no justice for working Australians, and certainly there was no justice nor pity for pensioners.
For K-Rudd to reel in this one, a better approach, much as I find myself loath to agree with it, is to provide tax cuts for wage earners, and enforce some economic leashes on large corporations such as banks, which cry poor year after year, nibble away our income one one hundredth of a percentage point at at time - and then come up with a several billion dollar profit at the end of each year... Those billions had to come from somewhere Mr Rudd, and I respectfully suggest that I paid hundreds of thousands towards those billions in my working lifetime, and I'm even now still being ripped off for part of my meager pension by those same banks.
I say, Mr Rudd, that if you reined in the "magicians" of the stock market who make money trading money they don't have and instead use my money as collateral, that would be better for the economy than shoving more of my tax dollars into their ventures as a "bailout."
I contend that if you show the balls that John Howard lacked throughout his slimy career, and told the petrol companies they can either accede to a Government-directed pricing structure or else take their business elsewhere, that a lot more Australians than just pensioners would benefit.
If you, Mr Rudd, told the farmers "doing it tough" all over Australia to either adapt or else move on, perhaps we'd be exporting crops that are more suited to our environment as it currently is, and shoveling less money into a dead horse dying of thirst.
I say that if we put more effort and funds towards clean energy and research into clean energy and renewable/sustainable living and technology, we would have something to export, something that will do the real job of saving the economy and the world. Stick "clean coal" where it belongs, i.e. someplace deep and dark where the sun don't shine, and let's give our Australian inventors and researchers and entrepreneurs some incentive to stay here and make money for our country instead of draining off overseas.
We still throw out millions of tons of recycleable rubbish every year, or send it offshore for processing. How about an industry in cleanly recovering and recycling some of that? We have the brilliant minds working on recovery processes, we have the sunlight to provide the energy, and we have all those farmers out of jobs that would be better off working at something that earns money such as recovering material from recyclables.
There may be less of those stuffed shirts working at being CEOs and other assorted freeloaders, but they can get a job selling our new technology overseas, pitching for research grants, and doing whatever it is that these tossers did before, only now for a good cause instead of an evil one...
Those farmers that want to remain in primary production might want to consider farming kangaroos. The old excuse that it's too expensive just doesn't wash anymore - nothing can be more expensive than $23/kg lamb in a land that prided itself on the fact that it got to the top on the sheep's back. Or maybe they can find a more natural crop plant - we do have some food plants that it might be worth checking out - the Aborigines didn't live on sunshine and geckos before we came here, after all.
Stop thinking along traditional lines! Times are anything BUT traditional, move with them!