27 November 2008

Neoliberal weasels run amok

I usually rant about the state of the world in general without offering too much in the way of specifics. Not today. Today I'm specifically pissed at the prime minister, the minister of finance and whatever weasels they're keeping as advisors. It appears the bunch of them have just passed with flying colours Milton Friedman's Disaster Capitalism 101 course which he teaches by distance education from hell.

The current economic situation has given them the perfect opportunity to practice some of what they've learned. Jim Flaherty outlined the plan today. Firstly he cancelled federal funding for political parties. After all, 90 cents for every citizen of the country is an outrageous sum for an effective opposition. Second, he suspended the right of federal civil servants to strike for two years. That's because one should never pass on an opportunity to take away workers' rights. Pay equity settlements will now have to be negotiated in contract bargaining rather than through the Human Rights Commission to avoid "double pay equity" payments. Jim says we taxpayers have paid too much money to those angry women already. The government is granting an extension to the deadline for corporations to fully fund their pension plans. Those workers can be so annoying with all their bleating for pensions, and this will provide a little relief. The icing on this cake is the plan to sell government assets. This is well timed to ensure that the corporations who buy them spend as little as possible.

Read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein if you haven't done so already to see what's going on here. The government is using the excuse of a financial crisis to kick the legs out from under workers while offering no meaningful assistance to anyone. Publicly owned assets will be practically donated to the private sector. And the party is just beginning.

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