Farewell to 2009
Here’s Trouble hopes you all had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and all other relevant Season’s greeting.
May the new year of 2010 bring you financial security and satisfaction, and opportunities to pursue hobbies and relationships. The golden lesson that I have learnt over the last few years is that you, as a person, have more power to improve the lives and well-being of your friends, family and employer than any politician, banker or economist.
Let me recap briefly on the year that was 2009:
Global Financial Crisis
In the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, Australia has so far avoided a recession thanks to solid demand for raw materials from China, a recovery in metals prices and a lower US dollar leading to cheaper imports. The Federal government’s $200 billion dollar stimulus package has also helped fuel a recovery in consumer and business spending.
As a result, the biggest risk to the Australian economy is interest rate rises. In addition to the $200 billion that the Government had to borrow, household debt has blown out to $1.2 trillion dollars, or $56,000 for every man, woman and child or 100.2% of GDP. A hike in interest rates, e.g. to manage inflation, would be devastating.
Nonetheless, our problems are nothing compared to the USA. Although they are out of recession, the US government is expected to run a budget deficit of US$1 trillion for fiscal year 2009, resulting in a total debt of $12.8 trillion dollars. This is largely due to the financing of the Iraq war, government bailouts of failing firms under the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The US have no way in hell to pay back this money, the only way I can see them getting out of this debt problem is by devaluing their own currency by promoting inflation, which will make a lot of people around the world very unhappy.
Furthermore, as a result of bailing out financial firms, which were responsible for the reckless actions that led to the Global Financial Crisis, they have preserved these greedy corporate cultures which will no doubt survive to repeat history in the future.
The stupid Emissions Trading Scheme was defeated in the Australian senate, not because of its stupidity, but because of political infighting. The main casualty was Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, who was replaced by Tony Abbott. I do not yet know what to make of Abbott.
Although this received a lot of coverage, I consider it a minor event. Representatives from countries and scientific groups around the world met in Copenhagen and had a party with PowerPoint presentations and movies. Due to the diversity of opinions and lack of consensus about the problem, they reached a token agreement which lacked specifics.
The King of Pop died tragically and people suddenly remembered how much they really liked him. Pity it came too late. Say anything you want, but his Music and Dancing were revolutionary.
Nathan Rees Replaced As NSW Premier
The former garbo, after a very unproductive premiership, was replaced by some religious chick. I expect little to change apart from the news photos. State Rail is still a shambles and they still plan to sell off energy retailers for rock bottom prices to raise cash.
As always, I have a tone of half-done articles waiting to be completed. My new year’s resolution is to finish them off and post them.