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Congratulations, Australia


I’d like to congratulate the voters of Australia for doing what the voters of America should have done in 2012:

Australia’s conservative leader Tony Abbott swept into office in national elections on Saturday as voters punished the outgoing Labor government for six years of turbulent rule and for failing to maximize the benefits of a now fading mining boom.

Abbott, a former boxer, Rhodes scholar and trainee priest, promised to restore political stability, cut taxes and crack down on asylum seekers arriving by boat.

“From today I declare that Australia is under new management and Australia is once more open for business,” Abbott told jubilant supporters in Sydney.

America, on the other hand, will not be open for business until 2017 at the earliest.

It’s always a mistake to overstate the similarities between different national political environments – the differences are profound in even the most similar countries.  But there are some sharp parallels to be drawn here, particularly on the need for pro-growth tax cuts, and the squandering of a natural resources revolution.  Obama’s War On Energy has some similarities to the way Australians seem to feel their mining boom was wasted:

The election was been pitched as a choice on who is best to lead the A$1.5 trillion ($1.4 trillion) economy as it adjusts to an end to a prolonged mining investment boom, fuelled by China’s demand for its abundant natural resources.

Abbott, 55, built up a strong opinion poll lead on the back of promises to rein in government spending, scrap an unpopular tax on carbon emissions, and stop the flow of refugee boats arriving in Australia’s northwest.

His campaign had support from media magnate Rupert Murdoch and his Australian newspapers, which have urged voters to reject Rudd’s Labor government. Australia’s other major newspaper group Fairfax also called for a change of government, saying

Rudd had painted Abbott’s planned spending cuts as dangerous European-style austerity and said his government was best placed to manage an economy that is slowing but remains the envy of much of the developed world.

This is really a golden moment for any aspiring capitalist economy to eat America’s lunch.  We’re years away from being remotely competitive.  The Obama Democrats are hell-bent to double down on his failed policies, not just due to ideological rigidity, but because Obama’s ego will never allow him to admit he’s been fundamentally wrong about everything for five years.  

And the American ruling class has become quite obsessed with using socialist policies to build invulnerable voting coalitions of government dependents.  They take Obama’s re-election as a sign that the American electorate is reasonably comfortable with the New Normal of double-digit real unemployment, expensive gas, a declining standard of living, out-of-control government spending, and all the rest of it.  The bar of economic leadership was lowered to accommodate President Obama; the ruling class doesn’t think it will be raised any time soon.

Now is your moment, aspiring capitalist tigers of the world.  The American workforce is buried under food stamps and long-term disability checks; employers are wrapped in chains of regulation, held tightly shut with the padlocks of ObamaCare.  No corporation in its right mind would relocate into the American quagmire of soaring corporate taxes (with class-warfare battle cries signaling even worse to come), high labor costs, and crushing regulatory burdens.  Every CEO in the world watched Democrats march Apple Inc. executives into a show trial and berate them for daring to keep their offshore revenue offshore, instead of bringing it home so Uncle Sam could cut himself a thick slice.  They all watched Obama and his party present irresponsible government deficits as an argument for tax increases, rather than government reform.  

A weakened America has turned away from its bedrock principles of economic liberty.  A huge void is waiting to be filled.

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