When the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest national accounts last week it was revealed that the corporate profit share of all Australian income had risen to 28.1%, well above the long-term average of 20%.
That 8.1% above the long-term average is worth about $75 billion in the last year alone. ABS figures reveal that the profit share of national income has been rising steadily since the Howard government first came into office in 1996. My rough calculation is that over the decade since, more than $450 billion dollars, in nominal terms, has been shifted to corporate profit share. Calculated in today's dollars this shift to corporate profits would be much more.
Unsurprisingly, ABS figures show the wages share of national income heading in the opposite direction.
The Howard government has done a good job for the corporate rich that it serves and it has pledged to keep doing the same. Its refusal to set any greenhouse emissions targets to address climate change and the removal of workplace rights won over 100 years of union struggles prove that it puts corporate profit ahead of our future.
Our future or their profits? That's the main political issue today. It isn't just about the economy, it's about the environment (without which there will be no economy!) It's about preserving what's left of community and the common goods and services that underpin community.
In the first round of this year's French presidential elections, a socialist postie by the name of Olivier Besancenot, from the Revolutionary Communist League, campaigned around this slogan: "Our future is worth more than their profits." With relatively little resources he won a significant 1,498,581 votes.
But that's France, and the Australian public is a different beast. However, since 2004, some serious attitudinal surveys have revealed that most Australians would prefer to address issues such as the environment, public health and education over getting another Howard-Costello tax cut. Perhaps the old tactical combination of beads and trinkets (the serious tax cuts only go to the rich), economic terror and conjurer's diversions is wearing thin? Perhaps more people recognise that we cannot afford to have corporate profits put ahead of our future?
If the Howard-Costello con isn't working its nasty magic on you, you could consider diverting the election bribe tax cut you may be getting at the approaching tax return time to campaigning for our common future by making a donation to the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund.
So far we have raised $87,113 or 35% of our $250,000 target. But we desperately need to be a bit further ahead as many bills have to be met before the end of the financial year.
At this stage of the year we really should be at more than 45% of our target. You can help us get there by directly depositing a donation to the GLW Fighting Fund at: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992. Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia), or donate online at <http://www.greenleft.org.au/donate.php>.