Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed that he is drawing economic recovery inspiration from Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and uhhh, you might want to rethink that one, buddy.
“It is important to go to the supply side. Thatcher, Reagan, that’s an inspiration,” he said yesterday, a point in which he confirmed today.
In an interview with ABC’s Insiders, Frydenberg reiterated that he *is* taking inspo from the questionable politicians, asserting that “Thatcher and Reagan are figures of hate for the left because they were so successful.” You know, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with their policies being remembered for leaving workers significantly worse off.
.@JoshFrydenberg on taking inspiration from Thatcher and Reagan:
"Thatcher and Reagan are figures of hate for the left because they were so successful. One got two terms, which was the maximum that you can get in the US. Margaret Thatcher got 11.5 years." #Insiders #auspol pic.twitter.com/BNBTRd9Cid
— Insiders ABC (@InsidersABC) July 26, 2020
If you’re unfamiliar with Reagan and Thatcher’s economic policies, they’re regarded as being… not good for the working class. Their policies resulted in mass unemployment and basically destroyed the middle class, which is not ideal unless you’re filthy rich. We’re not going to have a whole history lesson on it, but here’s the TL;DR if you’re not sure why it’s deeply concerning that our treasurer is drawing inspiration from the pair.
Thatcher, also known as the “Iron Lady”, obliterated the UK’s trade unions during her time in office, which made it extremely difficult for workers to legally strike. As you’d expect, this was detrimental to the working class.
“She pursued policies that caused great suffering to millions of ordinary working class men and women in this country,” political activist Peter Tatchell previously described Thatcher to Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Reagan and his “Reaganomics” policies basically allowed for huge tax breaks for the filthy rich at the expense of, you guessed it, working class Americans.
Remember when penalty rates were slashed in the hope of employers using the extra money to boost jobs, only for it to fail miserably because they had no actual responsibility to hire more staff? That’s basically the same idea that Reagan’s trickle-down economic policy had.
Big businesses received a huge tax cut, but rather than this resulting in higher wages, increased spending and more jobs, it ended up being a case of the rich getting richer and the middle class getting, well, nothing.
Frydenberg believes both leaders dealt with their economic challenges successfully, seemingly ignoring the detrimental impacts on the middle class, which are still being felt today. So, to play the “you’re just jealous” card is pretty… not good.
Taking care of the economy is undoubtedly an important part of politics, and obviously it’s Frydenberg’s job to do that. Most of us aren’t disputing that, and it’s totally understandable that we’re going to have to make some sacrifices during the coronavirus/recession to keep the economy from total collapse.
But economic “success” at the cost of leaving millions of working class people impoverished and suffering really isn’t something you can call a win, is it?
As you’d expect, people were quick to point out that Frydenberg’s inspiration says a lot about him as a leader and the Morrison government as a whole.
Still trying to figure out if I find Frydenberg’s comments on Thatcher and Reagan more infuriating or hilariously stupid? Either way it says a lot about him, this current government, and their economics.
— Marcus Drew (@Marcus_Scho) July 26, 2020
No, fuckface – 'the left' don't hate Reagan and Thatcher for their 'success'.
They hate them for destroying peoples' lives and livelihoods in service to a vicious and uncaring economic philosophy. #Frydenberg#insiders#auspol
— ross clelland (@rnclelland) July 26, 2020
Does Frydenberg not realise that Reagan and Thatcher are largely responsible for the decline of their countries or does he just not care?
— Psittacus (@Psittacus_tutor) July 26, 2020
Narrator: Mr Frydenberg is in the same category as Thatcher and Reagan. Disastrously unsuccessful.
— ????Gavin Scott (@gavin_tweets) July 26, 2020
If you think Reaganomics and/or Thatcherism were good ideas, you’ve likely lived a highly privileged life. So, congrats on never being poor.
— Ben (@YeOldeLefty) July 26, 2020
When a leader is point-blank telling us that their economic and political inspiration is coming from people who are remembered for destroying the lives of the middle class, it’s probably worth taking a moment to see where you would’ve stood during the reign of Thatcher or Reagan. If you’re not filthy rich, this is something you should pay attention to.