I’ve been compiling a list over the last 12 months – probably a lot more if you take into consideration the angst – of my pick for the recipients of what I will call the ‘Writemystuff’s Greed is Good Awards.’ While it is not for me or any ordinary folk to hypothesize on whether greed is actually good or not, the following are giving the mantra a good run for its money.
- Number 1 and primary recipient – the Banks. When aren’t they on this list? They’ve really outdone themselves over the years, and in 2011 – 2012 the themes are – Let’s raise the interest rates on mortgages without an RBA rate rise. Let’s tack on a few more fees to credit cards, ATM usage, teller usage and Internet banking. Let’s get rid of a few of our employees to cut expenses. Let’s throw a party for management to show our appreciation. Oh, and by the way, let’s announce our highest shareholder profit of…what was that?…. 2.78 billion?
- Number 2 this year and hot on the heels of the banks are Woolworths and Coles, the two largest grocery retailers in Australia today. Talk about an oligopoly. Nobody else gets a look in. These two giants have cornered the market on just about everything, to the peril of the smaller suppliers, of not only regular groceries but fruit and vegetables, meat, wine, beer and spirits and I hear they are even going into optometry and credit. Woolworths and Coles have their fingers in a lot of pies under a whole lot of different banners. Their favourite theme? Let’s have a price war and see how low we can go on a few select items, price our little competitors out of business, and then jack up the prices again.
- Number 3 and generally a front runner in everything but the straight and narrow are politicians. Even seasoned one-party loyalists are having a hard time in the 2011 – 2012 season making sense of the bullshitometre as the gloves come off and the scramble is on for a slice of the two-term-privilege-pie. Elections are looming, defectors and detractors are coming out of the woodwork and a party mutiny is on spec in the wings. If somebody even suggests to me that this is all for the greater good and nostrils aren’t flared as the scent of lust, greed and power wafts their way, I will probably poke them with a sharp stick.
- Number 4, although at times up there with the banks, are insurance companies. Experts at gaining maximum benefit for minimal outlay and notorious for the classic ‘renege’ – subject of course to the fine print that some unfortunates have failed to take into account. This was recently demonstrated in unbelievable clarity after the Brisbane floods when some (should I mention names?) insurance companies failed to pay out, stating that ‘it’s all in the fine print.’ Up until that point I never knew that there were different types of floods and some weren’t covered by some insurance companies in the ‘fine print.’ Apparently flood means ‘water from above’ not ‘water from a swollen river that becomes swollen from water from above.’ You learn something new everyday. Who underwrites this stuff?
- Number 5 is private health companies who I believe are in league with the devil – and the government – who is also in league with the devil. We pay out thousands of dollars a year basically for nothing in my case, as I rarely use it. The public system offers me a better deal and I’m not out of pocket. When you do get hospitalised you have an excess to pay for the days that you are in. If you are unlucky enough to get a doctor or an anaesthetist who doesn’t do Gap cover – well, you could be out of pocket a pretty pricey sum. And don’t start me about the ‘extras.’ There are definitely plenty of extras but you don’t get them all and what you do get you still have to pay for and only get a percentage back. Sure, I could get the top Top cover but I’d have to be driving a Rolls Royce and have a private plane waiting to take me to my summer house in France to be able to afford all that.
The above is just a small list. I have many more but you get the idea. There is no point in ranting to the point of lunacy and scaring off my potential sympathisers all in one day. This is a blog and I have plenty of time up my sleeve provided I don’t get shafted by the bank, lose my house, can’t afford to eat, have a cardiac arrest from the stress and can’t get medical attention because I don’t have private health insurance and the Liberal government has disbanded the public hospital system.