In their own words

Sorry, but could you explain the irony?

“Ironically, it now falls to social democracy to prevent liberal capitalism from cannibalising itself.” — Kevin Rudd in his essay in the Monthly.

Lost its what?

“Corporate Australia, it would seem, has lost its moral compass.” — ACTU president Sharan Burrow, commenting on the decision by clothing maker Pacific Brands to sack 1850 employees in order to boost profits.

For a while

“A rich country like America can perhaps afford to be stupid.” — a Kenyan tour guide, quoted by Barack Obama in his book Dreams from My Father.


“People really hate you. And they’re starting to hate us because we hang out with you.” — US Democrat member of Congress Barney Frank, to bankers.


“That is pretty Draconian.” — James F. Reda, head of a US compensation consulting company, on President Obama’s plan to put a US$500,000 cap on salaries of executives of companies receiving large government bail-outs.


“Without the talent of Wall Street to bring us back into a position of leadership in the global economy, we’re going to be in bad shape.” — Kathryn Wilde, spokesperson for a New York business lobby, on the executive salary cap.

Guess who gets which

“They want to make sure the plan is a balance of carrots and sticks.” — New York Senator Charles Schumer, on his fellow Democrats’ attitude to the Obama administration’s plan to give more billions to businesspeople who have already lost (mostly other people’s) billions.

There are better ways?

“I will not tolerate members of the shadow executive disparaging their colleagues in such a personal and gratuitous fashion.” — Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, sacking frontbench Senator Cory Bernardi for writing that frontbencher Christopher Pyne joined the Liberals rather than Labor only because of where he lived.