Joe Hockey Puts His Foot in His Mouth Again

Joe Hockey’s claim that “Poor people don’t have cars, don’t drive far.” seriously failed the  ABC Factcheck test.  But what he said was an exercise in stupidity that went far beyond getting some facts wrong.  It reinforced the perception that Joe is a man on a class war against what he sees as the unentitled poor.  Worse still, it showed a man that was so busy trying to hide what the fuel tax hike will cost that he failed to realise that actually telling people what it would cost would have taken the sting out of the attacks. Firstly, the fact check:  The fact check is a mine of useful information that goes well beyond the fuel tax issue that is well worth reading.  However, I will lead you to wade through fact check apart a few key points:

  1. Something like 90% of poor households owned at least one car.
  2. In terms of how far people travel by car in Melbourne ” Professor Currie says his research in 2008 found the average travel distances for people who live on the urban fringe of Melbourne was 16.4 kilometres each trip. For inner area residents, which are typically higher income, it was 6.4 kilometres per trip. “The implication is that they have higher costs for travel and longer travel times,” he said in an article published in August.”  This is a common problem in large cities where the poor often live in fringe areas with poor public transport. Even if there is public transport, for places like Brisbane it costs a lot more to use public transport instead of driving an already owned car.
  3. On a per capita basis, average spending on petrol in 2009-10 was $15.84 a week in a high-income household and $10.91 in a low-income one.  This equates to the high-income households spending 1.45 times the low-income ones, again much lower than Mr Hockey’s 3.3 times.

  4. In terms of percent of household spending “These figures imply that petrol ate up 4.5 per cent of the incomes of low-income households, but only 1.4 per cent of the incomes of high-income households.”  

What was really dumb? If I was going to defend a tax increase it would seem smart to at least know how big the change would be before deciding the defence strategy. The increase in fuel tax will come from the decision to end Howard’s unsustainable fuel tax cuts and return to indexation.  The Australian said that ” Fuel excise is currently 38.1c a litre but will rise in line with inflation twice a year. If we assume that inflation will run at 3% a year this means that the price of fuel will rise by 1.14 cents per litre.  The average car travels about 15,000 km per year.  What this means is that the fuel bill for a 10 litre/100 km gas guzzler will go up by a truly massive 33 cents per week.  Err:  “We are arguing about what?? Even dumber, the Hockey defence came in the form of yet another sneer at the poor.  This on top of his smartarse reply when asked what he would do if he were unemployed:  “I would get a job.”  No sign of understanding that there is actually a work shortage and not everyone has Joe’s education and other advantages. Then there are all the class warfare attacks on the unentitled poor in Joe’s seriously unfair budget.

One wonders how much longer Hockey and his budget can last?

18 thoughts on “Joe Hockey Puts His Foot in His Mouth Again”

  1. Reality,

    JOE HOCKEY, TREASURER: The people that actually pay the most are higher income people, with an increase in fuel excise. … The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases.

    Reality verdict : Correct.

    ABC reality

    The claim: Joe Hockey says higher income people pay the most fuel tax, because poor people don’t own cars or don’t drive very far.

    ABC riffing on their own self generating biased untruths.

    Mr Hockey’s claim that raising fuel tax will affect high income earners more is misleading.

    My verdict : ” Fact Check is MISLEADING.

  2. The general reality in no way supports your verdict, Jumpy, in the present or the future. Take a close look at our city expansion plans, as the text above points out new families routinely occupy the fringes and have the longest commutes. These are people with the most stressed budgets. As people move towards retirement their options become broader, their budgets become less stressed and their travel requirements reduce (no kids to sports trips).

    Hockeys comment is a masterstroke of ignorance, and a full frontal attack on the family class.

  3. My take on the whole business is that indexing the fuel tax is good policy, and, at an average cost over the next year of 33 cents a week per car is not something that would break any budget.
    The underlying budget problem is that we can’t afford all the unsustainable tax cuts and lurks made by Howard and Costello. Over the years.

  4. The states are in trouble because the GST, which was supposed to provide the states with a growing stream of revenue, hasn’t grown as fast as expected. The reason is that a lot of our economic growth has come in the form of mining industry exports.
    I am sure you will all be surprised to find that the mining industry doesn’t pay GST on these exports -hence the state’s financial problem.
    The idea of excluding exports from the GST was that it would give exporters an advantage in the global market. This justification is based on the touching idea that doing things to improve international competitiveness has no effect on the value of the $aus. Once you factor in currency movement the competitiveness gain to exporters would be less than expected and the increase in the value of the currency would have made it harder for businesses that compete with imports and still have to pay GST.
    The GST export concessions should be removed. Benefits:
    1. State finances would be alot more healthy.
    2. It would be easier for Australian companies to compete with imports.
    3. The subsequent reduction in the value of the $aus would minimise the effect of removing the concession for export industries.
    Jumpy: What country do you live in? What Hockey said would be true in countries like India.

  5. Paul Syvret (Courier Mail, Sat 16/8/14 provided these figures:
    1. Hockeys indexation would have increased fuel prices by 1.1 cents/litre over the next 12 months. Slightly less than the 1.14 I used.
    2. Fuel price would have been 25 cents/litre higher if Howard had not removed indexation in 2002. (Would have added about $7.20 week to the cost of running an average 10 litre/100km gas guzzler) Annual tax take would have been 4 billion per year higher.
    Howard was the one who goofed on good policy.

  6. Also does the top quintile of income earners pay a bigger amount of fuel tax than the bottom quintile ,in dollars ?
    Does the top quintile of income earners represent a higher level of car ownership than the bottom quintile ,in units ?
    Do the top quintile of income earners travel more kilometres ( on average ) than the bottom quintile ,in kilometres ?

    All the other shit is irrelevant to what he actually said.

  7. One last thing and over to yo’all.
    Self funded grey nomads fall into “low income/ non poor” in a vast majority of cases.

  8. Jumpy: According to this link Joe said:

    On ABC Radio in Brisbane, he cited the increased fuel excise as a prime example of this. And then his logic more or less got away from him.

    “The people that actually pay the most are higher income people. Yet, the Labor Party and the Greens are opposing it. They say you’ve got to have wealthier people or middle-income people pay more.”

    “Well, change to the fuel excise does exactly that; the poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases.”

    If you don’t like the particular link google Joe Hockey Poor people don’t own cars. I got 761000 results.

  9. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2014/s4066736.htm

    “”The people that actually pay the most are higher income people, with an increase in fuel excise {yep, true (treasury) }. … The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases{yep, true (ABS)}.

    He did NOT say

    Joe Hockey’s claim that “Poor people don’t have cars, don’t drive far.”

    That was you John parroting another ABC untruth.

    [ special bonus in the link above: Shorten being an adult, not.]

  10. Fugit, ABC wins, Joe really said ” The poor only steal cars and get their fuel via drive-offs . Probably non-white, non-christian, gay vegetarian refugees ”
    There, the headline for tomorrow, ” It’s claimed Joe Hockey said…………”

  11. You are right Jumpy. I quoted from the heading used by Factcheck without checking exactly what Joe said.
    However, the bottom line is that Hockey was too dumb to realise that the weekly cost of the change was negligible. The problem is that he is so obsessed with punishing the unentitled poor that he came up with a politically stupid argument based on this obsession.
    I don’t know about you but I find it a bit strange that a Treasurer wouldn’t look at what something was going to cost people before launching a defense.

  12. It’s difficult to overestimate the depth of Hockey’s stupidity. He is a bear of very little brain.

  13. jumpy, the Treasurer has been caned by the the Australian, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph (check out their attack piece on him today), and every one of the commercial tv networks for his stupid remarks. Not to mention his own party members, as well as various National party members. He was also comprehensively hung out to dry by his own Prime Minister, and the Minister for Education.

    Only you and Andrew Bolt could seriously try to pass all that off as a beatup by the ABC.

  14. Electric Vehicles are relevant to the future, and if so, there is a need now to plan the required infrastructure. That could be part of the vision that Tony Abbott is looking for.

  15. Yes, what would the son of a Palestinian orphan boat person know of struggle.
    Dumb i can judge on but how he feels I can not.
    It’s said,

    In November 2009, Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott privately offered Hockey the party leadership on the proviso he dropped his advocacy of an emissions trading scheme. Hockey said no

    Funny old world innit ?

  16. Nick

    Only you and Andrew Bolt could seriously beatup the ABC.

    Thanks.
    BTW don’t get upset I misquoted you.

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