First up there are all kinds of figures going around. The big one – $9 billion dollars – is over 10 years. So the annual figure of less than a billion is a mere rounding error in a Commonwealth budget of around half a trillion. Nevertheless all dollars are accounted for, so Annastacia Palaszczuk is right to ask where the money is coming from. Continue reading The great GST fix
In his Budget Reply Address to the National Press Club Peter Hartcher in a piece Bowen seizes chance to make history reckons Labor’s plans amount to a trifecta:
- First, it has promised a tax cut almost twice as big as the government’s for lower and middle income earners, $928 a year against the government’s $530.
- Second, Labor has promised to spend more on its “inclusive growth” agenda centred around education, skills training and health care.*
- Third, it has promised to return the budget to a bigger surplus than the government’s planned $2.2 billion for 2019-20, and to press on to a surplus of at least one per cent of GDP.
The ABC election team on Budget night suggested that the purpose of the 2018 budget was to generate talking points that the government could use in the forthcoming election campaign. It has been going on for a while. Turnbull ScoMo and all reckon they offer “jobs and growth” whereas Shorten is going to hit you up for $200 billion extra in taxes, and simply can’t be trusted to run anything.
Shorten says Labor is going to “bring the fair go back into the heart of the nation.”
To me the nation is at a cross-roads. One way offers a small-government straight jacket with firmly embedded tax provisions that permanently reward success. The other seeks to provide the necessary infrastructure (human, services and physical) for everyone and the nation to become the best they can be, and to take care of those on the fringe. Continue reading Budget 2018 – a fair and decent society vs small government, ideology and sloganeering
There was a story around that Mark Textor had a hand in the creation of the 2017 budget. Joe Aston in the AFR says Forget Mark Textor, JWS’ John Scales was the Treasurer’s budget pollster. Aston says that Scales, who was a protégé of Textor’s did the real work, or at least his company JWS Research.
However, Textor did play an important role. The Daily Telegraph reported back in early April that Textor’s research (for the Liberal Party) “highlighted the critical issue of housing affordability”, following which, ScoMo proposed changes to negative gearing that were shot down immediately by Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton. Continue reading How the 2017 budget was made
As I said in the post on infrastructure and debt, Peter Martin heaved a sigh of relief that the Coalition Government finally understood that the services, infrastructure and welfare that we depend on to function have to be paid for, by raising revenue if necessary. Laura Tingle goes further. She says the Coalition has reset the debate on the role of government by moving to:
- a more central position which embraces, and even advocates, a bigger role for government, both in terms of its fiscal position and its interventions in the economy, whether that be by building, owning and running airports or regulating product and labour markets.
She says that the government is actually seeking to own Labor’s modern signature policies – Gonski, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Medicare. Continue reading Budget 2017: we live in a Labor world
Exporters often seem to be able to pay less tax than other businesses. One of the key reasons for this is that exporters pay no GST on their exports despite benefiting from government expenditure on things things like education and various forms of assistance to industry including assistance that is specific to export industries.
This post asks whether it is about time to start charging the GST on at least some exports. Continue reading Should We Charge the GST on Exports?
The Commonwealth government has just gained support for a tax cut for business’s earning less that $50m per yr. The benefits of this change are debatable. The only things we can be sure of is that badly needed government revenue has been sacrificed and if anything, the administration of this tax will become more complex.
It might be smarter to get rid of this complex and difficult to administer tax altogether and replace the lost revenue by either increasing the take from already existing taxes and/or some new and simpler tax.
This post looks at the implications of getting rid of company tax. Continue reading Should We Get Rid of the Company Tax?
Ross Gittins says we have fake government rather than fake news, but it does appear that the political debate about company tax cuts has been inadequate and misleading, to say the least. In this post I take a look at what decent thinkers like Gittins, Craig Emerson, Ross Garnaut and others have had to say about the corporate tax cuts. Continue reading Fake news about company tax cuts
Neoliberalism has run its course, Paul Keating has spoken.
Sally McManus, the new Secretary of the ACTU announced the demise of neoliberalism as a useful economic force in her speech to the National Press Club National Press Club, as well as defending her comments that anti-strike laws were unjust and could be disobeyed, and setting out the union peak body’s case for a $45-a-week increase in the minimum wage.
McManus said that neoliberalism and trickle-down economics had caused inequality to reach a 70-year high in Australia and that “working people and ordinary Australians have been the victims”.
- “The Keating years created vast wealth for Australia, but has not been shared, and too much has ended up in offshore bank accounts or in CEO’s back pockets.
“Working people are now missing out and this is making them angry.”
The main goal is always to beat New Zealand, but this time they beat us, according to the World Happiness Report 2017, which tells us that increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. They say:
- In June 2016 the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts”.
The results are yet another resounding endorsement of the ‘Nordic model’. The top four countries, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland are statistically a dead heat, while Finland is fifth, and Sweden ninth, tied with Australia to three decimal places, after The Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand. Continue reading Happiness: the universal goal
That was the title of Phillip Coorey’s article in the AFR about Ken Henry’s withering speech to the Committee of Economic Development. For those who came in late, Dr Ken Henry was secretary of treasury from 2001 to 2011, appointed originally by Peter Costello and served during the Rudd/Gillard years. He is now chairman of the NAB board.
I think it was the news story of the week. Continue reading Henry: politicians fail while Australia burns
The above article (thanks to John D for the link) explains why it’s almost impossible to have a recession when we have high migration. The economy keeps growing, because there are more people operating in it. Governments can boast about economic growth, and it’s good for business, but not necessarily for workers.
Here’s how real net disposable income (per capita income) has been going for the last 20 years: Continue reading Saturday salon 28/1