1. The inequality paradox
A New Scientist article by cognitive scientist Mark Sheskin of Yale University (pay-walled) says we should aspire to ‘fair inequality’ rather than ‘equality’ or ‘unfair inequality’, and most people would be happy with that.
He’s saying if you force people to choose between complete equality and high levels of inequality, most choose the latter. Given an open choice, however, people will choose moderate inequality. Continue reading Saturday salon 21/4
1. Peter Dutton did something useful
He banned Kent Heckenlively, the world’s ‘No 1 anti-vaxxer’, from visiting Australia for a lecture tour in December.
He said “it’s not in our national interest that he should come here.”
Free speech advocates may complain, but seriously, people can die from this madness. Continue reading Saturday salon 2/9
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
1. Survey on Muslims
Probably the biggest story of the week was the Essential survey asking people whether they would support or oppose a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Overall support/oppose was 49% to 40%, with Labor voters 40-48, the LNP 60-31, the Greens 34-59 and Other 58-35. Essential were so shocked they ran the poll again, with the same result.
Just about everyone is shocked, including the higher than expected support amongst Labor and Greens voters. Peter Lewis, the Essential man, says he was floored by the result. He thought Pauline Hanson represented a rump, but not so. Continue reading Saturday salon 24/9
One million Chinese tourists account for 23% of tourist trip spend at $8.9 billion, an increase of 38% in the last year.
I’m not sure how excited we should get. I remember being told in Heidelberg Castle in 2008 that they got 4 million each year. In Prague the number of 70 million was quoted. Tourism here is small beer, but I wouldn’t like to live in that sort of melee. Our Brisbane Queen Street mall on Friday afternoon was pleasantly cosmopolitan. Continue reading Saturday salon 4/6
Bernard Keane at Crikey has done some fact-checking (paywalled) on Scott Morrison’s the statements on the government’s fiscal policy and has found the Treasurer telling a few porkies. Continue reading Mr Morrison, would you please stop lying?
In what seemed like a thought bubble in a doorstop at Penrith Panthers Football Club, Turnbull announced handing back income tax powers to the states.
Julia Gillard left the Australian government with a few time bombs. The vision for schools contained in Gonski was fine and good, it just had to be paid for. So too the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the funding of decent hospitals as we age and get sicker.
It was too hard for Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, so they snipped $80 billion over 10 years off the budget in the out-years. Turnbull agrees and wants to hand access to income tax back to the states. Continue reading Turnbull’s tax train wreck
1. Morrison muffs his lines and Turnbull in trouble
Laura Tingle talking to Phillip Adams gave Scott Morrison 3 out of 10 for his speech to the National Press Club. We were promised vision and leadership when they turfed out Tony, now it looks like tinkering at the edges.
Teflon Turnbull had a bad week. Continue reading Saturday salon 20/2
Kate Carnell, wearing her Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry hat, recently called for budget cuts to what it calls “runaway spending” on the aged pension, family tax benefits and childcare, lest we become an economic basket case like Greece. It contained this little gem:
A key part of the ACCI submission is to review the aged pension and to force retirees who own homes to transform the pension into a loan that would be repaid when the home is sold. Continue reading More asset stripping of the aged
Companies not paying tax include include Qantas, Virgin Australia, General Motors (owner of Holden), Vodafone, petrol company ExxonMobil, online betting shop William Hill, Warner Bros Entertainment, property developer Lend Lease and media company Ten Network Holdings. Continue reading Saturday salon 19/12