Taxation and Spending Articles

Long on Spending, Short on Discipline

Quadrant Online, 12 May 2018

Governments normally sugar-coat budgets, packaging a combination of give-aways and, increasingly, cross subsidies, with boasts of how much of our money they are returning to us. Fifteen years ago, Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull sparred over whether the top income tax rate should be 30% (Shorten) or 35% (Turnbull). Neither, of course, had any resolve to confront the lower level of spending that such reduced funding would entail. Neither now seriously proposes a maximum less than 46%.

Where to start with spending cuts

Catallaxy Files, 23 Decedmber 2017

Australia’s policy dice is loaded in favour of more spending and regulation. Major expansions in recent years have been on education, people with disabilities, the national broadband network (NBN) and renewable energy. ​ Even those rare politicians who are genuinely concerned about excessive spending are reluctant to oppose those lobbying for such measures and the votes they promise. Nonetheless an injection of personal responsibility would be useful even if limited to the most egregious and

How to Save $26BN in Government Spending Without Trying

Herald Sun, 23 December 2017

This year, the Commonwealth’s mid-year budget review shows some progress towards reducing the nation’s $30 billion deficit. That was thanks to increased taxation revenue – mostly due to exports from mining that, ironically, have had to defeat the headwinds of draconian regulatory impediments. Lower government spending has made a trivial contribution. Savings agreed by the Senate amount to about $100 million a year (the Senate rejected another $500 million a year proposed savings). Th

Lower Corporate Taxes and We All Benefit

Herald Sun, 24 November 2017

In Korea earlier this month, President Trump contrasted North and South Korea which in 1950 had similar levels of income per head. Today South Koreans, having embraced free markets based on low taxes and secure property rights, earn 40 times more than their northern counterparts. The North Korean regime deliberately stifles private initiative. Others – almost all the world’s poorest countries - do so with punitive regulations and high taxes on entrepreneurial income, especially on company prof

Future prosperity and can we attain it?

Catallaxy Files, 22 May 2017

The debate over the future of the economy and the Liberal Party in government has got a lot of air-time with Tony Abbott continuing to make Headland speeches. Abbott is claiming the mantle of Menzies, and points out that our arrival at a situation where 50 per cent of households pay no net tax resonates strongly with Menzies warnings about the risks of democracy forming coalitions of “leaners” to pillage the earnings of “lifters”. As Menzies put it in far less serious “leaner” incursions than

‘Labor lite’ Budget undermining a nation’s wealth

Herald Sun, 12 Mary 2017

IN this week’s federal Budget, the Coalition implemented policies established in the Rudd/Gillard years. The expansions in health, education and welfare budgets — now comprising two thirds of spending — were confirmed. Over the next four years, annual spending will increase by $50 billion to $340 billion — a levy on the average non-government worker of more than $30,000 a year. Similarly there is an acquiescence of the cost impositions from renewable energy policy, including attempts to lighten

Politician accuses central banker of profligate policies – man bites dog

Catallaxy Files, 17 October 2016

This month UK Prime Minister Theresa May warned the Bank of England that its policies had damaged the interests of savers, pensioners and the young. The Governor, fresh from campaigning against Brexit, fired back ‘The objectives are what are set by the politicians. The policies are done by technocrats. We are not going to take instruction on our policies from the political side.’ It may be a good idea to have an independent central bank. Such a body existed in previous times – it was called

Superannuation, its detractors and enemies

Catallaxy Files, 3 October 2016

Taxation of superannuation continues to be a hot-button policy. But it is treated as an isolated component of the tax debate, rather than from the perspective of a means both of encouraging people to ensure their own future and to provide the savings necessary to ensure the economy grows to allow such future income streams. Today, David Leyonhjelm pointed out that the government’s latest episode of how to tax this savings vehicle is one step forward and another backwards, while Robert Gottliebsen once again draws attention to the excision from punitive new taxes of one privileged group, the most senior public servants – the very ones who are drawing up the policy proposals. In this debate, as in so many others, the Grattan Institute continues to serve an invaluable purpose in offering policy prescriptions that provide a useful marker in defining what should not be done. Grattan downplays the importance of superannuation pointing out that it comprises only a small share (15 per cent) of total household savings.

The destructive effects of the imperialism of politics

Catallaxy Files, 19 August 2016

My piece in today’s Herald Sun (“Spend plenty to buy nothing” subscription required) addresses the measures Australian governments are taking to prevent people producing things and earning income for themselves (much of which would also be syphoned-off by governments and used as bribes to secure their re-election). It notes the NSW Baird government got away with spending only $220 million of taxpayers’ funds to stop a coal mine, thus deflecting the hysteria that Alan Jones was whipping up. This

Fat tax: new ways of oppressing people and building regulatory empires

Catallaxy Files, 22 June 2016

It was, I suppose inevitable. Hard on the heels of Philadelphia imposing a sugar tax on soft drinks to tax the fat poor in order to help them, along come The Greens revisiting their own policies of imposing a 20 per cent tax on the demonised products in order to tackle childhood obesity. It seems that the Greens are far better than natural parents at caring and nurturing – perhaps they should set up kibbutzes to ensure that infants are also more adequately schooled in “safe sex”, the Great Barrier Reef’s disappearance and how cheap is renewable energy. Oops, they already have those – they are called state schools!


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