It's inequality, stupid

Tue, 31 Jul 2018  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo 7 Finance web site at this link: 


It’s inequality, stupid

 The super-Saturday by-election results over the weekend presented a clear preference from Australian voters – they don’t like policies that increase inequality in society and tax cuts to business are unfair and expensive, draining scares cash from education, heath and other vital services.

In a variance of Bill Clinton’s successful phrase and strategy “it’s the economy, stupid” in winning the 1992 US Presidential election, Labor’s “it’s inequality, stupid” approach to policy is winning it support in the electorate. Or just as accurately, it is the Coalition Government’s policy strategy that increase inequality in society that voters are shying away from.

Credit to the “it’s inequality, stupid” analysis goes to Stephen Moriarty who tweeted that phrase in the aftermath of the by-election results. It summed up the results very well.

It has been obvious with the last year of polling and then the by-election results that voters are not happy with the Liberal Party sales pitch which is framed around a story of a growing economy and the promise of income and company tax cuts. This is because economic growth is not all that impressive, despite the government’s rhetoric, and what growth is being registered is skewed heavily towards rising company profits and away from the wage share. Future company tax cuts will only add to that inequality.

Recent cuts to education and the miserable level of the Newstart allowance are the sorts of policies that are compounding unfairness.

Voters instead, are embracing the Labor agenda which promises funding for schools, hospitals, education and training that will be fully funded from tax policy proposals that raise money in what economists call a progressive way – that is, increasing the tax take on those with high incomes and high wealth. Not giving tax cuts “to the big end of town” as Labor likes to say, by ending the tax distortion of negative gearing for those investing in established dwellings, reducing the capital gains tax concessions and getting rid of excessive dividend imputation refunds raises a lot of revenue and does it in a way that reduces inequality.

And voters can see this.

They demonstrably like this approach.

The Labor line that pitted “tax cuts for banks and big business versus funding for schools and hospitals” is no socialist plot as some of the more extreme commentators suggest. Rather, it is giving the electorate what they desperately want for their families in a world where job security, genuine cost of living pressures and incomes growth are increasingly fragile. The policy contrast could be phrased along the lines of what’s the point of having a globally competitive company tax structure if a significant proportion of the population can’t get decent health care, or their kids don’t get great teachers, or are left without an opportunity to pursue a trade or are saddled for a mortgage-like student debt when they finishing the university degree?

It all boils down to the fact that voters are switched on, they do listen and they vote in a way that will best enhance the key aspects of their lives.

In other words, voters only want access to services that make their life better. This is even if they have a pay a bit more tax or miss out on the opportunity to negatively gear an investment property, can’t get huge refunds on holdings of shares that pay fully franked dividends or fiddle their affairs to pay less tax via capital gains.

Labor recognise this and it is why it remains a hot favourite to win the Federal election. It is not clear what the Government can do to change its policy strategy of the last few years without further compromising its credibility.

And when you stop and think about it, what’s wrong with voters wanting good schools for their kids, good health care for their families and a more rapid move to a budget surplus, all paid for by a more progressive tax system?

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Wed, 29 Jul 2020



Covid19 has opened a door for Australians to positively accept significant changes that will lead to a shared good. This rare opportunity enables us to achieve sustainable economic and social goals that create a new ‘normal’ as our way of life.

These Ten Steps are presented as non-partisan recommendations to the Australian Parliament in the firm belief that, if they embrace them, the Australian economy and society will be greatly enhanced after the Covid19 pandemic has passed.

*A job for you if you want one.
A significant increase in part time and casual employment can be created that will enable you to enjoy a more creative and peaceful lifestyle and to live longer and better. The traditional age at which you would have been expected to retire will become obsolete as a result. An access age for pension and superannuation will become your choice. This will enable you to remain in paid work for as long as you want to, on a basis that you choose, while boosting the productivity and growth of Australia.

*You will get wage increases that will be greater than your cost of living.
A demand for enhanced innovative skills at all levels of employment will be created as the economy grows in strength, thereby enhancing your stature in the workforce and enabling executive salaries and bonuses to drop to levels that are accepted as justifiable by employees, shareholders and customers.

The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

Tue, 07 Jan 2020

This article first appeared on the Yahoo Finance web site at this link:   


The misplaced objective of the government of delivering a surplus, come hell or high water, has gone up in smoke

For many people, the cost of the fires is immeasurable. 

Or irrelevant. 

They have lost loved ones, precious possessions, businesses and dreams and for these people, what lies ahead is bleak.

Life has changed forever.

As the fires continue to ravage through huge tracts of land, destroying yet more houses, more property, incinerating livestock herds, hundreds of millions of wildlife, birds and burning millions of hectares of forests, it is important to think about the plans for what lies ahead.

The rebuilding task will be huge.

Several thousands of houses, commercial buildings and infrastructure will require billions of dollars and thousands of workers to rebuild. Then there are the furniture and fittings for these buildings – carpets, fridges, washing machines, clothes, lounges, dining tables, TVs and the like will be purchased to restock.

Then there are the thousands of cars and other machinery and equipment that will need to be replaced.