Wednesday, 30 April 2014

So a "debt tax" is being proposed

is it?
We will have to wait until the actual Budget Speech to be sure of that but the scaremongers are already out in the media. There are also a range of angry protests from the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, the employed, parents, those with mortgages, those who want to retire before they reach 70,  those who have already retired, indeed those who were "promised" anything at all as well as those who were not promised anything but believe they are still entitled to something.
And yes, the government got in on a "no new taxes" etc. platform.
But someone has to pay for past expenditure. We are in debt. We have to pay the debt off - and the interest bill alone is horrendous.
Oh yes, we could go down the United States road and be so deep in debt that it will be generations, if ever, before even the interest bill reaches a reasonable level. Do we want that? Is it fair to future generations?
I don't think that is wise - but then I am not an economist so what would I know? Perhaps all these people who are screaming about cuts have a point. Perhaps we should just borrow more money - no, wait a minute, the government has already done that.
Australia looked as if it came through the GFC pretty well. The previous government got widely praised for the way it handled things. It really did a lousy job because, although it kept people employed, the money was directed to the wrong things.
The government built school halls when it should have been building hospitals and aged care facilities. It built at least one school hall on a site which has now closed. It built another at a school which already had a new hall - but needed a library.
It put insulation in private housing when it should have been spending the money on regenerating the forests. We now have to pay for those things. 
If money had been spent on aged care facilities it would have had multiple social and economic benefits - places for those who need them - freeing up housing in the community and providing employment. Regenerate the forests and you are also providing on going employment as well as caring for the environment.
There were other things that money was wasted on. All governments waste money - often with an eye to the next round of voting. I am told it was not a waste of money - that infrastructure takes planning (yes) and that the economy had to be kept running (but it was running into debt). Why wasn't infrastructure being planned - and why were people putting obstacles in the way when it was being planned? The airport at Badgery's Creek should have been built years ago. Even now it is likely to run into obstacles at the NIMBY syndrome.
But when I hear people complaining about having to pay for these things when their child has "benefitted" from a new school hall and their heating and cooling bills are lower because they received benefits from the insulation scheme or that they have to pay anything at all for their child to attend a state school because their taxes are supposed to cover the cost then I wonder what they actually expect.
They will even say "there is only a certain amount of money to go around" as if they understand. It seems though that they only understand it in relation to themselves and what they want. They don't want money spent on aged care unless they or a family member needs it. They don't want money spent on disability services unless they need it. They don't want money spent on hospitals and health services unless they are ill.  They are all for "user pays" unless they need to use whatever it is - then "our taxes should pay for it". But they don't want to pay tax either. And, of course, "the rich should pay" - and by "the rich" they mean anyone at all they see as being better off than themselves.
I don't know what the answer is although I do wish that people understood economics a little better - or perhaps just basic money mathematics?
At the moment though the refrain of the economic song seems to be "It's all about me."

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