I had the following letter hidden behind the AFR paywall this morning.
‘In yesterday’s AFR Ben Potter Romney can’t romp ahead pointed to pitfalls in “centrist” Republican front-runner Mitt Romney’s progression to the candidature.
’John Quiggin The right’s wrong turn, anointed Romney as the Republican candidate. In a thinly disguised attack on Tony Abbott, he even puts rank outsider Jon Huntsman as the only alternative, largely because Huntsman is alone on the Republican side in unambiguously supporting a carbon tax.
‘ Quiggin considers Obama will trounce any of the Republican candidates. Astonishingly he now says the right has lost the “intellectual dominance” of the 1990s, a dominance he never recognised at the time.
’Quiggin’s own support for ever increasing government spending has blinded him to a key feature of the campaign – an auction among the Republicans for lower taxes and lower spending. Herman Cain with his triple 9 per cent taxes on corporate incomes, individual incomes and sales, is campaigning for a 20 per cent cap on federal spending, which is currently 25 per cent. The share targeted by Rick Perry is 18 per cent.
’All Republicans are focussed on expenditure cuts, while the Democrats are falling back on increased taxes on the rich, taxes that could never deliver the dividend of a balanced budget.
’What leftist writers are missing is the agenda change brought about by collapsing European economies and the US federal budget deficit at 10 per cent of GDP. The issues are shifting to spending cuts. Spending cuts are increasingly urgent in Australia and are policy imperatives in the US, Japan and most European countries where debt is greater than GDP.’
Andrew Robb is seeking to identify savings, targetting $70 billion which the ALP considers to be huge but which Judy Sloane on Q&A demonstrated to be almost easy within the context of four years and the agggregate level of government spending.
However, many within the coalition are however still talking about increased spending on social program areas. Moreover an in-coming coalition government still has to determine how to extricate the taxpayer from the carbon tax commitment costs that the current government wants to leave as its legacy. It also has to figure out how to dismantle the increasing costs of its renewable energy requirements and how to stop pouring money into snake oil schemes like the Queensland Zerogen proposed $4 billion carbon capture ‘world first’ power station the collapse of which, at a cost to taxpayers $160 million, was revealed this morning.