John Quiggin has an op-ed talking about subsidies to the auto industry. He finishes with this statement:
The “economic rationalist” case against car industry assistance is undermined by the fact that so many opponents of tariff protection lined up to support the mining industry in its opposition to a resource rent tax. As with the car industry, the miners relied heavily on claims that jobs would be destroyed unless the industry continued to be given open access to minerals located under both privately and publicly owned land.
Being opposed to bad economic policy in the case of the mining tax means that you can’t criticise another bad policy in the form of tariffs? Really?
But what about the facts? First nobody has suggested that miners want “open access to minerals” – the mining industry pays royalties to State governments for access to minerals. The original issue was that the output based royalty should be replaced by a profit based royalty but that was never the actual policy proposal. Second Mitch Hook of the Minerals Council of Australia, as reported in the AFR, had these arguments against the mining tax;
He said the proposed new tax would hit the mining industry with such a sledgehammer that it would destroy value, deter investment, reduce growth, and affect every mum and dad who has shares of equity or provides goods.
Implicit in that list is job losses, but the list seems more comprehensive.
Update: John Quiggin responds here.