Budget Repair Proposal – Politician Super Profit Tax

The latest budget from this Liberal-National Coalition Government included a measure called a bank “levy”.  Although it was called a levy, it is really a tax. But unlike a normal tax, it is targeted at 5 specific banks, rather than all banks or all businesses.

It has been argued by various commentators that there is a good policy basis for this tax – it is to compensate citizens for the benefit of the implied government guarantee and other alleged privileges these particular banks receive.

Many, and notably the Treasurer, the Hon. Scott Morrison, have suggested that the tax is also justifiable because the banks, and these 5 banks in particular, are generally unliked.  So said the Treasurer at a post budget presentation last week:

(customers) already don’t like you very much.

The Treasurer also urged the (business) sector to tell them (banks) to:

pony up and help fix the budget.

Thus, this Budget has birthed a the new Australian Tax doctrine, whereby if you are:

  1. generally unliked;
  2. benefit from a government/tax payer guarantee; and
  3. earn super profits

then your taxes should be increased.

Well then.  Based on this new tax doctrine, the income tax of our politicians must be increased so as to contribute to budget repair.  Let’s test the qualifications:

  1. Are politicians generally unliked? Is there any doubt? TICK
  2. Do politicians benefit from a government/tax payer guarantee? When was the last time their income was cut or superannuation threatened?  Can anyone else get their employer to pay for their family holiday? TICK
  3. Do politicians earn super profits? A base salary of $199,040 per annum plus super/retirement benefits, plus various role/committee allowances, plus travel allowances, plus electoral allowance? Is this a serious question? TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK – I am not a bomb – TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.

According to the budget papers, it costs over $400 million to feed and water our 226 elected officials (150 MPs and 76 Senators) or around $1.9 million (*corrected) each. How many listed company CEOs earn that much?

Within this cost is also around $3.1 million for international junkets for our politicians for purposes unclear – see the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program and Australian Political Exchange Program.  Apparently also the $2.2 million Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program was supposed to have been axed, but lo and behold, its back.  How do you separate a politicians from a business class overseas trip?  With a crow bar.

If every single one of our parliamentarian took their trip, the average cost would be around $14,000 trip each. Nice business class return flights to Paris for the Spring anyone?

How about an efficiency dividend?  The public service is supposed to get hit.  How about we have a 10% reduction in MPs from the current 150 to 135 and each state cough up 2 senators?  Australia has roughly 1 member of parliament for every 158,000 persons.  The US has roughly 1 congressman for every 738,000 person.  Clearly there is some inefficiencies available.

OK Treasurer Morrison. Your doctrine. You implement it.

Time to pony up buddy and contribute to budget repair. It’s only fair.

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29 Responses to Budget Repair Proposal – Politician Super Profit Tax

  1. candy

    Scott Morrison is generally unlikeable. Bluff, arrogant and speaks very fast to deliberate confuse the issues.

    A slightly cruel tilt to his mouth and facial area, unfortunate for him, but he must be taxed. It’s only fair.

  2. NormaP

    Brilliant.
    It is mostly wasted sitting here though.
    How about submitting it to the Oz for publication? If not accepted, can Sinc to forward it to Turnbull and ScoMo.?

  3. mh

    I Am Spartacus finally gets it right.

  4. Diogenes

    Make pollies subject to same super rules as us plebs . TICK !

  5. Robber Baron

    Which politician will vote for this? Not even the dead ones that vote in every election would.

    Let’s just shoot them all. Faster…cheaper.

  6. Mother Lode

    According to the budget papers, it costs over $400 million to feed and water our 226 elected officials (150 MPs and 76 Senators) or around $1.9 each.

    When I read that as $1.90 each, my first thought was “Whoa, that is way too much!”

  7. .

    Just cut their per capita funding by half and give them total discretion over how it is spent.

  8. Siltstone

    Maybe the banks could impose a special fee on all politicians accounts.

  9. Tim Neilson

    Somewhat OT, but get a copy of today’s Fin Rev and read the article “Remember Menzies’ Forgotten People”. You may not agree with it all, but it’s great stuff. Perhaps a technologically skilled Cat can give us a link?
    I know it’s only a newspaper article talking a good game, but we do need to get the public mindset changed before we can expect any action from politicians – the old “don’t wait to elect good people, make it preferable for the bad people to do good things”.

  10. stackja

    A past ‘perk’ ‘controversy’:

    Then, in October 1967, Gorton came to public prominence in the so-called ‘VIP affair’. The Labor Opposition had mounted a damaging challenge to the government over the use of the VIP government planes. When requested in the House, Harold Holt failed to reveal the names of passengers who flew on VIP flights. This was seen as a denial that the information could be obtained. Repeated stonewalling and obfuscation by senior public servants, and the failure of Peter Howson, the Minister for Air, to resolve the matter, caused the Holt government growing embarrassment as the 1967 Senate election approached. Recently promoted to leader of the government in the Senate, Gorton discovered the information did exist, and obtained and tabled in the Senate the passenger manifests from the Department of Air. Overnight, he had saved the government.

  11. Bruce of Newcastle

    I’d prefer that any Treasurer who presides over a deficit budget must be legally required to have one ball surgically removed and ceremonially carbonised on Budget Night.

    Do it three times and they’d have to sit down to pee.

    Should focus their minds somewhat.

    Nothing beats skin in the game. And other body parts.

    (To be fair and unisex, lady Treasurers would get two mastectomies and a hysty.)

  12. A Lurker

    We’re certainly not receiving value for money for our politicians.
    I’d prefer to sack ’em, but if we can’t do that, then tax ’em.

  13. Mother Lode

    We’re certainly not receiving value for money for our politicians.

    They are keynesian to a man microbe.

    They think their lolling about beside swimming pools having peeled grapes dropped into their gobs by pert-breasted maidens helps the economy.

  14. ned

    Worst on Top

    As government regulation and taxation grow, he wrote, ”the individual would more than ever become a mere means, to be used by the authority in the service of such abstractions as ‘the social welfare’ or the ‘good of the community.’ ”

    Planners always assume that such power would only be wielded by the wisest and kindest of people.

    But Hayek pointed out that in practice that power had been used by the likes of Hitler and Stalin.

    And that was no accident, he said.

    A socialist state makes it easy for such people to climb to the top.

    Once a government sets out to control the lives of its citizens – to regulate how and when they do business, to guide economic activity – it must assume tremendous power over their lives.

    And it must by necessity disregard the wishes of individuals.

    It should be no surprise, then, said Hayek, that the persons who rise to the top of such a government are those who most want to wield power, those who are most ruthless in using power.

    That is why the very worst get to the top of socialist states.

    https://mises.org/library/worst-top

  15. duncanm

    I suggest an alternative – provide a bit of incentive.

    Each $10B into deficit (real, not forecast) – they get a $10k pay-cut.

  16. Do it three times and they’d have to sit down to pee.

    Bruce,

    Based on their performance I am convinced that they already do sit down to pee.

  17. Beachside

    Tim Neilson
    #2384116, posted on May 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Somewhat OT, but get a copy of today’s Fin Rev and read the article “Remember Menzies’ Forgotten People”. You may not agree with it all, but it’s great stuff. Perhaps a technologically skilled Cat can give us a link?

    AFR – Robert Menzies forgotten people

    As Menzies put it, ‘To discourage ambition, to envy success, to hate achieved superiority, to distrust independent thought, to sneer at and impute false motive for public service – these are the maladies of modern democracy in particular.’ R.L. Stewart

    Australia’s longest serving prime minister, Robert Menzies, wrote shortly after his retirement that he did not believe “in the verdict of history, only in its sense”.

    The old man of Australian politics saw the multitude of voices, the differing perspectives, and the gulf between those who make decisions and those who live them out, to know that a definitive account of one’s actions and their consequences is difficult.

    However, as the decades pass, the “sense of history” has become that Menzies was the compass that set Australia’s course for the second half of the 20th century.

    Next Monday, May 22 marks the 75th anniversary of Menzies’ “Forgotten People” broadcast. It was one of Australia’s hinge-points in the 20th century. Not that it appeared so at the time.

    Link (cached)

  18. tgs

    Brilliant post, Spartacus. Love your work.

  19. Tim Neilson

    Thanks Beachside.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Put this to referendum with the indigenius superiority proposal ,guess which one would pass ? One term per failed lawyer per lifetime ,and pay your own super airfares , offices and staff when your one term expires, a sort of sortition . No apartheid for Australia ,liberate aboriginals from socialist oppression and rule by the semi indigenius quislings .

  21. Tim Neilson

    No apartheid for Australia ,liberate aboriginals from socialist oppression and rule by the semi indigenius quislings .
    In many cases “semi” is considerably overstating it Dr Fred.

  22. classical_hero

    What about NGO’s that get government money? They should be required to pay up to help the budget repair.

  23. RobK

    I can’t fault Sparty’s logic.
    On:
    “Each $10B into deficit (real, not forecast) – they get a $10k pay-cut.” Be sure to make it clear that they all get that pay cut.

  24. Tezza

    Good idea.

    In the same spirit, may I suggest that the Government could better align incentives in Parliament and the public service to work towards return to budget to surplus more quickly.

    The Government should issue a directive to the Remuneration Tribunal that fiscal conditions required that there be absolutely no further increases whatever in Parliamentarians’ and senior executive service salaries until 3 years after the budget’s headline cash balance has been back in surplus, with continuing cash balances surpluses steadily projected over the forward estimates.

    After a few years’ modest inflation eroding real income, the peer pressure within Parliament on some of the flakier cross-benchers should build up nicely.

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