Please believe Spartacus when he says this, but he certainly has much better things to do . But clearly there is a gap in the market that needs to be addressed.
The ABC has Media Watch (MW). The Sydney Institute has Media Watch Dog (MWD). And now, sadly for the need of it, I Am Spartacus has Van Onselen Watch (VOW). Spartacus does not have the wide distribution of the ABC or The Sydney Institute, nor does he have the $1.1 billion across both organisations (99.8% within the ABC), but here’s having a go.
Fresh today (16 May 2018), Van Onselen wrote another insightful article for the Australian – At least Labor is talking the talk on tax reforms. The first thing one notes from this is that, having left the employ of SkyNews, Van Onselen has pick up another tax payer funded gig. No. Spartacus is not talking about the ABC (which is already widely known). Rather, Van Onselen’s by-line now says this:
Peter van Onselen is a professor at the University of Western Australia and Griffith University
Did anyone notice the quiet addition of this professorship at Griffith University?
But it is not his travel budget that warrants attention. Here are some highlights from his considered piece:
The government’s attacks on Labor for its taxation policies directed at closing loopholes and concessions, especially for older Australians
No Professor Van Onselen. Labor’s tax policies are not about closing loopholes and concessions. They are about increasing taxes. There is also no such thing as a tax “loophole”. They are not accidents in the tax code. They are deliberate policies. You may not agree with the policies, but please don’t sprinkle hundreds-and-thousands on a turd and call it a cupcake.
Reform to the GST has been firmly placed in the too-hard basket by both major parties.
Professor Van Onselen. Please recall from English for Politicians that “Multiple tax increases are not tax reform”. There has been no recent reform offering to reduce some taxes and increase the GST. What is on offer is just an increase in the GST. Increasing tax revenue is not reform. It is increasing tax revenue. See above – sprinkling hundreds-and-thousands on a turd does not a cupcake make.
Don’t get me wrong, I worry that Labor overcooks its expected numbers when it comes to negative gearing and dividend imputation reforms. I also have concerns that it will spend the saves before they are realised.
Ah. An application of Swan-glish buy using the term “saves”. Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing and dividend imputation are not saves or even savings. They are tax increases. Reference is made again to English for Politicians that says “A tax increase in not a saving”.
Structural reform to the tax setting is thus crucial, and only Labor is going there. I don’t like all of their changes, I don’t think they will get them all through the parliament and I worry that they spend too much in conjunction with such reforms. But at least they are genuinely looking at tax reform, in contrast to a government that walked away from the tax white paper.
Yet again Professor Van Onselen is suggesting that increasing taxes is structural reform to the tax settings. No Professor. It is just tax increases. Don’t mask it. Own it.
To be fair though, in one statement Van Onselen is correct, half correct:
At least Labor has a plan for the demographic tsunami about to hit.
Yes there is a demographic tsunami about to hit. But in as much as the Liberals don’t have a plan for it, neither does Labor.
Dear Professor. Please write 1,000 times on the white board (Spartacus is clearly showing his age):
- Increasing taxes is not reform. Increasing taxes is not savings. Increasing taxes is not the solution to every (or in fact any) public policy and social problem.
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