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What you had to say about the diary
What I really want for this diary is an ''outside in'' button, so people can post their comments to the public, not just me through email.
I'm told that's possible, but everyone at the Herald is frantic getting ready for our Olympics coverage, so I'll have to wait till the post-Olympics blues for that.
Till then, I'll record some emails as part of the diary.
I don't know if it's just that Herald readers and listeners to Late Night Live are wonderful people, or whether only wonderful people are reading my diary, but I've got only nice emails so far. If I get a really nasty one, I'll publish a nice one with it, for balance.
So here's the response to yesterday's diary:
Cathy: Hi. I just wanted to comment on something else that might effect the three-month review of the GST.
We hear that the government is going to receive over double what it
expected in GST revenue, and that the windfall might be even more than
So, where is all the money going to come from? They don't seriously expect us to believe that the cash economy was quite that big....
To put this in perspective, my husband was a medical research assistant in New Zealand when their GST was introduced.
That 12.5% GST was sufficient to fund a tax cut for his supervisor (and everyone else in his tax bracket) which was greater than my husband's entire salary.
The tax cuts granted to Australians of all salary levels are unbelievably meagre in comparison. Now, I'm not arguing that the higher salary brackets should have got greater tax cuts, I'm just pointing out that if there is greater revenue drawn, someone must be paying a heck of a lot more tax.
Howard even uses tax cuts for the rich as a justification for the GST in his little letter to us all.
He cites a problem with the old tax system being that people were not motivated to earn more because so much of the higher salaries goes in tax.
As I read it, this translates to: The rich should be taxed less, so that people have more motivation to earn more.
Now apart from being straight bullshit (I don't think people notice their level of taxation until it changes), this demonstrates a very punitive morality - punish the poor, because it will motivate them to become rich.
As if being poor wasn't motivation enough..
It sounds awfully like John Howard's "incentivation" (anyone remember that?). Here's another prediction. If it remains in office, the government would use the windfall to give progressive tax cuts which would increasingly favour the rich. Just a guess.
Andrea: I think your point about political reporting has been waiting to be made for a long, long time ... because when it comes down to it, as a reader, worker, citizen, most people are really only academically interested in the manoeuvring, the Machiavellian moves and the posturing.
I know I really want to know what government is doing, how this benefits most people or least, and whether it is living up to its pre-election advertising. (It's a pity that political parties aren't covered by fair trading laws).
In the absence of that sort of reporting, I want to know if the bureaucracy is doing its job and if it is being allowed to do its job.
I want to know if political parties are moving ahead or just moving in on themselves. I want to know why it is politically feasible to suggest free trade but the logical accompaniment of free (not defamatory or licensed or regulated) expression is totally out of the question.
I would really love to see more journalists stepping out of the PR and source machine and following up the questions that most people want answers to - or at least more information on.
On that note, I'll add that I thought your work on Pauline Hanson was some of the best reporting and perspective I've seen in an Australian newspaper - keep it up. (Margo: Aren't you unusual!)
Chris: An SMH journo with a email address that the public can see. Hope you don't get inundated with too much crap.
The real sting in the tail of the New Tax System for the Libs is coming in October and more so in January. These are when the first two Business Activity Statements are due to be filed. The first will be hellish because it is the first one.
The second will be a disaster because small businesses especially in service sectors traditionally don't have much actual revenue in January and February.
And they are going to have to come back from holiday earlier than usual to start work on the BAS. And they ain't going to have the cash to pass on to the ATO ... And what's the ATO gonna do? Put 5,000, 10,000, x 000 of the Liberal's core constituency out of business?
A lot of small business people are in business because they perceived that there were ways of er ahem minimising their tax, especially when it came to cash or contras.
It made the grief of running your own small business worthwhile. Now that benefit has gone.
Now I would venture that most people in this category are natural coalition voters - they will not be best pleased. And they are going to have to recover the lost "revenue" or reduce their standard of living.
In our case we have never had any cash income so they way we handle our customers won't change. But what will change is all the record keeping (non productive, non-billable work) that we will have to do.
This overhead will increase, we estimate, to about 10% of our time. We like a lot a service businesses will have to increase our charges to our clients to cover this cost and the extra accountancy fees.
Presumably these extra charges will be passed on eventually to their customers. 7% inflation? - More like 11%.
And because some of our contractors can't or won't get ABNs we are getting more of our programming work done offshore. And we are not the Lone Rangers in this regard.
Bad for our CAD. (Incidentally I can't understand why Crean and Beazer don't make more of this considering how badly they were beaten about the head on this in '96).
Joan M: I agree about the need for the media to restrain from reporting political rhetoric about who is in front. There should be more coverage about what the new system says about our attitudes towards each other..
Tax cuts really aren't beneficial in the end. Because of a capitalistic culture, the money we get from the cuts, won't be used for our own well being, as the tax was in the past. We won't use the extra 50 bucks to go educate ourselves, to join a union, to get our flu injections, to go into rehab.
The balance is all wrong.
I am hoping Howard will be out next election. But Australians seem to respect someone who acts like a toughie.
Anyway, it's always nice to peek in someone's diary.