This is as terrible as we could make them sound

You know the scattergun, throw as much mud as possible in the last week when the Greens can’t effectively counter it and some will almost certainly stick tactic I’ve been confident was coming? Well, here we go.

This is the most negative spin Christian Kerr, in the Murdoch press, could come up with on a carefully selected subset of the Greens’ policies (followed by my retort):

  • The Greens want “free gender reassignment surgery for those born with an “intersex condition”” – by which he means they argue that the professionally-advised treatment for a medically-recognised psychological condition should be covered by Medicare. But it sounds so much more “outlandish” when you put it his way.
  • The Greens want “support for trials of state-supplied heroin on prescription” – you mean methadone clinics? You mean treating heroin addiction as the medical problem that everyone who works in the field agrees that it is, rather than turning into a criminal problem that affects all of us in the wider community, as the present approach does?
  • The Greens “want to increase the company tax rate to 33 per cent.” Why’s that so “non-mainstream”? We ordinary taxpayers pay considerably more than that, and we don’t get the special privileges of corporations.
  • “They want a new personal income tax bracket of 50 per cent.” For those earning more than a million a year, and only on that income above one million a year. But of course, leaving out that critical detail makes it sound much more scary, which is the aim.
  • “They also want to bring back death duties through what they call an estate tax.” I am calling them “death duties” because that sounds much scarier than the simple proposition that estates being handed to someone who hasn’t earned them should be, like any other income, taxed in order to fund services.
  • “The party wants a so-called Tobin tax on foreign currency transactions – a levy of a 100th of 1 per cent – even though such a step will increase the cost of finance and flow on to mortgage interest rates, small business loans and industry borrowings.” Yup, by a huge amount. To pay a single dollar in tax you’d have to be transferring $10,000. A dollar on $10,000! Why, that’d almost be a noticeable fraction of the charges the finance companies impose!
  • “The Greens also want to see family trusts taxed as companies” – why shouldn’t they be?
  • “road congestion taxes” – that’s the stick, but the carrot is better public transport.
  • “the reduction or elimination of personal and business tax concessions, such as the fringe benefits tax treatment of company cars.” – but these are some of the benefits that separate us from poor people who don’t have expensive accountants!
  • “They also want the tariff on imported four-wheel-drive vehicles increased to 10 per cent for non-primary producers.” – instead of the situation for years under Howard where road-hogging, inefficient 4WDs actually get preferable treatment.
  • “The Greens have made much of their support for the original resource super-profits tax throughout the election campaign, despite its impact on the strength of the dollar, the stockmarket and the retirement savings of millions of Australians whose superannuation funds have holdings in the mining industry.” Despite the utter bullshit peddled by the mining industry and its supporters in the media and Liberal Party, you mean.

And that’s all they’ve got, for today at least. And whilst it would appeal, no doubt, to hardline rightwingers who wouldn’t vote for the Greens in a pink fit, I doubt it would deter any Greens voters at all.

I wonder what the rest of the week will bring?

PS Something else to add to the contradictory lines: the Greens are all taxes and punishing the wealthy just out of spite/the Greens are outrageous spendthrifts who have no means of paying for the public services they advocate. If we portray them as either all spending or all taxes, then we can make them look alternately irresponsible or penny-pinching, even though when put together those attacks make no sense.

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41 responses to “This is as terrible as we could make them sound

  1. It’s blatant cherry picking like this that means I will never part with stamped low value metal alloys for this newspaper. It serves no informational purpose and as far as entertainment value goes, this does not tickle my fancy. (LoL cats do however).

  2. So first the Greens’ opponents are attacked for not reading the policies. Then, when they do look them up, they are attacked again. Because of course no one is as sane, fair, reasonable or rational as a Green, and anyone who thinks otherwise is evil.

    Did it ever occur to you that people who have worked hard to buy a house might not want to have a methadone clinic set up down the road? Or that those who have money don’t just have it by accident of birth or fate, but often through very hard work, and they feel they have already paid enough tax without having more of it frittered away on politicians’ pet re-election projects? We’ve already been around the traps on Green policies before but for every sensible policy (I too would like to re-evaluate the “war” on drugs) there are ten that are insane, protectionist, isolationist or written without any reference to the real world. Indeed many of them seem to be motivated by aesthetics more than anything else, and a distaste for people making their own choices even when those displease you. Just because I have a bunch of children, why should I be penalised for buying a vehicle large enough to haul them all around? Or is that the point?

  3. “Then, when they do look them up, they are attacked again.”

    Uh, yeah. That’s what I was criticising Christian for, sure. For looking them up and fairly reporting on them.

    “Did it ever occur to you that people who have worked hard to buy a house might not want to have a methadone clinic set up down the road? “

    Oh, so you actually believed the Fundies First garbage about an injecting room “on every street”? Lol.

    Did it occur to you that people who have worked hard to buy a house might not want to be at constant risk of burglaries and so forth because that’s what the current policy promotes? Or that they might not want all their taxes going to new prisons, which is the only way the big parties know how to deal with the problem?

    “Or that those who have money don’t just have it by accident of birth or fate, but often through very hard work, and they feel they have already paid enough tax without having more of it frittered away on politicians’ pet re-election projects? “

    Many of those of us who’ve worked hard for a living have no problem paying taxes to support decent public education (so that future generations have the opportunities to develop their skills for the benefit of themselves and all of us) – and decent public health (so that people aren’t dying waiting for care). You can dismiss these things as “politicians’ pet re-election projects” if you like, but most fair-minded Australians would see that disparagement for the stupidity it is.

    “Just because I have a bunch of children, why should I be penalised for buying a vehicle large enough to haul them all around?”

    There are lots of public benefits paid to help people raise kids which could compensate if that’s the reason you’ve had to buy a 4WD.

  4. I have no problem funding essential services. Schools. Roads. Hospitals. Defence. All good. But it is ridiculous to claim that every nonsensical program, every arts grant, every communications contract is somehow an “essential service” the cutting of which represents an assault on civil society. A CBA-free NBN, billions of dollars promised for a rail link that will never be built (but which will still cost millions in ‘feasability studies’, etc, sorry, but I resent paying for this nonsense just so a bunch of pollies can keep their jobs.

    So you’re saying I should go looking for some sort of benefits churn to offset your 4WD envy tax? What’s wrong with just buying a car because one likes it?

  5. I’m also opposed to nonsensical programs.

    So are the Greens.

  6. Do the Greens advocate methadone clinics? I don’t, Methadone is more debilitating than heroin. I do however advocate the legalisation of all drugs because it is blatantly obvious that criminalisation and prohibition are a complete waste of timea and money, they just don’t work.

    In the wise words of Jello Biafra – “We don’t need drugs lets legalise them, that way the mob can’t price them”…to which I add that the mob and other drug dealers would be put instantly out of business, NO MORE PUSHERS, less uptake of drugs by the young. (except the tobacco industry).

    “Just because I have a bunch of children, why should I be penalised for buying a vehicle large enough to haul them all around?”

    Well, that’s a good reason to own a large vehicle, can you tell me where the Greens have said you should be cramming your kids into a tiny car? The problem with oversized vehicles from my observations are more often than not they are piloted by fat middle aged men with no passengers , it’s their commuter of choice, a poor choice I reckon.

  7. “What’s wrong with just buying a car because one likes it?”

    Nothing, unless it’s to the detriment of other road users and the environment. If you’ve got loads of kids to drive around then fine, get one, if you live off road then fine, get one, if you’re a fat road raging git, get one, just don’t expect others to respect your poor choice.

  8. Thanks Rob, next time I buy a car I’ll buy something nice and crumply so that me and my passengers aren’t unfairly privileged by the protection of a couple tons of European steel and more airbags than a shipment from Amazon. Equality, right?

  9. Ah, yes, the road-based arms race. Shabadoo doesn’t care about how much his vehicular choice puts the rest of us in more danger…

  10. “hat me and my passengers aren’t unfairly privileged by the protection of a couple tons of European steel ”

    Yes, that’s a real benefit to OTHER road users. /SARC

  11. No but a real benefit to my family. This little debate, while off on a tangent from Jeremy’s original post, has fleshed out the Hegelian nature of the Left and its hostility to family.

  12. Besides Shabadootwo, I’m sure I said your reason for having a large car was a good one, Oh look, I did:

    You – “Just because I have a bunch of children, why should I be penalised for buying a vehicle large enough to haul them all around?”

    Me – “Well, that’s a good reason to own a large vehicle,”

  13. I let my subscription to Crikey lapse because of Christian Kerr. Now that he’s in the News camp it’s clear his loyalties were always with the Tory side of politics and he never had any journalistic integrity.

  14. Don’t the Libs and the Labs also have policies supporting methadone treatments? Jeez Shabs who ya gonna vote for if there’s no one left?

  15. And Kerr’s a good one to talk about politics, considering what that prick of a grandfather of his did to the Australian political system in 1975.

  16. weewillywinkee

    I did an early polling booth today and I must say that the support for the Greens was actually strong. People of all ages were coming up to me and specifically asking for our how to vote in both houses. I was rather and pleasantly surprised.

    I envision a massive slander campaign to commence this week on the Greens. I hope people take the time to inform themselves. Your doing an excellent job in dispelling the myths J.

  17. “the simple proposition that estates being handed to someone who hasn’t earned them should be, like any other income, taxed in order to fund services.”

    Why should gifts be taxed just because they’re given after death? Won’t people just avoid it by divesting themselves of title in the lead-up to death? Hasn’t that income already been taxed, as it was accumulated by the deceased?

  18. Why shouldn’t inheritance be taxed? Everything else is taxed. If I perform a service for someone else, it’s taxed. If I sell my house to someone else, it’s taxed. The fact that the money that’s being paid was previously taxed when the payer originally earned it is irrelevant – it’s a tax on the activity, not the money itself.

    You are correct that people will try to avoid it by dodgily giving stuff away before death, and I’m not sure how to get around that. People trying to avoid the taxman in that way are taking some huge risks though, because once they’ve lost those assets they have nothing and are at other people’s mercy. Which I suppose is what happens when they sign them over to the real sharks, like banks and nursing homes.

    Are we talking about how to enforce the tax and stop people dodging it, or whether it’s fair in the first place? I think inheritance is fundamentally unfair, but the Greens aren’t proposing to get rid of it, just to tax it a little – and, as a source of income that can be used to fund services without increasing the burden on the living, that seems not unreasonable. In terms of how you enforce it – well, that’s something they’d need to consider carefully. People who don’t care about society always try to avoid any tax; that’s no reason to give up on the idea.

  19. “has fleshed out the Hegelian nature of the Left and its hostility to family.”

    One more time:

    Me – “Well, that’s a good reason to own a large vehicle,””

    “hostility to family”

    I’m left, I’m very pro family myself.

  20. Is everything else taxed? Not so sure: I’m fairly sure child support is not taxed. Nor are proceeds of legal judgments, i.e. defamation claims, etc, as far as I know. But I could be wrong: after all, I’m not a judge, and you’re a law-talkin’ guy.

    In any case, just because a transfer isn’t taxed doesn’t mean it should be. We don’t need the state intermediating in every single transaction or aspect of life, taking its cut like a mafioso after his “vig”.

  21. Wouldn’t make much sense to tax child support or legal judgments as those are the system transferring money to those deemed to deserve to receive it. They’re not optional transactions.

    I’m not suggesting taxing “every single transaction or aspect of life”, but the state has to fund services somehow, and taxing inheritance would seem to be preferable to raising taxes on the living.

  22. Inheritance taxes are good, they prevent families locking up obscene levels of wealth for generations, therefore depriving others. They’d prevent clowns like Jamie Packer (he’s a scientologist, they’re idiots) getting their hands on totally undeserved obscene wealth.

  23. OK – Packer would still inherit zillions but so would the state, fairs fair, without the state Packer (everybody) would be nothing.

  24. “ETU defends big donation to greens”

    “In a blow to Labor, the ETU has donated $325,000 to the Greens, more than the party’s entire campaign donations last election. ”

    You can read it at the ABC.

    What’s to defend? Why wouldn’t they donate to the party that best represents their interests?

  25. “locking up … depriving others.”

    It’s not a zero-sum game, RobJ.

    “Why shouldn’t inheritance be taxed? Everything else is taxed.”

    We don’t live in your redistributionist dystopia yet. There is a class of things and processes taxed, and a class that are not. The reasons a thing is in one of those classes are many, but a moral and practical framework is evident. You make various assertions that inheritance taxes fit the first part, acknowledge that its practical difficulties are large, but maintain they are still better than “raising taxes on the living”.

    Where’s the evidence? If avoidance is easy and high, revenues will be low. Even if they outweigh the straight cost to government of processing the paperwork, think of all the resources spent on accountants and lawyers and real estate agents to avoid the tax. Of course, you might like that.

    The ones who will possibly do the taxpaying are those who don’t have the cashflow to pay for fancy professionals, but do have one large asset, like a farm.

    Lastly, the choice doesn’t have to be between a tax here or a tax there – it could be to not tax in the first place.

  26. “What’s to defend? Why wouldn’t they donate to the party that best represents their interests?”

    yeh, the ETU has donated to the greens before, so Im not sure where the paper’s going with that article.

    actually, apart from AEC money and a few unions, the greens dont have any financial support.. which is why they will never see big time politics.

    when 90% of seats are decided by the candidate who spends the most, a $3m budget wont get far. just one donor on the liberal side exceeds their annual receipts haha

  27. “It’s not a zero-sum game, RobJ.”

    And wealth is NOT infinite.

  28. Splatterbottom

    “And wealth is NOT infinite.”

    Which is why it should be kept from governments who will piss it against the wall at the first opportunity.

    There are too many grasping bandits who, rather than actually generating wealth, employ their greedy minds in devising a thousand cunning plots to steal from those who do generate wealth. If you want to create more wealth, you should favour policies which encourage the generation of wealth, rather than policies which encourage bludging.

  29. “Which is why it should be kept from governments who will piss it against the wall at the first opportunity.”

    Might as well not have govts then eh? FFS!

    Heh, maybe I agree with you, I’m sick of the middle class welfare doshed out to people who hardly need it by this and the previous govt. I’m sick of the waste processing GENUINE refugees off shore. I’m so pissed off that we paid the US for laser guided bombs to drop on targets chosen by them in Iraq.

    “There are too many grasping bandits who,”

    Like those mining zillionaires, you know, the fat twats who can’t even tie their own shoe laces, making obscene amounts of money by digging up OUR resources (well getting others (real workers) to do it for them).

  30. Blast Tyrant

    I’m sick of the middle class welfare doshed out to people who hardly need it by this and the previous govt. I’m sick of the waste processing GENUINE refugees off shore. I’m so pissed off that we paid the US for laser guided bombs to drop on targets chosen by them in Iraq

    Like those mining zillionaires, you know, the fat twats who can’t even tie their own shoe laces, making obscene amounts of money by digging up OUR resources (well getting others (real workers) to do it for them).

    Damn straight. That’s the real pissing against the wall.

  31. Splatterbottom

    Not saying we shouldn’t have government, but governments should realise their primary role is to protect liberty and promote the generation of wealth. The best way of helping someone is to help them earn their keep.

  32. promoting the generation of wealth is all well and good but not if it’s just the same old story of the rich getting richer, after all,we all now understand that Reaganomics and ‘trickle down’ are bullshit. Unfortunately most billionaires don’t think the same way as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

    To me another primary role of Govt is to provide infrastructure, it’s absurd to think that the market will do this properly, they will only provide infrastructure where profitable but people live all over. If it weren’t for the telecommunications Universal Service Obligation in this nation people in regional Australia wouldn’t even have telephones, let alone broadband.

    I reckon the following are essential infrastructure:

    Water
    Power/Gas
    Communications
    Health
    Education
    Roads
    Public Transport
    Police/Fire/Ambo/Defence (not offence – let the markets pay for that 🙂 )

    None of them are cheap, hence we need to pay taxes if we believe that all Australians should have access to the infrastructure listed.

  33. Without vital infrastructure nobody will be in a position to create any substantial wealth.

  34. “Without vital infrastructure nobody will be in a position to create any substantial wealth.”

    Helllooooooo thanks for stating the BLEEDING OBVIOUS to SB, JJ and other Reaganomics graduates here. And there is plenty of scientific research showing exactly how redistribution creates a measurably healthier society.

    Oh, that’s right: “Society doesn’t exist. There are only individuals.” Right?

  35. Splatterbottom

    The government has a role to play in all of those on the list, Rob J. The difficulty with privatisation of such things is that it replaces a public monopoly with a private monopoly.

    However, the private sector had a role to play, and can improve the efficiency of the system. An example of this is how much more wisely private schools spent their BER money.

  36. The private sector will always have a role to play, tendering for govt contracts for starters.

    I believe that ideally the govt should own the infrastructure and the private sector should compete to use that infrastructure.

  37. Splatterbottom

    Civilisation requires taxation. It also requires that the proceeds be spent wisely. That means it should not be wasted by say, stimulus spending that doesn’t kick in until after the downturn has passed.

    The problem is not with private ownership of infrastructure per se, but that privatising it often creates monopolies. The differences here are really around getting the right balance.

  38. I’ve always thought that all essential services should be publicly owned but privately run.
    In other words, management should be sourced from the public and private sectors based merit, and not tenure, and they should be paid commercial rates to do their jobs.
    And those jobs should be done as they would be in the private sector.

    The problem with public utilities is the mindset of it’s employees that assumes they have a job for life regardless of incompetence.
    Running our public entities like they were private corporations would enrage the public sector unions but provide a better return for the taxpayer.

    Cheers.

  39. We could debate whether or not the stimulus spending was a waste but it seems to me that your implication is that Labor who you incorrectly presume are left, and clearly you hate ‘the left’ are worse than the coalition? What about the Pacific Solution for a waste of money, what about the invasion of Iraq (and subsequent purchase of laser guided bombs) or the ridiculous trend started by Costello/Howard and carried on by the ALP of welfare to people who don’t need it?

    They both waste money, loads of it, they just waste it on different things. More often than not they waste money on the same stuff, like vilifying asylum seekers.

    If you hate waste and unsustainable policies kif you hate bigotry then do what I’m going to do, vote Green.

  40. I don’t think it’s really possible to assert that private schools spent their money more wisely, particularly as most of these schools don’t open their books to public scrutiny, in the same way that the public system is obliged to. And boasting that there have been no complaints from the sectarian schools about their BER funding is pretty disingenuous – imagine the (justified) outcry from the public if they were to do that!

  41. Splatterbottom

    Marek:

    The problem with public utilities is the mindset of it’s employees that assumes they have a job for life regardless of incompetence.
    Running our public entities like they were private corporations would enrage the public sector unions but provide a better return for the taxpayer.

    This is certainly a serious problem. Privatisation seems to work well in some areas like road-building, but I’m not sure it is as effective in others such as corrections.

    RM your blindness to the waste and fraud in the BER is not surprising. Even Gillard admits it, but being a committed wastrel of public funds, it is no surprise that she admits she would do it all over again. It is time to turf this callous blood-drenched usurper out on her ample arse.

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