Extraordinary, the very week of Australia Day, how pathetic some people are being about the idea of paying a levy to help rebuild Queensland after the floods.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he strongly opposed the flood levy, and the clean-up could be paid for by spending cuts.
…which he refused to specify, other than abandoning any Labor program that he’s duty bound to whinge about. (No, no, 3G wireless is a broadband network! Really it is!)
“If the Rudd-Gillard Government hadn’t so recklessly squandered the surplus left to it by the Howard government, it would now be in a position to respond effectively to the floods without a new tax,” Mr Abbott writes in today’s Herald Sun.
PLEASE HERALD SUN READERS DON’T REMEMBER WE JUST HAD A GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SURPLUS SITUATION QUICK LOOK OVER THERE.
“Families that are already struggling with higher grocery and electricity costs are going to be hit again by tax increases.”
Families on less than $50k each won’t pay the tax at all, and those on an average income will pay about $90. I know! To Queenslanders! Isn’t it outrageous? Why can’t it be paid for by making life even harder for the poor, eh?
Mr Abbott said people who had made donations, volunteered for the clean-up, and even flood victims, would be forced to pay the tax.
No, Tony Abbott is quite wrong: flood victims will not pay the tax. Anyone who received the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (which was not means-tested) will not have to pay the tax. (I think the wealthier ones should, but the ALP’s decided to make ALL flood victims immune.)
As for those who made donations, or helped clean up – well, Mr Abbott has a point. Naturally those who cared enough about Queenslanders’ plight to send money voluntarily or help clean up will be absolutely outraged at joining in with everyone else in funding the recovery. Making a donation or helping cleanup is, of course, only done in the expectation of not having to do anything else and pre-empting any possible levy.
No, seriously, we actually shouldn’t have needed to make donations at all – we as a country should have a properly-funded disaster relief fund paid for out of our taxes such that our fellow citizens can rely on government support in such times without relying on charity. Charity is optional – making sure every Australian is properly looked after in such times shouldn’t be. But, failing that, this levy after the fact is the least we can do – if you didn’t think it’s a good cause, then why did you make so much noise about caring about the flood victims at the time? Put your money where your mouth is.
The programs being cut to maintain the surplus are another thing entirely, of course – if they were good and important programs in the first place, we should cop a short-term deficit to pay for them, not throw them aside. Surpluses are NOT the primary determinant of “good economic management”, and it’s high time Labor tackled that lie head-on.
UPDATE: Strikethrough paragraph removed because it made the rest of the post look like an update.
Elsewhere – Tory Shepherd at the Punch declares that “By all that’s unholy, Australians hate paying taxes” and suggests a reason for the feeling of outrage:
Our taxes pay for the Government to take care of people – through unemployment, social services and universal healthcare. So we assume it’s all taken care of already. What a rude shock then, to work out there apparently isn’t enough elasticity in the system to take care of this. We feel like they’ve pissed our hard-earned cash up against the wall.
We thought it was all sorted.
It should have been. Problem is, we keep demanding tax cuts so it isn’t. I suppose the same people who whinge about every tax are shocked when they discover there’s no national dental scheme. But those taxes I avoided paying and demanded the government not charge me were supposed to pay for that!
Meanwhile, apparently we object to being “forced” to look after each other. Those of us who’d happily help the flood victims voluntarily are apparently outraged at the thought of the uncharitable being compelled to do likewise, if you believe the line being fed to us.