A strange unsolicited email from Leon Bertrand, solicitor

An unsolicited email arrived in my inbox this morning from young Queensland blogging solicitor, Leon Bertrand, who apparently believes the rubbish he reads in tabloids (and who seems to have some very odd ideas about how parliamentary democracy works):

Dear fellow Earthian,

As you know, the carbon tax will come into effect later this year, and I will have to pay more for my electricity as a result.

As you also are no doubt aware, the reason we are having a carbon tax is because we ended up with a hung parliament after the last federal election. This resulted in the Greens, who received 11.76% of the vote in the House of Representatives, being able to impose a carbon tax when the vast majority of Australians voted for a party against any such tax.

I am writing to you because I believe that you are one of the 11.76% that voted Green at the last federal election, at least partly because you were in favour of what you would call ‘action on climate change’ ie: a carbon tax.

Unlike other taxes I pay, I will not be receiving any services in return for paying the carbon tax. At the last election, I voted against a carbon tax because I didn’t want one. Opinion polls confirm that the carbon tax has been passed into legislation against the will of the majority of Australians.

It may be that I will receive some compensation for the tax from the federal government. However, many Australians will not be fully ‘compensated’, particularly those who lose their jobs as a result of the carbon tax.

Furthermore, the compensation package is increased government expenditure and will exceed total revenues from the tax, even before you factor in the costs of administering this scheme. I will therefore have to pay back much of that compensation in years to come with compound interest.

In the circumstances, I believe that it is only fair that you pay the portion or percentage of my electricity bill that is due to the carbon tax.

Please confirm that you agree to this perfectly reasonable request. Once you have done so, I will forward to you my next electricity bill, along with my bank account details so that you can reimburse me for the cost of the carbon tax.
Yours in fairness,
Leon Bertrand

An amusing collection of silly partisan claims (which I suspect will be exposed by the reality of the July 1 introduction of the carbon package) and an intriguingly unorthodox understanding of Australian parliamentary democracy, to which I replied:

Dear crank.

Tell you what. I’ll agree to pay your share of the carbon price when you agree to pay my share of the GST, which I and a majority of other Australians voted against in 1998. By now it amounts to a significant amount of money.

Interested?

Thought not.

Yours in consistency,
Jeremy Sear.

I’ll keep you posted if he genuinely turns out to be committed to the principle of people who voted for a particular policy compensating other people who voted against it. I suspect he isn’t.

Advertisements

47 responses to “A strange unsolicited email from Leon Bertrand, solicitor

  1. Over 58% voted for the present Labor minority government.

    Both parties and the independents proposed action on carbon emission before the election..

    The majority did not vote for Mr. Abbott.

    Mr. Abbott did not achieve the majority of seats.

    In simple language, he lost.

  2. The young fellow thinks it’s a “tax” yet the money doesn’t fund any services:

    My dear fellow Earthian,

    I believe that my email to you today noted quite a difference between the carbon tax and the GST.

    “Unlike other taxes I pay, I will not be receiving any services in return for paying the carbon tax”

    I look forward to receiving confirmation of your willingness to pay my carbon tax.

    Intrigued, I asked him:

    My dear unsolicited correspondent

    Do you think it’s a “tax” – in which case it goes into general revenue and pays for services – or not?

    Yours with bemusement

    Jeremy Sear.

    I suppose his “it’s a tax that doesn’t fund services” line is as logical as his demand that I compensate him personally if other Australians somehow were to lose out.

  3. narcoticmusing

    [stunned that of all people a legal professional {EDIT: I can’t publish speculation on what young Mr Bertrand understands about} the Westminster system]

  4. Never let it be said that Mr Bertrand has the sense to quit whilst behind.

    Fellow Earthian,

    On Planet Earth, tax is understood generally in the following terms:

    To tax (from the Latin taxo; “I estimate”) is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law

    The PM has conceded that the carbon tax is a tax, Even your own party describes the carbon tax as it’s most appropriate name ie carbon tax.

    Your attempts to play word games by describing it as “a price on carbon” or accounting games by asking whether it goes into ‘general revenue’ or not misses the point entirely.

    Yours in intellectual honesty.

    So, in short – it’s a tax that raises no revenue, and Leon should be compensated by Greens voters because he won’t get all the money back but if you pay the GST and don’t get it all back Liberal voters shouldn’t compensate you. I see. Principle.

    Dear quickly-unravelling correspondent.

    “To tax (from the Latin taxo; “I estimate”) is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law”

    Ah, so you concede that even under your definition you won’t be paying any “carbon tax”, since there’s nothing you’ll be compelled to pay “such that failure to pay is punishable by law”.

    Well, that destroys the thrust of your original email, that the carbon price was a “tax” for which you should be compensated. [By me, obviously, but that was unfortunately accidentally left out of my email to Leon]

    But on the general question, do you sincerely believe that voters for one policy should compensate voters who voted against it?

    If so, why exactly should your fear that you won’t get anything out of the carbon price revenue (and will you publicly commit to refusing to accept any compensation money from the government?) mean that I should pay whatever contribution you claim is yours, whilst you will not pay me the very easily quantified amounts that I’ve been paying on the GST, for which it appears you voted? I don’t get back in compensation or services all or even a majority of the money I pay on the GST, but you won’t compensate me for that. Why should it be the case that even if you do not get all of your carbon price related spending back in compensation or services, that I should pay you?

    I fear that you may not have thought this through. What exactly is the new principle of voter to voter compensation you are trying to establish here? And why should it not apply to your vote in 1998?

    Yours increasingly pityingly,

    Jeremy Sear.

  5. 1) I wonder if he would actually send through his bank details even if you agreed to pay for his bills, even as a joke it seems so flimsy… especially coming from a solicitor.

    2) The carbon price is levied against companies, by the same token he pays for water allocations, company registration and a whole lot of other “taxes” from which he receives no “benefit”. He really doesn’t have a case to argue, so I hope you enjoy your conversation with him…

  6. God help me, it’s still going, but you get the idea from the above. Current highlight is Leon’s attempt to distinguish between the GST and the carbon price on the basis that in this case there was a broken promise, a government that didn’t have the numbers before that broken promise, and no election between the broken promise and the legislation passing. He doesn’t seem to realise that’s exactly what happened in 1998.

  7. Curiosity got the better of me and I went looking for Mr Bertrand’s blog. For some reason it can only be read by invited guests. But for those of a masochistic disposition he is also a co-author on Iain Hall’s blog.
    You can judge a man by the company he keeps.

  8. At the risk of feeding the troll, I wonder if Mr Bertrand can provide accurate estimates of the costs of the following:
    A. The amount his direct tax payments would rise to pay for the Liberal Direct Action Plan
    B. The amount his costs would rise if a fully-fledged ETS with a floating price was implemented, as per Labor policy circa 2010 (and, incidentally, Liberal party policy circa 2007)
    C. The amount his costs will rise under the CEF legislation for the 3 years before it moves to a floating price.

    Even if you accept his premise (which I don’t) that Greens voters are somehow personally responsible for C, the quantum would only be the difference between B and C. And to be properly measured, it should only be the amount that B or C exceed A that matters. This comparison would be instructive, but very difficult to perform accurately.

  9. phyllis5tein

    He is a very clever man. I will pay the money. I will deposit the funds soonest when my new friend’s family estate in Nigeria is settled and I receive my facilitation fee. In fact, I will foward Mr Berty’s banking details to my new friends who will make the deposit into his account directly. It is a happy day when a man get a message from another man to pay him money.

  10. For the record, I am not publishing any comments questioning Leon Bertrand’s ability as a solicitor. I presume he engaged in this dubious correspondence as a private citizen in his spare time and that his diligence and competence in the workplace is of an unimpeachable standard.

  11. Has Mr B published anything that is currently sold via Amazon?

  12. He doesn’t seem to realise that’s exactly what happened in 1998.

    Actually, Jeremy, it isn’t.
    Not that I want to defend Howard, but the truth must out.

    The lying rodent, in fact, did reverse his view on the GST being dead and buried. However, he did so before the 1998 election.
    The GST was a resurrected policy during that election campaign.
    However, we all expected that The Democrats would scuttle the bill in the Senate.
    It was the treachery of Meg Lees that gave us a GST and it was that same treachery which killed the Democrats as a trustworthy political party.

    Howard played a Machiavellian game, but he didn’t deceive the electorate.
    Having said that, he made up for it with Children overboard, Siev X, WMD lies, AWB bribes, Ethanol subsidies and a host of other deceptions.

    Cheers

  13. I didn’t say that Howard broke the GST election promise. (He broke lots of promises in his career, hence his invention of the term “non-core” promises, but he did go to an election on the GST before passing it. A majority of Australians voted against him, but due to the vagaries of the single member electorate system, he won a majority of seats in one of the two houses of parliament.)

    I observed that Howard didn’t have the numbers to pass the GST until an election promise was broken – the Democrats breaking theirs. If they hadn’t broken that promise and betrayed all those voters, like me, who only voted for them over Labor because we trusted that they really would block the GST like they said they would, then we’d have no GST.

    Howard not only didn’t win a majority of the vote, but he couldn’t pass his GST legislation without the Democrats’ betrayal of their voters in the Senate.

    So –

    there was a broken promise, a government that didn’t have the numbers before that broken promise, and no election between the broken promise and the legislation passing

    That’s exactly what happened in 1998.

  14. Fair enough, Jeremy.
    I misunderstood your intitial comment as implying that Howard only presented the GST post election, like he did with Work Choices.
    My bad.

    Cheers

  15. Touche, Jeremy.

    Now I’m glad I didn’t rush in to make the same comment as Marek as I’d originally intended 🙂

  16. Splatterbottom

    So the political shyster in all of this was Meg Lees. And it appears that Gillard is cut from the same cloth and will soon join her in the dustbin of history for the same reason.

  17. We’ll see, but the “carbon tax” was not the huge issue in the 2010 election that the GST was in the 1998 one. It is clear that the vast majority of Democrat voters relied on their repeated promise to block the GST. It is not clear that the vast majority of ALP voters even wanted Gillard to make that stupid “no carbon tax” remark, let alone abandon any real action on climate change.

    It’s not like the Liberals’ voters punished them for breaking their ETS promise after 2007.

  18. Splatterbottom

    So what do you call promises that, nudge nudge, you are allowed to break because none of your base wants you to keep them anyway? Non-core perhaps?

    Gillard may have made that promise to scramble a few more votes from the swingers, and the base may actually be quite pleased she broke it. Trouble with this is that enough of the people who actually believed her appear to be disenchanted and will vote against her next time, hence Labor’s fall from grace in the polls.

    Maybe after the next election we will see a trend away from cynical spin-driven hacks to conviction politicians (and I don’t mean Craig Thomson).

  19. I think it’s one more reason not to vote for either of the big parties. The Libs betrayed their voters who believed them on the ETS. The ALP betrayed their voters who believed them on the carbon tax. The only principled party in this scenario is the Greens.

    Fortunately I agree with their general progressive philosophy, so the Greens are a convenient mix of good policy (they want to do what I want them to do) and trustworthiness (I believe they’ll vote as they say they’ll vote).

  20. narcoticmusing

    As fatiguing as it is to again remind people, Gillard did actually promise a Carbon Price. Now, she could have just jumped straight to that but she was shown with very significant evidence that there was a need for a transitional arrangement. This arragement resembles a tax, I agree. Indeed it resembles it enough to not bother with semantics and call it that. However, why is it that we would prefer the Government do something diabolically damaging (like jumpt straight to the ETS) rather than put in place a sensible transitional program (as sought by the very businesses bitching out the carbon tax).

    It is the same as this stupid obsession with surplusses. Rather than consider the economic environment and what we need to achieve as a nation, we just get ‘SURPLUS SURPLUS SURPLUS’ hsyteria. And the media/Lib Co ensures a party that doesn’t get a suplus is caned, so it becomes politically distasteful REGARDLESS of it is harmful for the nation. For example, Gillard is willing to gut essential services rather than not provide a surplus – and LibCo will support that too. Is that what we really want from Government? And don’t tell me our debt is high, it isn’t. And don’t tell me debt is bad. It isn’t. Excessive debt is bad, but we aren’t even close to that.

    Bailleu and his clown Wells are willing to tank the State of Victoria just to get a surplus. He’s also willing to not follow a single promise, but we hear nothing of that from any of the Jul-liar crowd.

  21. As fatiguing as it is to again remind people, Gillard did actually promise a Carbon Price.

    Narc – for the record “Carbon Price” is a generic term that captures a range of carbon pricing policies including carbon taxes, emission trading schemes and a range of other policies.

    Putting it in terms SB would enjoy, what Gillard has done is a bit like saying to someone “I will probably spray you with liquid at some future time but I promise it won’t be a golden shower”, and then when you are caught actually pissing on them offering the defence that you were always clear that you were going to spray them with a liquid.

    Yes Gillard always proposed a Carbon Price, but she was explicit in her promise that the form of carbon pricing policy she adopted wouldn’t be a carbon tax.

  22. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, I have a different view of the Greens to – that they are economically incompetent misanthropic lunatics who should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power in this country.
    Fatiguing it is, Narcotic. Sadly you neglected to mention the bit where Gillard acknowledged that the country wasn’t fully on board with carbon dioxide reduction schemes, said she would consult with the people, form a people’s assembly to have that conversation and when the people were ready, and not earlier than 2013, she would look to introducing something but not a carbon tax. Instead she sold out to the Greens and foisted a monumentally unpopular tax on an unwilling electorate. Then she said she would wear out her shoe leather around the country explaining it, but as usual, this didn’t happen either. Is it any wonder that she has no credibility with the electorate? The sooner this stinking shit-sandwich of a government is booted from office the better.

    Also, this government is monumentally wasteful. We have debt, but nothing to show for it. These are the best of economic times and we should not have debt. Soon, the commodities bubble will burst and, thanks to idiotic government policies like letting the unions off the leash, the non-mining sector of the economy will be too hollowed out to provide jobs or wealth. Get ready for a decline in your standard of living unless you are a unicorn farmer or other recipient of government largesse.

    Our government debt is about $240 thousand million. This is money we have spent that future generations will have to repay. In the meantime the government will have to pay interest on that debt, which further decreases its ability to fund domestic expenditure.

    Every Labor government has left the country with more debt than when they came to office. In the end you can’t have essential services unless you can pay for them. Some people don’t get this. They just believe there is a ‘stash’ of money somewhere waiting to fund their pious dreams. They seem to have no concept of earning money before spending it. And when reality bites and there is no money to repay the debt there is rioting in the streets as people who long ago stopped thinking in terms of being entitled to what they earned demanded instead what they had been told (by economic ignoramuses) they were entitled to receive.

  23. “Debt with nothing to show for it”. Oh, SB. You can’t seriously not have noticed what was built with the stimulus. Or that the economy escaped the GFC in pretty good shape as a result.

    As for your interpretation of the Greens as “economically incompetent misanthropic lunatics” – is there any form of progressive economic policy you can accept, or do you think anyone who seriously proposes decent public services is mad?

  24. Gillard may have made that promise to scramble a few more votes from the swingers,
    I actually know quite a few Labor voters who turned their backs on Gillard in favour of The Greens after she made that promise.
    It isn’t brought up very often, but I reckon that “No Carbon Tax” promise cost her a shitload of votes from the progressive Labor camp.

    Cheers

  25. Oops, unclosed blockquote above.
    Sorry.

    Cheers

  26. You should get a job with the Liberal Party, SB – assuming you don’t already have one. You certainly have their talking points down pat. Either that or as a News Ltd columnist.

  27. Splatterbottom

    Well said, Mondo. It’s enough to make a trough-man weep with joy.

    Jeremy: “do you think anyone who seriously proposes decent public services is mad?”

    I am a creature of balance – I want decent welfare and I want an economic system that is capable of paying for it.

    A society that has a strong productive private sector can also afford a decent level of welfare. The trouble comes when truly dumb (think Greens here) bleeding hearts focus only on welfare and entitlements and can’t even begin to imagine where the wealth comes from to fund those things. They don’t even seem to realise that the more people are addicted to the methadone of welfare and government subsidy the less chance there is of a thriving private sector to pay for those things.

  28. I think you misunderstand the Greens. They are indeed to the left of the ALP and Liberals – but that’s because since the 1980s both of those have lunged to the right.

    The problem isn’t the people in abject poverty barely scraping by on Centrelink welfare. It’s the middle class welfare and welfare for uncompetitive industry. It’s the utter failure of the system to protect competition in the face of monopolists. It’s an IR system massively weighted to employers who don’t realise that the more they sack their workforce the less money there is out in the community to spend buying their products. It’s a country flogging off its one-off natural resources cheaply as one industry wrecks the rest of the economy.

    The corporate lobbyists pretending that they’ll produce more if only they get a 1% tax cut, whilst we grind a potentially productive workforce into the dirt – those are the real parasites.

    If you seriously think the Greens are out to destroy industry, you’ve been reading too much far-right fantasy. Industry lobbyists might pretend that anything other than obscene bribes from the public purse is “trying to destroy them”, but it’s always been garbage.

  29. Splatterbottom

    “It’s the middle class welfare and welfare for uncompetitive industry.”

    Isn’t that what all the Green schemes are? What happened to the $100m odd that went to Geodynamics?

    “It’s the utter failure of the system to protect competition in the face of monopolists.”

    Definitely agree on this.

    “It’s an IR system massively weighted to employers who don’t realise that the more they sack their workforce the less money there is out in the community to spend buying their products.”

    That only works if the economic output is competitively priced. You can legislate a $1m pa minimum wage but there won’t be many jobs at that price. In fact, the unions have been let off the leash by the government. Businesses are being extorted. We now get the insidious situation where unions bash incompetent management who get a government subsidy which they then split with the unions. Guess who is really paying?

    “It’s a country flogging off its one-off natural resources cheaply as one industry wrecks the rest of the economy.”

    Hysterical nonsense. It was the mining industry that got us through the GFC (and the fact that China didn’t tank). The idea is to cash in now while commodity prices are high. We already get 30% of all profit plus excise and other taxes. When commodity bubble bursts and Australia is a less attractive venue for investment there are going to be a lot of bleating idiots wondering why the golden eggs no longer drop from the goose’s arse. In the meantime the industries we should be building up now with reasonable industrial laws and cheap infrastructure – coal-fired power stations, road, rail and dams wont exist.

    “If you seriously think the Greens are out to destroy industry, you’ve been reading too much far-right fantasy.”

    It was Bob Brown who said he wanted to destroy the coal industry. And if you look at the effect of Green policies, it doesn’t look like they are too business-friendly. Tell you what, when the Green policies make us wealthier then the tax will be there to fund the welfare and the expenditures can be made at that point. Deal?

  30. We can afford to fund decent public services and proper living welfare right now. The industries that whine about a marginal amount of tax sending them offshore are lying – as you could see when the original RSPT was announced and mining shares rose even higher. The balance is off at the moment – off away from public services.

    The mining boom didn’t “save us” from the GFC, that was the stimulus package. The mining boom is actually busy destroying other industries by pushing up the Australian dollar and increasing the cost of skilled Labor. It is massively distorting the balance from long-term industries to this short-term, rip-it-out-of-the-ground bunch of profiteers. The longer the “boom” goes, the more stuffed we’ll be when it inevitably ends.

  31. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “The longer the “boom” goes, the more stuffed we’ll be when it inevitably ends.”

    At least we agree on this, but for diametrically opposed reasons.

  32. Jeremy, I have a different view of the Greens to – that they are economically incompetent misanthropic lunatics who should not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power in this country.

    The Greens are the only political party in this country with anything even vaguely resembling sound and sustainable economic policies and moral social policies. Labor and Liberals are have nothing to offer other than another neoliberal economic catastrophe.

    However, just for a laugh, can you highlight what on this page is “economically incompetent”, “misanthropic”, “lunacy”.

    Also, this government is monumentally wasteful. We have debt, but nothing to show for it. These are the best of economic times and we should not have debt.

    No, they’re not. The best of economic times were a decade-odd ago, when Howard and Costello were squandering the best opportunity this country has had in a (or is likely to have for another) century, on middle class welfare to try and buy himself a return to the 1950s.

    Today, basically, if you’re not involved in mining, you’re in a recession (bar a few of the indestructible “sin industries”). The ~97% of the working population that aren’t employed by mining companies are not even close to “the best of economic times”, are well aware, and are battening down the hatches to deal with the astronomical and as-yet unpopped real estate/private debt bubble set in motion by our last Liberal Government.

    To see what Australia could have been with a competent Government during the Howard years, look to Norway. The last nail in that coffin, however, was banged in when the mining companies PR campaign scuttled the RSPT and toppled Rudd. We blew it, and we’re not going to get another chance for a generation or more. To understand why we blew it, look no further than the standard set of right-wing, neoliberal policies that have (or will shortly) wrought the same chaos and destruction in Ireland, England, the USA, and pretty much everywhere else they’ve been tried over the last few decades.

  33. Hysterical nonsense. It was the mining industry that got us through the GFC (and the fact that China didn’t tank).

    Come on SB – you must know that this assertion is fairly weak. The government injected about $700 billion into the economy and you don’t think this played a part in the recovery? You think a bunch of cashed up miners in WA are what kept our retail sector from total devastation?

    There are very valid criticisms to be made of the way the stimulus was managed – expecting Peter Garrett to competently manage any large-scale economic program was lunacy and the BER system was clearly rorted by Labor’s property developer mates – but to pretend it played no part in the GFC recovery and that instead it was the super-normal profits being made by the mining industry seems like recalcitrance.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Smithy: “the mining companies PR campaign scuttled the RSPT and toppled Rudd”

    Rudd was toppled in a coup led by duplicitous ambitious movers and shakers who installed Lady Macbeth in his place. The RSPT campaign was merely an excuse to move on him. The coup was emblematic of death of decency among the modern Labor careerists who put themselves and their petty ambitions above all else. Craig Thomson is another symptom of this moral decay.

    Your Norway example is certainly an interesting situation:

    He and several economists believe that history will show how policies over the past 20 years have been good. Politicians seem to have understood the need for balance between free, competitive markets and welfare, notes Kalle Moene, a professor at the University of Oslo. “We have understood that our welfare depends on us being competitive as well,” Moene told DN.

    I certainly like that balanced approach, and it is he apparent lack the lack of balance in Australia that concerns me. It is the Coalition that set up the Future fund. Not only has Labor not contributed a cent to it, it has burdened future generations with substantial government debt. The current government shows no indication of understanding the need for a balanced approach.

  35. SB, would it be fair to presume from your failure to respond to it that your answer to drsmithy’s question However, just for a laugh, can you highlight what on this page is “economically incompetent”, “misanthropic”, “lunacy” is “no”?

  36. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, the fact is that most of the spending came too late to have had the effect claimed for it. This is a bit like Howard claiming it was the Coalition’s fine economic management was responsible for Australia’s economic success rather than the mining boom. Plenty of other countries applied stimulus without much success.

    Buns, I don’t see the point of commenting on a bunch of juvenile platitudes. The Green’s goal of the destruction of coal industry is all three in one policy. The Carbon tax is another.

  37. The point is you made a controversial assertion that you are being asked to back up. No surprise that you aren’t able to. Just like all other Greens-hating ideologues who have bought the common News Ltd meme that the Greens are loony nutjobs hell-bent on destroying the economy, but who when push comes to shove don’t actually know very much about the Greens policies. Or at least happy to misrepresent them in order to justify the pre-determined hatred.

  38. I certainly like that balanced approach, and it is he apparent lack the lack of balance in Australia that concerns me. It is the Coalition that set up the Future fund.

    The Future Fund (created by the sale of our assets) exists solely to pay for the pensions of Government staff. It was setup by the pigs in an attempt to stop the farmer from putting less food in the trough at a future time.

    Not only has Labor not contributed a cent to it, it has burdened future generations with substantial government debt. The current government shows no indication of understanding the need for a balanced approach.

    That’s because they’re playing from the same broken neoliberal playbook as the Liberals. Though they, at least, are not attacking the social contract with the same enthusiasm the Liberals did.

    As I said, the only party with the sort of sustainable, balanced policies that reflect places like Norway, are the Greens.

    Buns, I don’t see the point of commenting on a bunch of juvenile platitudes.

    The point is to demonstrate you know about that which you are criticising. Something you appear extremely reluctant to do.

    So, pick out a few Greens policies. Convince me they’re broken. Explain to me why I should support the authoritarian neoliberals in the Labor and Liberal parties instead.

    The Green’s goal of the destruction of coal industry is all three in one policy.

    Coal is a polluting, massively-CO2-emitting, inefficient, destructive-to-extract resource. Why _shouldn’t_ we be trying to move away from burning it to generate power ?

    The Carbon tax is another.

    Scientific consensus the world over considers CO2 emissions to be a problem and should be reduced. One of the few things economics has successfully demonstrated is that market-based solutions are by far the best methods to address negative factors and find the most efficient solutions. The Carbon Tax achieves these things.

  39. Have you pointed out to this buffoon that he will in all likelihood be overly compensated for the extra costs that the carbon price (that will not even be directly imposed on him) will cause and that if he wants out of the carbon pricing system he should actually be returning this compensation back to the Commonwealth?

  40. Splatterbottom

    Smithy, I’m in favour of having welfare. As I said, the Norway example is really interesting, precisely because it understands that you’ve got to have a productive well-managed economy to pay for the welfare.

    The problem I have with the with the Greens is that, apart from the motherhood statements I haven’t seen any policies (like cutting taxes or winding back the power of unions) that are likely to increase economic growth., and I have seen a lot of policies that are likely to retard it.

    Even if you believe the junk science of the AGW hypothesis, the Carbon Tax is utterly useless in terms of the effect it well have on temperature.

    If you truly want to generate jobs then we should be building more coal-fired power stations. Cheap electricity will drive investment. Expensive solar electricity will drive investment away.

  41. narcoticmusing

    Perhaps, SB, if you didn’t start with the premise that cutting taxes or winding back the power of unions are the ones likely to increase economic growth then you might be able to spot others? Cutting taxes does not increase economic growth, strategic cuts in certain areas do. The greens advocate for that. Winding back the power of the unions makes an assumption that they have too much power. In some areas this might be true, in others it is not. In other areas we have people desperately under-represented and faced with bosses who only care about ultra-short term gains – thus the lack of sustainability in employer practices (due to insufficient worker protections) leads to economic slumps (because no one seems to join the dots between people getting paid and people spending money). We have better unemployment rates than the US despite our higher minimum wage – so you can’t tell me shitty rights for workers has helped their economy.

    There are a bunch of ideas out there to help stimulate the economy and I don’t see any of them in the policies of the ALP or LibCo (indeed, many of their policies are down right harmful, like mandatory surpluses and minimal R&D); that doesn’t mean they don’t have ANY policies likely to stimulate economic growth.

    Smithy – what you call fat cats lining their future pockets, I call good management of a very real and foreseeable economic risk. Businesses are required to put aside money for payments they are obliged (such as long service leave where applicable; superannuation; salary packaging to produce pensions rather than super contributions; etc). The government doesn’t do this for all entitlements of its public servants – is used to but stopped and absorbed it into consolidated revenue. When it was pointed out that a large proportion of public servants (who include nurses and teachers btw) will be retiring in blocks in the not so distant future, it was seen as prudent economic management to actually put aside the money while the govt had it to ensure the risk wouldn’t bite the country on the ass later. These are people’s entitlements. They are legally entitled to this money. The question is whether it is better to have it put aside so that the economy doesn’t take a hit from it, or is it better to have a foreseeable risk not managed?

    Although again I point to the media bias in the level of attention given when the ALP touch the future fund, but Baillieu raids equivalent funds (for insurance obligations no less) and not a peep. Indeed, he gets to add funds raided from these quarantined insurance/workcover funds and then brag about a surplus.

  42. what you call fat cats lining their future pockets, I call good management of a very real and foreseeable economic risk.

    The point is that the Future Fund is frequently implicitly referred to as something set up by the Liberals to benefit Australia as a whole, when in fact only a handful of the population will ever see anything come of it.

  43. As I said, the Norway example is really interesting, precisely because it understands that you’ve got to have a productive well-managed economy to pay for the welfare.

    As do the Greens.

    As, clearly, both Labor and Liberals do _not_.

    The problem I have with the with the Greens is that, apart from the motherhood statements I haven’t seen any policies (like cutting taxes or winding back the power of unions) that are likely to increase economic growth.

    This is called begging the question.

    and I have seen a lot of policies that are likely to retard it.

    For example ?

    Even if you believe the junk science of the AGW hypothesis, the Carbon Tax is utterly useless in terms of the effect it well have on temperature.

    Firstly, denialist rhetoric isn’t even a remotely convincing argument.

    Secondly, the point of the Carbon Tax (in and of itself) is not to affect temperatures. The point is to a) readjust the economy to the future reality of low-emissions power sources in a gradual, manageable fashion, b) discourage power sources and industries that are emissions-intensive; and c) encourage local developments and innovations in what will unquestionably be an important global industry so we don’t end up trailing the pack again.

    If you truly want to generate jobs then we should be building more coal-fired power stations. Cheap electricity will drive investment.

    So would removing all our environmental laws, but the social consequences would be dire, like they are in China.

    You are clearly blinded by the demonstrably broken neoliberal economic dogmas of infinite growth and non-existent negative externalities. You may claim to agree with the model Norway is following, but in reality you have no interest in making it work (Norway also has one of those evil Carbon Taxes).

  44. zaratoothbrush

    Even if you believe the junk science of the AGW hypothesis

    This is one of the six impossible things you believe before breakfast, right?

  45. [Norway] understands that you’ve got to have a productive well-managed economy to pay for the welfare

    As well as HUMUNGOUS TAXES!!!!!!!!!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_Norway

    Let’s see what SB thinks about that.

  46. Splatterbottom

    RM: “As well as HUMUNGOUS TAXES!!!!!!!!!!”

    I’ve been thinking about Norway, and it seems to me, at least initially, they have it pretty good up there.

    The issue I’m interested in is how that happens. It appears that high taxes are only part of it. Not all high-taxing countries succeed in the same manner s Norway. I guess we are looking at their oil wealth (which has been saved rather than pissed against the wall), the fact that they are at pains to avoid debt and that they set their wages at a level to allow their export industries to be competitive are also part of the mix. They have also chosen to stay out of the EU.

    The interesting thing about this discussion is that I have been forced to think about Norway and how the Scandinavian model works. I will keep doing so until I understand what it is they have and whether that is what we really need here and also what we have to do to get there.

  47. Marek Bage

    SB, don’t forget to consider the fact that in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, anybody can get a University education for free.
    The Scandinavians understand that an educated population is the key to an enlightened and successful society.

    Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s