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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the same old mantra « Previous | |Next »
January 21, 2011

The Coalition continue to remain policy light with naught to say on reform. Everything, it seems, can be solved by the dual policy of reducing taxes and cutting government expenditure.

Their response to the Queensland and Victorian floods, for instance, is to cut government spending to pay for the damage bill. The areas they have select for cutting are the national broadband network, and they propose selling off Medibank Private. It's the same old small government agenda of slashing wasteful public expenditure, even though they were all for big Government during their decade in power. Nothing at all is said about reform with respect to development on the floodplain or providing access to a universal affordable insurance for natural disasters.

Kudelkafloods.jpg

So what does the Coalition have to say about future building in flood prone areas apart from building more and more dams? Does the Coalition actually reckon that it is economic madness to subsidize people's risk taking behavior in building/buying on a known flood plain?

Presumably they reckon the old tactic of attack attack is going to work, even though the Greens gain the balance of power in the Senate in 5 months time.

Yet the cost the burden rebuilding imposes on taxpayers--it looks like a levy will be introduced--- would obviously be smaller had a greater share of the assets been properly insured and tn greater detailed information about flood-proneness had been made public. Why not say something about that given the history of the failure of the Brisbane City Council to provide public information about future flood levels in its commissioned reports?

As things stand in the 'leave it to the market scenario' householders face the choice to either pay the high premium, take the risk without it, or move to places that won't flood. Levies (ie., taxes) are not the answer for the free market right who hang out in The Australian as the issue is one of responsibility in a world of risk.

The argument appears to be this. Making insurance compulsory is a form of subsidisation as the properties with no flood exposure would pay a premium component and subsidise the exposed properties. Why should those who live in the non-flood areas pay a levy to help those who do live on the flood plain? Why should their taxes go to free handouts to flood victims who did not have insurance or who opted out of a higher cover in favour of cheaper policies. And lets bash the Greens whilst we on the topic. It is fun.

This argument effectively denies the idea of market failure.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:42 AM | | Comments (6)
Comments

Comments

There's not much social compassion from the free marketeers:

Why should those who live in the non-flood areas pay a levy to help those who do live on the flood plain? Why should their taxes go to free handouts to flood victims who did not have insurance or who opted out of a higher cover in favour of cheaper policies.

this is all about 'me'. To hell with those who have suffered in the floods. It's their problem not mine.

Would we have expected any better from the opposition, given the previous examples involving issues like Serfchoices windback, asylum seeker policy and ETS.
There is not much constructive about them, but a fair bit of Cameron/Osborn.

Phillip Coorey has a good article on this in Gillard has time to levy and recover in the SMH. He says:

That the Coalition is vehemently opposed is also unsurprising, given its general approach to everything but, nonetheless, more than a little hypocritical, not only because of its own past form in government but Coalition policy still includes a levy - or company tax increase for big business - to fund a multibillion-dollar paid parental leave scheme.

The Coalition's levies were "necessary'' to protect a budget surplus, nothing else, which is exactly what Gillard is thinking.He adds:
It could be argued that restoring roads and rail infrastructure, so vital to productivity and economic growth, not to mention the convenience of daily lives, is more compelling than any of the reasons the Coalition implemented levies, especially the looking after vested political interests in rural seats.

The Coalition will bang on about great big new taxes and offer little by way of solutions, other than footing the bill by flogging Medibank Private and scrapping the national broadband network, all while demanding a surplus budget.

hypocrisy is the right word.

The Howard Government imposed a levy to fund the Timor intervention. Howard also imposed a number of other levies: - the Medicare levy was increased by 0.2 of a percentage point in 1996-97 to fund the gun buyback . - the 11ยข-a-litre tax on milk, which was imposed to help the dairy industry restructure following deregulation. - Sugar farmers were also helped. - then there was the Ansett levy, $10 on flight tickets to help pay out entitlements of the workers. Then Tony Abbott proposed a levy on business to fund parental leave.

But the Gillard Government is wrong to contemplate a levy to fund the repairs to infrastructure damaged by the flood.

The Liberal position---and that of The Australian, as it is the media arm of the Liberal Party, --- is that the ALP is not up to the great tasks of government.

Why?

Alister Drysdale in Business Spectator gives a general answer. He says the Liberals believe that the Labor Party lacks theme and purpose, that the alliance with the Greens shows lack of internal core, that Gillard is not a leader of any kind, and that the electorate yearns for a return to a safe pair of hands.

Annon, the counterveiling argument here is that neither party has spine and is bereft of ideas, except ones fed them from think-tanks by those they are beholden to.
Relates to the shopfront theory of retail politics, whereby careerist politicians are actually bell-hops for the powerful constellations of interests that entrenched and now benefit from the obviation of politicians and parties as being representatives forthe public and social interest, to mansagers of society in aid of vested interests.
No more obvious is this, as in Britain under Cameron, where we have a modern equivalent of class warfare unleashed against the community to pay for the damage done by the City of London before, during and post 2007.
Labor is only a missing link in the march toward the final solution that comes in the form of prison warders like Abbott and Cameron- the "firmness" is only to quieten the sheep prior to shearing, not to enable vetinary treatment of them out of concern for their welfare.