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The Liberal-National Coalition Government has a stated budget policy of not collecting more than 23.9% of GDP in tax. What a laughable objective. It reminds Spartacus of a strategy executive in an organisation he once work for who convinced the CEO to set a business objective of generating $500 million of profitable revenue.
When it comes to tax, the reality is that the true rate of taxation is actually government spending because this spending has to be paid for either the current year through taxes or in future years through taxes. We should not be fooled by the accounting trick of moving flows between reporting periods.
Total tax = tax collected yesterday + tax collected today + tax collected tomorrow.
But worse, the 23.9% objective is a sham for the reason that the government generates other taxes elsewhere although by a different name and through other means. And no, Spartacus does not refer to the Tax Expenditures Statement but rather other government policies which forcibly extract money from citizens.
Lets start with the most obvious being compulsory superannuation contributions. The reason this is really a tax is not only because it is mandatory (at threat of property, life and liberty) but when comparing tax rates to other countries, those other countries (eg US, UK, France) have their retirement savings schemes wash through the governments accounts and hence within tax numbers. Thus Australia needs to automatically add in some extra percentages for this.
But then Australia needs also to account for the equivalent of the tax penalty for not maintain private health insurance. There is also the raft of user and industry charges imposed by ASIC, APRA and Austrac which collectively amount to $1b per annum. If you run a financial services business in Australia, you have to pay the piper, and these are not licence or company registration fees.
There are a raft of things citizens are forced to pay for and the the suggestion that this Liberal National government is a low taxing one is as laughable as the suggestion that Australia is a low taxing country.
Your correspond Spartacus has recently posted a number of satirical posts designed to highlight the folly and lunacy of our political overlords. The most recent of these posts was:
Based on some of the comments that followed these posts, it seems that some Cats dont seem to recognize the satire. This could be because either Spartacus is a really good writer or because the policy pronouncements from our Crazed Canberra Crew are so bad that the silliness of Spartacus posts dont appear that silly.
Spartacus money is in the latter (ie he is not that good a writer).
For future reference, when Spartacus starts a post with Catallaxy Exclusive, this is a guide that what will follow is folly not fact.
I am guessing on the basis of the references that the writer may well be Michael Nagler, but nevertheless the quote is from the Metta Center for Nonviolence Daily Metta.
Teaming upDaily Metta
If it is [our] privilege to be independent, it is equally [our] duty to be interdependent.
-Gandhi (Young India, April 25 1929)
A friend recently offered an approach to peacebuilding and nonviolent resistance that I thought fascinating: working together in teams of two. The idea is ancient, he said, thinking about the Jewish fathers who would study in the sacred Torah in pairs as one example. In many ways, he believes, the effectiveness of teams of two is hardwired into our brains as an alliance of power. Think of it as having an exercise buddypeople know that exercise can be more effective when we have someone else to go with us. And we also know that when we are alone in a large group, we dont always tend to feel we fully belong or that we can fully express ourselves. Just one other person, however, changes the whole dynamic.
For years at Metta Center we have been talking about Gandhis charkha, the spinning wheel, and how everyone in the Indian Freedom Struggle spun and wove, so what would be the charkha of today? One hypothesis is that we are vying not for our basic needs anymore; rather, we are struggling to raise the human image at its core. Raise the human image. What would happen if everyone who committed themselves to nonviolence began their work by finding a buddy and practised raising the image of the human being through that person, and slowly, purposefully began to spread it outward through there? The image of the all contained in the one, and the one in the all.
When we go at nonviolence alone, we can find ourselves in very murky waters rather quickly, i.e. I was just nice to him and he still treated me like that. A partner for the work would be able very quickly to offer you empathy, understanding and conversation about nonviolence working at a deeper level. Not another group, just one other person who is committed to our well-being and us to theirs in an agreed-upon context, whether it be resisting nuclear weapons or deepening our commitment to daily meditation. And we can have multiple teams of two for the various issues we work on. No one person has to be our everything for everything we care about and dream about! Its revolutionary
My friend had a point: whatever we do, peace work should not be something we try doing alone. It can be physically, emotionally and at times spiritually challenging, and we can only do this work responsibly with other people....
A random thought occurred on the road this evening, we all enjoy playing on the Cat, so lets remember Jason Soon who started it back around 2005 and Sinc who took over a few years ago and carried it onward and upward.
Generally a pretty thankless task. So thanks!
And thanks to the other named and nameless contributors who keep the pot bubbling and the threadsters who all contribute to the mix.
In the face of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. h/t Empire 5.5 on the open thread.
A poll conducted by the NAACP shows that black support for President Donald Trump sits at 21 percent, which, according to the Washington Examiner, is more than double his support in an April poll conducted by Reuters.
Way above the 8% he scored in the election. slightly but significantly up from the 6% for Mitt Romney.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced that a future Labor Government will legislate to empower and resource both the Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) and the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) to embed teams of regulatory agents into organisations where there may be a regulatory risks. Teams of up to 20 regulatory officers will sit with business staff, drop into meetings and trail the CEO, executives and directors to identify misconduct before it arises.
Mr Shorten has indicated that within 100 days of being elected, a Labor Government will seek to embed ACMA teams within the offices of NewsCorp Australia and SkyNews and ACCC teams within the offices of Caltex Australia.
Mr Shorten said:
Credit where credit is due. The Liberal-National Governments decision to finally enable ASIC to embed teams within the offices of Australian banks will send the necessary message to business about how they should behaves. And using this model, a future Labor Government will ensure that petrol companies and non-ABC media companies similarly behave.
In response to this proposal, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly ODwyer, has indicated that the Government is currently investigating whether a team from the ACCC should be embedded within the offices of Coles to ensure an appropriate and consistent plastic shopping bag policy is implemented.
Heres a little teaser for the weekend But first let me make a disclaimer: I have no training or standing in any platform of the study of law and I place this debate on site for whomever may be inclined to contest the proposal It has to be admitted that the fair state
The post Can the citizen body (social) litigate a political body (corporate)? appeared first on The AIM Network.
This just arrived in my inbox and may be of interest. The question asked is, in effect, who among the great liberal philosophers should be included in a course on Western Civilisation.
Dear colleagues and friends,For the 175th anniversary editor of The Economist is launching Open Future, an initiative to discuss liberal values and policies in the 21st century.I have just crossed this online article about a series on influential liberal thinkers and some critics. It explicitly asks readers to diversify its preliminary list by submitting further suggestions:This may interest some of you.
Liberal, as the article notes, is now a much contested term. This is what The Economist writes:
The definition of liberalism has long been the source of disagreement. The very term has come to mean progressive in the United States, whereas in Britain it has kept its older meaning of being respectful of individual freedom and the wisdom that can be drawn from free thought and open debate.
Once liberalism was invaded by the Fabians, Im not sure all that much of its original meaning remains, but with Jordan Peterson and others like him prowling about, who knows what the future might bring.
Wind turbines real production is less than half of what it is alleged to be. Anon
Renewables are a dead loss, economically, in reliability, and ecologically. Anonymous Contributor
Youve swallowed the green propaganda on renewables hook, line and sinker. Wind and solar are wasters of resources. They are net energy SINKS when all of their actual energy inputs are taken into account.
For instance wind turbines frequently draw power FROM the grid to maintain themselves. They cannibalise the grid and have nothing to contribute to the future of humanity. Renewables salesmen exaggerate the lifespan of wind and solar generators to about twice their real productive life, especially for wind. Wind turbines are typically given a theoretical lifespan of 30 years. In practice they are uneconomic to run (even with their massive subsidies) at 15 years of age on land, and 12 years in the case of offshore wind turbines. This means that their real costs are actually more than twice their alleged costs, or put another way, their real production is less than half of what it is alleged to be.
Solar panels lose on average 2% efficiency each year due to the effects of UV on the solar cells and physical external degradation caused by their local environment. In dusty areas, knock off another 25% efficiency (recorded in China and India). In humid tropical/sub-tropical areas, knock off up to 75% efficiency if they are not constantly cleaned (moss and algal growth quickly covers the glass panels). In the hotter, sunnier parts of Australia they are failing at 10 years of age, not the 25 years that all of their production calculations are based on. Even operating at their best, solar panels are a very inefficient, lousy way of capturing a very diffuse source of energy. Coal and gas are concentrated energy sources.
As shown by the Royal Commission this week, the National Australia Bank fights dirty, writes Tess Lawrence. read now...
Big news in the fight to lower New Zealand's emissions today,
Fonterra announcing that it is moving away from coal:
Fonterra today announced it is transitioning from coal to renewable energy at its Stirling site in Otago. The move will reduce Fonterras coal use by more than 9,700 tonnes per year about the same weight as 122 Boeing 737-800s.
With no gas or feasible alternatives available in the South Island, Fonterra has used coal in its plants to ensure it can process its highly perishable milk.
Reinforcing the shift toward renewable energy, Fonterra has also surrendered its Mangatangi coal mining permit, divested nearly 50% of land acquired for coal mining and will no longer mine coal.
The government has announced that it plans to
phase out single-use plastic shopping bags using regulations
under the Waste Minimisation Act. Good. They're a significant
source of marine pollution, and while not the biggest, they're an
easy place to start. Its also not that disruptive: the behaviour
change to stop using plastic bags at the supermarket is relatively
trivial, and once established, easy to maintain, at least for
planned trips. There is a cost: those bags tend to get reused, and
many end their lives as bin-liners, which will probably be replaced
with purpose-bought bags which don't meet the ban criteria
(thickness and handles). But those bags end up in landfill, not the
ocean, so it should still achieve its goal.
Of course, bags aren't the only source of marine plastic. But this is a start, and will hopefully lead to the government looking to eliminate the others.
Im going to be talking to Steve Austin on ABC 612 Brisbane today, hopefully about COAGs rejection of the Turnbull governments National Energy Guarantee. As I said when this policy was cooked up in a matter of a few weeks last year
The most important thing to understand about the federal governments new National Energy Guarantee is that it is designed not to produce a sustainable and reliable electricity supply system for the future, but to meet purely political objectives for the current term of parliament.
Those political objectives are: to provide a point of policy difference with the Labor Party; to meet the demands of the governments backbench to provide support for coal-fired electricity; and to be seen to be acting to hold power prices down.
To expand a bit on the first point, this is a policy that wont survive past the next election. If Labor wins, theyll need to raise the emissions reduction target and that will entail dismantling most of the elaborate structure of the NEG. If, regrettably, Turnbull is re-elected, hell face immense pressure from the backbench to do more for coal. On past form, and the indications of recent weeks, hell comply. If it should survive, the policy wont deliver any significant change from the current no-policy trajectory, because its essentially designed to do nothing.
But if not the NEG, what can be done to fix the shambles that is our electricity system? Heres a very brief outline:
(i) a publicly owned national grid, operated by a statutory
authority with a service orientation encompassing the goals of
security of supply, affordable electricity, and a transition to a
fully renewable generation system
(ii) the abandonment of the electricity pool market, in favor of longer dated supply contracts, with an order-of-merit system of supply management
(iii) a mixture of public and private electricity generation and networked storage
(iv) reintegration of distribution and retail services
Ok, let me state at the outset that I realised my tautology straight away but headings are hard to change. A tautology is when you repeat the same thing in an unnecessary way, like past history, morning sunrise or mistaken National MP. It is not the same thing as an oxymoron which is when you
The post The True Facts Behind That $444 Million Grant To The Great Barrier Reef Foundation appeared first on The AIM Network.
The ongoing story of Emma Husar is shining a spotlight on the mediocrity and flaws in today's journalism, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson read now...
Just two good things can be said for the governments draft regulation impact statement on improving the efficiency of new light vehicles.
|Minke Whale Breaching at http://wildwhales.org/speciesid/whales/minke-whale/|
As the Coalition sharpen their knives to destroy the life of another political opponent, it would be timely to reflect on some other recent episodes. Starting with the obvious, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water and Resources and Northern Australia, Barnaby Joyce, impregnated a young staffer, created jobs for her in other
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has no intention of returning its $443 million funding deal, writes Dr Martin Hirst read now...
DB: John, what is the latest we know about how Julian Assange is being treated and his current state?
John Pilger: His state of health is just about the same, as I understand it. He needs medical attention, the kind of treatment you get only in a hospital. But it has been made clear to him that if he attempts to go to a hospital he will not be given free passage and he will be arrested. Since he was arrested in 2010, Assange has not been charged with a single crime. His treatment amounts to the most unprecedented persecution. Julian could leave the embassy if his own government, the government of his homeland, Australia, applied legitimate diplomatic pressure on behalf of its citizen. We must ask ourselves why this hasnt happened.
My own feeling is that there is a great deal of collusion between the Australian, the British and the US governmentsmeant to close down WikiLeaks completely and/or deliver Julian Assange to the Americans. Recently the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, traveled with senior officials to London and to Washington and raised the whole matter of Julian. But they raised it in a way that didnt support the idea that a government should represent its citizens. These people listened to the more powerful governments. In Washington they met Mr. Pompeo, who refused to discuss Assange altogether. I think there is collusion which amounts to an attempt to try to do a deal with Assange whereby he might be allowed free passage of return to Australia if he shuts down WikiLeaks. I think that is very, very likely.
As I understand Julian, this is something he would not even contemplate. But that might be one of the so-called wretched deals that are being offered Assange. Some very strange things are being said by senior members of these two governments. The new foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, Jeremy Hunt, said sarcastically that the British police would offer Julian a warm welcome when he came out, when he would face serious charges. There are no serious charges. He hasnt been charged with anything.
Was Hunt referring to a deal which has already been done with the United States on extradition? I dont know. But this is the milieu of machination around someone who has the right of natural justice concerning his freedom. Putting aside freedom of speech, the persecution of this man has been something that should horrify all free-thinking people. If it doesnt horrify us, then we have surrendered something very valuable.
DB: Among those who should be especially horrified are those of us in the journalistic community. John, I would like you to explain once again why Julian Assange is such a significant journalist, why so many journalistic institutions have collaborate...
He is treated as the bogeyman of conspiracy entertainment, and Alex Jones has become a prominent figure for advancing a host of unsavoury views. High on his list of incendiaries is the claim that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting never took place and was the work of paid fantasists, with the victims parents being
Three women working on a joint justice project walked out of Police National Headquarters and refused to return because of Wally Haumaha's alleged bullying behaviour towards them.
The policy analysts - two from the Justice Ministry, one from Corrections - were based at PNHQ in Wellington working in the Mori, Pacific, Ethnic Services division run by Haumaha, a superintendent at the time.
A number of alleged verbal bullying incidents, including a particularly heated exchange in which one of Haumaha's senior staff intervened, contributed to the three women leaving PNHQ in June 2016 feeling "devalued and disillusioned".
The three women told their managers, did not return to PNHQ, and continued working on the project from the Justice Ministry offices.
There is an excellent oped in the AFR today about the Liberal-National Governments decision to embed ASIC officials into banks with the potential to embed them later into other businesses. This on top of the recently implemented Liberal-National Governments BEAR regime which allows APRA to meddle in and veto some bank management decision. Another scheme with the potential to be extended beyond banks. Oh and of course there is the Liberal-National Governments bank tax, which also has the potential to be extended to other industries.
Here is a snippet:
These steps also make a mess of the normal principles of governance. APRA and ASIC are in the process of becoming deeply embedded in the running of private businesses. They can stop firms hiring certain people, they can dictate how they are paid, they can stop certain products from being developed, and they can sit in on private meetings, not just board meetings, but a range of others as well. Who is responsible then for the performance of the company?
The thing about precedents is that those that come after are always tempted to test them.
One thing is for certain, the next time time a Liberal Prime Minister accuses a Labor opposition about misleading voters (eg Mediscare), perhaps the same Prime Minister might explain the Liberal party misleading voters by calling his party Liberal.
You may think this a joke, but it is not. There is an annual conference in the US called the White Privilege Conference. When Spartacus stumbled across this, he thought it was another Nigerian Email (Marketing) Conference. But no. Unlike the Nigerian Email Conference, the White Privilege Conference (WPC) is real. And it has been running since 1999. Yes. 1999!
For the past 17 years the WPC has examined challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solution and team building strategies to work towards a more equitable world. WPC is a conference designed to examine issues of privilege beyond skin color. WPC is open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including: race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc.
Although the conference held in the US, its participants arent just from the US:
The conference is unique in its ability to bring together high school and college students, teachers, university faculty and higher education professionals, nonprofit staff, activists, social workers and counselors, healthcare workers, and members of the spiritual community and corporate arena. Annually, more than 1,500 attend from more than 35 states, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, and Germany.
Whats the bet that Australias participants got there on coin of Australian tax payers.
But just for giggles, below is a photo from the WPC website showing a recent event. You will notice that all the people in the photo are . privileged whites.
It just warms the cockles of the heart.
Newsroom reports that homeowners are cheating on their
refusing to comply with the bright line test:
The bright-line test, a key part of both National and Labours strategy for addressing the housing crisis, is being flouted by as many as a third [sic] of the people who should be paying it.
An IRD submission to the Tax Working Group says that a review and audit of property sales in the 2016 tax year found just a third of sales where the bright-line test should have applied were compliant.
The IRD also noted that voluntary compliance appeared to be getting worse. It estimated that in the 2017 tax year as many as 2,625 sales that may be subject to the test had yet to file a return.
This represents a voluntary non-compliance rate of 71 percent, up from 66 percent in the previous year.
A ballot for two Members' Bills was held this morning, and the
following bills were drawn:
It is hard to imagine what the Coalitions strategy will be for the next election. Their corporate tax cuts for big business are on the nose. Suggesting that someone on $200,000 should pay the same tax rate as someone on $40,000 will also be a hard sell. How can they possibly pursue Bill Shorten for
In my last post on Wednesday, I said it was time to draw a line against racism and, among other things, to boycott Sky until it cleans house thoroughly. As it turned out, I had to put up or shut up on this, much sooner than I expected. Yesterday, I was invited (by one of the few decent commentators on Sky) to take part in a debate on the National Energy Guarantee. As readers will know, Im keenly interested in this topic, and would have liked to have my say, but I had to decline. If this happens enough, perhaps Sky management will take notice.
Of course, as commenters have noted, its not just Sky but the whole Newscorp machine that is now pushing racism[fn1]. Jason Wilson has a good piece on this.
Also as noted by a commenter, I omitted to mention that Skys neo-Nazi talent was invited by Adam Giles, former Chief Minister of the NT. and therefore, until a couple of years ago, a member of COAG. It appears that none of his former colleagues on the conservative side of politics has uttered a word of criticism of this appalling behavior. In fact, the only criticism Ive seen from the right has come from none other than Andrew Bolt. I assume that he was trying to put some distance between Cottrells diatribes and the almost identical views he published around the same time.
Some good news is that advertisers are feeling the heat, with Huggies, Specsaveras and American Express withdrawing advertising. Virgin has apparently launched an investigation into whether the interview aired in its lounges, but Ive seen nothing from Qantas and had no reply to my protest.
!. Or rather, white nationalism. As I noted back in 2004, the only genuine instance of political correctness in Australia is that you are never, ever, allowed to call anyone a racist. Even Cottrell, who has openly declared himself a racist, and has been convicted of race hate crimes, is often referred to by euphemisms such as far-right activist.
Im joined this week by Jill Sheppard (@jillesheppard) and Osmond Chiu (@redrabbleroz) to discuss research into what candidate attributes influence voters choices, and profile the marginal seat of Gilmore in southern NSW.
Links to things discussed in this episode:
You can subscribe using this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice, but should also be able to find this podcast by searching for the Tally Room. If you like the show please considering rating and reviewing us on iTunes.
The Devpolicy Blog has discussed the need for enhanced aid transparency in aid activities since its inception. There are many reasons why a lack of transparency in aid can negatively impact aid effectiveness. It makes it harder for donors to coordinate effectively with one another and identify gaps in investments. It makes it harder for partner countries to align aid with their own investment priorities. It makes it harder for donors to learn from each other, and from the past. It also reduces the accountability of aid, both on the sending and receiving side of the equation.
It is for all of these reasons that transparency has been enshrined in high-level aid effectiveness agreements, including the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, and the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
Aid transparency is particularly important for a region like the Pacific. Even when excluding NGOs and private sector philanthropies, there are more than 60 bilateral and multilateral donors operating in the region, spending around US $2 billion per year. With a total regional population of around 11 million, and when excluding PNG an average population size per country of under 200,000, the scope and capability for Pacific island governments to engage with and coordinate such a wide range of partners is a daunting task.
In the last decade there have been great advances in aid transparency. The International Aid and Transparency Initiative Standard (IATI), established in 2008, has established a new benchmark for international reporting. Each year more donors are getting serious about their commitments to IATI, as exhibited in the annual Aid Transparency Index. Many aid agencies around the world are also getting more serious with their own dashboards, widgets, and project pages, making their websites sophisticated repositories of aid knowledge (best examples include USAids explorer portal and DFIDs Devtracker). Despite these advances, we are a long way off regional comprehensive and timely reporting of aid flows.
We got tired of waiting.
Over the last 18 months we have been working on the Lowy Institute Pac...
1- he was the first member of Congress to endorse TrumpThe co-chair of the Battery Storage Caucus, he has one of the highest Trump affinity scores in Congress-- 98.9%. He made news after the 2016 election when Chris Cuomo asked him about Trump considering Mitt Romney to head the State Department, telling CNN viewers that "What do I know about Mitt Romney? I know that he's a self-serving egomaniac who puts himself first, who has a chip on his shoulder, and thinks that he should be president of the United States."
2- he's an insider trading crook who used his office to enrich himself and several of his cronies
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