Monday, 16 September 2013

1. Taxes

Hi, I’m Greg and I want to grumble about taxes. I know everyone grumbles and about taxes, and nobody wants to pay them, but I want to grumble about people not paying tax. We are about to have 5 weeks of an election campaign with politicians mostly promising to cut or abandon taxes.

But taxes are important. They pay for our schools, universities and hospitals, for our roads, trains and buses, for our police and our public spaces, for environmental protection and for sports and big public events. And dare I say it, they pay for defence and border protection! Taxes also pay for social services for those in need, and they pay for pensions and for a safety net for those who can’t support themselves. In short, taxes underpin the social fabric of our society.

But you would not think that listening to the public debate. Just look at what happened recently when the government moved to close a rort in the Fringe Benefits Tax. Outcry. It was simple proposition – that people should not get a tax benefit by having a car paid for by their employer. Everyone else has to earn the dollars, pay their tax on that income and then buy a car. But some people got a car as part of a salary package, and that was counted mostly as a work vehicle and not as part of their income. And now, oh my god, they have to keep a log book if they want to claim it as a work vehicle, or pay tax the same as everyone else as part of their income. Howls of protest from the parasite industry that has been built around this rort. Unfair, the end of the car industry and civilisation as we know it!


But there will be more of this stuff during the election. So what I want is every time a politician talks about cutting taxes, I want them to name the service they will cut, the homeless or domestic violence shelter that will shut, the species that will die, the train that won’t run or the section of road that won’t be repaired, or the social security payment which will fall further behind the cost of living. And then we can have a real grumble about taxes.

This Grumble can be heard or downloaded at:
First Published: 6 August 2013