Fantasy land has become ALP territory
THIS week we marked the fifth anniversary of Kevin Rudd's solemn declaration that the Howard Government's "reckless spending" must stop. Made in the final lap of the 2007 election campaign, Rudd's pronouncement was intended to buttress his self-proclaimed credentials as an "economic conservative".
Never mind that by April 2006 the Howard government paid off $96 billion in net debt left behind by Paul Keating. And never mind that by election day 2007 the Coalition had put $45 billion in the federal Treasury's coffers as a rainy day fund for the Commonwealth.
Kevin Rudd's words bore no relationship to reality, but that didn't stop his glib lines from playing very well. And his slick rhetoric helped to reinforce the belief of too many Australians that voting in Labor would be cost-free.
Wayne Swan's fiscal forecasts are way off target
It's an iron law of finance that what has been borrowed will one day have to be repaid. By driving Australia into almost $150 billion in debt, Labor has committed a monumental act of intergenerational theft, writes Tony Smith.
Cynics have suggested that the investment strategies of the best Wall Street experts will be outperformed by a chimpanzee throwing random darts at a billboard posted with the New York Stock Exchange Index.
Yet that proverbial chimp is a master sniper by comparison to Wayne Swan and his wild budget forecasts.
Less than two years ago, the treasurer predicted that the Gillard government would run a $12.3 billion budget deficit for the 2011-2012 financial year. (See here, p 322.)
And when the final 2011-2012 figures were tallied up just last month, it turned out that Canberra was $43.7 billion in the red. (See here, p 100.) That's a projected deficit of $12 billion to almost $44 billion over only 21 months.
Don’t let these banknote questions fester
Answers are needed to maintain the RBA’s good name, writes Tony Smith.
TWO weeks ago, the House of Representatives standing committee on economics canvassed questions about governance within the Reserve Bank of Australia arising from what has been described as the ‘‘banknotes bribery scandal’’ involving two of the Reserve’s subsidiary companies that produce Australia’s banknotes. These firms are Securency and Note Printing Australia (NPA).
Since May 2009, The Age has published a series of stories alleging that some agents retained by these companies may have used part of their commissions to bribe foreign government officials. I am a member of the House economics committee, the body tasked with parliamentary oversight of the Reserve Bank.
HEAVY-HANDED TAX OFFICE NEEDS CULTURAL CHANGE
The system needs to be fair, stable and predictable
THERE'S the bully pulpit and then there's just plain bullying. And while governments at their best lift us up through inspiration, governments at their worst cast us down through intimidation. For months, the business community has been awash with horror stories about hyper-aggressive and ultra-erratic enforcement strategies employed by an Australian tax office on steroids.
Of course, taxes are the price we pay for civilisation. A taxless world would degenerate into the state of anarchy described Thomas Hobbes in his famous passage from Leviathan: "no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".
Yet for a tax system to be constructive, it must be fair, stable, efficient and predictable. And it must be remembered that governments generate no wealth, and thus have no money of their own. The dollars in public coffers have all been taken through the coercive power of the state from the businesses and individuals whose hard work and innovation generates wealth, jobs and technological progress.
TONY SMITH MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR TAX REFORM
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CASEY
Michael Kroger’s comments this morning are very regrettable.
Peter Costello gave our party and our country everything he had in his nearly 20 years in Parliament.
Peter’s economic record and his contribution to the national interest are beyond question.
So too are his character and his honesty.
11th May 2012