Friday, November 26, 2010

Business tycoon recommends new tax

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Were we not raised to believe that capitalists loath taxes and like cutting them to maximise profits. The current tax debate in Australia shows how things have changed. Stranger than fiction; Gerry Harvey, the tycoon behind the Harvey Norman retail chain in Australia wants to see more taxes....not upon himself, but levied upon others. He does not argue for less taxes, but rather more. I wonder if he would have supported the Resource Rent Tax on miners, which would have seen them paying a tax rate of up to 63% in the dollar? I wonder what 'moral position' he would take in 20 years when the government decided to adopt a universal tax rate of 63% to treat everyone 'fairly'. After all why should miners pay 63% when Google pays 0.1%. Its not fair. So by all means raise everyone's taxes to 63%.
If you follow this logic, you start understanding the history of taxes. Back in the old days, we used to pay just 3-5%. Now government expenditure accounts for 30-50% of the economy across Western countries, so we have come to accept taxes. We need to ask why. The reason was - people loved the idea of taxing the rich. No one cared about them because they were rich. People did not care because they had no cares because they had lots of money. It did not matter that they had principles (i.e. a belief in freedom from coercion). For the majority, the taxation was practical. Coercive but practical. The govt then had the justification it needed to increase taxation. Principles had been dispensed with (i.e. Statutory law displaced common law).

Let's flip back to today. We have governments always keen to extend their taxing powers. We have a business tycoon who is very close to the Labour government. In fact, his best friend is John Singleton, who does all their advertising campaigns. So he talks to his mate, and says "I know I'm a minority, but I really think I could be making 10% more profits if the tax system was more equitable". John says "No worries, I'll get on to my mate Gillies, and line you up a good deal". John gets on to Gillies and says "Gillies, you want a good deal on election campaigning". Gaw, gee John...we don't have the money. We are only popular with business for whom we cut special deals". So John replies: : "But Gillies, this is good for the government. I think you should increase the tax burden on small retailers so big retailers like my friend can make more money. You don't have to decrease just have to broaden its effects".
And that is the legacy of business people who can't think...and not just tycoons who didn't finish high school. Most businessmen today have no integrity. The reason is they consider ideas or ideology as detached from reality. That is the universe of moral scepticism we live in. Values detached from facts. Beyond crossing the road and not getting hit by a car...beyond that level of correlation they struggle because they are not validated or rewarded for thinking conceptually about such could only lead them into psychological repression or anxiety and depression. Now that you mention it....those symptoms are on the increase. Is it the pressures of 'modern society or is it the blatant contradictory in government policy, and the whole state of social discourse. I think I might be on to something. Nah! I must be mistaken. Governments give us ample opportunity to participate in public discourse. I get to vote every 3-4 years, write submissions which are ignored....and I get a lot of tax deductions. They even gave me a $1,000 dividends a few years ago despite a 50% increase in bracket creep in the last decade and a mining, property and stockmarket boom which delivered them mass revenue increases....nope I must be wrong.. They are lovely people. Besides, their Gerry and John's mates!
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?