Analysis: The truth about the flood levy

Tragic as the Queensland floods have been, the real lesson we are about to learn with the proposed flood tax is that government, and its inability to curb spending, not the weather, is the greatest threat to the future.


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The truth about the proposed levy is that we had a major flood. There are only two ways to deal with it. Use a levy & people will squeal, cut costs & people will squeal. So to make the squealing fair probably a bit of both & lets not be miserable about it. Prior to the GFC in the USA middle (professional) & lower income had over many years seen a massive re-distribution to high income earners (majority not worth what there paid) & thats why the middle income earner's wages are now worse than government.

What is Tim Treadgold smoking? He opens with a statement that "the real lesson we are about to learn with the proposed flood tax is that government, and its inability to curb spending, not the weather, is the greatest threat to the future". Then he spent most of the article "proving" his statement by quoting "examples" from an unnamed newspaper that in USA some professions attract a higher pay in the government sector that the private sector. He knows that you cannot use an observation in one country as evidence of it occurring in another country, particularly if its origin is “a newspaper last year, and repeated last week in a financial newsletter". No responsible journalist would publish an article based on a source like that. Perhaps Tim slept in after too much hooch and had to invent a story to meet his editor's deadline? I cannot think of another plausible explanation for that rubbish. Tim's example for an engineer is certainly not applicable in Australia. Engineers in Australia earn far more in the private sector that in the public sector. I should know as I am one. Time then goes on to say "we are travelling the same road of relying on higher-and-higher tax rates". Has Tim been sleeping under a tree for the past decade? Both company and personal tax rates have been falling. And Tim claims taxes are spent "to feed a growing, and totally unproductive, government sector". If the police were not maintaining civil order, the judiciary a justice system, the Transport authorities building and maintaining roads and bridges, education being provided, defence being provided, a currency being maintained and much more" when Tim woke up from his long sleep I expect he would be the first to complain. Tim slips in a side comment about the proposed charge for raw materials on mining entrepreneurs. These are the guys who put pegs in the ground to mark an area then use the public's money obtained through there super funds to see if there is anything valuable under the pegs and keep most of the value if there is. Guys like Palmer who have accumulated Billions by squatting on national deposits of wealth without getting dirty complain that a charge for the raw materials will kill the creation of jobs, but that is rubbish because we cannot fill the jobs now without bringing in people from third world countries on 457 visas. But that is a side issue in response to Tim's throw away political line. If Tim thinks there should be some cuts in the economy I think Tim's boss should look at Tim's salary if that article is typical of the quality of his work. When Tim is sacked perhaps he could study economics 101, or even journalism 101 on credible sources of information. But if Tim isnt sacked, please, if you are going to try to get some political mileage out of something like the floods at least flavour it with come semi-credible supporting evidence.

Thank you Mark Jones! I was thinking the same thing. Maybe you should write for WABN? At least your comments were relevant and based on fact. OK so we now have a flood levy. Does this mean it will be lifted once Queensland and Victoria (and I acknowledge their floods affect all of Australia) are back on their feet? I think not.

Tim's article has certainly stoked Cindy's ire? Is she possibly an engineer in the government perhaps? I can't imagine any private employer taking on someone with her attitudes somehow.

14 Stainer Street Willagee
The recent Australia Day rhetoric about the great Australian spirit of mateship shown in the Queensland floods etc is all very well. However, it seems unfair to me that I and my fellow Australians should have to chip in extra tax dollars to help out people who were silly enough to build their houses near creeks in the first place (in any case, most of them seem to be from Queensland). I think a different approach is called for, embodying the neoliberal virtues of self reliance, greed and self interest , accompanied of course, by an ultra-low tax regime. In short, they should be required to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I agree with the Minerals Council of Australia that it would be grossly inappropriate for Australia’s mining industry to be required to make any contribution to the reconstruction fund, as this would unreasonably cramp the lifestyle of billionaire entrepreneurs such as Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Pankaj Oswal. I understand that Julia Gillard is now wisely moving towards a more sensible solution to this problem, by making up the flood relief funds through further cuts to spending on education, health and public services. However, these cuts should I think be targeted as much as possible on the worst flood-affected areas, so that working families in the rest of Australia such as myself and Gina Rinehart do not have to stump up a single extra tax dollar.

Actually David, the comments that seem to have got up your nose are mine and not Cindy's. And no, I am not a government engineer but have been self employed for the past 20 years after heading up some private sector divisions. It is just that while I enjoy fiction as much as anybody, I expect non-fiction when reading financial articles. Perhaps the overload of politically motivated fiction in the "serious sections" of the press in recent times has finally "stoked my ire".

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