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Monster rises

THE worst kept secret is out.

And, surprise, surprise, a Labor Government is raising taxes.

There is no doubt business will be the big target, the traditional target when Labor wants to squeeze a bit more blood from the stone.

This is politics.

One lot looks after its heartland at the cost of its opponents until these policies shift the balance of power and a new lot comes in to the balance.

But Labor should beware, the electorate is different than the good old days when business meant a few rich people and even fewer

merchants doing it tough.

These days, business includes a lot of self-employed and small operations employing just a handful of people.

This change in demographics has blurred the middle ground of politics, making it hard to just dump a few extra taxes on those in business.

And don’t forget how quickly economies react these days.

Better information, from a host of sources like Business News, and improved education make the people who operate businesses more flexible.

They won’t wait for tax increases to take effect, they will anticipate the problems by cutting back themselves.

Or worse, they will take advantage of globalisation, which makes geography much less of a hurdle.

That means taking their business elsewhere.

Eric Ripper reckons he can increase taxes without affecting competitiveness. Good luck.

Cold comfort

A COLD war on building sites is almost as bad as outright conflict.

While we wait to hear what the Government has in store for workplace legislation such as right to entry, business has to prepare for a number of possible outcomes.

This is called uncertainty. It is regarded as the most costly part of doing business because it makes decision making difficult and, inevitably, puts off investment.

The real cold war may have cost less in terms of lives than conflicts before it, but no-one could doubt that the war of nerves between communism and capitalism was an expensive business.

Let’s hope this cold war does not go on for so long or result in steps that make open conflict more commonplace.

None of us can afford that.

Bank bashing

AUSTRALIA’s most successful bank has just had its progress checked by a massive write-off from its US operations.

A lot of people have been quick to have a go at the National Australia Bank as it falters under a $3 billion write-off from its HomeSide business. I guess that’s not surprising. NAB is, after all, a bank. It has also been rather arrogant in the way it has enjoyed its success.

NAB was never too encouraging for journalists. Few questions ever got past the one man designated to deal with the media.

The bank has also been very public in its enthusiasm to dismantle the Federal Government’s four pillars policy.

Having said all that, at least it has done what too few Australian service companies are prepared to do.

It has used its strong local base to grow a business offshore. Let’s hope this experience doesn’t put it off.

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