Let’s talk about that one little issue that we are all avoiding: tax. Avoiding, you might say? On what planet are we avoiding talking about it? It’s all that those <expletive deleted> politicians are talking about. Well, yes, I guess – in some senses. We’ve all hard about axing the Carbon Tax and the changes that are being raised to the Goods and Services Tax and the levy on company tax – and far more intelligent individuals than myself have written widely about all of these issues and more, at a level of sophistication that far surpasses mine.
So why do I say we’re all avoiding it? Well, because we’re not addressing that elephant in the room: personal tax. I know it’s a truism that you can’t get elected by promising to bring in new taxes but lets put that to one side for the moment, and instead consider what we might think is the most fair system.
Firstly, let’s dispense with the notion that wealth creators (and what the hell does that even mean) are entitled to their own personal deal with the tax office. Even if you’re the southern hemisphere’s biggest mining magnate, your trucks drive on roads built by people’s taxes. Your employees are capable of working in the way they do because they went to schools that were funded by people’s taxes. The fact that you’re able to undertake your business is, to a large extent, dependent upon the stability of Australian police and legal systems – all of which are funded through the taxes that people pay. So therefore, regardless of what you might make, or how many employees you have, or what colossal profits you earn, you owe a proportion of your success to Australia – and hence you pay your taxes.
While we’re at it, why not get creative? Let’s raise the level of tax paid by high income earners – let’s say if you earn more than $150 000 per annum, you pay more. Not a huge amount more, but certainly a more graduated scale than what we have at the moment. And instead of talking about the government ‘taking my money’ and ‘invading my space’ as some people are wont to do, let’s instead talk about citizens putting back into the community – and what you get for your money. Even now, Australians are fortunate enough to have an excellent education system, an excellent health care system and a strong social safety net. But we could do so much more – why not free tertiary education? Why not more investment in renewable energy sources and smart technologies so that we’re not left stranded when the mini boom comes to an end?
Of course, the naysayers out there will insist that such an approach is impossible – in fact, it’s so far beyond impossible that it’s ridiculous. Except that it’s not. One need only look at countries like Sweden to see what a modern social democracy looks like – and a lot of that is funded by high company and high personal tax. Compare that with America, and its insistence on low taxation, and you might want to reconsider what’s the best approach.
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