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Weekend reflections

July 20th, 2008

It’s time, a little bit late for weekend reflections. Feel free to write at greater length than for a standard comment thread. As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. July 21st, 2008 at 06:50 | #1

    Do you have thoughts on geolibertarianism? Which I’ll summarize as generally libertarian attitudes, plus government funding via land value tax, pollution tax, and other taxes on natural resources, spent on both ‘normal’ government functions and a basic income or citizen’s dividend replacing most or all means-tested welfare.

  2. July 21st, 2008 at 09:36 | #2

    ABC gives free kick to Iemma, NSW electricity privatisation

    When Barrie Unsworth complained on Sydney’s local ABC radio of the New South Wales Labor Party’s efforts to ensure that state Labor parliamentarians vote against the privatisation of NSW’s electricity assets – a policy already rejected resoundingly by the electorate in 1999 and currently opposed by 79% of the NSW public – his interviewer Toni Matthews expressed her total agreement with the former NSW Premier:

    “Why – It seems obvious to me – Why
    isn’t it obvious to these younger members that you’re talking about that they’re creating mayhem within the party?”

    See also

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/15/2303870.htm?section=australia
    http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/news/audio/news-audio/200807/20080715-unsworth-702.mp3
    http://candobetter.org/node/665#transcript

  3. jquiggin
    July 21st, 2008 at 10:37 | #3

    I used to get a lot of material from followers of Henry George, pushing this general line, though the term geolibertarianism is new to me. I’ve never seen a version where there was actually a worked out budget.

  4. Tony G
    July 21st, 2008 at 11:43 | #4

    Tony, the post says “no coarse language”. Evading the blocking software with a post full of asterisked expletives doesn’t satisfy this requirement. You’re banned for a week. Any attempt to dispute, test or evade this ban will result in its being made permanent – JQ

  5. July 21st, 2008 at 11:48 | #5

    Yeah, I haven’t found a total system proposal myself, either, though land taxes aren’t unused, and Hong Kong uses one heavily.

    Even if it can’t replace income tax, the idea of strong land tax and ecotax seems useful and appealing, especially with even redistribution. And there’s surprising support among some conservatives and libertarians for a basic income (Charles Murray) or negative income tax (Milton Friedman.)

  6. July 21st, 2008 at 14:11 | #6

    Tony G,

    I still believe one has to give credit where credit is due. It is thanks to both the NSW Labor Party machine, for all its past sins, as well as the Greens, the Unions, and (surprisingly) the Liberal/National opposition – and little thanks to the NSW Parliamentary Labor Party as a whole – that the privatisation of NSW’s electricity is not law now.

    Would you prefer that the NSW Labor Party administration just roll over before Iemma, Costa, Carr, Unsworth, Keating, etc. and their corporate backers?

    If we don’t recognise and acknowledge when people in positions of power act in principled and decent ways (regardless of what we may speculate their underlying motives to be), how do you expect that the standard of democracy and accountability is ever to be lifted out of the depths into which they have descended in recent years?

    If your head in-the-sand “pox on all of your houses” mindset were more widely adopted, then the chance we have now to improve the situation in Australia will be lost.

    Anyhow, the main point of the article was to provide some evidence of the abysmal reporting of the NSW electricity privatisation issue, not only by the corporate newsmedia, but even by the allegedly ‘left wing’ ABC.

  7. observa
    July 21st, 2008 at 22:56 | #7

    “Do you have thoughts on geolibertarianism? Which I’ll summarize as generally libertarian attitudes, plus government funding via land value tax, pollution tax, and other taxes on natural resources, spent on both ‘normal’ government functions and a basic income or citizen’s dividend replacing most or all means-tested welfare.”
    My ideal constitutional marketplace would tend toward that direction with some diversion. Abandoning other forms of taxation for carbon and resource taxing is along those lines, but I’d include land as a resource in that. ie I’d tax land use on a scale of maximum for building/concrete/bitumen cover to zero for natural environment. That differs from the current market value based taxation and that’s for a very good reason which I’ll come to. Abandoning progressive income tax would necessitate the addition of a wealth tax for the very top end, particularly if carbon taxing is to reduce fossil fuel consumption and with it concomitant material well-being generally. I wouldn’t envisage pollution taxing per se, as we need some overall mechanism for the environment to have countervailing market power. I reckon I can pick up Henry George and John Locke and dust them off and pop them back in their rightful place on the mantlepiece to do just that. Might try and get to that next weekend but it’s end of fin yr and that awful abomination to deal with now. You orta see the summary tax headings you have to place dividends in from a single shareholding like Westfield. Sweet Jesus!

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