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Midweek Message Board

October 21st, 2009

Running late, so we’ll call it Midweek Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. gerard
    October 21st, 2009 at 08:54 | #1

    how ungrateful can you get?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/us/politics/20donate.html?_r=1

    WASHINGTON — The Wall Street giants that received a financial lifeline from Washington may have no compunction about paying big bonuses to their dealmakers and traders. But their willingness to deliver “thank you” gifts to President Obama and the Democrats is another question altogether….

    …“There are sensitivities there,” said Scott Talbot, a lobbyist for the industry’s Financial Services Roundtable. Political contributions “can make a donor a target,” Mr. Talbot said. Many involved, though, say the low attendance from those Wall Street giants also reflected a broader disenchantment with Mr. Obama over the angry language emanating from the White House over the million-dollar bonuses and anti-regulatory lobbying….

    ….Dr. Daniel E. Fass, another chairman of the event who lives surrounded by financiers in Greenwich, Conn., said: “The investment community feels very put-upon. They feel there is no reason why they shouldn’t earn $1 million to $200 million a year, and they don’t want to be held responsible for the global financial meltdown.” Dr. Fass added, “How much that will be reflected in their support for the president remains to be seen.”

  2. Alice
    October 21st, 2009 at 10:10 | #2

    @gerard
    Any disenchantment of the Wall Street Giants with Obama is a step in the right direction, as is their absence from the corridors of power.

  3. carbonsink
    October 21st, 2009 at 11:04 | #3

    Another fantastic piece from Michael Pettis:
    China’s September data suggest that the long-term overcapacity problem is only intensifying

    According to my model of China’s overcapacity problem, the source of the imbalance is a set of industrial policies that systematically shift income from households to producers, and as long as these policies continue there is little chance of resolving the problem of excess production.

    Although China is still a very poor country, there is no question that Chinese household income has grown substantially over the past few decades, but it has not grown nearly as quickly as GDP. While China’s GDP grew at 11-12% over the 2002-2007 period, for example, MIT economist Yasheng Huang estimates that household income grew at a much lower 9%.

    I wish the RBA board would read Pettis, but unfortunately they appear to be true believers in China Boom 2.0.

  4. Fran Barlow
    October 21st, 2009 at 16:07 | #4

    I was reading through the Wentworth Group report on agreiculture and the CPRS the other day and it got me thinking more broadly of other models for implementing effective carbon rationing. Perhaps this is a little whimsical, but bear with me …

    Imagine all households being issued with stored value carbon credit cards. Everyone would have to buy their initial household emissions credits — perhaps online. The first 100 kilos per household member per year would be at $20 per tonne and from that moment on there would be a sliding scale peaking at $100 per tonne when you reached 2 tonnes each. At 5 tonnes each new kg would escalate at 1% more than the last one. You could of course anticipate this by buying carbon credits on eBay at whatever the going rate was. So business would be charged nothing, and consumers everything.

    When you paid your electricity bill or your petrol or bought stuff at the supermarket, you’d have to run your card over the swipe and if you were short, you’d have the relevant charge added. The total amount of carbon credits in the economy each year would be derived from the cap and from any produced by anyone engaging in properly audited sequestering activities.

    Low income households would be assisted in kind by being supplied with whatever goods they needed to stay under the cap — budgeting advise, smart cut-off devices, passive solar water heaters, insulation, water tanks, a concessional public transport card etc and of course expanded income assistance. In a market like that, you might think that producing goods with low net CO2e would be a selling point aside from price.

    Food could be a special case. Suppose we zero rated food staples (apart from CO2e) and raw food that met some minimum nutrition standards and then as the level of food processing increased or the net nutritional value declined or its sweetness began to exceeded the non-additive sweetness of the the dominent nutrient bearing components taxes rose. This would take care of alcohol and alcopops.

    Moneys raised could be hypothecates to running programs of the following kind:

    a) Community centre based eateries. Here, good basic foods would be supplied to people on low incomes who could, with guidance from staff, to prepare nutritious meals. Others on not so low incomes could pay a progressively escalating fee for each meal. The same centre would have laundry and washing facilities and perhaps a GP service, community nurse and creche, recreational facilities.

    Advantages: Equitable. There’s a tax on low quality food but people who would buy lots of it because it was cheap can now eat quality food for the cost of their labour. Encourages community solidarity. Supports good parenting practice amongst single parents. Time efficient. Funded subsrtantially by better off people. Combats child and adult obesity directly and through promotion of rec activities.

    b) A before and after school child care service extending to high school in which food and homework supervision and assisatnce and perhaps extra-curricular rec activities are supplied on school premises. Scaled contributions

    Advantages: Ensures kids get a proper breakfast and dinner; cuts truancy and anti-social behaviour opportunities; reduces child neglect and other forms of potential abuse; underpins school success

    c) Enlargement of DOCS staffing so as to case manage children for two years at 3 month intervals with yearly follow up for non-serious cases until the age of five. Check developmental benchmarks, support good parenting practice, ensure early intervention of support services where necessary.

    Advantages: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Break generational disadvantage; ensure learning difficulties are identified early and appropriate support is given in a timely way. Foreclose longterm costs of contact with mental health and justice systems.

    Now plainly, taxes on low quality food aren’t going to pay for all this. Possibly some places would get sponsorship and there would be contributions from people who didn’t meet the low income standard but still in the long run, I believe the program would go very close to break even. Out at Minto, where I used to teach, the businesses in the Minto Mall would have loved to support such a program if they could have been sure of 80% attendance before and after school.

  5. October 21st, 2009 at 20:46 | #5

    I thought you might be interested Fran, since you did respond to one of comments, not agreeing, but disagreement stimulates further thought. Sometimes ideas and notions cannot be saved. You will have to give me more time on your ideas, and perhaps others are better able to comment anyway.

    Here is a an e=mc[squared] moment: citizenship is social action. The power and effect of citizenship is common property. The primary source of this power is not technology or intelligence but compassion. Person power is constrained by our common humanity reflecting our biological capacity (and rights), apprehended as mind (the capacity to develop and understand systems) since we are human beings, and not for example butterflies.

    Do you have a better formula?

  6. Fran Barlow
    October 22nd, 2009 at 07:50 | #6

    @wmmbb

    It sounds a little too esoteric for me. How would one use this to design social policy?

  7. James
    October 22nd, 2009 at 09:26 | #7

    @wmmbb
    That sounds a lot like the capabilities approach to measuring “person power” as you put it, put forward by Amatya Sen & Martha Nussbaum. You might find that literature interesting.

  8. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 16:11 | #8

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran – why is consumers pay all and businesses pay nothing equitable?? So woolies and coles pay nothing. This sounds like yet another way to let large corporations off with as little contribution as possible, as if they, and they alone are soley responsible for employment and innovation (cant burden the poor things…).

    Thats INEQUITABLE. Let them pay more and the consumer pay less and put some more disposable income in consumers pockets and maybe they will leave their boring as batcave job and start a business because they have more to invest. This whole notion of protecting firms and penalising consumers to an ever higher extent just gets my hackles up. They have had more than enough concessions since 1980s. Thats half the dam problem. Why should people have so little disposable income (mortgage, ever rising cost of living) that they are scared to leave their wage slave jobs. Hardly conducive to innovation and hardly conducive to growing anything more competitive to tackle the incumbent and comfortable large oligopolies currently running a lot of business in Australia.

    I dont see that plan as equitable And It rests once again on the notion of trickle down (ie businesses pay nothing and consumer pays all because business needs protection because its such a valuable provider of jobs….that is the trickle down assumption by any other name).

  9. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 16:16 | #9

    DFran

    Whats equitable about letting National Foods off paying for the carbon when those bastards just cut milk to dairy Farmers ion Tasmania by damn near one half and are going to to do the same across Australia. Why? because they, as a monopoly, can.

    When are we going to wake up and realise that the herd stock is half or one third what it was in 1925 or that dairy farming is a dead industry in Australia and insteads we are importing milk at 3 times the price and its now long life milk. From who? National foods. Why? Because they are in the business of destroying our industry so they can preside over a mon0opoly importation game.

    Why shouldnt they pay for carbon Fran? They can afford to bankrupt farmers. We can afford to bankrupt them. In fact why are they here and why do they have so much destructive power?

    We will wake up one day.

  10. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 16:16 | #10

    cut milk price

  11. Donald Oats
    October 22nd, 2009 at 17:37 | #11

    It is an interesting idea Fran Barlow, of passing some kind of carbon credit card to consumers, who then use it as they see fit. Still digesting it though, so might leave extended commentary to later…

    Alice, I agree that equity needs to be thought about; however, consumers at the supermarket may use the knowledge of what carbon cost is attached to various food items, and to use that as a means of altering consumer behaviour. If supermarkets find that the higher carbon cost items in a given category aren’t selling well, they will eventually drop that item – which puts pressure on manufacturers and producers to find ways of reducing the carbon cost component of their price (all other things being equal etc etc).

  12. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 17:48 | #12

    @Donald Oats
    Donald – I can see your logic – and according to demand and supply theory suppliers shouldnt supply what consumers dont want to buy but I think things have gotten a little more complicated than that in our markets. Lets have a hypothethical and consider the impact if say National Foods realises it has a hold on the farm gate prices BUT due to globalisation it can purchase and import milk (albeit semi dehydrated and semi processed like some form of long life substance) AT AN EVEN LOWER PRICE. Does National Foods have incentives to drive down farm gate prices further??? (mediu term incentives??) OF course it does. So farmers go out of business, the milk price with lower farm gate prices is scarcer so it starts ti rise, making long life look attractive to consumers……

    So ultimately the Australian fresh milk market is deemed “uncompetitive”, half the dairy producers have left or amalgamated,

    I guess what I am trying to say here is that basically dairy de-regulation, IMHO, is basically problematical unless the consumer ends up happy with an inferior product (or is it just because the now inferior roduct is the same price as the superior product used to be).

    What I am saying is that …is it fair to even consider that consumer demand drives supply or can supply drive a demand for inferior products?? (at no lesser price).

    Im not certain I believe in consumer sovereignity any more.

  13. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 17:54 | #13

    Its a bit like rice growing in Thailand Don – the rice growers are amongst the poorest people in the country (so poor some sell their daughters to the sex tourism industry) yet there are 64 million people in Thailand most of whom eat rice every day.
    How does this happen?? The only explanation is a cheaper imported rice. Damn it – put the tariff barriers up. That cheaper rice is likely US rice who of course dont receive agricultural subsidies…they get “marketing” subsidies (thats not protection is it??). You probably find more US rice on Thai food market shelves than Thai rice I wouldnt mind betting.

  14. Alice
    October 22nd, 2009 at 17:55 | #14

    I think I believe more in supplier sovereignity in 2009.

  15. gerard
    October 22nd, 2009 at 19:03 | #15

    On the subject of “National” Foods… quite a misnomer! I was surprised to learn that since about one year ago it has been a fully-owned subsidiary of the Japanese corporation Kirin Holdings, one of the largest companies in the Mitsubishi keiretsu.

    A lot more people would be surprised if they realized. Berri juice, Pura, Hahn, Dairy Farmers, even Brisbane’s own XXXX beer – now all 100% Japanese owned! And we kick up such a stink about the Chinese buying some mines.

  16. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    October 22nd, 2009 at 21:57 | #16

    Is Rudd dog whistling?

  17. Donald Oats
    October 22nd, 2009 at 22:33 | #17

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    The other day he might have been whistling – or was just intellectually lazy – in his response to the asylum seeker stuff (I assume that’s what you are referring to, Terje). Cringeworthy, but eventually Prime Minister Rudd found a more temperate rhetoric concerning the current policy. Evans did come out the other day on AM Agenda IIRC, stating fairly cogently the government’s policy. I am surprised at how much fuss the opposition has made over the fairness or otherwise of coming here by boat rather than plane, when so little fuss was made by the previous government ministers concerning indefinite detention of minors.

  18. Jill Rush
    October 22nd, 2009 at 23:35 | #18

    Nobody can beat Wilson Tuckey in the dog whistling stakes. What I would like Mr Rudd to do is to put a lot more pressure on Sri Lanka to let at least the women and children out of the detention camps which remind me of concentration camps in World War 2. It is surprising that Kevin Rudd holds a people smuggler in that war as one of his heroes and yet fails to see the parallels with Sri Lanka today. What is outrageous is what is causing the numbers of refugees in boats to rise and that no-one in the international community is crying “Shame”.

  19. Ian Gould
    October 22nd, 2009 at 23:52 | #19

    Carbonsink: only 9% (compounding) per annum growth in household incomes?

    The horror! The horror!

  20. Ian Gould
    October 22nd, 2009 at 23:58 | #20

    Thailand is a major rice exporter.

    I look forward to Alice explaining how this is ENTIRELY consistent with her claim that Thailand is a rice importer.

    http://rspas.anu.edu.au/economics/publish/papers/wp1996/9610.pdf

  21. SeanG
    October 23rd, 2009 at 01:27 | #21

    “We deserve our bonuses”

    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6884355.ece#

    This is bound to anger Alice.

  22. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 23rd, 2009 at 06:32 | #22

    John, there is one sad story coming out of Iraq which the world should be made aware and that is the number of deformed babies being born in Fallujah. If the report is true, during ‘September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 babies born, 24% of which died within their first week of life. Worse yet, fully 75% of the babies born that month were deformed. This compares to August 2002, six months before the US invasion, when 530 live births were reported with only six dying in the first week, and only one deformity. Clearly something terrible is happening in Fallujah, and many doctors suspect it’s the depleted uranium dust that is permeating the city’.

  23. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 07:47 | #23

    Thats OK Sean – Obama is cutting exec pay by 90% for tarp recipients and after the string of shareholder disgust articles this week ocver executive pay in Australia – Im waiting to see Rudd’s moves. Where are they? It will happen.

  24. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 09:18 | #24

    @Ian Gould
    Ian – I did not say that Thailand was a net rice importer at any point anywhere. Just because Thailand exports its own rice, doesnt preclude Thailand from importing a cheaper rice from somewhere else (whilst exporting the majority of its own rice). Either way – Thai rice growers are impoverished, perhaps because they do export their own rice. Why is fish so expensive in Australia now Ian Gould? Because we export so much of it.

  25. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 09:26 | #25

    @Ian Gould
    Ian – if you dont think Thailand does in fact import rice then you better look at this link. The difference is the word “net” Ian. Of course they are a net exporter but you may have overlooked that assumption (which I didnt feel the need to have to spell out) in the original comment I posted.

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/business/39824-thailand-to-tighten-import-rules-on-rice-palm-oil

  26. carbonsink
    October 23rd, 2009 at 10:03 | #26

    Gouldy, mate, here’s some more on the China ‘miracle’

    But there were a couple of eye-popping numbers in yesterday’s third quarter statistical report from China.

    Over the first nine months of 2009, China’s infrastructure investment grew by 53 per cent. Of the three-quarter GDP growth of 7.7 per cent, 7.3 per cent was accounted for by investment (consumption was 4 per cent and falling net exports subtracted 3.6 per cent).

    As a result there is now tremendous over-capacity being created in China. When the government stops spending so much on infrastructure, the slack is unlikely to be taken up by domestic consumption or exports.

    And the other eye-popper was money supply. M2 growth was 29.3 per cent, year on year. Total outstanding loans have grown 28 per cent since the start of the year (in Australia they have fallen).

    Over-investment and galloping debt can be a nasty combination, but normal rules seem to have been put on hold in China, at least for a while.

    Oh, and here’s a picture of an economy gone mad. No speculation here, move along, move along…

  27. carbonsink
    October 23rd, 2009 at 10:08 | #27

    BTW, 9% p.a. of bugger all is bugger all, compounding or otherwise. The Chinese consumer ain’t gonna replace the US consumer overnight, especially when most of the growth is (mal)investment, not household income and consumption. It will happen, but it will take decades.

  28. Donald Oats
    October 23rd, 2009 at 11:48 | #28

    Dr Clive Hamilton is going to run against the Liberal candidate in the seat of Higgins, as a member for the Greens. Read all about it!

  29. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 15:28 | #29

    @Alice

    Fran – why [... is... should?] consumers pay all and businesses pay nothing equitable?? So woolies and coles pay nothing. This sounds like yet another way to let large corporations off with as little contribution as possible …

    By definition, it can’t be. It adds to the costs they have to pass on to consumers, and prejudices their market position directly. Now, corporations can compete not merely on cost — which includes the clever ‘savings’ corporation make using the biosphere as a tip and using cheap subsidised chemical ingredients and flavourings instead of real food — but on nutrition and environmental footprint. In that market, a business that incurs extra costs producing quality food and avoiding wasteful carbon usage gets an advantage over the embezzler in marketing its products.

    And of course, as I pointed out, the socially disadvantaged consumer is given other options and even not so socially disadvantaged ones would have cheap alternatives. The people who lose out are ignorant people with plenty of money and they fund the benefits going to non-ignorant people who are worse off. Transferring income from privileged, stupid and anti-social people to those not in those categories sounds fair to me and good policy.

  30. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 15:30 | #30

    @Alice

    Fran – why [... is... should?] consumers pay all and businesses pay nothing equitable?? So woolies and coles pay nothing. This sounds like yet another way to let large corporations off with as little contribution as possible …

    By definition, it can’t be. It adds to the costs they have to pass on to consumers, and prejudices their market position directly. Now, corporations can compete not merely on cost — which includes the clever ’savings’ corporation make using the biosphere as a tip and using cheap subsidised chemical ingredients and flavourings instead of real food — but on nutrition and environmental footprint. In that market, a business that incurs extra costs producing quality food and avoiding wasteful carbon usage gets an advantage over the embezzler in marketing its products.

    And of course, as I pointed out, the socially disadvantaged consumer is given other options and even not so socially disadvantaged ones would have cheap alternatives. The people who lose out are ignorant people with plenty of money and they fund the benefits going to non-ignorant people who are worse off. Transferring income from privileged, stupid and anti-social people to those not in those categories sounds fair to me and good policy.

    {PRQ delete last as I forgot to close blockquote … ta }

  31. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 16:13 | #31

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran

    you say (and I cant do block quotes unless someone tells me how)

    “By definition, it can’t be. It adds to the costs they have to pass on to consumers, and prejudices their market position directly.

    BUT you said in original post..

    “So business would be charged nothing, and consumers everything.”

    ?????

  32. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 16:20 | #32

    Why should Businesses be charged nothing Fran?? They are often the largest emitters and you are soley relying on the consumer to put price pressure on the firm and I dont think, in many concentrated markets the consumer actually has the power to put price pressure on the firm because there is no damn choice (except to go without) and thats not choice enough. The less choice the consumer has the less they can exert price pressure. Its nice to have these wonderful theories of the consumer voting with their feet but if there is no where to go in your bare feet then thats no argument for lumping it all (carbon costs) on the consumer.

    I find this idea dangerously naive (along with the idea thatc consumers can actually exert price pressure in many markets these days).

    There are often only three prices – the usual price and the “special discounted price” or zero because the consumer wants it but walks away from the uncompetitive price.

    Did you know you can clean your teeth with some form of coal dust or ash?. My Mum did in the immediate aftermath of great depression as a child. Cheaper than toothpaste if you cant afford it.

  33. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 16:24 | #33

    @carbonsink
    Oh no Don – no speculation there at’all at’all…

  34. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 16:26 | #34

    @Alice

    You do blockquotes by enclosing the string “blockquote” in these “” and you close the quote with the standard “/” preceding the string “blockquote” in the above tags.

  35. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 16:31 | #35

    I just noticed they don’t show up even when enclosed with the standard string argument declaration. So replace the colon here “:” with the character adjacent to the “m” and to its right and then the character following that on the standard keyboard. ie. ASCII 011100 and 0111110 …

  36. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 17:37 | #36

    OK lets give it a go

    “”blocquote”"”/”

  37. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 17:39 | #37

    Oops


  38. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 17:40 | #38

    Oh OK I think Ive got it..”"

  39. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 17:43 | #39

    “blockquote”
    “”

  40. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 17:49 | #40

    idiot

  41. Salient Green
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:15 | #41

    Don, Dr Clive Hamilton running as a Greens candidate is a very pleasing outcome for me. I have not read any of his books (nor have I read any others in the last 10 years) but have read much about his work and strongly identify with his philosophy, especially ‘Growth Fetish’.

    It would be tremendous for the Greens if he should win, and tremendous for all Australians though many would never appreciate it.

  42. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:20 | #42

    @Alice

    The string goes: character to the right of m, string::blockquote, character to the right of the character to the right of m, quoted text,character to the right of m, forward slash, string::blockquote,character to the right of the character to the right of m.

  43. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:28 | #43

    Anyhow … on the substantive point …

    @Alice

    You quote me

    So business would be charged nothing, and consumers everything …

    apparently contrasting it with

    By definition, it can’t be. It adds to the costs they have to pass on to consumers, and prejudices their market position directly

    There’s no conflict. Businesses are charged nothing but the carbon costs still have to be borne by consumers since they have a ration that they have to to up with money if they want to exceed it. That imposes buyer discipline and acts as a price signal. Woolies and Coles can reduce this signal by reducing their carbon footprint.

    You can also clean your teeth with bicarb soda … I did that for a time as a child.

  44. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:29 | #44

    The above was an example of nested quotes …

  45. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:40 | #45

    Yes but – Woolies and Coles have such market power they can afford to ignore price signals up to the point consumers walk away…..

    <"is that not how monopoly suppliers operate??"

    I followed it precisely Fran but I dont think its going to work.

  46. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:42 | #46

    still an idiot- one more time

  47. Alice
    October 23rd, 2009 at 18:51 | #47

    still an idiot- one more time
    “blockquoted text – now work!!!!”

  48. Fran Barlow
    October 23rd, 2009 at 22:22 | #48

    Ok do it almost like this:

    [blockquote]quoted text[/blockquote]

    But instead of the first bracket, use the relational operator sign for less than and for the second, greater than

  49. Donald Oats
    October 23rd, 2009 at 22:36 | #49

    This is a blockquote, done by using Fran’s description with &ltblockquote&gt quoted text and then the closing &lt/blockquote&gt

    Goody. BTW, if you are wondering how to get the lessthan and greater than signs, use ampersand symbol immediately followed by “lt” or ampersand followed by “gt” (without the “” quotes, of course). Preview feature should show if it is working or not, hopefully.

  50. Donald Oats
    October 23rd, 2009 at 22:59 | #50

    Ahh, the preview feature substitutes the &lt and &gt but the raw text is used by the “Submit Comment” feature. Oh well.

    Anyway, following on from the Clive Hamilton running for the seat of Higgins, I have read a couple of books by him. While I can appreciate his perspective on a number of social issues, If I could vote in Higgins I would vote for Clive, if only to see how Andrew Bolt would react if Hamilton won :-)
    He’s not too happy about it even now which is fine by me…

  51. Fran Barlow
    October 24th, 2009 at 09:17 | #51

    One of the things I find curious in your formulation of the problem, Alice, is why you think my proposal is inherently inequitable.

    You speak as if imposing the charge on Coles and Woolies in a direct sense would be less inequitable, but I’m unable to follow that reasoning, if there is any in it.

    When one asks the question: “What stakeholder interests do the descriptors “Coles and Woolies” describe? one might assemble the following list:

    1. Equitable interest holders, including superannuation funds and by extension their members and employees
    2. Employees from management down to shopfloor
    3. ATO/State Governments
    4. Suppliers of services to Coles and Woolies
    5. Those offering credit not listed above

    So if profits for Woolies and Coles go up, to a greater or lesser extent everyone on that list benefits. What you need to show is that the difference between levying Coles and Woolies directly (which I suggest in part anyway on junk food) or imposing a ration on CO2 emissions payable to third parties would in some way disrupt the balance in benefits within the above stakeholder group or transfer benefits from less advantaged external groups to more advantaged ones within the stakeholder group.

  52. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 09:38 | #52

    “quoted text”

  53. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 09:39 | #53

    Whoopee!!!. Fran (dont give up your day job to become a technical writer! And I wont give up mine and become part of the netgen!!) I finally got it!!.

  54. Fran Barlow
    October 24th, 2009 at 10:18 | #54

    @Alice

    Being a technical writer (consulting) has been one of my jobs over the years. This medium is a little harder to work with especially when one is discussing items that self-refer such as those tag enclosures. In good technical documentation, one uses diagrams, and online one would use animated graphics to aid grasp of sequence …

    For the record, you don’t need the “” in the text to make it work.

  55. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 17:38 | #55

    Thanks Fran and a short answer to the Coles Woolies question. By all means give concessions to ALDI – as for Coles and Woolies, they have already reaped considerable benefits from their alnmost too cosy duopoly – they have put pressure on the original producers (all downward) and they have put pressure on consumers (all upward) by virtue of their nice integrated structures (vertical) with their own wholesalers.

    Bah Fran. They dont need any more concessions. I dont give a fig about their shareholders if it means they are decimating many other folk out there (producers and consumers). Its a question of numbers and who would get the most benefits. Its time they rolled over and produced and offered more for less Fran. As for Aldi – do everything to let that company grow (and anyone else who wants to take on Coles and Woolies).

  56. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 17:41 | #56

    PS – the gap between the downward and up ward price pressure has gone straight into the pocket of Coles and Woolies. They dont need extra protection (thats all it is) from carbon taxes. Damn it. NO.

  57. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 18:03 | #57

    We either want competition or we dont Fran. If you want it (and we do), it needs protecting. Coles and Woolies have had a dream run with the regulators half asleep having been hypnotised into thinking everything just trickles down…Im over it, in this country. Where are the competition regulators? On holidays in the Bahamas??? (along with Coles and Woolies profits???). We need to get real in Australia. We have a propensity toward uncompetitive and exploitative oligopoly formation due to the small numbers of our market.

  58. Alice
    October 24th, 2009 at 18:07 | #58

    Seriously Fran – Im amazed you even asked me the question (about Coles and Woolies getting an exemption from carbon costs….by any other name…or any other large retailer for that matter…..). We either do this game properly or we dont do it at all. As Christine Milne says – climate change concessions are becoming a dutch auction for both political parties to award concessions to large firms (why bother?????????).

    We either do it properly or it collapses into yet another politicking fiasco – and you play right into the hands of the “government is inept” crowd.

    One rule – all pay.

  59. SeanG
    October 25th, 2009 at 05:31 | #59

    How many jobs will be lost because of the ETS? What will the cost to consumers and business be?

    Genuine questions here. Has the government released this information and what are their underlying assumptions?

  60. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 08:04 | #60

    @Alice

    Very disappointing Alice. Four responses and not one attempt to address the key equity question, but instead an attempt to redirect the focus to competition policy.

    The way to ensure that every player is discouraged from reckless emission of CO2 is to put the constraint with the end-user. There would of course be nothing to stop Woolies and Coles themselves from buying credits in the same market as the consumer and attaching these to some or other of their products so as to lower the net CO2e ….

  61. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 09:09 | #61

    My exchanges with Alice above prompt me to ask a question regarding the well-known pareto rule. This rule-of-thumb suggests that in any system roughly 80% of the effects are caused by 20% of the instances. Applying this rule would imply that 80% of crime was caused by 20% of the criminals. I don’t know if this is actually so of course, but it is apparently the case that the wealthiest 20% of the world owns 83% of the world’s notional assets. The rule is apparently recursive too, so that within this wealthiest 20%, roughly 80% of that wealth is owned by this cohort’s richest 20%.

    I wonder how (and if) one could structure a system of burdens and benefits to create a reverse pareto rule. Could one structure a system in which 80% of the costs of providing the public goods and services societies needed was borne by the richest 20% and so on down the chain?

    It might be that such a system would be too steeply progressive to be sustainable, but it would be interesting to see some modelling.

  62. Alice
    October 25th, 2009 at 10:06 | #62

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran it used to be called a “progressive” tax system in the olden days when we had one.

  63. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 10:29 | #63

    @Alice

    True enough, and we still do have one, but I wonder if consumption-based systems + transfer payments, especially payments in kind, might not be a more effective way of ensuring that the wealthiest pay their share of the burdens of looking after public goods.

  64. Alice
    October 25th, 2009 at 15:47 | #64

    @Fran Barlow
    Sorry Fran but you need to explain to me how “payments in kind” ensure the wealthiest pay their share of burdens of looking after public goods. I am missing something.

  65. Sea-bass
    October 25th, 2009 at 17:06 | #65

    I’d be interested to know what the wealthiest’s share of the burden is for a public good that they don’t want, don’t need and most probably don’t use, and why it is an additional burden on top of their provision of many private goods that do so much to ameliorate our way of life.

    Regarding that pareto rule above, I’ve also found that a large proportion of the “have nots” also have a tendency to be “work nots”. Perhaps if they went out and generated some wealth of their own instead of petitioning the government to give them somebody else’s, we’d all be better off.

  66. Alice
    October 25th, 2009 at 17:18 | #66

    Better the wealthy pay for something “real” than something speculative Sea Bass where their excess wealth devises ways to cunningly misappropriate someone else’s wealth. No – let them pay more tax for the unemployment messes and social problems the wealthy create by being too anxious not to trickle down (and dont say it Sea Bass…you know what happened last time…)!!.

  67. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 18:03 | #67

    @Sea-bass

    I’d be interested to know what the wealthiest’s share of the burden is for a public good that they don’t want, don’t need and most probably don’t use,

    Would you now? How very uninteresting. Perhapsd if you explain your reasoning, it will become interesting and pertinent, but I doubt it. Why not skip the palaver and simply stipulate that inequality is an intrinsic good, especially if you’re one of its beneficiaries?

    I’ve also found that a large proportion of the “have nots” also have a tendency to be “work nots”.

    You are naughty, Sebastian. You and I and everyone who follows your posting pattern know that you have done no such thing. You’ve read about it in The Telegraph but that doesn’t count as it’s a mouthpiece for privileged interests.

    Perhaps if they went out and generated some wealth of their own instead of petitioning the government to give them somebody else’s, we’d all be better off.

    I’m going to put that under the heading or outrageous and egregious misdirection. In a world where the people who make it possible for us to have cheap computer gear and jeans work from the age of 9 or 10 until they drop in utterly unsafe condition for 60 and 80 hours each week for about $AUS3-500 per year while others at the other end of the value chain make $AUS10,000 per hour and more, your claim is intellectually offensive.

    Plainly, if they were able to “went out and generated some wealth of their own” it would be at our expense, so in practice we’d all be a lot worse off, albeit in their favour.

  68. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 18:04 | #68

    oops …

    Plainly, if they were able to “[go] out and generate[d] some wealth of their own” it would be at our expense, so in practice we’d all be a lot worse off, albeit in their favour.

  69. Sea-bass
    October 25th, 2009 at 18:15 | #69

    @Alice
    All I’m saying is that people won’t get trickled on if they’re not out there putting in their best effort, and that government-mandated trickle-down isn’t nearly as good.

  70. Sea-bass
    October 25th, 2009 at 18:26 | #70

    @Fran Barlow
    Wealth-creation isn’t a zero-sum game. If they went out and generated some wealth, we’d all be better off. And that they want to work for that wage clearly shows that it’s a better choice for them than the next best option (look for Krugman’s Slate article “In Praise of Cheap Labour”).

    At any rate, my comments weren’t directed at the third world poor, but at the parasite class occupying the coucil flats who make their living almost entirely at somebody else’s expense.

  71. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 20:25 | #71

    @Sea-bass

    Wealth-creation isn’t a zero-sum game

    This side of an increase in labour productivity, then of course it is a zero sum game. Every good and service must be paid for out of the labour power of those working. If more goods and services are available they can only be sold if people give up some of their earnings to have it. Once everyone has given up as much as they can or are willing, the remaining unsold services have a value of zero.

    Now, there are some ‘services’ that are of negative value which we are forced to pay for — military ‘services’ and the human costs of their deployment for example and if those were radically scaled back then productive labour would be freed up to produce more worthy things, but in the end, that’s still a zero sum game. Instead of paying someone to build a B1 bomber, they get to build a powerplant, and instead of paying someone to treat a victim of burns or bombs, you pay them to treat civilian injuries.

    We would be better off in that scenario, but of course the ruling classes of the world don’t trust each other enough to scale them back, so we’re stuck with them.

    For the record, I read Krugman’s essay and it’s a fabulous excursion into specious reasoning. Yes, being in Dickensian employment is arguably preferable to being some cast-off lumpen, but that doesn’t raise it to the level of a boon to humanity. Maybe if the choice is between “nasty brutish and short” and “nasty, brutish, and slightly longer” then “dead and forgotten” would be best of all.

    Of course, from the point of the ruling classes of the world, the continued existence of a desperate underclass is a salutary cautionary tale to those of us who can see that things might be worse, so their suffering is, from a privileged POV, rational and useful.

    At any rate, my comments weren’t directed at the third world poor, but at the parasite class occupying the council flats who make their living almost entirely at somebody else’s expense.

    Oh you are such a mischievous scamp! Your intent is beside the point, as you well know. The maldistribution of world wealth is hardly affected by the people you describe as ‘parasites occupying council flats’. It’s more about the 3 billion or so without reliable access to potable running water who wouldn’t know a council flat except through extraordinary rendition.

    In any event, it’s irrelevant even in Australia to that 80-20 rule. The vast majority of us are in gainful employment, and even if you excluded these the rule would still apply.

  72. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 20:31 | #72

    @Alice

    Sorry Fran but you need to explain to me how “payments in kind” ensure the wealthiest pay their share of burdens of looking after public goods. I am missing something.

    It seems so Alice, but it’s perfectly simple. The funds for the payments in kind come largely from people paying the charges who are socially skewed up the income stream, whereas the class of beneficiaries are skewed down the income stream. The really poor avoid the taxes and charges by not taking up the goods and services, or taking them up less often and getting valuable goods instead, avoiding expenditure. The privileged simply pay the charges and taxes but don’t get the services available to the really or somewhat poor.

  73. Alice
    October 25th, 2009 at 20:34 | #73

    @Fran Barlow

    In a world where the people who make it possible for us to have cheap computer gear and jeans work from the age of 9 or 10 until they drop in utterly unsafe condition for 60 and 80 hours each week for about $AUS3-500 per year while others at the other end of the value chain make $AUS10,000 per hour and more, your claim is intellectually offensive.

    I agree wholeheartedly and I find quite a lot of Sea Bass’s comments about at the level of the Telegraph, short on facts, but long on ideological hyperbole.

  74. Monkey’s Uncle
    October 25th, 2009 at 20:40 | #74

    Fran, arguing about what proportion of taxes should be paid by the wealthy is pointless without considering what the overall size of government should be.

    If you only had a small amount of government, it would be quite viable to fund most or all of it through taxing the wealthy. But if you want Scandinavian levels of government, this is not possible. You need to tax the bulk of the population more through things like consumption and payroll taxes. In much of Europe the VAT is around 20% and payroll taxes around 40%.

  75. Alice
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:00 | #75

    @Fran Barlow
    Such as free healthcare for pensioners Fran? These transfer “income in kind” payments have always been around and were perhaps more generous in times past. I still recall all children having their sight and hearing checked in schools more than once (and of course vaccinations) etc
    What I would like to raise here is the large and successful campaigns for the lowering of income taxes on the wealthy and corporate sector over the past three and some decades. Now it may be no accident that public services and social capital and government infrastructure (and the role of the government as an employer) in this country started a long decline into a run down state about the same time. It may also be no accident that inequality started its long trajectory rise from the 1980s most researchers acknowledge – yet in terms of tax income forms it was actually from the mid 1970s. In that year alone the tax system was altered and became likely harder to assess outcomes. There is researcxh suggesting it was more progressive and other research suggesting it was less – but then they hadnt even noticed the rising inequality, because of course it was the start of it.

    I am suggesting that it may be no accident that inequality started to rise, and public services started to deteriorate, after taxes to the wealthy were lowered.

    For example, nurses were shuttled off to universities on the promise of higher qualifications and higher status and pay (But Im sure it was to save money feeding, housing and and training them as was done under the hospital based system).

    Then of course, neither the status nor pay rises came and now they are making registered nurses redundant and attempting to replace them on wards with Assistants in nursing or ENs. Yet hospitals remain in a parlous state.

    Having trained (many years ago) I was horrified recently when my mother was admitted. Just the walls that had not been painted for years, the shabby wards, the lack of anything (milk in the fridge for cups of tea in 100 ml bottles and only two for a whole ward??), the general demoralisation of nursing staff. Those that spoke of redundancies being offered to nurses 5 years out of their training and of those girls being unable to get jobs (despite desperate shortages) because they were now “too expensive” compared to girls one year out or ENs. Just recently this ward made three senior knowledgeable nurses who had been there many years with a lot of experience, redundant.

    The NSW Government, despite constantly telling us know how cash strapped they are, despite 10 years of real estate developer deals,donations and stamp duties rolling in, despite flogging public asset after public asset, despite review after review after review into health systems at capacity and malfunctioning, then puts on these wasteful car rallies and holds picnics on the harbour bridge.

    There seems little public sector accountability, but more importantly there is almost no political accountability.

    Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

  76. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:10 | #76

    @Monkey’s Uncle

    I’ve no problem taxing the bulk of the population through the most cost-efficient means available and then using transfer payments/payment-in-kind to narrow the gap between the richest and poorest.

    Over time, the result of this should be a fall in the proportion of people needing transfer payments and/or in the magnitude of the payments as early intervention improved health and educational outcomes, reduced the call on the justice system etc. Improved housing stock and better utilisation should lower the cost per person of housing and water and supply of electricity.

  77. Sea-bass
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:27 | #77

    @Fran Barlow
    That’s what they said about Britain’s NHS when it was first started. It had a budget of a few million, and it was estimated that gradually the system would be phased out as people became richer and less needy. Of course, this didn’t happen, and it’s now a gargantuan bureacracy that costs about £250 billion a year.

    The funny thing is, when you arrange transfer payments to address needs, you more than likely end up creating more needs.

  78. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:30 | #78

    @Alice

    Did you miss my proposal for free quality food, laundry and other services at community centres? For before and after care at high schools? For close case managing the first five years of a child’s life? I’d also favour improving the public housing stock and urban consolidation and better public transport …

    I hear what you’re saying about the run down of public services, and I agree. That’s part of my point.

  79. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:41 | #79

    @Sea-bass

    The funny thing is, when you arrange transfer payments to address needs, you more than likely end up creating more needs.

    Either that or the needs were always there but not addressed. The NHS has undoubtedly made the UK a better place. Could it be more efficient? Of course. One of the issues in health funding is the change from the 1950s vision of accident and emergency + pregnancy to a whole raft of much more discretionary services. And of course, these days, we know a lot more about treatment for the various cancers, and other more exotic conditions. Then there is the whole deal with “fertility services” which is something that the state ought to stay clear of, IMO.

    There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of overservicing and this afflicts the US system too. Yet this is essentially to do with the way the system is administered and its structures. It is so, yet it need not be. There are certainly some ways in which a rational and socially inclusive state could reconcile good health practice with least cost servicing, foreclosing all but trivial fudging by people in the “industry”.

  80. SeanG
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:59 | #80

    There should be a healthcare system that does not exclude the poor but the structure should be a public-private provision. In the end of the day the government is not the best manager of services and if they act as a purchaser of services then if that is the best way of getting an end-result instead of offering it themselves then that is what they should do. The NHS is not that, but rather the national religion according to many on the left.

  81. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 25th, 2009 at 21:59 | #81

    Sea-bass/Sebastion, it is obviously from the above that you are unaware of the many social problems public housing tenants have before the State offers them accommodation. And to call public housing tenants ‘parasites’ is very demeaning and unnecessary.

  82. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:00 | #82

    Here’s something bizarre:

    Successful renewables investor to be deported from Australia

    Stewart Taggart, founder and chief researcher of DESERTEC-Australia, has been ordered to leave Australia by the nation’s Immigration authorities. [...]Acquasol’s flagship project is “Acquasol 1,” a 180MW MW hybrid parabolic trough concentrating solar power plant to be built outside Port Augusta, South Australia, a regional area with high unemployment and serious water problems.

    The plant will use multi-effects desalination to satisfy internal water needs, with any surplus sold to industrial customers. The plant will then use land-based solar salt-harvesting to turn byproduct brine into commercial grade salt and keep it out of the marine environment.

    When built, “Acquasol 1″ will be the world’s first hybrid solar-gas plant to incorporate desalination and land-based brine harvesting.

    In 2007, Acquasol applied to sponsor Mr. Taggart, a 41% owner of the company, to reside in Australia. The application was rejected by Australian Immigration and upheld by Australia’s Migration Review Tribunal.

    Both based their rejections on the fact that Mr. Taggart was not being paid a salary by Acquasol. To date, none of Acquasol’s directors have received a salary in order to enable Acquasol to conserve cash.

    To date, this has worked well for Mr. Taggart. Late last year, Acquasol was valued at A$5 million, making Mr. Taggart’s investment $141,000 in the company worth $2.1 million.

    Both the Immigration Department and the Migration Review Tribunal ignored this. Both focussed exclusively on the lack of paid salary. Taggart was given 28 days to leave the country, an order now suspended pending his ministerial appeal.

    “Incredibly, a poorly-skilled, non-English speaking laborer with a median wage paycheck can remain in Australia, but a self-funded, risk-tolerant ‘business angel’ creating millions of dollars of value in the economy is deported,” Mr. Taggart said. “That, in a nutshell, is Australian Immigration.”

    How you can help:

  83. SeanG
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:00 | #83

    I think Sebastian provides the government with money via tax to house them. He has the right to call them what he wants.

  84. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:03 | #84

    @SeanG

    Last I heard, he was a student, so he’s unlikely to be contributing much right now to their support.

  85. SeanG
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:06 | #85

    GST!

    Ah, the problem with council housing is that for the first generation to go from slums to a council house it was a privilege to have a country that cares. Two or three generations down it because a “right” or expectation which meant that people did not appreciate the effort that others put in to pay the money via tax to build them the houses.

    On a different note. I see that ProfQ has taken away the link to the Catallaxy blog. Why is that?

  86. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:12 | #86

    No SeanG, if you are of the same opinion as Sea-bass/Sebastion then I suggest you backup the claim being made.

  87. Fran Barlow
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:16 | #87

    @Fran Barlow re: Mr Taggart

    If you choose the help function, stay clear of the email sign up — could be spam … the link failed and when I searched it looked a little dodgy …

  88. SeanG
    October 25th, 2009 at 22:16 | #88

    I don’t think they are all parasites, but there are parasites living there. You will always have problem people and there are people who will destroy their house, hurt their neighbours and expect another handout from a government agency. It is a mentality that I abhor and disagree with.

  89. Michael of Summer Hill
    October 26th, 2009 at 00:01 | #89

    No SeanG, there are many people with social problems that cannot look after themselves and need assistance. You can thank the lucky stars that you are not in the same position.

  90. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 08:57 | #90

    @Fran Barlow
    Fran – re health services – I partially blame the medical profession. Yes, the run down wards, increasing lack of experienced nurses. Believe me, this is dangerous, and especially after admission. Its what happens in the first few hours after admission that may matter the most – to even consider shortstaffing or underresourcing emergency depts at any time, is criminally negligent.

    My mother waited all day for the test in severe pain. Nothing happened except the necessity for nurses to complete a small thesis of “cover they backside” admission notes including the question “do you have an animal at home requiring looking after?”

    The test came at 7pm, at night. Too late for an operation. I whinged about the state of NSW Health to the surgical registrar. He said “oh but some things are wonderful – this test your mother had will be read by radiologists in Israel or the US and Ill have the results back ion five minutes.

    I thought to myself after my mother’s operation -

    “what a shame she couldnt have had that test sooner (MUCH sooner !!!! and the operation sooner!!!) seeing as her appendix had ruptured in five places and there was considerable infection involved”

    Nevertheless, I imagine the foreign radiologists were extremely well paid but would it not be better to have one on staff and more testing staff on site (and more emergency nurses so that what should happen, happens faster????).

  91. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 09:33 | #91

    @SeanG
    Sean G – it could be because the catallyx blog side contains some serious nutters? Nutty enough to want to destroy other blogs they perceive as an enemy tribe?? Or could it just be because the Catallyx blog, associated as it is so often with the hard (harder, hardest) right wing propaganda rags CIS or IPA, is just not sensible reading now? Ive often wondered why there are few (if any) females in that blog but I think I know why. It typifies the cruel view.

  92. October 26th, 2009 at 10:55 | #92

    MoSH,
    There may be many people that need assistance – and I have no real problems with a society helping in that way. There is, though, a legitimate debate about what exactly is the best means of assisting those people – private charity or public taxation.
    Government has a claer role (IMHO) in the provision of the basics as well – defence forces, police, justice and many items of infrastructure. Personally, I have no problems with taxation for those purposes – although I would like some greater transparency in both the taxation and expenditure.
    To me, though, the real problem is the literally billions of dollars that are taxed out of the working economy every year just to be repaid to those exact same people minus the 20% or so that is used for administration costs. This is, to me, sheer lunacy.
    .
    Alice,
    If that is a “…cruel view…” of the functions of government then I would be interested in your justification of why the current “nice view” is justified. I suspect that the view above is one that many at Catallaxy could live with.

  93. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 11:02 | #93

    @Andrew Reynolds
    Andrew- its been shown in study after study that private charity is grossly inadequate, unreliable and piecemeal. In short there is no way, ever enough of it. People have to be compelled through taxes to contribute.

  94. October 26th, 2009 at 11:13 | #94

    Great – it is a legitimate area of study and work can be done to show which works better. How about the rest, though? Do you defend the system that takes billions of us just to hand a large percentage of it straight back again?

  95. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 12:53 | #95

    @Andrew Reynolds
    Short answer – yep…because it works better than anything that crowd at catallyx (your friends…the Dr Doolittles of the world) espouse Andy. You are prepared to watch social problems like unemployment and disadvantage and inequality just keep on rising and then say “the problem is made worse by government intervention” BUT you and the other Doolittles have NO workable solutions except to vaguely mumble and mutter about private charities (if they feel like it on the rare occasion).

    As far as I can ascertain Andy, “private charities” operated under John Howard as a tax evasion entity for wealthy liberal voting elites. For the tiny cost of a website where they attempted to sell such useful items as self empowerment books and other feel good badges and hats they got a whopping tax deduction.

    Oh spare me Andy. There has been more than enough rorting of government subsidies going on in the name of private charities….except its not charity AT ALL. Its was a policy of feed the rich mates.

    It just disgusts me Andy so dont even try mumbling that “private charity” nonsense my way.

  96. October 26th, 2009 at 13:00 | #96

    A nice long rant, there Alice. You did not answer the question though. I repeat – “Do you defend the system that takes billions of us just to hand a large percentage of it straight back again?”

  97. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 13:29 | #97

    @Andrew Reynolds
    Read my anser again. The first line Andy. Then go google a piece called “the alms race”. Search emmanuel Margolin and how that family used chaitable dedeuctions and subsidies. Then google Steve Vizards “charity” for tax evasion / minimisation. You would be amazed at the names in this game Andy. If you dig hard enough you will find most of the elite running dodgy charities – De Crespigny’s etc.
    John Howard made it happen but notwithstanding ANDY – YES I do support redistributive taxation Andy BUT I think rates need to be raised on the wealthy to support and maintain civilised public infrastructure and welfare systems (now, not later). Is that clear enough for you??

  98. October 26th, 2009 at 14:11 | #98

    So – you like a system that takes money from a person, keeps 20% (or so) of it and then hands it back for no gain, rather the loss of 20% of the value taken?
    Seriously?

  99. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 14:23 | #99

    @Andrew Reynolds
    No worse than what private charities take for admin fees (in fact much better…much much better return) Andy. That admin also provides public sector employment and those employees generate income instead of needing charity.

    Of course I prefer it. Your point is?

  100. Alice
    October 26th, 2009 at 14:33 | #100

    @Andrew Reynolds
    Do you prefer a system where people like the Margolins call themselves some sort of wildlife protection fund, then establish a mansion that they use 99% privately, with a tiny zoo attached at Mulgoa (very small – Ive seen it. Ive also been inside the mansion with the helipad on the roof the Koi carp ponds, the mirror bathrooms and the pools and the generally exceptionally bad taste opulence on display, where one of the sons claimed a caretakers allowance from the charity of $1000 a week to live there and do nothing and where the expenses for both rolls royces were claimed against the “charity.”
    It was shut down by the authorities.
    Yes I dont mind the authorities when they work Andy. I dont have a problem with an admin fee. What I dont like is people like you telling me the private sector does a great job with charity. You cant deny these tax evasion strategies have been going on (using bogus charity fronts) but I really suspect dont really care about charity Andy – be honest. Its every man for himself in your ideal world.

    You probably even think others like the Margolins are clever for ripping off the tax system and their fellow Australians.

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