Goodbye to CPD

Like Mark Bahnisch, Eva Cox and a number of others, I’ve resigned as a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development. It’s a sad day, since CPD has done a lot of great work, and I’ve enjoyed being involved in it. But the leadership of the Centre has taken a decision to move to the right in the hope of being more relevant to the policy process. The most recent outcome has been a paper on tax policy that broadly accepts the Treasury view of the issue, and pushes for a broadening of the GST base, which means taxation of fresh food. This isn’t a new or innovative idea. Rather, it has been part of rightwing orthodoxy for decades. CPDs endorsement allows its advocates to claim some “left” support. That claim obviously gained credibility from having Fellows like Mark, Eva and me. So, we had no alternative but to resign.

I should clarify that, apart from a nice title and a publishing outlet, I wasn’t getting any direct benefit from being part of CPD. So, I’m making a statement rather than a sacrifice.

30 thoughts on “Goodbye to CPD

  1. @Megan
    It is perhaps more revealing than at first sight: if they can’t get the coverage they wish to get in the MSM and other “relevant” media (economics mags, financial mags, political parties), then it shows up the modern MSM/media landscape for being unable to deal with a diversity of opinions, or of competing ideas each supported by evidence. It would be nice to see some MSM articles of some length, which contrast different ideas for solving particular policy issues, delving in and teasing out some of the subtleties, rather than just barracking for a particular team.

  2. @derrida derider

    DD, although the food tax was the sticking point, my objection was to the entire paper and to the vision of the future for CPD that it represented. The analysis (by a former Treasury officer) accepted the Treasury line on the entire issue, most notably on the supposed need to shift from income tax to direct tax

    As regards heterodoxy, this paper was so orthodox that it didn’t even mention the standard left proposals for tax reform (wealth taxes, Tobin tax etc). In fact, since it ignored profit shifting and tax avoidance, it ended up to the right of Joe Hockey.

    Earlier discussions made it clear that this wasn’t a one-off but a new direction for CPD.

  3. Based on my understanding, ‘wealth taxes’ would fit squarely within Treasury orthodoxy – particularly land taxes and estate taxes, e.g. Henry review recommendations. A Piketty style global wealth tax perhaps hasn’t been explicitly considered, but if it’s hard to avoid and not overly complex, it would be consistent with orthodox principles (equity, efficiency, simplicity, stability, sustainability). I would think right-wing arguments against discouraging ‘wealth creation’ are heterodox.*

    Lack of adoption (or even mention) of wealth taxes is driven by politics, not policy.

    Tobin taxes on the other hand are one of those ‘evil’ transaction taxes.

    * Not that there’s no effect of taxes on incentive to save, but the idea that these effects are worse than discouraging labour or investment via incomes taxes (including company tax).

    (Not to be taken as disputing your core point Prof. Q…)

  4. It’s a bit late, but Ernestine Gross said “Germany is not a major meat and food producer (in contrast to Australia)”. a couple of years ago, Germany produced 5M tonnes of beef. In the same year, Australia produced 2.5M tonnes. The point is, Germany has a lot of value-adding industries, we don’t. Hence, we think our industries are big, even when they’re small.

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