Gillard gives Greens 20 per cent cut of flood levy

Andrew Bolt notes

Julia Gillard’s flood levy to rebuild Quensland is now also a Greens levy for mad green schemes that Labor admitted only two weeks ago were a huge waste of money:

As she struggled to muster enough votes to win approval for her $1.8 billion flood levy, the Prime Minister yesterday scrapped $100m in proposed cuts to her solar flagships program and $264m to the national rental affordability scheme, to win Greens support

That’s 20 per cent of the $1.8 billion to be raised for Queensland flood damage – siphoned off to buy the Greens’ vote.


Moral Hazard & The Levy

Leticia Lyons notes that Queensland is the only state in Australia that does not comprehensibly insure its assets and infrastructure and points out the moral hazard this creates:

In his article of February 2nd on this site, I note with interest that Robert Candeliori writes about Wayne Swan on Lateline saying the Government would not raise the levy if reconstruction costs blowout.

After reading an article in Wednesday's Australian by Lauren Wilson "State goes it alone in shunning insurance" the Federal Government should not be imposing a levy or tax on anyone.

It seems Queensland is the only state which does not comprehensively insure its assets and infrastructure, and prefers to have the Federal Government pick up the tab to 75% of rebuild costs – a longstanding arrangement under the "Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements” between the Australian Federal Government and Queensland Government.

Prime Minister Gillard referred to longstanding arrangements regarding disaster in relation to the floods on several occasions. To the average listener, this would probably have meant that these arrangements were general to all states, not specific to Queensland. But, are in fact, in the monetary sense, specific to Queensland only, due to the lack of comprehensive insurance on infrastructure and assets. The latter of course, the PM did not point out. To do so would have raised the taxpayer's ire even further.

Queried on this, the Qld. Treasurer says insurance is an ongoing consideration. This, in a state subject to cyclones due to its sub-tropical and tropical climate, not to mention floods and fire which also damage infrastructure.

Robert's moral hazard is well in play here and is compounded by the levy. Why would Qld. take out comprehensive insurance when, effectively, the Australian taxpayer picks up the tab?

It is for this reason, if not reasons of unfairness, injustice to one section of the community – socio-economic wise – over another, that a tax should not be imposed. The Australian taxpayer already picks up the tab for 75% of the rebuild in Queensland.

In addition, thousands of people from around Australia have been financially very generous with donations, with time in “mud armies” and the purchase of specific need goods to donate, as well as donation of goods of many other types.

In the final analysis, does this not mean that some, not all, taxpayers are contributing twice via taxes as well as through open-hearted generosity?

Anna Bligh has done an excellent job – calm, controlled, reassuring – as the front person in these two crises, but she deserves to be quizzed hard about Queensland’s lack of comprehensive insurance, if for no other reason than she is supporting the levy, as is the Victorian Premier, a state which has comprehensive insurance for flood damage.

PM Gillard has dismissed calls by some independents for a permanent disaster fund as well she might, given that all mainland states but Queensland are insured against such disasters.

Peter Costello made the point some days ago that a permanent National disaster fund should not be necessary:  that this is the sort of thing that should be paid out of surpluses.

Leticia Lyons describes herself as an ordinary person, with an abiding interest in the vagaries of politics which she developed as a young woman after having seen and heard Bob Menzies speak. 

Why Stopping The Levy Matters

John HumphreysJohn Humphreys, a Queensland based economist whose home was destroyed in the flooding, responds to those who say the levy is too small to make a difference, and demonstrations the negative impact it will have: 

The primary way that taxes hurt the economy is by changing people's incentives at the margin. Each small change in taxes may not seem like a big deal to any one person, and for many people it won't change their behaviour, but it is possible to measure the change in behaviour and assess the economic consequences through statistical analysis. The economic cost caused by changed behaviour from taxes is called the "deadweight loss" and has been estimated at anywhere between 20% and 40% (depending on the study and depending on the tax). That means that for every $100 in tax raised, the economy shrinks by $20 to $40. So for a levy of $1.8 billion the deadweight loss costs are likely to be in the order of $0.4 to $0.8 billion. 

In addition to this, there are the administrative and compliance costs, but these are likely to only be in the millions and so are less costly that the deadweight loss described above. A third way that tax can negatively impact the economy is if the government is more wasteful in their spending. Generally, people spend their own money more carefully, and there are good reasons from public choice theory (and plenty of evidence) to suggest that the government can be wasteful in their spending of taxpayer money. 

These are the broad economic costs. Of course, there will also be some pain to families who will pay an extra few hundred dollars a year. For many, that extra impost will be easy to pay. For some, it will be more difficult as they juggle their household budget. You need to remember that while each tax increase may seem small, the sum of many small increases eventually creates a substantial cost. Seventy years ago there was no federal income tax, and next financial year it is expected to raise $156,050,000,000. 

But for me, one of the biggest reasons to be opposed to this tax is that it is another small knife in the back of voluntary community and a vibrant civil society. Humans are social animals, and we get a lot of value out of the social interactions we have through social and community groups. These are the places where we learn how to be decent people, and were we learn the value of tolerance, compassion, love, belonging, self-esteem, and forgiveness. Civil society groups promote independence, strength of character, consideration for others and a sense of moral responsibility to get active and make the world a better place.

There is clear evidence that big government crowds out civil society, and I think we have seen some of the consequences of that in long-term dependence, sometimes leading to low self-esteem, xenophobia, and anti-social behaviour. Children in dependent households have worse health, worse educational outcomes, lower life expectancy, and are more likely to end up in jail. These are innocent victims of a system that has prized the bureaucrat over real community.

It may not be easy to fix this, and I don't pretend to have all the answers. But the first thing to do is to stop going in the wrong direction. Stop increasing taxes and stop increasing the size of government.

John Humphreys is an editor of Menzies House and the President of the Human Capital Project (a non-profit operating in Cambodia). His personal blog can be found at This was initially posted in the comments section of a facebook hate page dedicated to attacking Stop The Levy. Menzies House, and our administrators.

It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, No it’s Nanny State to the Rescue – again.

Andy SempleAndy Semple writes on the importance of the importance of community and charity, and the destructive affects a top-down, government-only mindset may have.

We have an obligation to take care of our weakest and only the Government can fill that role.”

So say the cheer squad from the Left and you know what, we do have an obligation to help but I think I have a different definition of “we” than they, the Left do.

The kind of capitalism that has failed us is “soulless capitalism,” because success without compassion results in greed and excess – and we had plenty of both. But that soullessness didn’t come out of nowhere, it was bred by government that continually tries to step in to do the job that individual Australians should be responsible for.

We have never solved problems efficiently from the top down, we solve them from the bottom up. In countries with strong central governments, the people with the money and the power are the politicians instead of the businessman. Are those politicians selfless and charitable? Of course not, they’re greedy and corrupt – and the poor are even worse off than they are here.

My point is that capitalism itself is just a vehicle – we’re the drivers. Any economic system will inevitable fail if individuals stop caring about the welfare of others. But which economic system is more likely to drive people out of poverty, one that cherishes the slogan “from rags to riches” or one that aims to help the poor via government bureaucracy?

If you’re struggling to answer that, consider what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and what will happen here after the Queensland Floods and Cyclone Yasi.

Less than one month after the hurricane, private donations surpassed the $1 billion mark, most of which went to private aid organisations that quickly provided relief. Meanwhile, FEMA handed out $6.3 billion in taxpayers’ money, with nearly a quarter of that going to scammers. Sounds eerily familiar to Julia Gillard’s announcement that Centrelink payments of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children were available to people without means testing, even if the only ill effect the flood disaster had on them was 48 hours without power.

How about Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek interviewed by Ray Hadley on Radio 2GB on Monday 31 January on who is eligible for flood relief:

Hadley: I'm talking about specifically people who were on a property that doesn't get inundated, doesn't get flooded, and they are 3km from the shop, and 2 1/2km down the road the road is cut for a period of 24 hours. So please don't mix it up. If you're going to do cross checks and balances, those people should not be getting the same, it's insulting to give them the same, as some poor bugger who's climbed out his window to get on his roof, because that means his house has gone as well.

Plibersek: At the moment we've had around 400,000 people affected in Queensland and the vast majority of people really need this support.

Hadley: Out of the 400,000, how many do you know for sure simply were stranded in their principal place of residence and not their roof?

Plibersek: The vast majority have been really seriously affected.

Hadley: I'm asking the question. You still haven't answered it. Don't worry about the vast majority. How many of the 400,000 fall into the category of the people illustrated to me. Their only problem was they couldn't get to the shop for 24 hours. No water, no roof, no loss of furniture, no threat to their lives. How many out of the 400,000? If you don't know, tell me.

Plibersek: There'd be a lot of people who'd go into a lot of these criteria. So there'd be some people who were stranded for 24 hours and had no electricity for more than 48 hours and have had their principal place of residence destroyed. There's no way you can pick out just one [criterion]. A lot of people have suffered a range of the reasons that they're eligible for the grant.

For some reason, we’ve become accustomed to the idea that the government must always come to the aid of everyone – but it hasn’t always been that way. Those in need used to rely on each other for help.

What Australia needs is a politician like US President Grover Cleveland.

In 1887, the US Congress passed a bill appropriating money for Texas farmers who were suffering through a catastrophic drought. These days, that funding would not only be automatically authorised, it would probably be done so under an emergency program that gave more money to the farmers than they ever dreamed of. But not in 1887.

Here’s how President Cleveland answered Congress’ request:

"I fell obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the (US) Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duly should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people."

WTF? Maybe you need to pause and catch your breath. Maybe get a glass of water and then read that paragraph again. When you’re finished, read the rest of his response:

The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.

WOW! Even more impressive was that Cleveland, who was a Democrat, turned out to be a hundred percent right. Those “fellow citizens” he put so much trust in donated ten times more money to those farmers than the amount the President had vetoed, once again proving that when individuals personally sacrifice to help each other, it not only makes us better people, it makes us a better country.

It forces us to notice need instead of simply hiring corrupt politicians to notice it only when they can exploit, publicise or politicise it – sort of what Julia Gillard is doing at the moment to justify her Flood Tax. To be sure, the flood tax is unfair. It does not apply to half of all income earners and, as we’ve come to expect from this Labor government, it slugs the more affluent though hardly rich.

Unfortunately, Cleveland’s unwavering belief in the individual didn’t last long. It was squashed just a few years after his second term when progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt took over and said idiotic things like: “Every man holds his property subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use to whatever degree the public welfare may require it.”

What really matters is whether someone believes in the spirit and unending compassion of the individual or instead in the destructive power of the collective. I know the current leadership in this country believes in the latter.

Andy is the founder and Managing Director of Stockbroking firm ANDIKA, and the co-founder and Managing Director of boutique Funds Manager Xcelerator Capital Limited. He blogs regularly at

The Accelerating Absurdities of ‘Aid’

Alan-LazarusAlan Lazarus submitted this piece to us in the midst of the devastating Queensland floods, yet unfortunately, it got caught up a particularly ferocious pack of online gremlins and we did not see it until now. With the imposition of Julia Gillard's unfair and destructive new tax, it not only remains highly relevant, but is also quite prescient as to what was about to occur: 

As scenes of tragedy and heroism continue to unfold in Queensland, the spectacle of our treasurer and his sidekick Bill Shorten (unfortunate initials) "swanning" around like heroic crusaders against the Insurance

Leviathan is only slightly less ridiculous than the media coverage being wasted on Kevin Rudd and the infected scratch on his foot which he incurred during his photo-op (he should be awarded the Purple Heart maybe?)

Do these two "economic leaders", of all people, not comprehend that we live in a Free- Market Economy? They may as well expect Myers, Woolworths and Coles to justify to their shareholders why they are donating all their existing stock to flood victims.

Maybe this profligate Labour/Green government should establish a national fund for such disasters, or even nationalise the insurance industry which would no doubt cause their Green cohorts to quiver with glee (has anybody seen Bob Brown in all this, by the way?)

I have some better ideas, though.

Why not donate some of the $46billion that's about to be wasted on Conroy's useless Broadband scheme? Or put a stop to other wasteful schemes masterminded by the original "kitchen cabinet" like Julia Gillards Building The Education Revolution, which continue to cause taxpayers to bleed, and send the money to Queensland instead? Or how about sending a fraction of the extraordinary amount currently being wasted on undeserving "refugee" queue-jumpers and their High Court appeals?

Our overly-generous Prime Minister, in a fit of largesse in early November 2010, pledged $500million to build or upgrade Islamic schools in Indonesia (is Kevin Rudd and his quest for the Security Council at the UN getting to you, Julia?), and yet she grandly announces a paltry and insulting sum to the flood victims of our own country?

The absurdities in the behaviour of this current minority government and their Green accomplices are–it seems– escalating exponentially. The sooner they go the better for us all.

Alan Lazarus is a South African born clinical psychologist who has been in private practice since he immigrated to Australia (Perth) in 1989.

Flood is a taxing time for Labor

Alan Corporate crop

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s flood tax is less a life ring for soggy Queensland than for her government’s sinking budget and political fortunes. She could have expected a better reception had Labor something to show for its green cash splash and the squandered financial legacy bequeathed it.

Few Australians would not have been moved by the images of the Queensland floods. Most Australians, who’ve never balked at lending a hand in times of need, at home or abroad, would now agree that the entire nation should help Queensland get back on its feet. The federal government has a role to play.

Taking a page from US President Barrack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s playbook, the Prime Minister has decided not to let this crisis go to waste. The instinctive response of Gillard has been to raise taxes to pay for it in the form of a Medicare levy increase.

Who could blame the instinctive response of many Australian taxpayers to want to sit on their wallets?

To be sure, the flood tax is unfair. It does not apply to half of all income earners and, as we’ve come to expect from this Labor government, it slugs the more affluent though hardly rich.

But Australians’ reluctance to hand over more of their hard-earned wealth to the Gillard Labor government is less to do with Labor’s typical class war approach to taxation. Their enthusiasm to help is more likely tempered by their experience with Labor’s incompetent extravagance.

Taxpayers have seen their dough done on a swag of green-appeasing, preference grabbing, job (and people) killing Rudd-Gillard government boondoggles in response to dubious UN (but I repeat myself) sponsored weather catastrophe scenarios and the most impressive (Al Gore) special effects since Cecil B. DeMille parted the Red Sea.

Now that Australians are facing a real weather disaster, the kind that has been faced by every generation before it, the Gillard Government pleads poor. Who knew it would rain or flood again? 

Apparently not the Queensland raised Treasurer Wayne Swan, who evidently takes Greens leader Bob Brown’s advice, thatflooding rains were no more, and has been looking for any excuse to explain his listing budget. This year it's the weather; late last year, it was currency fluctuations. Where's he been since the Aussie dollar was floated in 1983?

Just like businesses, all governments must anticipate these contingencies and budget for them. The Australian economy is experiencing the best terms of trade it has enjoyed in the modern era. A competent government would have managed its budget better and not have its hands once more in its citizens pockets.

The Howard Government paid off $93 billion of Labor’s past profligacy and left a budget in surplus – a curiosity among world economies – to the Rudd-Gillard “New Leadership” “team”, which has been fritted away into a growing debt and deficit on every dumb green (but I repeat myself again) idea to make it onto a minister’s options briefing.

Australians understand they could not get a mortgage or loan if they ran their household or business the way Labor’s run the nation’s finances – an appalling display of fiscal incontinence and management malfeasance, which saw billions blown on lethal home-insulation, solar panel rebates, and green loans, now all on Labor’s policy scrap heap.

And there was much more waste and mismanagement elsewhere, from Gillard’s rorted school halls to her botched mining tax agreement to her asylum seeker policy debacle. From pink batts to people smugglers, the Rudd-Gillard government, assiduous only in finding folly and causing calamity, has made markets in woe. It’s the boy who cried wolf meets the sorcerer’s apprentice.

The clown convention that that has masqueraded as a government these past three and some years haven’t shown enough collective sense to steward an egg-and-spoon race let alone be responsible for a trillion dollar economy. Who would be first to write them another cheque?

It’s past time for Gillard to stop making excuses and start delivering competent and financially responsible government or step aside.

Alan R.M. Jones was an adviser in the government of John Howard.

Mates Don’t Tax Mates

168170_10150099477868041_750773040_6372866_5634979_nVikas Nayak discusses why he opposes the Flood Levy, and provides suggestions for how the money could be raised elsewhere

Never underestimate the ability of Labor to take a social concept such as 'mateship', find a way to regulate it, and then tax it.  It sounds like it’d be a good joke to tell at Liberal Party conventions and functions, and we’d all have a laugh. Unfortunately, it seems to be exactly what now passes for Labor Party policy.

At first, I saw no reason to write this, since everyone and their dog appeared to be writing an article on the so-called levy.  However, after checking Facebook, I saw a large amount of illogical leftist nonsense about people opposing the levy being “scrooges”, and what seemed to be zombie-like responses from trolls on the “Stop The Levy” fan page, I felt I had to respond. 

Let me begin by demonstrating exactly where the problem lies: the information provided on the tax by the Prime Minister is pure spin, and does not address  any of the criticisms to the tax. Labor doesn't seem to understand people’s gripes on the issue, and is hell-bent on politicizing the flood by ignoring our grievances. We’re not idiots, and we've heard all of this before, but we still oppose it.  It has nothing to do with people not wanting to send an extra dollar or five to Queenslanders. 

Let me make it simple for Labor and Gillard: the case against the levy hasn’t been addressed by any of your points.  The Australian people aren’t cheap; I think the record levels of donations indicate quite the opposite.  Rather, we oppose the levy on a number of grounds, including:

  • This levy discourages people form generously donating a few hundred dollars to their fellow Australians;
  • The Australian people already sacrifice money to the government through taxation. Why isn’t the government simply cutting the fat from pet projects to help Queenslanders?
  • This tax will never go away, and it hits the average Australian too hard in a world with rising costs of living.

I, like many Australians, donated to a charity (I only trust the Australian Red Cross, so that’s to whom I donated).  In fact, I donated about as much as I will be hit by the levy. It’s as though I gave money to help out a needy friend, and then some random douche came over asked me for my wallet and then took an identical amount, walked off and bought my friend a coffee and told me “it’s a mateship fee”.  The entire concept stinks of political opportunism, preying on people’s generosity to increase the money in the coffers in Canberra. 

Yes, our down-trodden friends in Queensland need help, but taxing people will only reduce the intake of funds to charities since people will feel as though they’re going to be taxed for it anyway.  Given a choice between donating $x, and being coerced through government to give $y on top of $x, your average punter will end up paying just $y since the following rule applies ($y < $y + $x). I know Labor imagines people earning $50,000 a year somehow live in mansions, but battlers can only give so much.

Moving to the second point: this: the Labor government is completely and utterly incompetent.  I’m not stating that as an opinion: it is a fact.  Every single one of its programs has ended up in one of three states:

1) Triple constraint failure (a blow out in cost, a delivery delay or a lack of workers on the project)

2) Inflationary spikes on the market (the stimulus gave us a whopping 5% inflation to leave us with a real growth rate of 0.1%.)

3) Dead in the water

Keeping this in mind – there are plenty of pork-barreling projects we could dump in order to pay for the rebuilding. Here’s a short list (with reasoning):

Dump Foreign Aid

We have given six times what we promised to give in foreign aid.  A lot of this is supposedly to “Public Education” in Indonesia (let’s face it, it’s part and parcel of buying Indonesian cooperation towards offshore processing centers for boat people). 

The Prime Minister, today rejecting that call, replied, “I'd also stress that the world is also responding to help Australia during our time of need.”  I can’t help but giggle at the contradictory position of this statement.  We’re sending six times what we promised to send, and supposedly they’re coming to help us.  I’m not sure how they’re helping us, but if it was monetarily, why would we need to be taxed?

We could halt the payments for one  year, so that we can fund the rebuilding efforts and resume next year, but apparently, we have help coming (but we still need to be levied).

Shrink the NBN

In 2008, the plan with the proposed NBN didn’t include fibre to the home.  Practically speaking, it was ‘NBN-lite’, in that it increased the fibre backhaul capability of Australia, but it left the last mile very much in the hands of Telstra.  If Labor is still hell-bent on the NBN, they could implement the fibre backhaul, essentially making everyone’s ADSL 2 connection act as though it was right next to the exchange. This would deliver the full 24 Mbps speed capability of ADSL 2+, and it could be a temporary step towards the FTTH.  At the time, the plan was rumoured to cost $6 billion (so one would assume it now probably costs around $8 billion).  The savings from this would pay for all the flood damage and then some.

Halt the BER

We always hear Labor ranting on about “Australia’s skills shortage,” and the BER is the most labour-intensive government program we currently have in this country.  It would make sense that if the Labor Party really believed there was a “skills shortage,” they would axe this program and redirect funds and labour to rebuilding infrastructure.  The money is already there – it’s just being blown on $900,000 sheds.

Close the Super Clinics

I know this has probably escaped people’s minds, but remember the “Super Clinics”?  Well, the program is still going on, despite it being exposed for the pork-barreling plan that it is.  These glorified government clinics were the last attempt of the Labor government to buy votes in marginal electorates at the last election.   The scheme is struggling to stay afloat, and looks like its going to be over-budget AND late. This program really should be axed sooner rather than later.  It’s destroying existing private practices, while simultaneously forcing people into hospital waiting rooms.

Dump the Family Tax Benefit

Yes, it’s a former Liberal policy, and yes, it should be dumped.  This is nothing but middle class welfare, and all it does is subsidises the purchase of flat screen TVs.  I enjoy seeing Gerry Harvey get all uppity about his lack of sales, so I implore Canberra to end it just to hear Gerry have another rant (the fact that it’s a bad policy is just a bonus).

The final argument I made against the levy is that this is a tax that has the potential to never go away (even more so, considering revelations in the papers today that Gillard is indeed contemplating making it a permanent “disaster levy”).  One only needs to see what Katter had to say to realise that the Independents and Greens may force the levy to become a permanent “disaster insurance”.  Knowing Labor, this will fold into general revenue, and then be spent on other pork-barreling projects to buy votes.

I'm always quick to point to Katrina, and the lessons we should have learned from the U.S. about the dangers of placing too much central government control on disaster relief.  Unlike lefties’ rant, the problem with New Orleans wasn’t that the government did nothing.  It was that the government took money from people, saying they would take care of problems, and then through bureaucratic red tape they impeded on peoples rebuilding efforts.  What happened in Queensland is TOO IMPORTANT to let Gillard and company politicise it for their party purposes. 

I hope I have clearly stated my case for why there should be no levy (with plenty of alternatives for consideration).

Vikas Nayak describes himself as "an Engineer and  Beer lover who is known to occasionally inform us of his political opinion". He is also a  Managing Partner at Metahype and a co-founder of Rock The Vote Australia

Gillard’s creeping Share-ia Tax and how it will destroy Australia

; Dan Nolan writes about the creeping share(ia) of our income that the Gillard Government is trying to take, and how it will destroy Australia:

One of the main memes that has been popping up over the whole ‘flood levy/tax/contribution/firstborn’ tete a tete, is that those opposing the levy are in some way some ultra-randian selfish pr**ks, who seek to do naught but spit on their fellow man and then ground the spit in with a boot until the victim is crushed underfoot in a pate of sputum and despair. This is disingenuous to say the least.

Surely those to be taxed deserve the right of reply,  as it is their money in the first place. Without the right to say ‘hang on a minute, this is my money we are talking about,’ 

we approach the unacceptable situation where the wealth that private citizens hold is simply an aggregate pool for the government to tap into at their discretion.

 Colouring those who wish to have an input as to how their money is taken from them and used, particularly in the instance where this confiscation is confined in a cynically political fashion to not hurt a party’s voting base, as selfishm or even evil is just playing politics for the sake of playing politics.
Say what you will about the motives of those wishing to oppose the tax, but you have no reason to not accept or even uphold the fact that it is their money in the first place. They will, as a consequence of this ur-lien have less disposable income (up to several thousand a year for higher earners).
Arguing that higher earners as a whole shouldn’t feel the pain is an argument of fiscal homogenisation that is as painful to witness as it is to draw to its logical conclusion. We very rarely can speak to the financial circumstances of others, and rightly so; that is their private information (though the government will take a grand exception to this as you would notice RE: income tax).

I’m loathe to tread the same ground that others have, but I feel that there is a primary point to be made in this situation, namely, in a free society, we have input into how our property is used.

It is all well and good to muckrake that those who oppose this levy are heartless or irascible towards government, but it is entirely unwarranted for those who are not targeted or hit by this tax to make criticisms of those who wish to take a moment to pause and reflect on the economic and sociopolitical implications of this tax.

The primary issue of this article is not to denigrate or attack those who think people who oppose this tax are in some way antithetical to the Australian™ way of life. Again, you’re perfectly entitled to your opinions, but it is reasonable to say that the people who are paying this increase in tax already pay a substantial amount in tax already. This is not a tax request ex nihlio, it is an addendum to the already heavy tax burden middle to high income earners pay in Australia.

The primary issue is that the Government’s response to any fiscal uncertainty is to increase taxes in a politically cynical move, to appear to be on the side of those harmed in the floods. Of course funds need to be appropriated for the rebuilding, but this is the same government that spent a ludicrous amount of money in stimulus programs that the Treasury begrudgingly admitted had a negligible impact on the severity  of the recession.

I will leave the arguments regarding economic impacts and moral hazard to other writers, but the point needs to be made that this tax exists purely so the Government can keep an election promise of maintaining a manner of fiscal reliability.

This is not a point of contention: it is a point of fact. The tax increase is purely in order to maintain an election promise. Of course the government has such powers of taxation within its purview, but it seems to me and others that soaking those who already pay a substantial amount of tax is a far easier method to raise the money than actually taking a long hard look at some of the ridiculous white elephants that continue to be funded by the taxpayer.

Many proposals on how to fund the reconstruction have already been made, but here are a few others: A very simple way to fund the required damages would be to scrap the plans for the internet filter (and the ridiculous source of funds that has been). Scrap the school chaplaincy program for savings of a cool few hundred million dollars. Oh, and substantially cut our military expenditure by removing Australian soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan saving both lives and money as we try to win a battle that not even the Soviet Empire could win. Not only does reducing the amount of soldiers in battle reduce the overall military expenditure, but it also significantly impacts on the overall expenditures required for future medical and mental health of soldiers exposed to combat.

It would seem that there are countless government programs that, quite rightly, should be up for debate if Ms Gillard's claims of there being nothing else to cut in the budget are true.However, it is our right, as the very citizens that contribute to the coffers of the government through our labour, that we be able to question openly the validity of certain government programs and expenditures.

It would appear that the Gillard Government's lacklustre response to the budget imbalance in managing existing Governmental programs is one of a lack of imagination. It also would appear that those who criticise those who wish to question or protest how their money is spent suffer from a fundamental lack of understanding the concept of property rights.

Dan Nolan is a part-time Software Engineer and developer, student, economics enthusiast and a full-time troll.

How Gillard is Undermining Our Community With Her Flood Tax

Monica-Oshea Monica O'Shea notes how Julia Gillard's flood tax undermines community by crowding out civil society.

The Government is underestimating the power of the individual and community to solve the flood crisis. 

People love to give, but they want to give out of the goodness of their own heart.

They don’t want to give because the Federal Government has told them they have no choice.

Stories are now emerging that people who were previously working hard to raise money for the floods have now decided there is no point, because the Government is going to tax them anyway.  

While people in big cities and regional towns throughout the country are dedicating their time, effort and money to helping the people of Queensland, the Government is doing nothing but talk and tax. 

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a student tax, alcopop tax, carbon tax, mining tax or flood tax – when the Government can’t balance their budget, they introduce a new tax.    

People of all kinds, shapes, sizes and worth have donated to the Queensland floods.  

It doesn’t matter if you are a small company, big company, rock star, sports star, chief executive or welfare recipient – everyone wants to help.   

I recently met a child who was seven years old. The child saw the devastating images of the flood on television and decided not only donate his entire money box to the people of Queensland, but also to encourage his friends and family to do the same.  

So while chief executives and rock stars and individuals are busily balancing their budget to account for multi-million dollar donations, the Gillard Government has decided to balance its budget with yet another new tax. 

And now throughout the country, people are asking themselves the following: if I can manage my budget, why can’t Julia Gillard?  

Monica works in the public service and is involved in the Young Liberal Movement in South Australia.