The flood levy is turning into a disaster in its own right for Julia Gillard and Labor. People who have given generously of their own free will over the last few weeks to the flood appeals are now furious at being slugged with a compulsory donation via a new tax, when all they have seen over the past four years from Labor is reckless spending and waste. This will stick in the craw of many (including me). Why should we pay more in tax when Labor already manage to waste so much, is the question people should, and no doubt will, be asking.
Wayne Swan on ABC News Radio this morning was particularly nauseating, urging the crossbench MPs to wave the new tax through without a pause for breath because its “what the Australian people want”, and playing emotional blackmail by claiming that the Opposition, by not supporting the levy, were heartlessly abandoning Queenslanders who have suffered in the floods. The reality is the opposite, of course. The Opposition in fact cares more, because it treats taxpayer’s money with respect, ensuring that it is spent wisely and with value for money as a priority, not simply wasted or spent recklessly. Labor on the other hand splash it around like its going out of fashion – they are the ones that don’t care.
Rarely has a government been so out of touch with what the public want, except perhaps in New South Wales, but that’s a whole other story…
From The Australian:
COMPELLING people to do that which you refuse to do yourself goes beyond hypocrisy: it’s plain nasty. That’s why Julia Gillard’s flood levy is likely to sink her as being a viable Prime Minister.
The levy is based on the rationale that the rich (those on more than $100,000 annually) have enough fat in their family budget to cut 1 per cent of their spending to give to flood rebuilding.
The levy will raise $1.8 billion. The government’s annual budget is $350bn. So why can’t the government that gave us the pink batts debacle, that mailed out $900 cheques (now apparently loans) and is going to splash $36bn to give us quicker internet, cut a measly 0.5 per cent of its mega-budget to fix the flood damage?
The answer has nothing to do with capacity.
It has everything to do with misplaced ideology. In times of crisis, people and institutions revert to their default position. And for Labor, problem-solving option A is always tax the rich.