Government blackmail to force welfare cuts deserves contempt

Contributed by Joe Montero

The use by government of a pretend debt crisis and threatening a rise is taxes to muscle through its social agenda for the slashing of welfare services is contemptible. And this is exactly what we’ve got.

It is contemptible, because it shows a complete lack of compassion for those who are worse off. It is doubly contemptible when it lies to do it.

Governments do have to live within their means. But within this there is scope, based the ability to choose priorities. Surely the well being of the citizens should be at the top of the list?  No one should be left in poverty.

It is also to slash social welfare is, the sky is the limit for corporate welfare. The government wants to cut $4 billion off the welfare bill.  In Contrast, according to Environment
Victoria, the mining companies got $2.3 billion a year between 2012 and 2016. The subsidisation continues. Adani’s unpopular and questionable new project in Queensland just got more than $2 billion this year. In about half a decade, Qantas, SPC Ardmona, Toyota and Cadbury, have have stood in line for the government’s generosity. Billions have been handed out.

Last year’s Panama Papers disclosures revealed the scale of corporate tax avoidance. In Australia, the Tax Office’s own figures showed that that one third of the listed public companies and multinationals paid not tax in 2014-15, and many of the rest paid very little. The 10 top companies paid less than 10 percent. Half of these companies transfer their funds to tax free havens.

Some of the front runners were News Corp, American Express, Google, Apple, Glencore, Rio Tinto, BHP,   Fortescue and MacDonalds. Add foreign banks, like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sach’s, Lloyd’s Bank, Credit Suisse and Barclays. None of them paid a single dollar in tax in 2014 and nothing has changed since.

Tax lost by transfers to tax havens have been conservatively estimated at around  $6 billion a year in a 2016 Oxfam report. The report suggests that this is only a conservative estimate.  total tax avoidance, which includes the generous provisions provided in the tax law and the use of negative gearing on properties,  as being somewhere between about $12 billion a year and $66 billion. These figures have bee taken from a range of different estimates. But is obvious that even at the lower end, the government could get hold of sufficient funds to cover any budgetary problem and not implement the $4 billion cut to welfare and cuts to other important programs.

The taxation system certainly needs to be changed. Not in the  way of  cutting down the company tax rate from 30 percent to as low as 15 percent, as the government would like, but by removing the loopholes and setting a base limit that will ensure all companies with a turnover of more than $1 billion a year, pay an amount of tax that is comparable to what the rest of us have to pay.

A government that blindly refuses to shift on this matter and pretends there is no problem does not deserve to be given any quarter. Much less, when it tries to force the poorest to pay the bill for generous what it hands over the wealthiest entities existing in Australia.



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