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The Forum > Article Comments > Debunking claims that Australia is a high-tax country > Comments

Debunking claims that Australia is a high-tax country : Comments

By Andrew Leigh, published 7/2/2014

As a recent International Monetary Fund report noted, Australia engaged in 'fiscal profligacy' between 2003 and 2007: failing to invest the tax revenue from the first phase of the mining boom into productive infrastructure.

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It is still too early to decide whether the Abbott govt will be successful or a failure.

Times are tough.

But, please, do not pretend Labor was masterful about addressing Australia's economic future
Posted by Chris Lewis, Friday, 7 February 2014 7:46:20 AM
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Hi Andrew,

I sense the thrust of your article is that the evil LNP are going to make savage cuts to spending, that we should start to panic about now and that the basis for these cuts is plain wrong.

This may go down well in the Canberra Times as part of the get Abbott campaign but it may be a tad too soon for the electorates.

Your real problem is that those who voted for the LNP are prepared to give them time to produce some results. There is still a high degree of trust, they know cuts are coming and why they are needed.

By the time the 2016 election comes around there is an expectation that the LNP will have a number of significant ticks against policy deliveries. If not I guess we will vote them out.

Iím sure you are acutely aware of this and if this article is an indicator of your case, you have no answer and are doomed to a long time in the political wilderness.

Preaching to your converted is utterly futile, but I like it.

I like it because this is how you got into opposition in the first place. If you continue to promote the line that it is all the LNPís fault when their supporters know full well they are trying to fix the mess you left behind, you are in pursuit of that which is contrary to self interest, keep up the good work.
Posted by spindoc, Friday, 7 February 2014 8:57:25 AM
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Comparisons are unnecessary.

Australians pay far more tax than they ought to. Taxes pay for far too many completely unnecessary government functions, expenditures and government waste. Most of that waste relates to completely unnecessary legislation regulating and controlling Australians' lives.

The ALP and Greens will always need more taxes paid rather than less, and will always make comparisons, especially with those countries that also have high taxing, and excessively generous social engineering policies.

The ALP cannot help itself from seeking higher taxes, because most of its MP's have no idea what it is to take the risks, borrow the capital, work long hours to establish and run businesses, big and small. They can only understand what it's like to demand high wages and conditions from employers, but never know what it's like, including Economics Professors, to generate revenue, market products and services, pay excessively generous wages and conditions all year round, no matter the prevailing economic conditions (often forced on everyone by poor government decision-making, such as the GFC) or to make a profit. They believe instead in a completely designed and regulated market that seeks to reduce or eliminate risk. Assessing and taking on risk is vital to activity and life.

Far better targeted expenditures of government tax revenues would lead, under this Federal Government at least, to greater expenditures on important and long overdue productive infrastructure. The Rudd/Gillard Governments proved how easy it was, and how immature and naive they were, in spending a surplus and borrowing to pay for unnecessary unproductive capital infrastructure works, and recurrent expenditures not just now, but long into the future. It is only right that there is a culling of unnecessary legislation and regulations, and for government to do what it takes to reduce the tax liabilities of Australians, so that they, and they alone, can decide how best to use the money that they earn, either as income or as company revenues.
Posted by Derek's@Booroobin, Friday, 7 February 2014 9:01:00 AM
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What AL forgets to mention is that during this time, government spending as a % of GDP was at an all time high.

No country has ever taxed itself to prosperity.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Friday, 7 February 2014 9:31:59 AM
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The author is an apologist for the depredations of Labor, and asserts that we are a low tax country.

I will look elsewhere for constructive comment, as it is not on offer from this fellow.
Posted by Leo Lane, Friday, 7 February 2014 9:59:28 AM
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Congratulations Andrew on having the courage to enter the pages of OLO where the comments generally reflect the same degree of economic literacy as Costello attributes to Abbott.

A recent IMF survey found that between 2003 and 2007 the Australian government squandered the fruits of the mining boom by failing to invest in infrastructure. Surprise surprise, but who was the government in 2003-2007? None other than the LNP coalition whose supporters were more than happy to accept the middle class largesse distributed by Howard/Costello, but now blame the ALP for all the ills that currently befall us.

Hockey now talks about the "end of entitlement" but as Crikey pointed out earlier in the week there are significant exceptions to the promised belt tightening. Again to no-one's surprise they just happen to be the same groups that are the Coalition's strong supporters.

It is not just a question of how much tax is collected as a percentage of GDP but how those taxes are spent. There is nothing in the record of any government over the past 18 years to inspire confidence that that fundamental principle has been learnt.
Posted by James O'Neill, Friday, 7 February 2014 10:32:38 AM
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