In the Absence of Real Ideas…

…Joe Hockey and our friend indeed when people are in need, Tony Abbott, weigh in with complaints.

This morning on the ABC, Alexandra Kirk let Joe Hockey bang on about the rises in costs of living that, to my (possibly skewed) mind I can’t really care about. Hockey was bellowing down the phone about the increase of the cost of alcohol and cigarettes.

Let’s forget, for a moment, that every year the excise on petrol, booze and death sticks routinely increases. It’s nicknamed the Sin Tax and it’s because each of those things, particularly cigarettes and alcohol, cost this country an enormous amount of money.

Abbott and Hockey, as a consequence of their verging-on-economic-rationalist mentor John Howard, are obsessed with budget surplus, a mostly paper notion and the enemy of public welfare and a massive enemy of public service efficiency.

Abbott and Hockey are bellowing about spending cuts to maintain the idea of the surplus in 2013, surely because they want to plan their election campaign around a few billion dollars for pork-barrelling.

Hockey in particular was complaining that the very people who suffered as a result of these floods will be made to contribute to the rebuilding.

Yes, they will. And that is as it should be, and this way it will be better because either way we’ll all pay in reduced government services. Which the born-to-rule-ers on the Coalition side don’t care about, because they go to private hospitals, think Centrelink is an IT company and their kids go to $28k per year private schools with the government kicking in to keep it under the all-important $30k mark.

Hockey bemoaned the impost on those earning between $60k and $100k. While I know that isn’t a ton of money anymore, a few bucks a week to help those in need won’t break the bank for these people. These are the people who are smack-bang in the middle-class welfare bracket, who already pay less for things like private health care because of the previous Coalition government’s ‘big spending’ largesse.

I’m in a very privileged position at the moment – I’m not paying rent or mortgage and am doing a job I like that pays well – and I am not bothered one iota by the idea that I might have to stump up more than the average bear for this. Depending on the rumours running around before Gillard announces the levy, I reckon I’m up for between $2000 and $4000 of my pre-tax income. The floods can’t and won’t hurt me, all it did was cause me to re-schedule a trip to the Gold Coast with my son to go to Wet and Wild. Big deal.

I could argue the opposite to Hockey and Abbott – I had nothing to do with the floods, they have not impacted my life, I didn’t build my home on a flood plain, so why should I pay for this through increased taxation, insurance premiums etc.?

Because we live in a country where the majority carry the can for the minority so that the minority in question is not left begging on the streets. I’m no fan of middle-class welfare (despite being a recipient) and its constant effect on those who need more than a few bucks saving on the private health care that they cannot afford. The money poured into that was something Rudd wanted to reduce while in power and the Coalition stopped him from doing so in the Senate.

First Home Buyer grants, subsidised private health care, baby bonuses, the list stretches into the billions, but oh, no, we can’t touch those important things. Hell no.

Let’s not forget what these same tools did when they were in government and levied us three separate times, the most egregious being the Ansett tax that was never paid back – people are still waiting for their entitlements even though there was enough left in the Ansett shambles to cover it and the Howard Government raised something like $158m from the tax.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bemoaning the gun buyback levy (surely one of the few positive things the Howard Government will be remembered for) or whatever that other levy was. It’s just that we have to look at the ulterior motive these jerks in the Coalition want a surplus for – themselves.

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