It now looks like that Labor and the Greens will support a tax increase for people earning above $85,000 a year, rejecting the Government’s proposed universal increase in the Medicare levy from two to 2.5 per cent Once again, those who voted for big government are nowhere to be seen when the bill arrives. All those people who gave a Gonski and said, “We have an obligation to fully fund the NDIS” have gonskied.
The great nineteenth-century French economist Frédéric Bastiat said that, “The State is the great fiction through which everyone endeavours to live at the expense of everyone else.” As it turns out all the people who vote Labor, the Greens, Nick Xenophon or Jacqui Lambie don’t like paying taxes. How odd. It’s almost as if these people want the state to steal from others and transfer their income to them. It’s always Labor who talk about people paying their share, but maybe it’s time their voters started to pay theirs.
Most Australians have only experienced one income tax increase in the last 20 years (Gillard’s Medicare levy increase). For an entire generation of Australians, there is no connection between increased government spending and increased taxes. These people continue to vote for big government programs, whether they be increased childcare subsidies, renewable energy subsidies (climate waste), the NDIS or Gonski with no understanding that these programs need to be paid for. Labor put two huge programs into the forward estimates and the Liberals have refused to cut funding to existing programs in a way that doesn’t require legislative change (hint: you don’t need legislation to pass through the Senate to cut the ABC’s funding in half).
It’s often said that, “taxation is the price we pay for a civilised society”. If this is true, then all citizens of a nation have an obligation to pay their fair share of taxation. This means that all that can pay, should. Yet we now have a situation where 3.6 million households or one-third of all households pay no net tax. In other words, they receive more from the government than they contribute. This leaves the burden of paying for the public services we all benefit from on the remaining two-thirds of households. This percentage of households who make no net contribution continues to increase. These aren’t poor households; these are middle-income households who reasonably should be expected to carry their own weight. If they vote for big government, they should reasonably expect their taxes to increase. The household with two $75,000 incomes should pay their fair share.
It may be the case that it will only be after people experience the shifty hand of government stealing an increased share of their income that they may appreciate the case for smaller government. That all these programs won’t be paid for by some imaginary one per cent or a big new tax on multinationals. There are only two ways to pay big government: increased taxes or more debt. Increased debt is unsustainable and no one seems to want to pay the increased taxes.
As much as I reject the argument for tax increases, if people continue to vote for bigger government they should be made to pay for it. The people who vote for big government need to be told, “No shirking your shout. You voted for Labor, NXP, Lambie and the Greens. Time to pay up!”
Justin Campbell is General Manager of LibertyWorks Inc.
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