The good and the bad of the budget

So it’s the day after budget.

It doesn’t seem like all that much has changed. That’s because the real budget atrocities are never known on the night. It’s all the grants for all the revolutionary social groups that are the real killer.

You can rest well assured that I will be sniffing these out. Inner City Legal Centre I’m looking directly at you. And that’s just the start.

But there are some things to say right off the bat.

First up, Joe Hockey’s speech was dull and boring. He was not as bad as Wayne the Wonder Treasurer. But Smokin’ Joe was in that general vicinity.

Not that presentation changes anything about the substance. But it does help with the sell.

And so far this has been terrible.

For a start, Hockey has a powerful argument on his side that he has not used effectively. Interest is a killer and when it runs into the billions that’s a lot of lost opportunity for our nation. Hockey should spend far more time talking about how much interest we are paying and how much interest his budget will save.

Then there is the problem of trust.

Abbott and co were elected because the other mob were a bunch of no good, rotten dirty liars. But at least we all know that Julia Gillard owned up to the fact that she had not kept her promise.

Joe Hockey didn’t even have the decency to do that with his own porkies.

No new taxes means no new taxes. But there are new taxes. That’s a broken election promise. A lie if you will. And Joe Hockey’s verbal somersaults in his post-budget interview on the ABC did not help.

I don’t believe we need any new taxes. But if Hockey really thinks he must break one election promise about no new taxes in order to fulfil another promise to (eventually) return the budget to surplus, he might as well come clean and say so.

However, Hockey’s speech and his post budget comments just jumped around this issue. It made him look like he had something to hide.

And of course, he does. The vast majority of the revenue raising measures are going towards new spending programs. They aren’t paying down debt at all. And that is the real reason Hockey couldn’t lump home tax increases to Labor’s wasteful spending.

The problem with Australia’s budget is not revenue. It’s expenditure. All sorts of stupid ideas are receiving government funds. For instance, Hockey is still going to pump $2.55 billion into a program to tackle ‘climate change’.

And then there’s the paid parental leave scheme. We don’t have any idea how much that will cost yet because Joe Hockey has only factored in payments for the current and much less wasteful Labor scheme. But it’s still wasteful and treats women like slaves.

It’s also going to hit hip-pockets to the tune of $1.9 billion.

And it still locks out stay-at-home mums.

Then there’s childcare. This will cost a whopping $28.5 billion over the next four years. What a waste of money. Again, stay-at-home mums miss out, even though they are doing the best thing for the child. That also means they are also doing the best thing for the nation.

Mums and bubs are viewed as cogs that are out of place if they are not slaving away for the ‘economy’ by both sides of politics. But they are not cogs. They are not slaves. They are people.

Joe Hockey says that women have the choice to stay at home. But many feel that they have no choice at all but to join the childcare conga-line and work.

Real reform in this area would be to introduce income-splitting for families while reducing government payments and tax churn. That would increase choice, provide incentives to work as a family, reward those families that stay together and reduce the size of government. It’s also the best long-term way of addressing the problem of Australia’s ageing population. It’s win, win, win, win and win.

I will add another point here that will seem controversial but should be considered. I am not philosophically opposed to Medicare co-payments. Broken promise aside, I think this idea is a good one because services that are free are not valued.

They result in people taking less responsibility for their actions. I would especially extend co-payments to things like state school fees (although this is a state issue). Even a token payment would lead to increased parental buy in and that necessarily means better educational outcomes. And if I had my way entirely, school grants would be paid directly to families to use as they see fit, while all schools would be required to charge fees.

However, these criticisms aside, the budget did have some good points.

The carbon tax and mining tax are going.

Cutting back on spending and the axing or merging of the many frivolous government entities is the right thing to do. This is where most of the savings come from, even if our nation will spend $30 billion more this year than it earnt. That’s $1,200 debt in the last 365 days for every man, woman and child.

There have been 230 Federal programs abolished and 70 agencies, bodies or boards given the flick. The climate change agencies were a prime target and it seems many have been cut. That’s good news. But there are many more to go.

A big win is the $2.5 billion in savings achieved from the sensible and humane measures undertaken to stop people smuggling. Six more detention centres will close.

Finally, this budget has highlighted a glaring problem in the state of our Federation.

For too long, Canberra has interfered in the roles and responsibilities of the states. It controls their income and it controls their expenditure. Every election, both sides of politics promise grants for a hospital here, a road there and a new school program. It’s bad policy, bad governance, bad for holding anyone to account and bad for competition.

The states are dependent on the Federal Government due to mission creep centralisation by successive Labor and Liberal administrations. It should not be this way and the states should be free to raise their own revenue, provide their own services and compete with each other.

Hockey has thrust this problem into the spotlight by simply cutting back on Federal payments while citing the fact the Canberra should not be responsible for schools and hospitals. It’s true. But it’s also cheeky.

You can expect a debate to begin almost immediately about an increase to the GST. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It could lead to real taxation reform, including lower income tax and result in a much clearer delineation of responsibility between the levels of government.

And if that happens, it means this budget will have kick-started the most necessary and most required debate about federation that Australia hasn’t had since World War Two.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of eight children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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7 Comments

  1. Greg Byrne is right about Bob Santamaria but Bob Santamaria like Bob Menzies supported a mixed economy with such uniquely Australian ideas as:
    Compulsory Conciliation and Arbitration
    Centralised Marketing of Agricultural Products
    Government Owned Airlines railways and Ports, Mints and Clothing factories
    Government assistance to industry
    Protection from Cheap Chicom imports
    Ending White Australia
    Support for Refugees
    The establishment of a Pacific Community
    Stability of employment

    This Budget is not only immoral in the ways outlined by Bernie Gaynor but anarchical in its economic management of the economy. Unfortunately Mr Gaynor would oppose most of BAS Social policies and Mr Byrne would oppose most of his economic policies. They may both be of the same religion as Santamaria but they are not of his philosophy.

    Andrew Jackson

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  2. I think this is a good analysis of the budget. It is not just economic because it contains certain philosophic positions that are hostile to traditional families. The Howard Government was not that favorable to families but was seen as favorable by many people. But when one got down to tin tacks it was not so favorable.

    But the Howard Government was far more family-friendly than anything since.

    I think that Bernard could be a successor to the late Bob Santamaria who was fantastic on communism, morality, history and the collapse of civilization which I think that we will see over the next 20 years. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot we can do about it. I can still recall in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” that those who forget history are destined to relive it.
    I see so many “documentaries” about the collapse of Rome which most educated men know about but cannot recognize in front of them right now. Mr Santamaria pointed it out frequently that the collapse of morality will be followed by the collapse of civilization and one might even say that morality is civilization and that modern cities and technology are by-products of civilization and not necessarily that important in the long run. Massive cities like New York do not represent a civilization if many of the people are savages.

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    • Thank you for your kind words Greg. Bob Santamaria is one of the great Australians and is certainly a role model for myself and many others. If I can achieve but a little of what Bob Santamaria did then I will be able to hold my head high.

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  3. Check out Madigan’s speech:

    http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2Fec1aa7d7-8aac-44ed-95b8-9d749c60fe85%2F0206%22

    Very good stuff:

    It is ironic that today, United Nations International Day for Families, I am giving my response to the budget, which has moved Australia closer to abolishing any financial recognition of the cost of dependent children on taxpayers. Taxpayers in this country are treated as single individuals for tax purposes. This is regardless of whether they have dependent children and/or a dependent spouse. There is no universal recognition of the cost of children in our tax or welfare system. Only those families on significantly low incomes benefit from family tax benefit A and now those families who receive family tax benefit B will be subjected to harsher income testing and eligibility criteria.

    Despite the rhetoric about the value of families, this government’s fiscal policies tell us a different story. According to figures from Treasury officials, a family of three will lose $4,171 a year in family tax benefits. Add to this the increased cost of doctor’s visits and the increasing petrol costs, cuts to hospitals and cuts to education funding, and it is not hard to see who the biggest losers will be. Meanwhile, the dreaded deficit levy will cost someone on $190,000 a year a mere $200.

    Thirty years ago, Australia acknowledged the cost of raising children through a universal family allowance system. This was known as horizontal tax equity. Since then successive governments, both ALP and Liberal, have eroded this concept. Allowances were means-tested, then abolished and replaced by family tax benefits A and B. These have subsequently been eroded. Then we had the baby bonus, which has also been changed and devalued. The current proposals will further restrict eligibility for family tax benefit B, freeze the current levels of family tax benefit A and family tax benefit B and reduce payments to large families and single parent families.

    Family assistance in Australia is now a welfare payment rather than a universal recognition of the cost of children. Families are now considered to be a drain on the public purse rather than a productive and necessary part of our economic and social system. It has come to this: the government of the day now believes that you should only have children if you can afford to, as though children are a private indulgence rather than a national benefit. This builds resentment in our community from the childless, who feel they are supporting those with children rather than acknowledging that an income supports more than the individual earning it.

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  4. ” … actively participating in school, church, community and sporting groups. We’d call it volunteering …”.

    It should surprise no-one here that the rate of community “volunteer service” varies proportionately with the rate of church attendance, according to a ream of evidence supplied to me by a former Governor of Victoria. The anti-Christian ABC is always bleating on about the importance of community volunteering, while at the same time heaping scorn on every idea dear to the heart of believers, who are the backbone of community support. It’s time good people started to defend their community more effectively by reforming that parasite.

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  5. The disgrace they called a ‘budget ‘ was a violation on every Australian and I think it will prove catastrophic at the next election for these two lying scumbags.Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey would have to be the two most disliked people in the country at the moment and I remember myself saying before the election that Tony Abbott will be no good for anyone,you only have to look at him,he’s shifty.They won the election on a web of deciet.

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  6. Bernard,
    Thanks for your observations about the budget. I largely agree with you on the poor sell of some necessary changes. But it is disappointing to see public monies flowing to pump up some middle income fantasies. Direct action against ‘climate change’ is one. But its not…direct action would be to turn down the sun, and that, of course, won’t happen.
    It would be a real breakthrough to see income splitting in single income families: even if it was only maintained while children were under 12 years of age, it would be a huge step to rebuild communities and nurture children. One of the reasons we look to government so much is that with both parents at work (one to pay the childcare and school fees) there’s no one left to build community. Social Capital they like to call it today.
    Like many who grew up in the 60s, my mother was a home-maker, but also a community-maker, actively participating in school, church, community and sporting groups. We’d call it volunteering today, and make a great song and dance about it; but then it was just being part of the community of people you lived with and grew to love and trust.

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