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John Passant

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February 2011



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Cut aid to business – not the disability pension

The Business Council of Australia wants to cut the disability pension. Echoing the Liberals it also wants government to examine the $500 million its spends on Indonesian schools.

The Business Council represents the biggest 100 companies in Australia.

According to the ATO between 2006 and 2008 40 percent of big business paid no income tax. That figure will have worsened as a consequence of the global financial crisis.

On top of that most big business pays well below the headline 30 percent tax rate because of tax lurks and tax avoidance. The figure for Australian mining companies for example is 17 percent.  For non-resident miners it is 13 percent. For banks it is about 20 percent.

So maybe taxing big business might produce enough money to wipe out the budget deficit, cover the cost of reconstruction after the floods and improve our public health, education and transport systems.

There goes another porcine parachute.

The Business Council wants to rein in spending. The tax system is a disguised spending program, worth, according to Treasury, $113 billion last year.  This is equivalent to 30 percent of all Federal Government spending and receives no attention when the Labor and Liberal neoliberals talk about cutting spending.

The reason they don’t raise this disguised spending program is simple. It is spending on the rich and powerful.

Much of this disguised spending – known as tax expenditures in the lingo – goes to business or the very rich.

Treasury estimates are that direct spending through the tax system on business totals about $8 billion. On top of that the capital gains tax concessions give billions each year to business and the rich. And the superannuation concessions, which overwhelmingly favour the rich, are actually a disguised spending program worth more than the pension.

Instead of attacking disability pensions or schools in Indonesia, or environmental programs, Julia Gillard, why doesn’t Labor tax big business and stop spending tens of billions on the rich through the tax system. Labor?



Pingback from En Passant » Cut aid to business -not the disability pension « Better Disability
Time February 15, 2011 at 2:38 am

[…] En Passant » Cut aid to business -not the disability pension Comments […]

Comment from Peter
Time February 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

As was noted on Q&A last week, the floods and the cyclone were acts of god. The logical thing to do would be to end the tax exemption for religion and religious donations.

Why should Sanitarium (owned by the SDAs), and companies that launder money through/donate money to their affiliated churches, such as Pancake Parlour (Scientology), Gloria Jeans Coffee (Hillsong), and a plethora of small businesses affiliated to the Exclusive Bretheren, be able to minimise their tax in this way when everyone else is expected to contribute to society? If a church wants to run an accredited fund people can donate to where 100% of the money goes to charitable works, then they could keep an exemption in the same way as a real charity does, but donations to the day to day running of a church should not be deductible, nor should the day to day operations of a church be automatically exempt from property and corporations taxes.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Well said Peter.
In another thread Walter spoke of fiefdoms.
Now assuming that Mr. Passant knows his figures (he’d look pretty stupid next day at work if he was telling fibs) he’s just painted a collage of words and numbers – a portrait of a fiefdom of the worst sort.

If John were an architect he could build a model of this pyramidal structure – or more to the point he couldn’t build the model since it’d collapse if he built it the way capitalist societies and their fiefdoms are built.

Model built the proper way –
Take sand (representing people) and Portland cement (representing wealth and assets) in a ratio of about three to one and mix them thoroughly together with enough water to make the mass pliable enough.
(Let’s call our water – governance – since it is the stuff that causes the chemical reaction that binds the mass together.)
Whack the mass into a pyramid shaped mould then let the chemical reaction happen.
Overturn the mould next day and Bingo – one pyramid, hard as stone and good for a thousand years.

Model built the capitalist way –
John does the job since he’s got the figures –
Now repeat the experiment – do the same, same mould, same quantities of sand and cement but this time distribute the cement the same way and in the same proportions John gives for the distribution of wealth amongst the population in this society.
Obviously most of the cement gets thrown in first, with very little sand to form the peak.
(Remember, water cannot be used at this stage to mix the sand and cement because mixing implies redistribution and how could we have a rich mixture if we redistributed our mortar.)

If John, with sweating brow, keeps filling his mould according to his figures he finally has a mould full of carefully stratified sand and cement, more cement less sand at what is the peak of the pyramid and obviously much more sand than cement at the broad base.

Obviously, John could attempt to upturn the mould at this stage which would reveal the futility of the exercise immediately.

Instead, John sets up the garden sprinkler and lets water (our governance) percolate through until it finally reaches the peak (that’s part of the Aussie model isn’t it? – more government for those at the bottom of the pyramid)

John retires, a bad job almost complete, to wait for the mass to set hard.

Late next day, after taking about three times as long at this as the first one, John returns with three helpers and some planks.
They carefully attach the planks across the mould and even more carefully turn it over.
As they release the casting from the mould one corner of the base collapses entirely while another simply falls off in a chunk as sand trickles down the flanks of the casting.
A small but highly visible line separates the cap from the rest of the matrix, evidence of the difference in quantities in the mixture and of strain caused by the resultant differential heat during setting.

Outcomes –
First try – properly mixed distributed and watered – a fine interest piece in the garden that’ll last forever – could double up as a tank trap.

Second try – ratios determined by capitalist wealth distribution statistics –
A failure from the start; needing more time and special attention to prop it up – collapsing and eroding from word-go.
Won’t be around for long except for that one hard, sharp cornered little bit that’ll keep emerging to stub your toe upon a moment’s inattention.
Never turns up twice in the same place.

Summary –
More engineers should be in parliament and in control of commerce.

Comment from Magpie
Time February 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

In a somewhat related matter:

There was a time when economists, at least those from a “centre-left” persuasion, used words like compassion, society, government social programs.

Maybe those words didn’t mean that much then, but at least they showed a token, ritual concern for those issues.

Now we are returning to the times of Malthus, Ricardo, and Nassau Senior and this is how economists are describing the poor:

“Ethnographic writers often emphasize that the poor, to put it bluntly, are lazy and short-sighted”.

“The average IQ of the poor is well below normal, which accounts for much of their earnings gap.”

“Recent sociological work confirms that the poor also deviate more in their sexual behavior.”

“To take a final social pathology, the poor are also prone to criminal behavior – a ‘career option’ notorious for its fleeting benefits and long-run costs”.

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