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John Passant

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August 2013



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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)



The hidden politics of taxation

The failure of Keynesianism to address the collapse in profit rates across the developed world in the late 1960s and early 1970s saw neoliberalism become the dominant ideology and practice of economic policy of the one percent in those countries, with Pinochet, Thatcher, Reagan and Hawke leading the way. This is as true of tax as any other area of policy and practice.

Tax is an extraction from surplus value. This wealth that workers create becomes profit, rent, interest, dividends and tax. The band of hostile brothers – productive capital, finance capital, landlords – battle each other for a share of the surplus value.

As profit rates decline the pressure to redistribute the surplus value going to the State to the other hostile brothers is great. Governments in the developed world have responded by reducing taxes on capital and to a lesser extent labour and with cuts to government spending and services. The extent of these ‘reforms’ depends on the severity of the economic crisis in the country concerned.

Australia’s economy has weathered the global storm so far, built on the back of the mining boom, long unpaid working hours and the long term shift in the share of national income going to capital from labour. The economic good times may be under challenge as both the mining boom slows and the logic and reality of the crisis that is inhered in the way capitalism is organised matures.

The wealth shift to capital and the rich is a pre-tax phenomenon and can only be addressed by changes in pre-tax rewards for labour, in other words increased real wages and more jobs. That requires a campaign of militant industrial action, and if that were to happen a flow on effect might be a re-invigoration of progressive tax demands (soak the rich till their pips squeak) and policies.

Tax is also an ideological tool of capital. The propaganda of equity, undermined in fact by the reality of tax trends in Australia and around the globe, hides the reality of both societal and tax inequality and the fundamental inequality that is capitalism, built as it is on the extraction of surplus value from workers by capital.

Tax teaching is an integral part of this ideological framework.

Black letter tax teaching reinforces the status quo because it asks no questions and poses no alternatives. This indeed is the reality not just of tax teaching but of much University pedagogy today – the commodification of knowledge and consequent pedagogical practices to train docile workers for the neoliberal world.

Even those whose teaching encompasses a critical perspective do so not from the point of view of challenging the exploitative relationship of capital over labour but reinforcing it by preaching the dead end in today’s economic climate of equity without addressing or understanding the fundamental drivers of capitalism and without raising the need and the necessity to overthrow capitalism through establishing a democratic society where production is organised to satisfy human need.



Comment from Ross
Time August 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

John you need to study the fractional reserve system of banking. For every $1 of deposits they can create $10 worth of loans. This is why banks are the richest institutions on the planet.

This new money they create from nothing as debt, represents increases in our toil and inflation. Unless we have enormous exports, the debt to equal growth + inflation can never be repaid.

With China slowing and seeking cheaper suppliers in Africa/South America ,we are stuffed unless we move back to Govt owned banks and create our own credit.

Comment from John Maxwell
Time August 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Hi John,

I am one who believes in capitalism.

But what I believe in more is directing our economic systems towards maximal total benefit from the interplay between us, our technology, and our environment.

I do not believe that there is an excess of natural environment to be exploited. I think we have crossed a line.

Therefore, I believe we need to talk population.

Comment from John
Time August 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Population is often code for capitalist scapegoating, often of poor and dark skinned people. The problem is not ‘finite’ resources. It wasn’t a problem in Malthus’s time and it isn’t a problem now. The faux argument about population distracts attention away form the real issue – the fact that capitalism puts profit before people. Read this for an example of views I agree with.

Comment from John
Time August 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Your analysis is not correct Ross. It shows no understanding of capitalism.

Comment from philip
Time August 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Population is a problem because if Australia had a few more million people who will give them a job when someone can employ a person for one month in China, India and many other countries for what a sales assistant gets in 1.5 days here.

The only one stupid enough to employ people in large numbers under those circumstances is the Government, then where will the money come from to pay them?

Comment from Ross
Time August 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

John are you saying the fractional reserve system of banking does not exist? Fannie May and Freddie Mac at the height of the crisis of 2008 had leverage of $1 deposits to $333 of loans.

Perhaps you would like to instruct us on your version of economic reality.

Comment from John
Time August 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Ho hum Ross. Read the various posts on my blog.

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