Politics

Error message

  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in _menu_load_objects() (line 579 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/menu.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type int in element_children() (line 6600 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).
  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /var/www/drupal-7.x/includes/common.inc).

Tax is not essential: public services are. It’s time that election debates shifted their focus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 4:29pm in

I have to admit that last night’s Sky Televisi9n debate with Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak was, overall, disappointing and uninspiring.

Beth Rigby did her best to bring to life two boring candidates to be Prime Minister, but at the end of the day, she had to work with the material that she got. When the most interesting thing that Rishi Sunak could say about himself to increase his appeal to voters was that he ate a lot of Twix, the scale of her task was apparent.

That said, she fell into the trap into which so many journalists appear to be falling at this election. She pushed the question of tax time after time, after time. That was a mistake. What was clear from the audience reaction was that what people wanted to talk about were public services, their quality, and the quantity of their supply.

Like, it seems all journalists, Beth Rigby has not realised that taxes are not an essential part of life. They are only the corollary of the supply of public services.

They are not even a precondition of the supply of those services because government always pays for everything it sorbs upon with money newly created on its behalf by the Bank of England.

The quantum tax required from the economy is, then, always the balancing figure within the fiscal equation, seeking to find the appropriate compromise between controlling inflation and providing economic stimulus.

All this nuance was lost when focusing upon tax alone, without ever discussing why that tax might not be at an appropriate level given the demand for public services in the country.

I can only hope that during the remainder of this election campaign there might be an improvement in the quality of debate on this issue. It is clear that both our leading political parties are talking nonsense about tax, with neither presenting any honesty about what levels of tax might be required given their wholly unrealistic appraisals of the scale of costs that they will have to incur to supply the services that the country will undoubtedly need.

As a result I just hope that debate might now be focused on issues like the health service, social care, education, environmental change and other critical matters. What level of tax is then required to balance the required level of spending becomes an appropriate issue for debate. Putting tax first is, however, wrong. That is not what happens within the economic operations of government. That is not what happens within the actual priorities of any sensible government. And that is not what the public are most interested in.

it is time that journalists, and politicians, got this right.

Tax the bads

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 4:06pm in

In this morning's video, I argue that we all know what the ‘bads’ in our economy are -  tobacco, alcohol, sugar, carbon, plastics, and more. Some of them we tax heavily because we know they they are ‘bad’. But sugar, plastics and even carbon are still getting an easy ride. It’s time we tackled them properly

The audio version is here:

The transcript is:

If there is one tax policy that every politician in the UK should adopt, it's that we should tax bads.

Now, that of course needs some explanation. What is a bad? Well, of course it's something that is bad for us. That's why I give it the name.

What is bad for us? Well, tobacco is bad for us.

Very clearly, alcohol, at least in excess, is bad for us.

We now know that sugar is very bad for us because that is the basis of the ultra-processed food crisis that we have that is fuelling obesity in this country, reducing our productivity and creating a massive demand on the NHS, not least because of the significant rise in type 2 diabetes that it is causing.

And there are other bads as well. There's carbon. We know the consequence of the overuse of carbon. It is global warming.

And there are knock-ons from the carbon crisis as well. We know that cars are actually potentially bad for us. Not because of the fact they use carbon fuels, because they might actually not. They could be electric. But their tyres cause massive problems in terms of pollution as well. So large cars are a bad.

So, too, are plastics, of course. We know they are massively damaging to the environment as a whole, and especially to things like the sea.

These are all bads, things that ultimately undermine our well-being and cost us as a society a great deal of money.

Now we're used to the idea of taxing some of these bads.

Tobacco is very obviously heavily taxed, vaping not so much so, by the way, and it too is a bad.

Alcohol is very heavily taxed, but it doesn't appear to be stopping abuse by some, although Scotland is having a good go at addressing this issue.

Sugar? There is no such thing as a sugar tax in the UK. Instead, we have a big sugar lobby who are arguing against everything that the government is trying to do to prevent the abuse of sugar which is so addictive and so harmful to so many. So, I'm afraid to say we need a sugar tax to reduce the amount of it that is consumed.

And carbon? Look, we have certain degrees of carbon tax. Of course, we do. There are fuel duties and various things. But there's been an enormous reluctance to increase those. The car lobby is so powerful.

And talking about cars themselves, whilst there are taxes on cars, they are not progressive. In other words, they are not providing sufficient support to low-polluting and low tyre burning cars.

And they're supporting the use of SUVs, the rise in number of which has more than compensated for any savings from fuel efficiency over the last decade or so.

Plastics? Scotland has tried to do a returnable bottle scheme, and it's been killed. Why? Because the industry doesn't like it, because the government doesn't like it in London.

We are not taxing bads enough.

There are problems. These taxes on bads tend to be regressive. In other words, they are paid in higher proportion compared to income by those on lower income than they are by people on higher income. So, clearly, we need to compensate for that in the rest of the tax system.

But we know how to do that, and in the Taxing Wealth Report that I have written  I have explained that there are plenty of ways to tackle that problem and reallocate income to those who are on lowest earnings to make sure that they can continue to actually live despite these additional taxes. So, we can tackle that issue, but what we can't tackle are the long-term consequences of not addressing these issues.

Because if we don't tackle those, well it may just be too late in the case of carbon and plastics and other things because we won't be able to solve the mess we create.

And it may also be late for some of the other issues as well. In particular, when we look at type 2 diabetes, from which so many people now suffer. That's a deadly disease, and I want to see it solved. And it can be cured by reducing sugar consumption.

So why aren't we taxing the bads?

The Greens: overly optimistic, but at least without the gloom that dominates elsewhere

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 3:25pm in

I have already done one commentary on the Green Party's manifesto. But, having looked at the costings of other parties, I feel duty-bound to do so with regard to the Greens.

As I noted in the video yesterday, the Greens are doing something that no other party seems willing to do at this election, and that is to be bold.

They know, of course, that they are not going to be in government. However, that is precisely why they should be bold, and that is also why other parties also sharing that certainty should have risen to the challenge in a way that they have not.

That said, like all other parties, so far, the sums presented by the Greens do lack detail. I think that is a shame. The opportunity to present much more fully costed plans was available to them, and would, if they had grabbed the chance, have suggested that they are willing to tackle the issues facing this country in a way that others appear unwilling to do.

The Green spending commitments are, in many ways, more relevant than their revenue-raising proposals. This is what they say they plan:

Spending at this level going to be optimistic. I do not know that the resources to deliver this scale of transformation in the economy exist. In fairness, the footnotes to the plan indicate that they are aware of that risk, making reference to supply side constraints.

The priorities are, however, right. My question is, do we have the people to deliver on these promises? And is the training budget big enough in that case? Aspire by all means, but these questions need answering.

The revenue-raising commitments are summarised by the Greens like this:

As is well-known, I have reservations about a wealth tax, on which the Greens are relying, and I will not be changing my mind about that because the Greens are proposing one. Not only are they politically difficult, they are also practically difficult when there are so many easier ways of raising revenue from those with wealth. I have hesitation about their suggested revenues from this source, in that case. However, are total additional taxes from personal income and wealth of the scale that they suggest deliverable? As the Taxing Wealth Report 2024 suggests, they might be, but the suggestions are at the decidedly optimistic end of the ranges that I have suggested for the taxes that they propose.

Can, in addition, a £90 billion carbon tax be laid over that? I am really not sure. My fear with all carbon taxes is that they are regressive. If this is the plan then the planned increases in income support in this proposal look to be seriously understated to me if those most vulnerable are to be protected. I hope they are to be protected, but I really cannot be sure about it, and an additional tax on this scale looks to be decidedly optimistic to me in the timescale planned.

Finally, can the noted borrowing be secured? Yes, in my opinion. That's the easy bit in here. Use my scheme for ISA and pension reform and that borrowing can be delivered without any difficulty at all. That part of the plan is where I am most comfortable, by far.

Comparisons are always a little unfair in politics. Political parties choose, quite deliberately, to compete on different playing fields. That said, and given the points that I have already made about my desire that the Greens should have presented more data, they have shown up both the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, not so much with the quality of their presentation, but with the boldness of their thinking that underpins it. I want more detail, by far, and doubt there are the resources in our current economy to deliver spending at the level the Greens plan, but this is better than what I’m getting elsewhere, so far. In particular, I prefer their optimism to the overwise prevailing air of gloom.

Open Letter to Anthony Albanese: ‘Why collusion with this grotesque Israeli government?’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 12:21pm in

Tags 

Politics

We write in sadness and despair at your government’s failure to condemn openly and persistently the Israeli government’s determination to ethnically cleanse Palestine and to cause brutality, famine, death and destruction to a whole people and their country. From: Australian Academics To: The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Prime Minister, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 June Continue reading »

National Party Demands The Return Of Leaded Petrol

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 7:33am in

Tags 

Politics, mining

The Coalition’s junior member, the National party, have come out today demanding that the Albanese Government bring back leaded petrol.

”What sort of weak minded individual is Albo that he has a problem with lead?” Asked the National’s chief agitator Barnaby Joyce. ”I mean it’s bloody lead, it’s in pencils.”

”This country is getting softer, it’s not the Australia that I know and used to love.”

When asked why on earth would they want to bring back leaded petrol, the member for New England said: ”Gina wants it and you know, what Gina wants she gets.”

”Don’t believe me? Ask the Australian swim team.”

”Anyway, gotta go see the pharmacist, apparently these days there are pills that will help you put lead in your pencil.”

”Can’t wait to get back to parliament to press the flesh or maybe even sharpen the old pencil.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

https://bit.ly/2y8DH68

Witty and apposite

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 7:10am in

He might have added that he personally was never stupid enough to spend £4bn on unusable PPE or £27bn on test and trace. Now he couldn’t possibly be part of that government could he?... Read more

House Votes to Block U.S. Funding to Rebuild Gaza

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 7:05am in

Tags 

Politics

The House voted on Wednesday to block the U.S. from funding the reconstruction of Gaza, whose destruction was financed by the U.S. to a large degree.

The provision was introduced by Reps. Brian Mast, R-Fla.; Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.; and Eli Crane, R-Ariz., as an amendment to the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense budget. While Democrats opposed the amendment, which passed by a simple voice vote, they did not request a recorded vote.

“They are absolutely at war with one of our major and best allies anywhere across the globe,” said Mast on the House floor before the vote about Gaza as a whole, not specifying Hamas. The Florida Republican, a former volunteer in the Israeli military who has repeatedly made incendiary, anti-Palestinian comments since October 7, said it is “nonsensical” to suggest rebuilding the place that’s been razed by Israeli and American bombs for eight months.

The U.S. has sent $12.5 billion to Israel just this year, with the annual $3.8 billion supplemented by another $8.7 billion that was approved in April. Israel’s assault on Gaza has reportedly destroyed more than half the buildings in the besieged enclave, displaced some 1.7 million Palestinians, and killed more than 37,000 people.

The provision on reconstruction is just one of several Gaza-focused amendments that Republicans and moderate Democrats have introduced to the must-pass defense budget. Some of the proposals, such as the reconstruction one, are likely to face more resistance in the Senate.

“The House advancing anti-Palestinian amendments into legislation at this stage reaffirms that many in Congress do not value the lives of their Palestinian constituents,” said Mohammed Khader, a policy manager at U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action. “Blocking funds to rebuild Gaza while actively providing taxpayer dollars, weapons, and intelligence to destroy Gaza and Palestinian society reaffirms that lawmakers intend for the U.S. to be an active participant in Israel’s atrocities.”

A trio of Texas Republicans filed an amendment to ban Department of Defense funds being used to operate planes to transport Palestinian refugees to the United States. Democrats requested a recorded vote for this measure.

Republican lawmakers also introduced two amendments related to the Pentagon’s temporary, floating pier in Gaza, which is meant to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid but has stumbled in doing so. One provision would prohibit the use of funds to build, maintain, or repair a pier off the coast of Gaza, or to even transport aid to such a pier. In other words, the Republicans are attempting to fully shut down the project. Another amendment would ban U.S. funds from being spent on the pier or another similar structure. 

Other Republicans filed amendments combating the movement to boycott, divest, or sanction Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestine. 

Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert submitted an amendment to prohibit the Department of Defense from entering into contracts with entities engaged in a boycott of Israel. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., submitted one to express “the sense of Congress” that the Department of Defense should not participate in a European defense exhibition if Israeli firms face restrictions on attending. The amendment was approved by voice vote. 

 Civil defense teams and citizens continue search and rescue operations after an airstrike hits the building belonging to the Maslah family during the 32nd day of Israeli attacks in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on November 7, 2023. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Read our complete coverage

Israel’s War on Gaza

Among the amendments with Democratic sponsors are ones expressing support for joint military ventures between the U.S. and Israel.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., for his part, filed an amendment to require an assessment of the accuracy of the Gaza Ministry of Health’s death toll accounting. Over the last eight months, supporters of Israel have pointed to the fact that Hamas — as Gaza’s governing entity — controls the health ministry as a way to undermine its death count. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Health’s figures have in the past been corroborated by the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, and even the Israeli government itself. 

Given the damage to Gaza infrastructure and killing of Gaza officials, and the thousands of people feared missing under the rubble, it’s possible the ministry’s numbers are actually an undercount. 

The post House Votes to Block U.S. Funding to Rebuild Gaza appeared first on The Intercept.

Only on Palestine, words speak louder than actions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 4:58am in

“When will you finish them?” These aren’t words you normally hear while waiting in line for a coffee in the Sydney CBD. They are words that you might find a former presidential aspirant and US ambassador to the UN writing on the side of an artillery shell during a visit to Israel. Clearly the cafe owner, Continue reading »

A lot of awful things can happen in a week

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 4:57am in

Tags 

Politics

President Biden has now announced a ‘roadmap’ for Gaza that has been doing the rounds for weeks, and Australia has loyally supported it with a contribution of $A10 million. But much more time, money, and negotiations will be needed if the three-stage plan is to be a success. It would have done Prime Minister Albanese Continue reading »

After a low, China-Australia ties can aim high

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/06/2024 - 4:56am in

When I think of Australia, the first things that pop into my mind are koalas and kangaroos. Those adorable marsupials are wooing travellers worldwide every year to the beautiful land. But travellers can also say hello to Giant Pandas in Australia. It is the only country in the Southern Hemisphere that hosts those cuddly animals Continue reading »

Pages