Forget the nasty miners PM, what about the banks?
I think I’m with the miners – just why did the Prime Minister and Treasurer let the banks and finance groups off the hook when it came to tax reform and revenues for the common good?
As one mining industry guy said this week, there’s a whole part of the banking and finance sector involved in ‘moving money around and not creating anything of value’, and which does not pull its weight in revenue generation for the common good.
I’m surprised that a Government, that’s more than willing to run on the theme of ‘nasty foreign extraction companies taking our wealth offshore’, couldn’t have come up with an anti-banks campaign.
Perhaps it was that the Henry Review was strangely silent on this sector’s potential for new tax revenues. Without the prompt from advisers, perhaps the Government just couldn’t conceive the banking and finance sector as a contributor, rather than beneficiary, of its tax reform program.
In any event, as I have suggested before in The Punch, if Australia is looking for a low impact, new revenue source to fund hospital beds, or roads, or superannuation top-ups, why not take the international lead and introduce a new financial transactions tax, what is being talked about globally as the ‘Robin Hood Tax’?
It’s not as if the international financial system can’t make a better contribution to revenue generation and doesn’t need better regulation. By some estimates, a miniscule tax - and we’re talking 0.05% - on the often speculative financial transactions that characterize modern global finance systems can generate funds to build a six room school building in minutes (well, perhaps hours in the case of the BER).
The Opposition Leader is going to have to fund his own new revenue sources for a properly balanced strategy to restore the country’s finances and achieve his key promises. It would be very B. A. Santamari-ish for him to take the fight to the banking system, so maybe the Robin Hood Tax is his opportunity now. And let’s be honest - it is easier to imagine Mr Abbott in Sherwood Forest tights than the PM.
And when it comes to populist campaigns to win support, which campaign is mostly likely to flank the Government’s anti-foreign miner spin? I think it would be one that focused on the banks and their capacity to allocate, for the common good, some of the wealth they are taking from the modern economy.
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