Henry: By going after the big guys, little guys will get hurt
The Henry Tax Review has been released and the Rudd Government has formed its response. So what good things has the government done for the average Australian family? Not a great deal.
I know it’s a brash statement but when you think about it, the Henry Review is some 800 pages long, looking at things like housing affordability, childcare and family assistance. These are the things which families really care about because they are the biggest items which chew into the family budget and affect whether they have any spare cash or not.
But were any of these things mentioned in the Rudd Government’s response to the review which it’s been sitting on for months? The short answer is no.
So what has the government done? Well it’s decided to take a look at the big end of town by taxing the big miners more.
Yes, it’s always popular to sting the big guy and not the little guy who owns the corner shop down the street. But going after the big guy can be a dangerous policy because the government is essentially taxing an industry which has propped up this country throughout the global financial crisis.
There’s a good reason why countries such as the USA and the UK are struggling while the Australian economy is continuing to grow and we can thank our mining industry for that. I personally don’t think that it’s the best way to look after a group of people which kept our economy flowing in desperate times.
Now at this point you’re probably wondering what Ken Henry had to say about housing affordability, childcare and family assistance given the government didn’t pick up on any of it. Well, put simply he make a lot of good suggestions which would make things much better for families.
In fact, Henry made 14 recommendations in these areas, none of which the PM and the Treasurer had anything to say about in any of their media releases.
In the review Henry recommends providing low income families with a 90 percent subsidy for childcare. A good idea that most people would no doubt support. But as you can imagine, the Rudd Government makes no mention of helping out this bracket of people in making childcare more affordable. In fact, in Henry’s directions for supporting productivity, participation and growth he says there is a need for affordable childcare because it encourages workforce participation.
However, I know that the government can’t be to keen on listening to Henry in this area because it scrapped the construction of 230 childcare centres just a fortnight ago. How embarrassing!
Now when it comes to housing affordability Henry makes a point that housing price pressures need to be alleviated. He mentions this can be done in a number of ways including abolishing stamp duty. Again, this is something the Government surprisingly makes no mention of.
However, even more surprisingly, the review doesn’t make any mention whatsoever of letting first home buyers access part of their superannuation to put a deposit on a house so they can get a foot in the housing market.
This is a model which works well in Canada and one which I think should be looked at in Australia given it’s getting harder and harder for Australians to live the great Australia dream of owning their own home.
So what does the Henry review mean for ordinary Australians? It means the government has a whole swag of good ideas on how to make things easier on families. The big question really is does it have the guts to actually follow through with many of the recommendations made by Ken Henry.
After all, it’s one thing to make a big hype about organising a review and it’s another thing to actually do something. How this Government responds will be the true test of whether it is a government of spin or a government of substance.
Oh and as a side note before you stop reading. It must have been an embarrassment for Ken Henry dedicating more than 20 pages to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme given its been put on the political scrap heap by the Rudd Government.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…