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Frank Stilwell on Turnbull’s Economic Plan


Tis wisely said, “you can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”. In the absence of growing demand for their products, there is no reason to expect that business will respond to a tax cut by investing in expanded productive capacity. Any additional after-tax profit is just as likely to be used for buying residential real estate – precisely what an already speculation-prone economy and society does not need!…editorial-pic2-1

The government’s so-called ‘economic plan’ does not stand up to critical scrutiny. It looks particularly ill-suited to the economic conditions that the nation faces in the aftermath of the local mining boom and the continuing financial instability on a global scale. There is little ‘on the table’ that provides an affective antidote or alternative. Rather, we are being offered continuity in the form of ‘trickle-down economics’. This is the belief that giving wealthy people even more income will eventually benefit everyone. It is a self-serving elite ideology, rather than sound economics. It was deeply embedded in the policies of US President Ronald Reagan, for example, emphasising tax cuts for the wealthy as a means of creating more incentives for wealth-creating private enterprise. Reaganomics caused both economic inequality and the budget deficit to surge. Are we doomed to re-run this failed policy?


The Coalition’s oft-restated commitment to ‘jobs and growth’ is an Abbott-style three word slogan, hitched to a give-away to the big end of town in the form of business tax cuts and some assorted policies that intensify economic inequalities. When the promised surge in ‘jobs and growth’ fails to materialise, the government will have three options: (1) abandon any claims about its capacity to undertake ‘budget repair’, (2) engage in big cuts to social services, health and education in the attempt to get the government budget back into surplus, and/or (3) raise the rate of taxation on goods and services (GST).


No-one knows for sure what the future will bring, but it is hard to take the government’s ‘economic plan’ seriously without also mentioning the tooth fairy or the prospect that pigs might fly…



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