Constitutional Challenge to Stimulus

I am not sure what to make of the challenge in the High Court to the bonus payments that the Federal government wants to make to stimulate the economy.

The challenge is being brought (brang?) by Bryan Pape because he says that the bonus payments are a “gift” and are unconstitutional. If the challenge is sucessful then “ALMOST 850,000 taxpayers targeted by the Federal Government to receive a $900 tax bonus may be legally entitled to only a portion of the payment and as little as $1”.

The court heard that on one interpretation of the constitution, the law passed by Federal Parliament in February to pay the bonus could operate only by refunding tax owed in 2007-08.

Any taxpayer whose tax liability last year was between $1 and $899 would be entitled to only that amount as a bonus.

On one hand I understand that we must uphold the constitution, but what will be the implications if the challenge is sucessful? Will this alter the federal/state relationship?

The case was expected to take two days but will continue today – the third day of the hearings.

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72 Responses

  1. Bryan Pape, an ex Nat, current legal lecturer who likes to get his name in print as does any academic. It’s worthwhile noting that he is not opposed to the payments, simply the legal vehicle employed.

    Doesn’t like redistributions either as this link shows.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/pdf/redistributions/2005/nsw/object/NO874.pdf

    Nevertheless he may have a point and if he succeeds his ‘name’ will be made.

  2. How to make yourself the most hated man in Australia.

    But he does have a point, and I actually support him in this.

    We must uphold laws, and, if they are not implemented correctly, then how can those same people expect US to do the right thing.

    Having said that, from the bits of info I have read, he is standing on flimsy ground, but the fact that this has entered its third days either means the ground he is on is solidifying, or he is very adept argurer….er debater 🙂

  3. Having said that, from the bits of info I have read, he is standing on flimsy ground, but the fact that this has entered its third days either means the ground he is on is solidifying, or he is very adept argurer….er debater

    No, it just means he has alot to say. His arguments may have no merit whatsoever, but so long as he is arguing them competently – he is allowed to outline his case. Given the fact that he is not basing it on just the one idea (he is using several different legal theories to try and have the payments knocked down constitutionally) – he may need the time simply to outline the arguments, quote (what he believes are) relevant case law, and so on.

    Cases without merit in other courts can go for years, three days is not that long at all really. Remember, if he had a “killing blow” to use he would have delivered it already.

  4. In thast case then B.Tolputt, it would be my second scenario.

    And yes, from what I have read (which doesn’t say much, the MSM being what it is) his case did appear pretty thin.

    It would be nice to know that things can get moved along expediently, but knowing our court system (sigh)

  5. And there is the problem that the delay in the court will hold up the delivery of the payments – which means that the stimulus for the economy will be delayed.

    Bryan Pape could turn out to be even less popular than Malcolm Tumbleturn. 🙄

  6. And there is the problem that the delay in the court will hold up the delivery of the payments – which means that the stimulus for the economy will be delayed.

    Yes, and perhaps that is his part of his plan. Tie up the court so long that the government is forced to delay the payments or send them out on the possibility they will be made illegal by the court’s ruling.

    If he had a killing blow to deliver and it was possible for him to delay the case enough for this to happen – it would make him really unpopular with the average person… but make him highly desired as a litigator. After all, he’ll be “the man that forced the government into a multi-billion dollar mistake”.

  7. Interesting that no one (Pape) previously challenged other welfare such as the Baby Bonus. Surely these and other handouts are likewise ‘a gift’.

  8. N5 said: “and if he succeeds his ‘name’ will be made.”

    and w/ many his name will be mud.

    Let him have his day in court. The political fallout could be quite interesting.

    Purely coincidental of course that it comes at the time the CONservatives & Neon-Libs are working overtime it seems to undermine the economic relationship berween China and Australia. Having applauded it so in the past.

    Just a thought. I wonder if anyone has looked into the validity of drought- related handouts/assistance to farmers…and other EMERGENCY-related payments by way of the Federal government? I’m sure someone must be irked about their precious tax dollars being redistributed to deal w/ financial emergencies.

    “And what’s w/ all this subsidised rollout of telephone lines and such to the cow cockies over the years?” some might ask. Personally, I’m pleased someone gives a sh*t about their welfare. All cogs in the wheel.

    N’

  9. Who cares whether it’s “constitutional” or not..?

    Since when have we ever been concerned about whether it’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…?

    JUST GIMME MY NINE HUNDRED BUCKS !!!

  10. Tol, me thinks minus a killer blow he will be down the gurgler. Mr Trivia Man. Nature mentioned that Pape is an ex Nat which begs the question re who is grub-staking Pape to mount a high court challenge.

  11. Min, on April 1st, 2009 at 10:23 am Said:

    who is grub-staking Pape to mount a high court challenge.

    It’s all his own work. He represents himself and the publicity is priceless.

  12. From the accounts of the arguments I’ve read in the papers (never the best source) Bryan Pape sounds a lot like that litigious character out of AP Herbert’s book Uncommon Law, Mr Haddock.

    People here may recall an old BBC series called Misleading Cases, based on the book and starring Alaistair Sim as the somewhat bemused Judge. It was a hoot.

    I’m not sure if Mr Pape is into writing cheques on the sides of cows, but if his argument about the power of the Commonwealth to make gifts is correct, we’ll never see another Aussie Diplomat hand an Akubra to some visiting foreign dignitary in future, that’s for sure. That sort of thing will be strictly verboten (although said dignitary might get it as a tax rebate in the unlikley event that he pays tax here).

    Anyway their Honnerz aren’t Alaistair Sim and from what has been reported, they don’t sound too impressed thus far.

  13. Nature 5..was thinking that it would take a squillion to mount a High Court challenge. And so the $$s are all coming from Mr Pape’s own bank account? I haven’t known a High Court challenge to be mounted without being backed by $’ed supporters aka ‘interested parties’. But maybe Mr Pape is a philanthropist who just likes to throw his $s around on a frivolous challenge.

  14. Actually my favourite Misleading Case was the one where Haddock was appearing for a woman (his wife, I think) charged with negligent driving.

    His argument was simple:

    1. Since the days of Donoghue v Stehenson the test for neglignece has been the “reasonable man” test.

    2. There is no such thing as a “reasonable woman”.

    3. Therefore a woman cannot be negligent.

    I can’t recall what Sim did with this little gem (probably reserved, so he could discuss it and have a chuckle with his fellow Judges), but the argument kinda impressed me in a sexist sort of a way.

    Hopefully the High Court are having a bit of a chuckle right now.

  15. Min, on April 1st, 2009 at 12:14 pm Said:

    I haven’t known a High Court challenge to be mounted without being backed by $’ed supporters aka ‘interested parties’.

    This one’s a little different.

    The Government has filed a defence document in which it agrees that Mr Pape has identified an issue appropriate to be heard as a constitutional case.

    This is a constitutional case. It is in the interests of all parties that clarification of the Constitution be provided. Unlikrly costs will be awarded because the Court has already decided that the issue has stanbing. As the applicant says:

    Mr Pape said he had not discussed the case with the National Party and was bringing it as “a concerned citizen, or a better description would be as a concerned lawyer”.

    More here.

    http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/metro/national/general/high-court-challenge-jeopardises-900-bonus/1463527.aspx?storypage=0

  16. And so we have the government identifying 5 issues via The Constitution where they are able to make laws pertaining to taxation, benefits thereof. However Mr Papes argument is that it isn’t pertaining to taxation but that it’s ‘a gift’.

    Up the proverbial without a paddle in my opinion.

    I should imagine (although not stated) that this would be Part V 51 (ii) of the Constitution. Other sections of the Constitution come to mind.

  17. After listening to the quite rational arguments of a “Democrat economist” on radio national a few nights ago, this case may deserve success.

    The Democrat economist was a little critical of the policies of Obama, she indicated a range of problems with the US tax policy, and was critical of one off handouts as a stimulus.

    She suggested that people will save significant one off payments, but spend all of the $20 or so per week. She argued that tax cuts provide a more effective economic stimulus.

    Reasonable thinking, and simply shows the nonsense of some, particularly here, in characterising this issue as some form of left vs right debate.

    This site often lapses into silly left vs right discussion, with one particularly ridiculous clogged brain example and several commendable exceptions.

    Most thinking people have opinions that aren’t that easily compartmentalised.

  18. Tom of Melbourne:
    Yes, the “Right vs Left” divide tends to kick in quite a bit. I like to think I straddle the divide given I have both conservative & socialist thoughts & opinions, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get involved when perhaps I shouldn’t.

    That said, I don’t think this issue is strictly a “Right vs Left” problem. After all, we’re not arguing (in this thread at least) whether we should be giving the people the money – just HOW it should be given to them.

    This guy is not making any arguments in regards to the “worthiness” or requirement of the stimulus payments. Simply whether or not they can be given to the public given the Constitution. I think he is using it for self-advertisement but he does have a legal base I agree on.

  19. Tom of M

    I don’t consider it a left or right issue. I consider it along these lines. For years and years the major beneficiaries in terms of dollars given back when it comes to tax cuts have been the high income earners.

    This payment of $900 will not give even 1c to the high income earners and will only benefit those on $100,000 or less taxable income.

    This is why I am all for the bonus, rather than a tax cut which would reduce government coffers permanently and also extend the cut to the high income earners who do not need another $20 a week in their pocket after all of the thousands they have received in generous tax cuts over the last 15 years of economic boom.

  20. Tom

    The problem with a tax-cut is that bringing it forward would have caused expensive implementation costs for business, as well as delaying the implementation time.

  21. Re Shane & Ben

    Think about the logic, the government and many here have advocated the big handout as an effective stimulus. The entire package has been put forward onthat basis, rather than on the basis of equity or effectiveness.

    I was almost howled down in suggesting that the stimulus was poorly directed in terms of both equity and effectiveness.

    The “Democrat economist’ suggested that in the US there needed to be higher tax on those earning over $250K pa, and tax break/credits for low income earners. She rationally argued that this was equitable and provided an economic stimulus.

    I find the argument quite compelling. It sounds like reasonable policy, it sounds like this approach ought to be consistent with an ALP (dare I say left) philosophy.

    It is a pity our own government played an entirely opportunistic political game in place of implementing a program of equity and effectiveness.

    Re left vs right

    There is one contributor particularly. Apparently “of the left”, certainly one to give them a bad name, whoever they are.

    He’d just be a complete dolt regardless of his pseudo political persuasion. I trust that isn’t too offensive to the routine dolts.

  22. From Nature’s link:

    Mr Pape said if he wins the case, he expects it will affect the Government’s ability to fund programs such as computers in schools and road projects.

    and

    “This is an issue where I believe I have standing because I am a supposed recipient,” Mr Pape said. “In the past I couldn’t challenge any other law because I didn’t have standing.”

    From the latter statement this is only an issue for Mr Pape because he is ‘a supposed recipient’ and therefore not because his prime concern is the Constitution..obviously he would have challenged other such ‘gifts’ previously if so.

    He states that he remains a party member for the Nationals and was chairman for New England until last year.

  23. Tom of M

    Tax credits for the low income earners I agree with, but you were talking about tax cuts and these were your specific words. Tax cuts flow to all of the population not just low income earners and therefore benefit those on $250k to the exact same dollar terms as low income earners. This is where I simply cannot agree to tax cuts.

    Tax credits for the low income earners yes, tax cuts no.

  24. Shane the balance is tax reform, that’s what happens when tax rates change and some pay more, some less.

    Without the intervention of partisan point scoring, tax reform with an emphasis on lower income earners is likely to be more of an effective stimulus, and more equitable than a cash handout.

    The stupid, simplistic, partisan left vs right, compartmentalisation of this type of discussion is just that – stupid and simplistic.

  25. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 4:40 pm Said:

    She suggested that people will save significant one off payments, but spend all of the $20 or so per week. She argued that tax cuts provide a more effective economic stimulus.

    RN wasn’t it? Yet I have heard the exact opposite but I haven’t a link.The counter argument is that $20 a week doesn’t make you feel ‘rich’ because one hardly notices. On the other hand, a lump sum of $1000 has the opposite effect and therefore more likely to spend. I admit I am more attracted to the latter argument rather than the former.

    BTW I note that retail sales figures for February dropped a ‘massive’ 2 percent – the biggest since whenever. When one looks at the fine print however, the 2% drop follows a 4% rise the previous month. One can safely conclude the current figures are much better than are being portrayed.

    Re Pape: He is a little know law lecturer at a minor rural University. He and his university have much to gain in bragging rights if he can pull this off. Even now, he has made it to first base and that brings some legal kudos.

    text

  26. Tom

    What is stupid and simplistic about agreeing with tax credits and disagreeing with tax cuts.

    When you change a tax rate within income scales between $30,000 and $100,000 that cut ALSO applies to all of those higher income earners who also earn over $100,000. When you cut a tax rate within $150,000 or more that cut ONLY applies to the high income earners.

    Do not compartmentalise me as either left or right I see it from my own opinion I have enough brains to make up my own mind without being labelled for my opinion.

  27. Have any of you nice posters actually received a stimulus payment before this lawyers picnic began?

  28. Yes N5, it was radio national.

    The way I heard it was from the perspective of criticism of lump sum payments. This, she argued, was more likely to be saved during economic uncertainty. On the other hand, she seemed to say that no one would go to the trouble of saving a $20/wk tax cut, thus creating more stimulus.

    It attracted my because she seemed to illustrate the vacuous thinking of some that would suggest that the tax cut vs lump sum is part of the left vs right political divide. It is simply a legitimate difference of opinion.

    I also listened to the PM report this evening, apparently our stimulus package (excluding the lump sum payments), gets top marks. Heaven help he other G19.

    Re Shane

    I didn’t intend to label you as “simplistic and stupid”, far from it. The focus of my comment was a dullard/dolt that engages in plenty of pointless pontification.

    With regard to your comment, cutting the tax rate for those on between (say) $30K & $80K will result in a tax cut for those on over $80K if you leave the rate above $80K unchanged.

    Making these marginal rate changes is more of a reform/realignment, rather than a tax cut.

    And spending about $9bn would have paid for plenty of realignment and reform.

  29. “Do not compartmentalise me as either left or right I see it from my own opinion I have enough brains to make up my own mind without being labelled for my opinion.”

    shaneinqld, Tom M. spends an inordinate amount of time trying to create the impression that he is an independent thinker. Andrew Bolt does same.

    Who was this “Democrat economist” Tom M.?

    N’

  30. And at least Nasking acknowledges that he has no intention of being an “independent thinker” in any form.

  31. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 8:00 pm Said:

    As I said I think the lump sum approach has a better psychological effect and while I can’t prove it, I offer as evidence the increased spending during January. As for:

    part of the left vs right political divide. It is simply a legitimate difference of opinion.

    part of the left vs right political divide. There’s some evidence of that. In the US the Republicans see the saving of the world in terms of smaller government which also translates to ‘tax cuts’. It’s also Turnbull’s position. But the left/right divide these days is more in name than substance. Rudd a leftie? LOL.

    legitimate difference of opinion. I think that’s the case. But what was or is the better policy option will forever remain a mystery. The arguments are based on ideological not scientific propositions. A bit like ‘Interests rates will always be lower under a Liberal Government’.

  32. The march of Tom of Melbourne:

    Re left vs right

    Reasonable thinking, and simply shows the nonsense of some, particularly here, in characterising this issue as some form of left vs right debate.

    This site often lapses into silly left vs right discussion, with one particularly ridiculous clogged brain example and several commendable exceptions.

    Most thinking people have opinions that aren’t that easily compartmentalised.

    There is one contributor particularly. Apparently “of the left”, certainly one to give them a bad name, whoever they are.

    He’d just be a complete dolt regardless of his pseudo political persuasion. I trust that isn’t too offensive to the routine dolts.

    The stupid, simplistic, partisan left vs right, compartmentalisation of this type of discussion is just that – stupid and simplistic.

    music maestro please:

    Over and Over

    N’

  33. Let me put it another way.

    Can you name the “Democrat economist” you refer to above Tom M.?

    N’

  34. Re the stimulus and whether it worked? Look at this graph.

    http://petermartin.blogspot.com/2009/04/retail-made-even-clearer.html

    As Peter Martin concludes:

    Even with the 2 per cent fall in seasonally adjusted spending in February we are still spending far more in the shops than we would have without the payments

  35. N5, I think that’s a fair summary.

    During the discussion on this site during the passage of the stimulus package, I wasn’t an advocate of either a lump sum payment or tax cuts, I preferred a package of more direct spending for stimulus and job creation, old fashioned intervention.

    I’m not sure whether old fashioned intervention is left or right.

    I continue to think that the package was fairly poorly targeted – insulation… middle class handouts… this was about $18bn worth. There could have been more value out of this huge sum.

  36. ” I wasn’t an advocate of either a lump sum payment or tax cuts, I preferred a package of more direct spending for stimulus and job creation, old fashioned intervention.”

    That’s rather ambiguous. Could you specify?

    “old fashioned intervention”.

    Can you clarify? How far back are you going?

    And that name…if it’s not too much bother?

    N’

  37. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 8:51 pm Said

    not sure whether old fashioned intervention is left or right

    Given that the ‘right’ traditionally has more ‘faith’ in the market than the ‘left’, I tend to see intervention as ‘Left’. As for:

    There could have been more value out of this huge sum.

    In social terms I agree, but in economic terms which was the prime aim of the stimulus, I’m not so sure. Clearly, many people ‘saved’ the hand-outs but that in itself both effects and affects their psychological outlook which in turn will govern their behaviour in the weeks and months ahead.

    Certainly the economic sky has fallen and probably still has some way to go but the recovery will be dependent of the attitudes of the punters. Looking on a realistic ‘bright side of life’ seems a useful investment.

    BTW, the ‘previous month’ I referred to above should have been December not January.

  38. nasking, on April 1st, 2009 at 9:01 pm Said

    And that name…if it’s not too much bother?

    Naskin, what are you suggesting? That the statement wasn’t made? Or are you really interested in the credentials and ideological bent of the ‘democrat’ in question?

    I, as an avid listener to RN and Adams in particular, don’t always note the names of the contributors. Just what is your point?

  39. Nasking – if you weren’t participating on this site when the stimulus package was being debated by the parliament recently, don’t ask me to direct you to the record. This blog is quite new, you’ll find it all yourself without too much trouble.

    The discussion was quite informed and stimulating. There was no need for anyone to engage in stupid personal abuse, and no one thought it particularly informative or stimulating to continually post photos of stuffed children’s toys.

    Apparently you consider both of these intelligent, adult discussion points. Bizarre.

    After you review the interesting discussion about various alternative ideas for the stimulus package, perhaps you’ll specify the trade sector with China which you consider to be so “environmentally responsible”.

  40. N5, I don’t wish to rehash the points I’ve previously made. I just think the bonus and the home insulation components of the stimulus package are poorly directed.

    But I will indulge myself to the extent of saying that I would much prefer to have a system of providing pensioners with (say) $2000 worth of home maintenance (a very labour intensive activity) or similar. I think this type of program would be at least as beneficial in terms of economic activity, with a better social impact.

    Too interventionist apparently.

    I also enjoy listening to RN, even though Phillip has been saying the same thing for the 30 years I’ve been listening/reading.

    I don’t recall the name of the economist, and I did have a look on the site, to no avail.

  41. Tom

    Was it RN that the economist was on? I will have a bit of a poke around too to see what I can find.

  42. Yes Joni, it was RN, last week. Tue 24th or Wed 25th(?)

    I’m not particularly bothered, but there were some interesting points raised and discussed.

    It provided a different perspective on the left/right, Lib/Lab we hear so often.

  43. Tom

    I am not so sure that this blog is stuck in a left/right, Lib/Lab rut. I think that the blogocrats have actually given both sides a kicking when they deserve it.

  44. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 9:44 pm Said:

    Phillip has been saying the same thing for the 30 years I’ve been listening/reading.

    Indeed! But when you have established the ‘truth’ why retreat? LOL. The thing I appreciate is the intellectual quality of his guests. Not a Bolta or Piers in sight or on site in contrast to Duffy who has such shallow guests.

    But seriously, any intervention must consider the administrative costs including an audit trail, I await with interest as to how the current proposals will be rorted. Lol.

  45. Joni, while some here are stuck in this Lib/Lab rut, I was actually referring to the wider political debate.

    You know, the rest of the world. The bit outside Blogocrats.

  46. what What WHAT!!!! There is a world outside the blogocrats?

    What is the fictional world you write about?

    😀

  47. N5 – “But when you have established the ‘truth’ why retreat? “

    Maybe, I still get all nostalgic about Whitlam, but I don’t think we’d survive another period with Clyde Cameron, Jim Cairns, Lionel Murphy, Rex Connor, Al Grassby running the county.

    Phillip also gets nostalgic, but I think he may have forgotten some of it.

    I, of course, was a mere child at that time.

    Home insulation rorted?

    I trust not. The ethics of the home insulation industry are beyond question. Never been involved in high pressure or door to door selling. No. It is an industry deserving of many billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Great value.

  48. joni, while you are talking about the wider world, you might consider some of the issues raised by David Marr.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/tyranny-the-price-paid-for-not-giving-offence-20090331-9i7p.html?page=-1

    And on a lighter note, April Fool’s Day around the world http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/01/april-fools-2009-best-pra_n_181568.html

  49. N5

    Yeah – I read the Marr article. I actually wanted to go to the forum last night but it sold out. And so I am going to try and get a dedicated thread up on “Freedom of Speech” in the next day or two.

    Just now – I need to head to beddy-byes.

  50. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 10:58 pm Said:

    What happened to Susan Ryan, an obvious omission from your list? Surely all the ‘blame’ doesn’t lie on only one side of the gender divide?

    And I won’t mention Richard Butler. LOL.

  51. Well Tom I stuffed that up. Let me try again

    survive another period with Clyde Cameron, Jim Cairns, Lionel Murphy, Rex Connor, Al Grassby running the county

    What happened to Susan Ryan, an obvious omission from your list? Surely all the ‘blame’ doesn’t lie on only one side of the gender divide?

    And I won’t mention Richard Butler. LOL

  52. Joni – me too.

    I like David Marr. I don’t always agree with him, but he is hilarious, intelligent, and often bitterly offensive. It is a combination that often appeals to me.

    N5 – Susan Ryan had quite a career outside politics, but was a reasonable minister in Hawke’s Government, which (rightly or wrongly) will probably be regarded as more competent than Whitlam’s.

    I don’t recall any women in the Whitlam Ministry. Though Jean Meltzer was a good activist around that time.

  53. “Or are you really interested in the credentials and ideological bent of the ‘democrat’ in question?”

    That’s the one N5.

    “There was no need for anyone to engage in stupid personal abuse”

    Crikey! You weren’t involved then Tom M.?

    No arrogantly telling people “to engage their brain before posting”…?

    “It provided a different perspective on the left/right, Lib/Lab we hear so often.”

    Maybe you should read Counterpunch Tom & really move beyond yer mantra?

    “and no one thought it particularly informative or stimulating to continually post photos of stuffed children’s toys.”

    Yes, let’s keep it to the bland discourse. Unimaginative claptrap. What, the bears not botoxed enuff fer ya matey? Get STUFFED!
    🙂

    “perhaps you’ll specify the trade sector with China which you consider to be so “environmentally responsible”….”

    Yes, gawd forbid we put pressure on governments & businesses to look more to sustainability and less toxic approaches.

    Ya know Tom, I’d like to see more people post & comment on this site…but I can imagine the animosity between the likes of you & I (and just recall the positive comments I made regarding yer contribution here awhile back, and the positive comments on yer opinion of aboriginal art funding…& wasabi…as opposed to your oft snide remarks about me…which I return the favour w/ restraint…trust that)…and that witnessed between certain commentors who have since RETIRED from the cyber-field due to exhaustion/illness…might actually turn potential commentors off.

    So for the sake of the blog & HARMONY…I propose you keep to your patch & I’ll keep to mine.

    N’

  54. As for the stimulus package, my wife intends to spend her hard earned 900 buckeroos on paintwork for the car. I imagine plenty of workers have budgeted & factored in the expected money and are preparing to maintain, purchase, repair….and so on.

    Provided of course the courts don’t get taken down the road of hypothetical never never lands.

    It’s not surprising that many of the initial stimulus recipients have paid down debt & kept some up their sleeve for a rainy day…particularly w/ the talk of darker days to come…but that money might come in handy real soon.

    As for a 20 buck a week or F/T tax cut…yea, nothing like having enuff money to buy a burger, milkshake & even a slab of Coke…a piss in the wind.

    Whereas, a nice lump sum can help payoff debt, including a hospital bill…pay for home repairs, car maintenance…a new computer, or part of…help to pay off a child’s HECS…the list goes on…

    better than standing there w/ burger fat dribbling down yer chin every F/T and wondering how yer gonna find the money for new glasses.

    But ya see, those w/ enuff DISPOSABLE INCOME just can’t…or won’t RELATE. No EMPATHY.

    Mammon lives INSIDE of them. No LIGHT.

    N’

  55. Gettin’ bored with the alpha male stuff – just saying.

    Why don’t you two just ignore each other?

  56. Nasking – “So for the sake of the blog & HARMONY…I propose you keep to your patch & I’ll keep to mine.”

    Fine to say that following the comments you made about me.

    I’m quite happy to be taken to task for opinions I actually hold, and comments I actually post. But I don’t excuse people that simply assign a false opinions to me, and then argue the point repeatedly.

    Nonetheless, I’ll continue to point out any stupidity in the comments you make, but only as I do to anyone else here.

  57. Tom of Melbourne, on April 1st, 2009 at 11:28 pm Said:

    “I don’t recall any women in the Whitlam Ministry. ”

    That’s because there wasn’t any females in any of Whitlam’s ministeries. Memory fading. Lol.

  58. Tom of M

    “Making these marginal rate changes is more of a reform/realignment, rather than a tax cut.”

    What a load of political speak you are now using.

    It is not reform/realignment at all it is a Tax Cut. Tell it for what it is Tom, a TAX CUT instead of trying to manipulate the meaning of the act.

  59. Shane,

    Tax can be reformed by increasing some tax rates and reducing others.

    For example, this can result in a tax cut for low to average income earners, little change for those on a little above the average, and a higher rate for those on relatively high incomes.

    It is a simple calculation. Just change the rates at various thresholds.

    Reducing tax for those more likely to spend the money (ie low income earners), while increasing the rate for those most likely to save (ie high income earners), can increase spending in the economy (ie provide stimulus), but reduces saving, without much of an effect on government revenue.

    Think about a reduction in the rate for those on $60k or less, an increasein the marginal rate for those on $80k and above, and an even higher rate for those on over $150k.

    Whether or not a government does this relates to politics rather than economics.

    N5 – memory faded long ago.

  60. Tom of M

    Yes tax rates can be reformed, but your comment was originally referred to as Tax Cuts. When I disagreed you now change your tune and call it Tax Reform.

    Your comments at 9.52am are completely different to your original comments where you supported tax cuts in favour of a cash bonus.

    You never suggested any type of increase for those over a certain income threshold you simply supported tax cuts over cash bonus.

    Unless the taxation increase for those earning over $150,000 negates the benefit those same earners get with the corresponding reduction in their taxable income up to $150,000 you will still be giving a benefit to the high income earners. But this is a totally different kettle of fish than your original comments.

  61. Shane, I was referring to an interesting radio interview with what seemed a very socially aware economist in the US.

    I reflected on the thinking that it provoked. I was raising the thinking behind the alternative, not providing my summary of it as a definitive answer to tax policy/stimulus.

  62. Tom

    My problem with all of this is that if Tax Cuts were the answer the US should be roaring along at 100 miles an hour as they have given tax cuts year after year since Reagan.

    I have porvided that statistics on this site previouls of the massive tax cuts given by Reagan, Bush Snr and Bush Jnr to the higher income earners in the US while giving non to the lower paid and not permitting a minimum wage increase.

    If tac cuts were the answer then the US shoould have a massive budget surplus. yet their overall debt level increased year after year even during the last 15 years of economic boom. They are now a virtual basket case relying on communist china to lend them trillions of dollars.

    What we have in the US is a country that no longer has a stable tax revenue stream that can support its infrastructure of providing even the most basic of services to its population. I certainly hope that this type of mentality does not find its way to our shores or we will be in exactly the same boat.

  63. sorry about spelling, working at the same time and brain goes faster than fingers at times 🙂

  64. Shane, I don’t wish to be particularly difficult about this, and I’m not committed to tax cuts or tax reform as an economic stimulus.

    I’m also not at all committed to cash handouts, particularly to many quite high income earners.

    I think there are many better ways to stimulate the economy, and I’ve pointed this out previously.

    The point I was making was that those that characterise the debate about cash vs tax cuts as a left vs right issue are misinformed, in my opinion.

  65. Tom,

    “I’m also not at all committed to cash handouts, particularly to many quite high income earners.”

    I almost get the feeling you are simply emotional on this one, fiscal policy what…..

    “The point I was making was that those that characterise the debate about cash vs tax cuts as a left vs right issue are misinformed, in my opinion.”

    I wouldn’t disagree; however, when we are talking about “stimulus” I simply don’t understand those who feel some should be “entitled” to the fruits of another’s labor? Seems we all have no problem admitting there are those that are obsessed with making money (Booo…driven, money grubbing shakers) but seem to go silent with the idea that there are millions more who only know how to spend it…….

  66. Tom

    I do agree that I think there may be better ways to stimulate the economy. Having said that I still see no problem in giving $900 to tax payers who did not benefit in a major way, dollar wise, from previous tax cuts.

    Any taxation reform must take into account current and future needs of the nation as a whole and where those funds will be sourced if we continue down the path of tax cuts within taxation reform.

  67. Tom of Melbourne, on April 2nd, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Agreed. Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer. Sure, there are those pathologically committed to seeing every problem as a nail; but that doesn’t mean it’s their hammer; or that there aren’t problems which are nails, for which a hammer is best suited.

  68. Sparta

    Why are you defining the “stimulus” as some feeling they should be entitled to the fruits of anothers labour ?

    Remeber this is only going to those who have completed a tax return for 2008. In other words they must have had income and paid tax on that income to get the bonus.

    They would have paid far in excess of $900 in tax.

    These people did not benefit from any of the tax cuts given to those earning over $100,000 in the years previously.

    So in my eyes it is simply giving back a few dollars of taxes these people already paid to the government and not as you state “enititled” to the fruits of anothers labour. I certainly do not boo others making money as I am one of them with my own small business. I do however have an understanding there are many in our society who have not had the opportunities I have had and need my support through our government by way of my taxes.

  69. Well not to open the same old can of worms there Shane, I think we both know who pays the largest share of taxes. It seems the “equality” argument is not without a sense of irony…..

    “I certainly do not boo others making money as I am one of them with my own small business. I do however have an understanding there are many in our society who have not had the opportunities I have had and need my support through our government by way of my taxes.”

    Exactly what opportunities do you speak of? I certainly support my taxes going to the essentials and the down trodden in society and why I give to charities I trust but I simply don’t see Government as an efficient means to do it. You can spend your money how you want and I will spend mine the way I want. Some had zero opportunities to begin with but struggled, clawed and fought their way to financial independence. Why can you not accept that the majority of people are simply products of their own making? If they have never been responsible with money to begin with, how is giving them more going to change things? You give an individual 900.00 and they will either spend it, or put it towards paying off their previous bad decisions. Where’s the stimulus again?

  70. Thank you Mig..and this was it in a nutshell.

    But he said the explicit power in the constitution for the federal government to make laws in respect of taxation was sufficient to validate the bonus.

    The bonus was not a gift because taxpayers had the right to sue the Tax Office if they did not receive it, Mr Leeming said.

  71. Good stuff Migs. Now that is BREAKING NEWS.

    David Bowie – Let’s Dance

    🙂

    N’

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