Thursday, May 11, 2017

Budget 2017 entrenches big government

Simon Cowan

In this budget the government has surrendered to the special interest groups and revenue-istas.
Having maintained for years that the problem was excessive spending, the government has not only abandoned attempts to find efficiencies in wasteful expenditures but instead chosen to substantially increase spending in health, education and welfare.

To pay for this extravagance, taxes will increase much faster than inflation, population growth or the economy. To say this is disappointing is an understatement. The evidence that our budget problems have largely been caused by increases in recurrent expenditure is overwhelming. That much of this expenditure delivers little or no value for money for taxpayers is indisputable. To be told the fair way to deal with this is to increase taxes on business and income is intolerable. And incorrect.

This is a budget that entrenches big government. On that score alone it is a big failure.

Media release from CIS

Conservatives fume over tax-and-spend budget dubbed ‘Labor-lite’

CONSERVATIVES have reacted with fury to Malcolm Turnbull’s Federal Budget, accusing him of turning his back on Coalition principles.

His tax-and-spend agenda has been dubbed “Labor-lite” by some commentators, with its $6 billion bank levy and Gonski 2.0 funding package coming in for particular criticism from the right-wing side of politics. It is also being widely seen as Mr Turnbull’s attempt to press the political reset button, killing off the ghosts of the Abbott-Hockey disaster budget of 2014.

Tony Abbott’s former chief-of-staff turned Sky News pundit Peta Credlin blasted the budget as not credible.

“It beggars belief when last year’s Budget hit our base with superannuation. It beggars belief that this year’s Budget would again hit the aspirational Coalition base on schools funding. It is a fight we don’t need. We are behind in the polls, when are we going to stop hitting our own?

“I don’t think it is credible for the Coalition side of politics to deliver a tax-and-spend Budget. This is a Labor tax-and-spend Budget, this is not who we are as a Coalition, this is not who we are as Liberals”

During an interview with 2GB radio host Alan Jones this morning, Mr Turnbull was confronted by Australia’s ballooning debt.

Jones pointed out Australia’s debt ceiling had been lifted to $600 billion and total debt was now rising by about $5.3 million per hour.

“People are saying to me ‘I never thought I would see the day when a Coalition government would increase the debt ceiling to $600 billion’,” Jones said.

“Out there they are worried sick ... how can you say we are living ... within our means? It’s worrying the tripe out of people.”

But Mr Turnbull said the government was doing everything it could to bring the deficit down and the government was increasing taxes on banks and the Medicare Levy, but had not been able to get savings through the Senate.

“Labor backed in a lot of spending which we have sought to pare back — we have had a lot of success actually but not enough,” Mr Turnbull said.

“You cannot turn the federal government around on a dime.”

Jones also criticised the government’s backing of Gonski school funding which will see it tip $18.6 billion into the sector, saying the PM didn’t discuss the move with the party and it was “dudding Catholic schools”.

He also pointed out that Mr Turnbull even confronted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten over the issue of increased education spending, saying it didn’t guarantee results.

“You said that last year ... now Gonski has become an article of faith, some kind of religious relic,” Jones said. “What are you doing?”

Mr Turnbull tried to appeal to Jones’ experience as a former teacher saying “You know as well as I do, you are a former teacher, an old chalkie ... you know that the charisma of the teacher is the most important element”.

But Jones was having none of it, saying: “don’t soften me up, don’t try and soften me up”.

Former Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who quit the party in protest in February to form the Australian Conservatives, said the Coalition had delivered “economy sucking vampire measures” that would leave every Australian family worse off.

“This is a great Budget for Australian Conservatives because it proves definitively, that the Coalition is now just another faction of the Labor Party,” he told Sky News.

“[They are] tackling businesses that make a profit, simply because they make a profit. There is no principle attached to it.”

He said the only Budget measure he backed was drug testing for dole recipients.

Both the Coalition and Labor have been accused in recent weeks of trying to appeal to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation voters in Queensland, but the firebrand Senator was not buying last night’s Budget either.

“(I’m) not happy, not happy at all. It’s all about the spending, and I believe the government needs to rein in the spending,” Senator Hanson told Sky.

“We are paying top dollar for all of this.”

Bipartisan support for the government’s commitment to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme was also a source of suspicion.

“I know of someone who got on a disability pension for chronic fatigue [and] has not been investigated for four years. We have to have these people reinvestigated,” she said.

“We have to get tough on this. People are ripping us off left, right and centre and they must prove they are still eligible because taxpayers have had a gutful.”

Veteran Channel Nine commentator Laurie Oakes said the “Labor-lite” Budget was a clever political move that “stole the thunder” of Opposition leader Bill Shorten by neutralising Labor on heartland issues such as Medicare, education and the banks.

“I think it could have been brought down by a Labor treasurer and if it was, the Coalition would criticise it as a tax-and-spend Budget,” he said.


The Australian Government Will Drug Test Welfare Recipients

The 2017-18 budget will save the government $632 million in welfare payments, in part thanks to tough new rules that will target and penalise Centrelink recipients that are affected by drugs and alcohol.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said in his budget speech that the government still wanted to support jobseekers and welfare recipients, but that it would have to be a "two way street" for those already struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. A drug test trial will be run on 5000 current welfare recipients, and any of those recipients that test positive for a list of substances will be have their regular payments locked on to a cashless card that can only be used for "essential living expenses."

Welfare recipients that are affected by drugs will also be "subjected to further tests and possible referral for treatment" according to the government, although it also says that those with "genuine issues" will not be "unfairly penalised". Landlords in affordable housing will also be able to deduct rental payments directly from tenants' welfare payments.

This comes in addition to the government's new "three strikes" rule for welfare recipients — a demerit point style scheme where missing one employment appointment without a "reasonable excuse" will have their payments suspended until they re-engage, and repeat infringements see payments suspended completely for as long as four weeks.

Social security and welfare is projected to cost $164 billion in the 2017-18 federal budget, rising to $178b in 2018-19, $184b in 2019-20 and $191b in 2020-21. According to the government, this increase in expenses is due to the impact of a fully funded National Disability Insurance Scheme.

    The Government is also strengthening participation requirements for welfare recipients to better drive participation outcomes. These will be coupled with a new targeted Job Seeker Compliance Framework that will apply stronger financial penalties to persistently non-compliant job seekers, whilst ensuring genuinely disadvantaged and vulnerable job seekers are supported. This includes refocusing Work for the Dole activities towards disadvantaged job seekers, and ensuring job-ready job seekers engage in more cost effective Work for the Dole activities. The changes will encourage and support those who have the capacity to work to do so, while ensuring disadvantaged job seekers have the opportunity to develop the characteristics employers look for, such as strong communication skills, the ability to work effectively with others, and reliability.


This Budget tells us about Malcolm Turnbull is really about

THE Budget asks us to believe that a Government roughly $600 billion in the hole is actually heading for a surplus in 2021 — which would be the first in 14 years.

But it also asks much more from voters, and that is its key.

Forget agile and innovation. The Turnbull government is now about security and health, having learned from the electoral rebuke of last year.

And it’s about doing big things of concrete and steel which create jobs and economic growth and become projects of national pride.

It is saluting the working not-so-rich over the really rich and the bone idle. The proposal to drug test welfare beneficiaries is more about standing up for hard workers who pay their own way than saving money.

That’s the core of the Budget. It is broadly a reaction to the national political mood. It portrays a government looking after basics and doing things which require imagination and action and ensuring hard workers are rewarded.

The Budget core also requires the Liberal Party to reshape some of its principles.

From one perspective it is bank bashing and hunting down transnationals for unpaid taxes, big kicks against big business.

But it is also about making an iron clad commitment to Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme — and daring Labor to oppose the measures.

The Liberal thumping of last election — and its near defeat — was because voters doubted the Government’s qualifications on health, and had little idea what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was on about.

This Budget tells them clearly what Turnbull is about in 2017.

And there was sugar coating of the near future from Treasurer Scott Morrison’s assurances that happy economic times, complete with wage rises above the inflation rate, are at hand.

The Budget will have its critics, including some Liberals who remain wedded to some of the 21 “zombie measures” from 2014 and 2015 finally dispatched in this Budget.

And Labor will question the accounting which approach which effectively says borrowing for infrastructure isn’t really debt.

But there will be that killer Mr Morrison dare to the Opposition: Hands up if you don’t want to pay to care for the disabled.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

PB said...

The NDIS will be a disaster along the lines of Whitlam's original Medibank stupidity.