Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bill Shorten’s war against ‘accountant tax rorts’ and real estate industry is really a war against business generally

He's in a war on the costs of doing business. He wants to treat costs as profit. First it was "excessive" mortgage interest payments, which will be disallowed under the attack on "negative gearing"; now it is the cost of having accountants do your tax return and also now the cost of paying commissions to real estate agents.

The attack on negative gearing was the start.  Negative gearing simply treats all costs of doing business as costs, without exception -- be they costs of paying mortgage interest or whatever.  But the attack on "negative gearing" in effect treats some mortgage interest payments as not a cost!  But because some  amounts are held not to be a cost, those amounts become profits and are taxed as such.  It's just a brain-dead tax grab.

A lot of business activity will wind down at that rate and take lots of jobs with it. Levying tax on costs is insane.  Everywhere else in the world, they only tax profits, as far as I am aware

The only consolation is that such an extreme change will probably need new legislation and the change is so mad that any such legislation is unlikely to get through the Senate.  And if the change is via regulation, the High Court could knock it back on various grounds -- not the least of which is denial of natural justice

It seems to be Shorten's modus operandi to promise things  that he most probably will not be able to enact.  His threat to raise the minimum wage is also a con.  All he can do is make submissions to the Fair Work Commission and they are perfectly capable of denying him what he asks in either whole or in part, most likely in part.

But his big talk will look good to some unwary voters.  So he gains credit for intentions only.  He will not have to deliver anything

Bill Shorten has doubled down on his plan to stop wealthy people claiming high accountants’ fees on tax and has taken a swipe at real estate agents.

In a sign of a fierce “class warfare” campaign ahead, the Opposition Leader today said he was sticking with a cap of $3000 on exempting accountancy fees despite scepticism his plan will raise the $1.8bn he predicts it will.

“I’m 100 per cent confident that Labor is right, to stop allowing people deduct hundreds of thousands of dollars off their tax for what they pay their accountant,” he said in the Liberal electorate of Bennelong.

“I’m 100 per cent confident that what we can do is make sure that this is a fairer system.

“Why should someone who pays $1 million to their accountant to minimise their tax for millions more, why should we pay for the double dip?

“I mean, it’s a sweet deal. It’s not illegal, but enough’s enough.”

Last month, Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said he was sceptical the savings claimed from Labor’s policy were all sourced from managing tax affairs instead of other exemptions.

“When people see a quick headline, ‘millionaires paying millions not to pay tax’, there might well be some other reason entirely, like GIC (general interest charges) and I think we’re trying to break that box down now,” he told the Tax Institute in March.

“If you’ve got all that GIC and you’ve paid an enormous settlement, you can claim the GIC as a tax deduction so yes you might have millions of dollars of income but I can’t see any rational or even irrational person, spending over a million to not pay tax on a million.”

Mr Shorten refused to answer questions on whether the difference pointed out by Mr Jordan would affect the revenue raised by his policy.

But he did hit back at a national campaign led by real estate agents against his negative gearing policies. “Well, the real estate agents, it’s obviously in their financial interest to keep taxpayer money flowing to their business model?” he said.

“You’ve gotta ask yourself, why are they campaigning? They’re campaigning because they like to have people bidding for houses who are getting a taxpayer subsidy. “Because the more people they have bidding for houses, the more they can charge their percentage on the sale.”

The Real Estate Institute of Australia, which represents about 95 per cent of the 36,000 businesses that employ about 120,000 people, is leading the push to coincide with the election campaign.

The industry-backed campaign will harness social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote key attack lines against the Labor policy, arguing that it will reduce property prices in a cooling market, fail to raise the forecast revenue and pose a danger to the Australian economy.


Electric car natural disaster warning: Families could be left stranded if charging stations are shut down during dangerous storms

Australians who lose power during heatwaves, floods, cyclones, and hail storms could be left stranded as the energy market operator seeks to ban charging electric vehicles.

The charging of electric vehicles would be one of the first things The Australian Energy Market Operator would look at shutting off as a non-essential function, according to The Courier Mail.

AEMO is responsible for ensuring a stable supply of electricity to services such as hospitals when the grid is struggling due to network issues or natural disasters.

It can accomplish this by asking households to switch off energy draining appliances such as air-conditioners.

However, it can also direct power companies to shut off supply to certain areas.

There is concern the extra load on the power grid from electric vehicles may cause power shortages.

A Shorten government would impose new emissions standards on vehicle manufacturers - dramatically increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said he is concerned about Mr Shorten's plan to 'force the most popular vehicles off the road to meet Labor's damaging 50 per cent electric vehicle target and 105g CO2/km vehicle emissions standard.'  

'Our favourite vehicles are on Bill's hit list. Seventeen of the top 20 most popular models in Australia don't meet Labor's vehicle emissions standard.

'As usual, Bill Shorten has not done his homework. If you don't understand Labor's new car tax, don't vote for it.'


Broadcaster defends Israel Folau's free speech, attacks Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate $4m contract

Alan Jones has defended Israel Folau and says Rugby Australia has corrupted free speech in Australia.

Alan Jones has hit out at Rugby Australia’s decision to terminate high-profile rugby player Israel Folau’s contract saying the decision has “completely corrupted” free speech in Australia.

It comes as the sport star’s $4 million contract with Rugby Australia is set to be scrapped following a homophobic social media post condemning homosexuals, drunks and liars where Folau says “Hell awaits you”.

“It’s got nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, or homosexuals. Where are we in this country on free speech?” Jones said on his 2GB radio show this morning. “It has completely corrupted free speech in this country.

“It wouldn’t be the first time, in my opinion, that Rugby Australia have got it completely wrong and I think if they have signed this contract or demanded of Israel certain matters outside the playing of the game … then that, I believe, is outside the ambit of what they are able to do,” he went on.

“We’ve got an issue here because we’re going down a very, very narrow road here. “This has gone on and on and on this crap. Out there, people now are terrified of saying anything, they don’t know what they can say.”

Folau posted his religious views to Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday warning people to “repent” their sins. “Those that are living in sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him,” his post said.

Rugby Australia Chief Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore yesterday announced their intention to terminate Folau’s contract and a string of sponsors including Qantas, have distanced themselves from the player.

Sport Australia boss Kate Palmer commended Rugby Australia’s commended the announcement and urged all sports to follow suit.

“Discrimination is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in any sport or recreation environment, at whatever level,” she said.

“Everyone is entitled to their own views but expressing divisive and discriminatory beliefs is harmful to sport and the broader Australian community.”

Folau is yet to respond to by Rugby Australia and has not returned their calls.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce also condemned Rugby Australia’s decision. “He (Folau) is a rugby player with a well known very Christian conservative worldview. They employed him and they knew that how can they sack him?” he said on Twitter.

`New video has also emerged of the rugby player giving a controversial sermon on how celebrating Christmas and Easter is wrong, just two days after he posted other contentious religious comments online.

The video obtained by The Daily Telegraph, was taken last month and shows Folau preaching on a church altar during a Sunday mass.

“Christmas and Easter, that’s man-made,” Folau tells worshippers, before attacking Christians who do not devoutly read the bible.

“For so many years we were caught up in the world thinking that celebrating Christmas was biblical, but when you read this passage you can see what God says about it.”

Folau proceeds to read a verse from the Bible and tells worshippers that Jesus’ mother Mary shouldn’t be held up to the church as an idol.

“If we don’t go back to the scriptures and see what God says, we can easily fall into the tradition of man, thinking we’re doing the right thing.

“There’s a whole lot of people that go to church, but they’re not following the doctrine of Christ.

Scott Morrison criticised Folau for making a “terribly insensitive comment” about gay people.

“It was a terribly insensitive comment and they have taken action as a result,” Mr Morrison told the ABC this morning.

“It is important that people act with love, care and compassion to their fellow citizens and to speak sensitively to their fellow Australians. That’s what I believe.”


Toxic American student culture of safetyism poses threats in Australia too

In 2017, a group of angry students at a liberal arts college on America’s west coast took over the school in protest, holding some administrators hostage and even denying them the freedom to use the toilet.

The students were mad about what they perceived as racism on behalf of some faculty staff. The protesters briefly occupied the president’s office to press their complaints.

In one recorded exchange, they demanded he didn’t use hand gestures when he spoke to them because they might be considered threatening. He quickly obliged.

When the story began trickling out, making national headlines, it was confirmation that something strange was taking hold on university campuses in parts of the country.

One professor at the college, Bret Weinstein, who called for open debate about the issues being raised by the students, had to stay away from campus for his own safety and move his family into hiding because they didn’t agree with that suggestion.

He has since left with a payout from the university, and has become the face of a group of educators (there is a growing list) who have been shouted down and forced out of their job by a small group of aggrieved students.

To some, as strange as it sounds, he is a martyr for reasoned debate in the face of aggressive identity politics which dictates ideas must be safe, and never harmful or offensive. This is the age of trigger warnings, safe spaces, and deplatforming those you disagree with.

Jonathan Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He has had a front-row seat to what he views as a very problematic cultural shift happening on US university campuses.

“This took us all by surprise in 2014 and 2015, we could not understand what our students meant when they said they don’t feel safe, but now this is common language on our campuses,” he says.

It’s a trend he links to the use of social media among early teens, and the rise in anxiety and depression that it helps breed.

“As this more anxious generation began entering university … we found that many students were acting as though words, books and speakers were not just offensive to them but dangerous, physically dangerous. Leading to requests and demands that authorities protect them.”

Prof Haidt is heading to Australia for the first time in July, where he will be attending academic conferences and giving public talks in Sydney and Melbourne.

While few political cultures are as polarised as the United States, he suspects Australia is downwind of his country when it comes to this rise of so-called safetyism among a minority of Generation Z.

“I know these trends are beginning in Australia, although they’re not as severe as they are in the United States,” he says.

“In part I am coming as the ghost of Christmas future, warning Australians: Don’t end up like us, don’t make the mistakes that we made.

“Our democracy and our universities are in big trouble now. We have a new moral culture that gives us constant outrage and makes its much more difficult to talk openly or make jokes. I hope this doesn’t happen in Australia.”

He understands it as a combination of a new political idea often referred to as safetyism, higher rates of anxiety, and very weak leadership at the upper levels on universities.

“You put that together and you get these explosions,” he says.

Prof Haidt is well known for his work in psychology and morality as the author of popular books, The Happiness Hypothesis and The Righteous Mind.

When his friend and fellow academic Greg Lukianoff came to him about five years ago worried about student behaviour, it soon became clear there was something that needed exploring.

Lukianoff had used cognitive therapy to treat his depression, and saw this group of students engaging in a way of thinking that he believed would lead them to become increasingly unhappy.

“If students are learning to think in this distorted way, if students are doing catastrophising, overgeneralising, black and white thinking, then it’s going to make them depressed,” Prof Lukianoff warned his colleague.

The pair wrote an article in The Atlantic which struck a chord and became the title of their new book: The Coddling of the American Mind — a play on the title of a 1987 book by the philosopher Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind.

The subheading for the book gives you the thrust of the problem it hopes to address: “How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure”.

While it is only a small minority of students that engage in this type of political posturing, tactics of public shaming and “callout culture” means they are often successful in silencing dissenters.

“These new moral values have incentivised a young generation to link everybody’s words to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia or islamaphobia,” he says. Those who don’t tow the party line are at risk of being called out.

“If 1 per cent of people in your town are muggers and they mug 10 people a day, then everyone is going to be careful, and that is the situation we have.”

When discussing the consequences of what he sees as the erosion of robust debate on sensitive topics in the name of student protection, Prof Haidt is fond of quoting John Stuart Mill: “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”


 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:

Paul said...

"Folau proceeds to read a verse from the Bible and tells worshippers that Jesus’ mother Mary shouldn’t be held up to the church as an idol."

I don't really care much what some low IQ Blackbird thinks of me, but the above statement is far more interesting, and I wonder how many devout Catholics have picked up on it.