Give Politicians a Use-by Date
The following article is a guest post from Stephen Quinton…
Any response to the question of “what can we do about the current state of politics in Australia” will never be perfect. However, it is timely to consider how voters might prepare for their final decisions at the next election.
This essay is a message to all politicians on some of the issues that will be of concern to Australians in the coming election.
The Wealth of the Nation:
Ultimately, the labour of everyday people and their productive capacities creates the wealth of a nation. Australia has been lucky in many ways and for a very long time. The sustained efforts of its people have resulted in enormous wealth. The obvious question to ask however is: “How long will our luck last?”
When a country exploits its natural resources to garner easy wealth rather than investing in the future to establish alternatives such as advanced industry, high technology, and related research, its long-term viability diminishes along with the inevitable reduction in the supply of its resources.
Where a country relies on commodities and products that are replaceable by cheaper alternatives and new technologies, economic disaster waits just around the corner. When a country spends frivolously during boom times and does not plan for downturns, economic incompetence is at play.
Whenever these fundamental principles are ignored, governments usually resort to imposing excessive taxation to compensate for reduced revenue and introduce overburdening laws and restrictions that erode the economy and the incentive to create and produce.
Whereas the use of budget deficits may buffer periods of economic downturn and high unemployment, the inflationary effects of excessive deficits can also act to erode the long-term value of everything that Australians possess. All of which adversely affects the productive capacity of the country for many years.
It is estimated that the top 20 per cent of households in Australia receive 60 per cent of the superannuation tax concessions, costed at $17.8 billion. When compared to the bottom 50 per cent of households, the proportion is 11 per cent of the tax concessions or $3.35 billion.
The Treasury’s tax expenditure statement, released in January 2016 shows that the largest cost to the federal budget was the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) discount. By 2018-19 the revenue shortfall of the 50 per cent discount on capital gains will be $121 billion. The cost of CGT discounts for individuals and trusts will reach $29.2 billion by 2018-19.
In light of these figures, there is every reason to question why the government talked about raising the GST. Whereas CGT and superannuation concessions result in greater benefits for the well off, the GST affects everyone, including children and people on low incomes.
While politicians continue to respond to an army of self-serving educationalists, education unions, and self-proclaimed experts and lobbyists, there has not been a genuine education revolution, nor is there likely to be.
The reality is that within primary and secondary schools, management and students continuously subject teachers to a barrage of disrespect, subjugation, dis-empowerment, alienation, confusion, and abuse.
This unwarranted harassment is so pervasive that it is a wonder that any teachers have retained even a vestige of enthusiasm and motivation to excel at their chosen profession. See: http://www.badapplebullies.com/wateachersstories.htm
The slightest hint of change in the education system at all levels is invariably met with aggressive union action organised by an entrenched minority many of whom have rarely set foot in a classroom for decades.
How often have we witnessed the familiar chant for the need to increase resources (particularly funds – think Gonski) so that the quality of education can be sustained or even improved, only to see such demands discarded once an agreement is reached on a pay rise? Meanwhile, corporatism has taken over leaving teachers to manage the best they can under the most difficult of circumstances.
It is disturbing enough to observe the gradual deterioration of Australian educational standards (as evidenced by OECD reports) even though the general population believes the standard of education ranks high on the world’s ratings. All the while, Australians learn to accept diminishing opportunities for future economic advancement.
The Health System:
The confusion and uncertainty experienced in obtaining basic health care is now a major concern for all Australians. The Federal and State Governments claim they cannot keep up with rising costs.
Private health funds increase their premiums well beyond inflation rates and justify such increases by asserting that the cost of providing health care is an exponential problem.
Already, many Australians are paying huge monthly premiums for private health insurance, PLUS the medicare levy on their tax returns, PLUS the federal government is subsidising private health premiums by up to 28.5%, PLUS patients are paying increasing out of pocket charges.
Still, Australians are told that all of this combined is not sufficient and their tax contributions and insurance premiums must go up (the latter consistently at more than the rate of inflation), the tax levy must go up, and the private insurance subsidies must go down, and the out of pocket expenses must go up.
If the current system cannot cope and costs are continually rising, and health funds cannot meet these costs, then maybe, just maybe the system is broken. Perhaps it is time to replace the health insurance funds with a single fund for all health care needs.
Who is really in control?
There was a time when it was possible to tell the difference between political parties based on their leanings to the left, middle, or right. Subsequent to that era, it became increasingly difficult to discern the differences between political outcomes.
Regardless of which party was in power, Australians knew there was little or no difference between their policies and the inconsequential results they produced.
Today, the Liberals, Labor, and the greens espouse left-wing sentiments. The distinctions are simply a question of degree. Regardless of what party is in power, it appears that the left have gained control.
This leaves voters with no viable choices should they attempt to bring about change for the better. How can this state of affairs still be referred to as a democracy?
The Next Election:
Politicians cannot continue to ignore the genuine and demonstrated needs of the majority. In response, Australians must make a concerted effort to give politicians a use by date beyond which they lose control of a power they do not deserve.
The next use by date is the forthcoming election.
Read the complete essay here.