All posts by Bryan Kavanagh

I'm a real estate valuer who worked in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) before co-founding a private valuation practice, Westlink Consulting. I discovered that we leave too much publicly-generated land rent to be privately capitalised by banks and individuals into land price bubbles. This generates repetitive recessions and depressions. These need to be avoided by capturing more revenue from land values to free up wages and household debt.

TWITTER

As I said when I started this blogsite in 2009, it’s a form of catharsis. It helps get the muck off my liver when I see how the 0.1% have structured tax regimes to steal from the 99.9%.

Of course, I hope it might also be instructive.

But Twitter’s good for these purposes, too. I tweet at https://twitter.com/bryankav123 and have discovered you can get quite a lot out in a very few words. I’ve been tweeting for 37 months and I’m surprised to see I’ve sent 15,100 tweets in that time.

Isn’t that more than 13 a day?  Impossible!

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THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION (NRA)

As America’s socio-economic superstructure is being relentlessly torn apart  by government policies supporting extractive rent-seeking, instead of wealth creation, the NRA clings nevertheless to the belief that guns are necessary to stop the USA from being torn apart from within.    The NRA has missed this travesty, because banks and other rent-seekers behave like thieves in the night.

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AUSTRALIA’S LONGEST BOOM

In the excellent 3-part ABC-TV documentary “Making Australia Great: Inside Our Longest Boom“, journalist George Megalogenis traces the politico-economic events that set Australia up for its longest period without an economic recession.

Megalogenis shows the October 1987 share market crash didn’t  generate an economic collapse. As always, it took the bursting of a real estate bubble in 1988-89 to bring on the 1990-91 recession – Australia’s last.

The documentary tells the tale of our ‘asset bubbles’, which I see as land price bubbles – affecting both our real estate and share markets.

We are very good indeed at surgically exposing our economic history post hoc in such documentaries, but less practised at decent live commentary saying “Look – it’s happening again!“, as it has in Oz since 1996. Yes, that’s correct, we’ve inflated this particular land price bubble for 22 years!

So, to George’s two questions: “How did we become the last rich nation standing, and can we make something of our moment”, may I suggest in response: (a) the Rudd-Swan government spent more than $50 billion in 2008-09 to keep our bubble inflated, and (b) yes, we have made something of the moment by developing the most gargantuan real estate bubble in history.

It’s about to burst around our ears.

🙁

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TAXING WAGES ….

…. WAS A ‘TEMPORARY’ WARTIME MEASURE! Remember?

But banks, miners and the 0.1% liked it, and they got used to it.

What ever became of “The labourer is worthy of his hire“?

Oh, he’s certainly worth of some of his hire.

Maybe there’d not be enough ‘revenue’ from land and resource-based charges?

Wrong! There’s more than enough. Homeowners privatise the rent into gargantuan land prices; banks then ‘lend’ against these inflated land prices to make their ‘super-profits’.

Miners, who ought to be paying 50% of their net profit (before tax) as rent for the natural resources they mine, spend $22 million in advertising to say that would be bad for us. They convince us it would be bad.

So, the 30%-40% of the economy that is our publicly-generated natural resource rent disappears into banks, to their shareholders, to miners, &c., and to homeowners. Renters meanwhile pay the landlords rates and land tax in their gross rental. That’s fair?

 

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BUDGET DAY – AUSTRALIA

As federal budget day dawns across Australia, Harvard PhD, tax expert and former Federal Treasury economist, Dr Terry Dwyer, poses a pertinent question.

 

WHY TAXATION?

At this time of a Budget focused on taxation relief, it is time to ask the question whether taxation is necessary at all.

The land and resources of Australia are the “common wealth” of the nation.

It has been estimated that charging annual rent charge on this common wealth could raise enough revenue from foreigners, companies, institutional investors and others to abolish income tax and company tax on Australians.

This proposal to abolish taxes and raise revenue from land values is not new.

It was put forward over 200 years ago by the French discoverers of economics, the Physiocrats, who wanted to save France from fiscal collapse and the coming Revolution.

It was endorsed by Adam Smith who saw land rents as uniquely suitable for raising revenue, especially as they were created by good government.

It was approved of by John Stuart Mill who saw that a land value tax was simply a re-assertion by the Crown of its rights to claim rent from those using its lands.

It was eloquently argued for by Henry George, who toured Australia, and argued that those using common property should pay for the privilege.

It was the foundation of the NSW local government rating system introduced in 1906 by the Liberal Premier, Sir Joseph Carruthers, who acknowledged his inspiration by Henry George.

It was the basis for leasehold tenure being the basis for creation of the Australian Capital Territory, with the idea that Canberra should pay for itself and not require taxation to fund itself.

The raising of public revenues from land values was endorsed by political leaders as varied as Sir John Quick, Sir George Pearce, Sir Alan Fairhall, Arthur Calwell and Clyde Cameron.

As the Commonwealth moves through its second hundred years, it is time to encourage Australians to re-learn their history and recover the vision of using their “common wealth” for the common good.

 

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