THE BUYERS’ STRIKE

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if GetUp’s spectacular new top-rated suggestion for a home buyers’ strike is not taken up by GetUp – because it carries deeper implications.

You see it works like this. The economy is a mystery to many people, apparently including our political leaders and the vast majority of economists who don’t understand the often destructive part real estate plays within economies.

And reform movements are currently more committed to remedying the secondary effects of failing economies, such as pollution, money and credit, any of which I can easily imagine GetUp supporting as a campaign.

It seems politics and causes must be about things other than why we reward real estate monopoly and speculation with negative gearing and 50% concessions on capital gains; about things other than why we fine workers and companies for daring to work and being productive; about things other than allowing the few really big rent-seekers to claw back every red cent, and then some, of what they’ve paid in taxes over the years via the uplift in the prices of the properties over which they hold claim.

We’ve managed to avoid tackling the fundamental stupidity of a rigged taxation regime for so long that it makes us feel silly, a little self-conscious, to address it now. Why have we accepted such an obviously corrupt revenue regime for so many years, yet want to say it’s wrong now?

So, it’s much more comfortable and much easier to campaign about other things.

So, let’s forget that the current tax system delivers billions of unearned dollars – owed equally to all Australians – into the hands of billionaires whilst the other ninety-nine per cent of us struggle to meet payments for food, clothing, health care, education and the mortgage and we sink deeper and deeper into debt.

Australia’s GDP should be $2 trillion, instead of $1 trillion, our land prices and debt levels should be far lower, and our wages and salaries much higher – without being at all inflationary. We should all be sharing in this wealth, but we’re wedded to a tax system designed by rentiers that consigns most Australians into debt – and many into penury.  

Ken Henry’s panel inquiring into Australia’s Future Tax System has recommended a federal land tax should be used to abolish the wretched array of state land taxes, payroll taxes and stamp duties, and also argued for a 40% resource rent on mining profits.

What an incredibly enlightened development!

But these recommendations have hit a political brick wall because they offend the rentier class. With a few notable exceptions, Australian politicians are unduly in the thrall of these kleptocrats, simply because of their money and their corrupting influence. Unfortunately, at this point in Australia’s history, the question might fairly be asked, just who are our politicians really representing?

I suggest the Prosper Australia campaign may likewise hit a brick wall at GetUp, not because GetUp represent rentiers, of course, but because the campaign would get right to the heart of our systemic economic flaw.  Coming to that understanding can almost become too much for some people – it’s so stunningly mind-blowing – and can leave them like stunned mullets. And you don’t get too much action from a stunned mullet!

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