File under; yet another reason why I don’t vote.
Our latest unelected Prime Minister has just announced a plan to spunk $1bn of our money into “innovation”. For those of us old enough to have been through a few business cycles in a diverse blend of industries, the alarm bells should immediately sound whenever one hears the “i word”. When it’s used in relation to anything the government is doing, we hear alarm bells amplified through Lemmy’s latest tour equipment.
Innovation. Was there ever a noun more cruelly abused? I once did some work for a Reinsurance firm in London and recall reading an interview with the CEO in a trade magazine where he claimed he was “bringing a culture of innovation to the reinsurance market”. Given that I’d just done a drains up on all their core processes and was fairly certain that all they actually did was take someone’s risk, convert it into lots of bits of (virtual) paper, sell these to lots of different parties and manage the corresponding revenue flow backwards and forwards, I was somewhat sceptical about his claim.
Let’s not even get into the arrogance involved by the suggestion that some fat late middle-aged public school twat in a good suit lounging around in an office off Fenchchurch Street was going to disrupt an industry which had remained broadly unchanged, for good reason, since 1799…..
At the risk of falling into the rich vein of material that is available by launching an ad hominin attack on the latest looting parasite with a deep sense of entitlement at the expense of the public purse, I also struggle with the concept that Goldman Sachs alumni Malcolm Turnbull knows the first thing about what an innovative idea might look like. Sure, he made an absolute stinkload of money prior to entering politics, but perhaps the fairest thing we can say about that is that it was via a corporation that has proven very innovative in lifting money from dumb investors and government profligacy, followed by a successful personal punt on a technology company. Steve Jobs he is not.
Here at The New Australian, we have this radical view that the last place innovation is ever to be found is in the public sector and that the best thing a government could do to encourage it in the private sector is to get the fuck out of the way.
It might be argued that the cost of starting up a new business is likely to be the greatest inhibitor of innovation. Where does Australia stand in that regard? 10th in the world, according the to the World Bank (although what the fuck would they know, being ostensibly a bunch of civil servants themselves?).
So, we’re behind Denmark, Norway and Finland and only just in front of Sweden. Anyone who’s spent any time in the Scandinavian countries will know that, as lovely and charming the locals are, their tendency is very much towards statism. Denmark, for example, steals 60.2% of every dollar over $55,000 you earn through the fruits of your labour. Clearly the gap between places such as Singapore and Hong Kong and the bottom half of the top 10 countries on that list is quite wide.
Add to the expense and regulation involved to get a company registered and started, the eye-watering real estate costs and an industrial relations environment that would bring a nostalgic tear to the eye of Red Robbo, it’s frankly astounding that anyone ever starts a new enterprise from scratch in this country.
The details of Malcolm’s big brain fart using our taxes idea is where one gains an understanding of what’s going on; tax breaks for venture capital funds, capital gains exemptions for investors and a bunch of money thrown at CSIRO, the agency that uses our taxes to tell us that we should pay more taxes to stop global warming, despite not being able to show observable evidence that the globe has actually warmed since 1998. This is a fairly blatant siphoning of cash to the people who put him in power in the first place. Pork barrel politics at its best.
We don’t make public policy here at the New Australian but, if we did, it would be based on the principle of getting the hell out of the way of people who are smart enough to invent things. Here’s some of the policy changes that we believe would achieve that;
- Flat fee of no more than $150 to register a Limited Company, and all done through a single agency (i.e. not both ASIC and ATO)
- Annual reporting for tax purposes and no payments on account, removing the cottage industry of accounting bollocks that currently occurs every quarter end
- Reduce company tax down to something below the median of the G20 equivalents instead of being in the top 3
- Lower the tax rate on company dividends to be significantly below the top marginal income tax rate, encouraging investment and start ups rather than salary slaves
- Cancel all Modern Awards and Penalty Rates, replaced with a single minimum wage pegged (officially or unofficially) to be below the median of the equivalent value for the other G20 countries (because we’re currently head and shoulders above the world in that regard)
Hands up who thought there’d be something in there about negative gearing for property? Nah, hats off to anyone who can claw a little back from the looters and, anyway, if the above recommendations were implemented, there should be plenty of better performing investment opportunities for people to choose other than a paper thin-walled box with a tin-roof.
Of course, nobody you can ever vote for in Australia would contemplate a fraction of the five suggestions listed above.
Hence why I haven’t registered to vote.