Commentary

Why universal basic income will fail

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By Akhil Patel It has become popular to suggest a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a solution to growing inequity. But in its current form UBI will be a total failure. Not because the idea is a bad one, but because it ignores the law of economic rent. The idea of a UBI has a […]

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HomesVic: An equity share of a broken housing market

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Like most 30 somethings with a substantial HECS debt and an addiction to avocado on toast, I am an aspiring first home buyer. I’d love to buy the home I currently rent: a daggy 1960’s ‘six-pack’ flat on a main road in Footscray. It’s currently valued around $360,000. To put down a 20% deposit, I’d […]

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Prosper’s 2018-19 Federal Prebudget submission

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The debate over tax policy in Australia has reached fairly mediocre levels. The best the Federal Government can muster is a company tax cut, which they intend to by stealth replace with income tax via bracket creep. Meanwhile the natural bounty of land is ever increasing in price via debt leveraging and population growth, worsening […]

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OECD tries to do the impossible

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  3 January 2018 International Co-operation and Tax Administration Division OECD/CTPA Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,           Circumvention of Common Reporting Standards (CRS)   May I respectfully suggest that the OECD has set itself an impossible task in endeavouring to curtail circumvention of common international reporting standards. Just as national accounting and legal professions have […]

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Does taxing investors drive up the rent?

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The Productivity Commission’s recent five year review, “Shifting the Dial”, brings the welcome recommendation of a shift from stamp duties to a broad-based land tax. Stamp duty is a dud tax from the economist’s point of view; it doesn’t achieve an obvious redistribution goal and is a disincentive to downsizers. Land value taxes by contrast, […]

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From capitalism to rentierism?

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Taxes on wages in Australia were fairly minimal until WWII, since which time they’ve been ratcheted up significantly. Federal taxes before the war consisted mainly of customs and excise charges and the federal land tax, introduced in 1910. The States and municipalities also levied land-based taxes. These played an important part in the development of […]

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A Land Tax for the Top End?

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Amid recent GST distribution cuts of $400m p.a. (about 12% of revenue) and a flagging property market, the Northern Territory Government is facing severe fiscal challenges. The NT is the most stamp duty reliant government in the federation, and has been hard hit an inevitable correction in its housing market. Annual dwelling (predominantly land) prices […]

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Where we failed: a telling chart

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  In his paper American Government Finance in the Long Run: 1790 to 1990 (Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol 14, Number 1) John Joseph Wallis demonstrates that US government finance experienced three separate phases:- Asset Finance Phase 1790 to 1842, where state-driven infrastructure and legal support for banks and companies were a priority. Development was financed from land sales, […]

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What Australian really wants to lower house prices?

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by Jesse Hermans In an AFR op-ed this week , the Federal Member for Banks, David Coleman asks, “What Australian really wants lower house prices?” Australian’s are obsessed with housing, he writes. Everyone is piling into bricks and mortar. The value of property is three times the value of superannuation! The value of all Australian land […]

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Regulatory bodies paid to look like idiots?

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  All the great social philosophers have held that land must be rented, not sold, if communities aren’t to implode. One of them put it into a formula, saying that if we were to capture the social surplus, then labour and profits will receive their full and rightful income—their ‘private property’?—undiminished by arbitrary taxation:- i.e. Production […]

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