Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Devine Intervention

By Darryl Mason

It took almost a decade before conservative pundits turned on prime minister John Howard and helped hound him out of the Lodge.

PM Tony Abbott hasn't even clocked up one year, and the knives are out, the wolves at his door. 

Here's Miranda Devine, of Murdoch's Telegraph, with nothing but praise for Abbott just before the election:

I won't quote her talking about Abbott's musky odour and brutish manliness as reasons why she thought Australia had to make him prime minister. It might still be breakfast time where you're reading this.

And here's Miranda Devine blasting 'lefties' for being mean and horrible for calling Abbott distrustful and a liar who would do anything to get elected:

 But when news breaks that her and her six-figure and seven-figure earning colleagues and friends may have to pay more tax to help Australia cope with the "budget emergency" treasurer Joe Hockey has been fretting over, LOOK OUT TONY!

So soon, Miranda? He's only just getting started.

This is too good not to quote at length:
NO wonder Tony Abbott fled to Melbourne straight after his pre-Budget speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday night. He would have been cold-shouldered if he’d stuck around.

The income tax hike he has proposed on workers earning over $80,000 cast a sour note in The Star casino ballroom. It was widely condemned as “moronic” by business people, journalists and politicians in heated discussions into the night.

The Prime Minister who promised no new taxes, and whose campaign was based on the deceit of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax, has scored the most inexplicable own goal on the eve of the May 13 budget which will define this term in office.

No one expects instant miracles from Abbott and Joe Hockey but nor did we expect extra spending and strategic leaks about a “great big new tax” in their first budget.
Of course Abbott calls it a “deficit levy”, is coy about whether it will be in the Budget, and claims he hasn’t broken a promise because it will last only last four years. And after letting speculation run for three days about the new tax, late yesterday the hoses came out. Now the tax isn’t even a “levy”, the government has told Simon Benson. “It’s a temporary change to the two top income tax thresholds”.
Good grief. Voters are sick of that kind of rank sophistry from politicians. We overdosed on it during the Gillard years.

Let’s hope that the public outcry has put the kybosh on the whole idea.

But it’s disturbing to have a supposedly conservative government even considering playing Labor’s tax and spend game.

The problem with the economy is not too little tax. It’s too much government spending. Abbott understood that before the election. It was the basis of his campaign.

This proposed “deficit levy”, in its latest incarnation, equates to a one percent hike in income tax for those earning over $80,000 and 2 percent for those earning above $180,000.

If your income is over $180,000, you currently pay 45 cents in the dollar, plus the 1.5 percent Medicare levy. The new tax hikes your tax rate up to 48.5 percent.

The potential harm to an already fragile economy of increased taxation is obvious. You are reducing discretionary spending, which is the amount of extra cash the biggest spenders have to spend.

Unlike the government, real people don’t keep spending when their income goes down. They tighten their belts, maybe give up a restaurant meal, stop buying takeaway, postpone the family holiday, spend less on the child’s birthday party, buy fewer clothes, cut back on grocery bills.

When they went into the voting booth last September and ticked the box to put Tony Abbott into office, they weren’t voting for an income tax hike. The Coalition won the election because voters knew spending was out of control and had to be reined in.
A temporary new tax is just a lazy fix. It’s easier to tax people more than do the grunt work of running the red pen over every government program, line by line.

Who hurts most from this thriftiness? Small business. The engine room, the people who depended on the ­Coalition to rescue them from Labor.
When they went into the voting booth last September and ticked the box to put Abbott into office, they weren’t voting for an income tax rise.

The Coalition won the election ­because voters knew spending was out of control and had to be reined in.

Most people would consider a workplace right is being able to take your hard-earned salary home without the government snatching it.
Devine was so filled with rage, the online version of this column had paragraphs doubled up, so blinded with betrayal she barely edited it.

Well, she can't say she wasn't warned Tony Abbott might not be entirely trustful.

Maybe it's worth while remembering that Tony Abbott used to be a Labor Party man, and pretty much switched to the Liberal Party because he believed he'd have a better run at getting somewhere. not being in with the unions. Well, that, of course, is just a crazy conspiracy theory.

It's still two weeks until the budget is delivered, and Abbott's conservative cheerleaders are already preparing effigies of him to burn on Budget Night.

'One Term Tony' doesn't sound such a crazy nickname anymore. Not when it's already been shouted from the offices of Liberal MPs as they fend off raw fury from constituents and Liberal Party donors over Abbott's Great Big Huge New Tax.

There's these remarkable quotes from today's Sydney Morning Herald, just for starters:
Senior Liberals have described plans for a possible deficit tax in the budget as "electoral suicide".

Some talked of a party-room revolt and one warned the Prime Minister Tony Abbott would wear the broken promise as "a crown of thorns" if the government decided to go through with it.
"I worry that this is Tony's Gillard moment, when she announced the carbon tax," said the senior Liberal.
Several other Liberals also expressed dismay at the prospect of a government, elected to restore trust to politics, overturning a "crystal-clear" policy commitment of no new taxes, in its first budget.
Incredulous Liberals contacted by Fairfax Media said they had been given nothing to tell voters who were beginning to call electorate offices to complain.

The mood in government-held marginal seats was particularly febrile. One MP revealed that neither he nor his colleagues had been warned about the tax.

One Liberal MP said he woke on Tuesday morning to the news of the tax.
"It's just shock," the MP said. "There was no communication from the leader's office. We're all just scratching our heads. It's the biggest f----up we've had in a long time."

"I can't say anything on the record because it's just too stupid," he said. "If it's wrong, then it's bulls--t, because why would you scare the electorate? And if it's right, then it's even worse because we said before the election there'd be no new taxes."

Another branded Mr Abbott's attempts to recategorise the tax as a levy as "sophistry", calling it "an offence to voters" that was "worse than Gillard's claim that the carbon tax was not a tax".


Panic stations.