Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bitchfight Over Tax Cuts

Anyone would think Stephan Shakespeare and Danny Finkelstein were a couple of camp old queens from the bitchslap fest they've been having over tax cuts. Stephan started it when he called Da Fink a 'rat' HERE, and Danny hit back in kind HERE, calling Stephan 'demented'. Calm down guys!

It all revolves around Danny's assertion that up front tax cut promises are no longer the powerful electoral tool they once were. He wrote:
Always an automatic crowd-pleaser in the past, it [tax cuts] isn't working
quite as reliably as it used to. John Howard, for instance, lost in Australia
despite his promises.

I think an assertion based on the evidence of one election in a faraway country is pushing it. However, I am pushed to remember any party in this country which has EVER promised up front tax cuts in its manifesto. If I am right, it seems this spat is over nothing. Margaret Thatcher certainly promised lower taxes in 1979 but didn't specify what they would be or how she would achieve them.

No one expects widespread specific tax cuts, but they do expect a Conservative government to achieve lower taxes than a Labour government would. George Osborne has made two specific tax pledges on inheritance tax and corporation tax. This helps give the electorate an overall feeling that Conservatives would indeed be a taxcutting party in government. And frankly, that's as far as he needs to go. Politics is all about perception and less about specifics. People need to perceive that you will be competent in government and they need a general perception of which direction you are heading in. They do not need or want to know that in year three your goal is to lop a penny off Capital Gains Tax. They need an indication of that's what you'd quite like to do if the economy allows it.

And there's the rub. I suspect both Danny and Stephan would agree with that. So come on you camp old queens. Kiss and make up!


Anonymous said...

As I posted on the Fink's column (as it were!), who the hell cares if the two of them have a spat? It's all very boring. In fact, almost as boring as your so-called joke yesterday. (The apology was appreciated.)

Anonymous said...

"...politics is all about perception and less about specifics..."

Congratulations Iain, you have just summed up in 9 words the reason millions of people in this country are apathetic about politics!

We are never actually told what it's for - what's its goal - from either of the two main parties - nobody sets out their grand plan anymore.

I can't help but be cynical and think, the reason is, there isn't a plan or goal - just to pursuit of power, as an end in itself. Nulab being very much the case in point.

For all his talk about Punch and Judy and social justice where is Cam's plan for the country should they win the next GE. There ain't one, just the usual vacuum at the heart of the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Camp old Queens?

Ooooh,get her!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone will address the issue of the council tax more effectively as we have just been promised yet again, above inflation rises? My tax recommendation would be to raise the income tax threshold so that a normal working week on the minimum wage was tax free.

Anonymous said...

Correct:- Tax cuts are no longer the powerful electoral tool they once were.

Over the past few weeks Gideon has been harping on about Browns management of the economy during the “Good Years”.

Firstly he is admitting that there are “Good Years”, then he’s been saying that Brown didn’t utilise the Good Years to prepare for any possible bad years. Just think about that for a sec.

He is saying that Brown didn’t squirrel away billions of wriggle room cash, but in the same breath states that the wriggle room cash should have gone on Tax cuts. Square that one.

If Gideon had been in charge during the Good Years his sharing the proceeds of growth ethos via tax cuts would have had a two fold negative impact.

First the wriggle room cash would also be gone, secondly the Tax cuts would have fuelled inflation, more consumer spending, and even higher house price inflation.

Guess what… Gideon’s plan is virtually identical to Neo Con Pseudo economics favoured by Bush during the early 2000’s. And look were that has got him. In the States the focus has been on growth, not on controlling inflation. Now the States have had to take drastic action to stimulate their economy while inflation is already increasing and after a even higher price inflation over the past few years.

So Danny is spot on.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"Anyone would think Stephan Shakespeare and Danny Finkelstein were a couple of camp old queens"...

A return to form after the recent "distractions".

Anonymous said...

Won't this ultimately become a moot point anyway once the Constitution is pushed through?

Anonymous said...

I didn't call him a rat! I said "I smell a rat, fink!", as in "there's something wrong with the argument", turned into a (lame) joke. I like Danny, I just think he's wrong.

Anyway, Stephen Pollard thinks I'm incredibly dense and anti-semitic, so now being a queen is a big relief.

paulocanning said...

Anyone with a passing interest in Australian politics should know that John Howard could have promised anything and still not won - infact that's exactly what happened.