Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Shifting the goal posts

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One of the most insidious aspects of the tax acts is the capacity of the government to make arbitrary laws, and often these laws are difficult to interpret because they are arbitrary. This is of course a contradiction inherent in the constitutions of Western governments. But here we are 100+ years later still accepting that laws should be arbitrary. Of course voters would draw a line at political killings (even though they occur in the Philippines). Imprisonment is ok, as we saw with Pauline Hanson in Australia, Anwar in Malaysia, Mandela in South Africa. World governments turn a blind eye, not to mention the people of his own country. Well I guess some did engage in clashes with the South African police.
It ought to be apparent that governments are not defenders of freedom or justice as they are supposed to be. Quite apart from the injustice of the judiciary which has not evolved in hundreds of years, governments just get worse. Less is spent on justice, and the bulk of that goes on enforcing arbitrary laws that are as much breaches of justice as they are legitimate cases of justice. Far more money is spent on corporate and personal welfare than is spent on justice, and thats a very inefficient justice system.
Owner of the Nine Network of Australia (Channel 9) once said 'if anybody in this country doesn't minimise their tax, they want their head read, because as a government I can tell you, you're not spending it so well that we should be donating more". He made these statements before a government Senate inquiry. Aside from the inefficiencies, there is the lack of direction, change in direction, and the burdens placed on tax payers.

For example, you consider your tax burden too high, so you set up a company to reduce it. The government then cuts the tax rate making personal tax relatively more attractive, so the requirement for a company is no longer appealing. In the state of NSW, the government levied a land tax that undermined the property market. This was of course unfair for the people who had just bought land. So what is wrong with this political expediency? Well aside from lacking any consultation with NSW voters, it highlights a total lack of strategy and a lack of consideration for voters. Now, do you think the opposition is any better? Did it spell out the basis or principles uponn it would sign up to a war in Iraq? Nope. Strategic reasons? Well yes, nothing to do with justice, it was political expediency (strategy).

I was surprised to find out that the Australian government is helping the Philippines government execute its Local Government Code of 1991. Yes, its taking some time. The reforms are intennded to ensure that local governments act in accordance with long range 20-year plans which are further broken down into 6-year plans to match the term of each local government. It sounds very sensible and farsighted. The question is - Why don't we do the same at Federal government level in Australia?
The bigger paradox is that the Australian government is fighting for democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan when its we in the West who are the prisoners, and Western governments are just as much the terrorists. I'm not defending the Arab terrorists because they are mindless brutes. If there attacks were against the Fed Reserve I'd have some sympathy, but they don't have an argument. No credibility there. But Western government's are worse because they should know better having been raised in a semi-free country.
Andrew Sheldon
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