Understanding Gillard is a Little Taxing (from the book Men are Stupid, Women are Crazy) – published on 1st March 2011 in the Aust Financial Review

When ‘s a tax not a tax? When Julia Gillard says it isn’t. At least that’s what she says about the carbon tax, you know, the one she said, just before the last election, that she would not bring in. So it’s not really a tax. It’s really just a little something Hallmark will be sending out to you to remind you to have a nice day and, by the way, give the government a bunch of your money.

I don’t know what you think about global warming, not having made up my mind about it myself. I mean, I know things are heating up in some parts of the world but I don’t know whether it’s my fault or whether it was going to happen anyway, sort of like the latest Charlie Sheen meltdown. But let’s say global warming is our fault. Well, not ours. It was our parents’ fault. They were the ones who were driving around in those big cars with leaded fuel. They were eating all that red meat from cows that broke wind all over the place and killed the ozone layer. But we should fix it up, right?

So we do it with a carbon tax. Gillard, by the way, has since recanted a little bit, or depending on your view, a whole lot of a real little bit. She now admits she said before the election that there wouldn’t be a carbon tax (nice to know she believes in videotape), but if I’m following her through this, she thinks the situation has changed. What’s changed? Have the polar ice floes reached Sydney? Are you starting to feel a little scammed here?

It reminds me of the time George H W Bush said “Read my lips: no new taxes. You can dress up and disguise a new tax any way you want, but people can spot one the minute you put it out there. Bush tried that trick. He was also a one-term president. Too bad, in a way, because overall he was a better president than his fruitcake son, who lasted two terms.

Gillard will probably get the tax through because it has the backing of the Greens and independents. The Greens never met an environmental tax they didn’t like, and the independents know they’d better go along because it wouldn’t take much to change governments and they’ve got enough trouble just showing up for work as it is. But that’s the high price you pay for having two of the loonier elements in politics propping up your government.

This must have been really comforting to Gillard: Kristina Keneally backed her stand on the carbon tax. Getting an endorsement from anybody in New South Wales Labor on anything is like having Lindsey Lohan appear as a character witness, but Kristina wanted everybody to know she thought it was a hot idea. Great. Any time that anybody from the New South Wales ALP comes up with a hot idea, about five people have to quit their jobs.

Keneally said that households should be compensated for the carbon tax. This is a great governmental solution to any problem that comes up (and that is, as is more often the case than not, a problem caused by the government). When in doubt, compensate. In other words, you’ve just proposed something a lot of people can’t pay for so you have to use your money to pay them to pay you. Makes perfect sense. After all, who’s going to be paying the wacky carbon tax; we’re also going to be helping the people who can’t pony up (and like the rest of us, shouldn’t have to anyway)

Fuel and electricity prices are going up. Retailers all over the country are singing the blues because they’re not hearing enough ka-ching, ka-ching. Now I not the time to be coming up with a new tax most people don’t completely understand to begin with. (Every time I think I’ve got a grip on it, somebody comes along, changes the subject and I have to start all over again.)

Published in Australian Economy