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Crikey Says

Jan 24, 2014

Crikey says: Tony's tax lesson from world leaders

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“No country has ever taxed or subsidised its way to prosperity.”

Of the rambling, campaign-style speech delivered by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last night, that line was an interesting one.

It was certainly an interesting crowd to tell it to. Australia’s GDP per capita sits at around seventh in the world by most measures. Above it is Norway, which taxes at 50% and up, and equal or just below us — and lacking ours and Norway’s resources windfalls — are Denmark, Sweden and Finland, also 50%-plus taxers.

And those statistics are made more revealing when you look at estimated GDP per capita figures from 1900, where Australia sits at No. 2 (behind New Zealand), riding high on the sheep’s back. Sweden is 13th, Norway is 17th and Finland 20th. So we have gone down five or six places, while they have gone up, across a century in which they have applied consistently higher taxation.

When our resource boom splutters and dies and all we have are Gina Rinehart’s poems bolted to rocks to show for it, Scandinavian countries will have the schools, universities, compact cities, affordable renewable energy, etc, that they paid for with taxes.

So thanks for the history lesson, Tone. Will this be on the curriculum?

*We’re off to bone up on our national history and scoff down some lamingtons ahead of Australia Day. We’ll be off Monday, but transmission will resume as normal on Tuesday.

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33 thoughts on “Crikey says: Tony’s tax lesson from world leaders

  1. Electric Lardyland

    Yes, Pav, it’s interesting how almost every time that Our Tone meets a world leader, he greets them with something very close to the ‘Latham handshake’. Which invariably leaves them turning away, with a mixture of bewilderment and revulsion, and wondering just who is the leering whack job invading their personal space. I find it curious, that as far as I know, there has been not a single word of mention of this in the MSM; especially given their frothing at mouth reaction to the actual ‘Latham handshake’ back in 2004.
    And I do think the preferential treatment that Abbott has received from large sections of the media, does partially explain the turgid collection of banalities that Abbott delivered at Davos. I mean, during his time as opposition leader, I think Abbott became used to going from stunt to stunt and uttering slogan after cliched slogan. And sadly, it made no real difference if his slogans were mutually contradictory, didn’t answer the question, or just didn’t make any real sense; because Abbott had every faith, that his boosters in the media, would showcase his slogans in the best possible light.
    So now, what we had dished up at Davos, wasn’t really a speech as such, but more a collection of loosely related and often contradictory slogans, that were uttered in the expectation, that Australian news editors would turn it into a brief, but convincing portrayal, of a bold leader dispensing words of wisdom on the world stage.

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