Michael Pascoe writes:

“The less well-off must pay because the well-off have convinced
themselves they’re the ones doing it tough… you see it in the way the
rich and powerful – and the newspapers that champion their interests –
have hijacked the debate about what we should do with the big budget
surpluses.”

Gee, could Smage columnist Ross Gittins be alluding to the Murdoch press in general, or just The Australian in this morning’s column?

While
just about everyone else is falling over themselves to find a way to
significantly cut taxes for those at the top of the pile, Gittins does
a nice job denigrating avarice and promoting the concept of government
investing in the community.

He reminds his readers that when the
second tranche of the tax cuts announced this year kick in on July 1,
only the top three per cent of the nation’s earners will pay the top 47
per cent tax rate:

You’d think that would be sufficient to prompt those who’ve
been urging a cut in the top rate to put their campaign on the back
burner and focus on higher-priority problems.

Not a bit of it.
So great is their greed – and their lovingly nurtured sense of
righteous indignation – that the campaign for tax cuts for the rich has
scarcely missed a beat.

Truly, we live in an age where the more
powerful you are, the more you believe the less powerful owe you a
living. The less well-off must pay because the well-off have convinced
themselves they’re the ones doing it tough.

You see this in the
company executives laying off staff and holding down wages so as to
fatten their own million-dollar bonuses, having convinced themselves
there’s nothing morally questionable about doing so.

You see it
in the way politicians of all stripes have lost the will to improve
working conditions in any way that would add even a little to business
costs. Increase business costs by imposing paid maternity leave?
Unthinkable.

And you see it in the way the rich and powerful –
and the newspapers that champion their interests – have hijacked the
debate about what we should do with the big budget surpluses.

So
successful have they been in forcing the interests of the top 3 per
cent of taxpayers to the top of the “reform” agenda that few people
have thought to challenge the instant assumption that big surplus
equals big tax cuts.

One could be left to wonder if
Ross Gittins has gone completely pinko or whether the miserable morale
at Fairfax is seeping into his writing. Better not get too dismayed
with Fairfax, Ross – writing stuff like that means you’ll never get a
gig with Rupert.