News Ltd business commentator Terry McCrann is on a roll at the moment,
producing some excellent columns over the past week. McCrann was out on
his own and absolutely right about Telstra
pay phones and we also loved his demolition of Peter Costello’s
ridiculous GST claims on Thursday.

There was Cossie bleating about being scarred by giving the states an untied growth tax
in the GST, but McCrann crunched the numbers and shot down his argument as follows:

In its first year, 2000-01, the GST raised $24 billion. This year it is
estimated to raise $38 billion. But look at the feds’ two growth taxes. In the same five years that the
states got to share all of an extra $14 billion, Costello got an extra $40
billion from personal and company tax.

And that’s after the tax cuts in the last two Budgets. Further, while
his Budget projects the GST will grow to $44.6 billion a year by
2008-09, his big-two taxes by then will be plucking a thumping $186
billion from us.

Speaking of McCrann, we appear to have an explanation for his tactic of
quoting “trashy dot com” without naming us, thanks to an email exchange
with a Crikey subscriber, who wrote:

Dear Mr McCrann

I read your incisive work daily, but now and then get confused by strange
allusions. The latest is to “trashy dot com”. To what, or whom, does that refer? Who on earth are they? Why don’t you
name
it/them? Are they going to sue you if you do? Us readers think you must be
hiding something.

McCrann replied as follows:

It’s a joke with a long pedigree. It’s actually Crikey.com. Not the site but their daily email. Which I don’t
name as I do not wish to give them the oxygen.

McCrann might not want to give us oxygen but his paper is
happy to borrow our ideas. Crikey crunched the numbers and yesterday
pointed out that NAB had reclaimed its title as Australia’s biggest
bank this week, a story that led today’s Herald Sunbusiness section.

Peter Fray

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