Sainsbury breaks new linguistic ground

Chips Mackinolty writes: Re. “Abbott and Bishop have lost their cojones as Asian neighbours run roughshod over rights” (Friday).  Your correspondent Michael Sainsbury seems to have broken new ground in his use of the compound “notsomuch”, rather than the conventional “not so much”. It does not appear in Google ngrams, or indeed in a  general Google search, for example, let alone Urban Dictionary. Not criticising it, in fact I kinda like it.

On tax reform

Peter Wildblood writes: Re. “The messy politics of multinational tax dodging” (Thursday). When studying at Masters level at the LSE it seemed a truism of political reform that the best and most lasting reforms were established by left of centre governments in matters relating to what might loosely be called “left of centre” issues: industrial relations, social services; education etc … and right-of-centre governments in relation to medical/ health reform, banking, taxation etc. If this was so as a generalisation, and it was, at the time of my studies in the UK and elsewhere, it was certainly so of the Hawke-Keating reforms and those of the Howard years, except when Howard allowed a rush of blood to the head to cloud his judgement in workplace reform after he won a majority in both houses and a “mandate” to go forward on the issue.

That said, it is true that Hawke-Keating were somewhat of an an exception as they negotiated their way to monetary reform and then began a banking reform completed by Costello. However they did this with by securing the Accord with the TUs establishing the base on which to bridge a “credibility gap” with the big end of town. Since 2007 however, the momentum for useful reform has been lost as neither the Labor governments or the current Coalition government have had the sense to see where they can best direct their attention. Add in Hockey’s terrible start “on the wrong side of the fairness fence” in last year’s budget and the apparent inability of Abbott and Hockey to understand that negotiation is more than phony conversations, you would have to say that it is the height of stupidity to think anything useful will come in the way of lasting reform in this parliament.

On penalty rates

Justin Harris writes: Re. “The dirty secret of penalty rate opponents: business is booming“. We hear this same rant year after year. I was at a cafe Easter Sunday and business was absolutely booming. I’m pretty sure the owner would not cut his throat by closing the cafe because of penalty rates. This is an ongoing attack on the masses by our overlords who want their US-style system that sees waiters/ waitresses and the rest of us earning a fixed rate of $2.00 per hour and relying on tips to make it up to anything that hopefully nears a livable wage, where we already know that it isn’t the case.

What can we say about this  corporate capitalism, apart from the face that it does not work? All the people on the median to low incomes (which is the majority of society) not earning enough to pay back into government revenue which means we borrow more from the international banksters who print currency at nine times the rate that they lend. Yet asked today why Google and other corporations weren’t transparent about their taxation regime, they stated “tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance isn’t” and our illustrious treasurer Hockey signed off on this.

Scandinavian countries pay more tax, but also the mining and corporate sector who pay up to 87% and they still make their fat profits. We need to follow the Scandinavian model and society will run a lot more smoothly.

Peter Fray

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