As is well known, one of the key political problems of economic reform is that it's difficult to achieve if there are any losers -- or, more accurately, when there are powerful losers. If you're a low-income earner or an industry sector that doesn't have the ear of government or you're not a big political donor, the fact that you lose from a policy decision isn't so much of a problem. That's why, for instance, the alleged "tax debate" keeps defaulting back to demands for a GST rise and a company tax cut.

The government's (much-delayed) response to the review of competition policy by Professor Ian Harper also reflects how the powerful get to dictate reform (just as Crikey suggested earlier this year)