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Bob Lee
Pigsfly Newspaper launched Jan 2016
Pigsfly Newspaper launched Jan 2016
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Denniss provides a useful provocation for a much-needed debate in Australia about the proper role of government versus markets, and the interests of firms versus workers and consumers.

But he risks throwing out what is good about liberalism in attacking neoliberalism. One wonders whether, in his heart, Denniss doesn’t actually recognise this.

His conclusion seems eminently sensible. He talks of “a society with some markets” rather than “a market society”, of Adam Smith seeing “both the virtues and limits of free markets”. We – and mainstream economists – couldn’t agree more.
Markets and competition

For Denniss, “neoliberalism” is anti-regulation and anti-competition, and pro-crony-capitalism. Mainstream economics, however, is none of these things.

There are, of course, market fundamentalists who despise regulation and seek monopolies for themselves. Others want the Australian government to build new coal mines and inland rail lines and to deny climate change.
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But official government figures show this is highly misleading. According to figures provided to The New Daily by Treasury itself, the average wage is just over $62,000 a year.

And the median wage – a more useful measure – is just over $55,000 a year.
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At last count, 28 countries and seven large cities in the USA had moved to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. Potential benefits are clear and include reducing costs from obesity and health-care spending, as well as the potential to increase a healthy life. Health groups in Australia have long called for the same to be done here.

When Britain legislated for a sugary drink tax, graded according to the quantity of sugar used, some manufacturers significantly reduced the amount of sugar in their drinks before the law even came into practice.

Echoing the tactic of some British companies, Coca-Cola in Australia is claiming it has taken action by “reducing sugar in 22 of our drinks since 2015”, and is committing to “make all our new Coca-Cola flavours either reduced or no sugar”. Their aim is for a 10% reduction across their range by 2020.
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We discuss why we can’t afford the rich and challenge ideas about wealth, entrepreneurialism and investment.
Also: ten years ago the Tax Justice Network was told it’d never happen, but this month British Members of Parliament voted to stop secret ownership of companies in British Overseas Territories. The Crown Dependencies got away for now. But the pressure is on them as a UK Foreign Affairs Committee report says corrupt assets of Kremlin-connected individuals pouring in to London is a threat to the UK’s national security.
And while some of the money hidden in the Overseas Territories may flow to the United States, the EU may actually add it to their blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions…
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Unfortunately, before about 1980, water entitlements were given away like kittens by various water agencies. As a result, in some areas, users are entitled to much more water than they actually use - sometimes more than is sustainable. And politics generally precludes any intervention to amend these inflated entitlements once the licence-holders have become used to having them.
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As solar energy is reaching greater grid penetration and the cost of batteries decreases, smart energy management and storage are more heavily contributing to advancing building automation.

When integrating smart energy management and storage into a building’s automation process, the level of energy independence increases dramatically.
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The personal tax changes are politically motivated and structured. They push much of the final cost, along with the still promised corporate tax cuts, into the 2020s, on top of some significant spending commitments in education, health, the NDIS, defence and infrastructure. They reduce the progressivity of the system, in the context of an effectively targeted welfare system, which underpays benefits such as Newstart and the base pension.

Genuine tax reform would have to address the structural weaknesses of our tax system, its inefficiency, its lack of resilience, its complexity and its inequity (including the transfer system). The need to broaden the tax base including the GST; to address the excesses and inequities of tax concessions/ expenditures; the full treatment of bracket creep; multinational tax avoidance; the proliferation of the “tax industry”; and so on.
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“A feed-in tariff of 7.5c is simply daylight robbery,” said Shani Tager, senior campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“Solar households in NSW cut $2.2 billion off the the wholesale price of power for everybody in the state in just one year and they helped keep the lights on during the heatwaves.

“The NSW government needs to step in and mandate a fair price for rooftop solar that’s fed back into the grid, recognising the many benefits of rooftop solar, such as grid savings, environmental and health values that are not recognised at the moment.

“400,00 plus solar households in NSW have stumped up their own cash to put solar on their roof and unless the Government does something big retail companies will pay them a pittance for the clean energy they produce,” said Tager.

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