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Byron Shire
June 23, 2024

Editorial – Quick! Tax the wich and tax them, vewy wuffly

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Oxfam delivered a stark message in its current annual report, Survival of the Richest, which focuses on global wealth distribution and inequality.

For example, the authors claim, ‘Since 2020, the richest one per cent have captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth – nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99 per cent of the world’s population’.

Who would have thought that most of the world’s problems lie in wealth concentration and a gamed system that enables it?

Capital in the Twenty-First Century was published in 2014 by French economist, Thomas Piketty. He outlined a sound case for wealth distribution. 

But it’s a big, weighty book, so most of us who were attending to our hobbies or addictions in 2014 probably missed its central thesis.

But those who study such things – in academia and economic circles – thought it was a terrific book.

Piketty proposes that when the rate of return on capital (r) is greater than the rate of economic growth (g) over the long term, the result is concentration of wealth, and this unequal distribution of wealth causes social and economic instability.

Anyway, Oxfam’s assessment of billionaires is not all that flattering, stating ‘Every billionaire is a policy failure’.

The authors write, ‘Extreme concentrations of wealth undermine economic growth, corrupt politics and the media, corrode democracy, and propel political polarisation. New Oxfam research also shows that the richest are key contributors to climate breakdown: a billionaire emits a million times more carbon than the average person, and billionaires are twice as likely as the average investor to invest in polluting industries like fossil fuels’.

The answer? Oxfam says, ‘Greater taxation of rich people’.

Sounds great, except there is no appetite from federal Labor.

Presumably they are spooked by Murdoch Newscorpse ghouls and still timid of the electorate after being bold with reform under previous leader, Bill Shorten.

Labor supports the former Liberal-Nationals government’s stage-three tax cuts, which are due to come into effect in July 2024.

According to www.theguardian.com, ‘Stage three abolishes the 37 per cent marginal tax bracket completely, and lowers the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate to 30 per cent. It also raises the threshold for the 45 per cent marginal tax rate, meaning everyone earning between $45,000 and $200,000 will pay the same 30 per cent tax rate’.

Will this address the growing inequality in Australia, given around 90 per cent of Australian taxpayers earn less than $120,000?

Tax. The. Super. Wealthy.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

*According to its website, Oxfam is a British-founded confederation of 21 independent charitable organisations that focus on the alleviation of global poverty, since its inception in 1942.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Shows a fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Wealth is stuff that is useful. This is different to currency that is simply a token that can be created from thin air. Some billionaires actually create that much wealth by using their brains, which helps everyone, and they deserve their extreme wealth. Most get large bank accounts through usury and other corruption of free market capitalism. Most of the worlds population is poor because they are incapable of producing much wealth. Even if we re-linked money to productivity, which would be just and fair, people would still complain due to the natural wealth disparity that would still exist, and they would continue to call for forced wealth redistribution.

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