November 13, 2003 | Peter

Spend that surplus, Mark.

I think Mark Latham is the biggest gun in the Labor armory, but he’s wrong about taxes. Labor should spend all the surplus, whatever it is, and not give it back in tax cuts (and especially not to the wealthy); in fact, Labor should increase taxes – or just get the rich to pay their share.
Labor governments have to spend money. Yes, there are savings to be made out of being more efficient, but eventually you have to inject new funding to make improvements. The individual tax payer will not spend their tax cuts on things like national health, education, environmental and social welfare infrastructure, and so government has to do it.
Labor governments have to be social engineers in order to fix big structural problems and lay the groundwork for the future. In other terminology, this is called investment. On the presumption that it is better not to borrow too much, this means taxes.
The electorate know that our basic social and environmental conditions are coming apart. Our hitherto world class health and education systems are in disarray, a permanent underclass of lost unemployed is growing up, and our environment is in crisis. It will take some money to start to fix these things.
So, think ahead, Mark, and take the money and spend it.

Posted by Peter at 12:31 pm | Comments Off on Spend that surplus, Mark. |
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