A Long Day in Politics

They say a week can be a long time in politics, and this past week has certainly showed that pretty well. But there’s more to life than the Liberal leadership, so here’s a roundup of items you might have missed:

  • Honduras finally had their elections – with a big voter turnout. Conservative Porfirio Lobo is the new president.
  • Over in the US, Republican Huckabee has found himself in an awkward position. It seems as Governor, he granted clemency to Maurice Clemmons some nine years ago, who most recently just shot and killed four coppers. This will no doubt damage his future bid for the presidency.
  • Will the Reserve Bank increase interest rates today? If so, by how much? Place your bets!  [Update: Yes they did, to 3.75%]
  • In other news, Bernie Fraser says that Australia must adopt a fairer, more progressive tax system.
  • The UN is digging in over the Climategate whistleblower scandal, declaring, “The processes in the IPCC are so robust, so inclusive, that even if an author or two has a particular bias it is completely unlikely that bias will find its way into the IPCC report”
  • And speaking of climate… that brings us back to the Liberals. The Punch has a live blog of the unfolding saga. Turnbull is still insisting he’ll win.

UPDATE: Abbott wins by 1 vote

UPDATE 2:

So much for Hockey having the numbers – he was out in first round. First round was:

Hockey – 23
Turnbull – 26
Abbott – 35

Second round was Abbott 42, Turnbull 41

The partyroom vote to oppose the ETS in the senate was much clearer with a clear majority opposed: 54-29

51 thoughts on “A Long Day in Politics

  1. I suppose Abbott won because of his current opposition to the ETS. How long will that last? And what other policies does he have? And, how long will he be leader?

  2. Hockey threw it away by saying he would allow a free vote in the senate on the issue. It is probably a good outcome for him.

  3. So, Hockey will be installed just weeks before the next General election, in a surprise move that completely out-foxes Krudd! The electorate come to its’ senses and gives government to the Liberals, and gives The LDP the balance of power in the Senate! Playing Hockey was never this much fun at school!
    How did we arrange all this? Is this what Humphreys has been up to?

  4. It’s a tough call, but I think I prefer Abbott to Hockey, personally – though Abbot himself is something of a mixed bag (not quite as socially conservative as some make out – but big on middle-class welfare).

    Hockey declaring the free vote might seem weak, but I don’t think he hurt himself, really – and probably did himself a favour in the long term – unless Abbott can pull a convincing anti-ETS scare campaign for the next election.

    LDP having balance in the senate sounds like a great idea… provided it didn’t include any carbon tax proponents.

  5. The Greens have apparently said they won’t vote for a commitee review of the ETS so it is probably now dead. I doubt the ALP can find a new flavour of the ETS that both the Greens will support and the general public will also support so it seems we won’t get an ETS for now. Perhaps that means that the upper house works. If at the next election the Greens get the balance of power the ALP will still be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  6. “Unless Abbott can pull a convincing anti-ETS scare campaign for the next election.”

    If anyone can it’s Abbott. But Turnbull’s right that the Liberals need to be more progressive. I suspect at the next election the Liberals will be decimated. Mainly by Labor, but also in losing some seats to the Nationals, and we’ll be back with Turnbull (Hockey’s too spineless to be leader). Curious to see what the swing in Nelson’s seat is though.

  7. “Turnbull’s right that the Liberals need to be more progressive.”

    I certainly hope not… time to return to their core values I think – they just need to figure out what they are 😉

    As I said in other threads, the challenge for Abbott will be to come up with an alternative to the ETS which:

    a) stops him being painted as a denier;
    b) doesn’t offend the anti-ETS base too much (a carbon tax will, so that’s out too);
    c) gives the ETS-supporters a “way out” of supporting the ETS without looking too hypocritical/flip-floppy; and
    d) still allows him to run a scare campaign against the ETS (like Keating’s GST campaign of ’93)

    It’s worth remembering that when the Libs tried for GST the 2nd time, Beazley vowed not to run a scare campaign… And though he lost the election, he still won the popular vote! If he’d gone in harder, he’d have won.

    Keating’s other tactic was to make it a referendum on the GST. He made it quite clear that if he lost the election, the ALP would “honour the mandate” and support the GST in the senate.

    That was quite a ballsy play – but stopped people simply voting ALP or minority parties in the senate… the only way to stop the GST was to let ALP win the lower house. Beazley didn’t do that on his turn either – he said they would oppose the GST either way.

  8. Many very catholic Latin American countries have turned to the left since the 90s.

    Last I heard however Chavez and Ahmadinejad were great buddies.

    But what I can’t believe is that 1) there are hollywood celebrities like Sean Penn and Naomi Campbell who promote and supporting Chavez (also Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover and Tim Robbins) and 2) they receive virtually no condemnation in the popular press for their idiocy.

  9. Yes, the celebrity support for Chavez is just amazing. Just completely clueless! I fear that the lack of condemnation from media is because half of them don’t care, and the other half agree (just look how the Honduras situation was represented)

  10. Fleeced:

    Chavez is supposed to be the biggest coke head south of the border and he drinks gallons of black coffee a day. He’s quite possibly suffering clinical paranoia.

  11. But Turnbull’s right that the Liberals need to be more progressive.

    ‘Progressive’ is code for redistributing income – not at all consistent with Liberal values and exactly the opposite of what is needed.

    I’m appalled at how many people think acceptance of climate change automatically means the government must do something. It’s bullshit, and certainly not libertarian. The best response to climate change, assuming it is real, is to adapt. The less the government does, the better.

    Read what Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus says. http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com If you insist on being progressive and spending billions of dollars, you’ll achieve far more by spending it on other things.

  12. @DavidLeyonhjelm – yes, I’m clear on what “progressive” means. And the “doing something” mentality on climate change is something that also infects the LDP – just witness how many people support a carbon tax for proof of that! It is the main reason that I haven’t bothered renewing my membership. I’m sorry, but I no longer trust the LDP.

  13. Fleeced, i don’t think you need to worry about the LDP being pragmatic on AGW, given that Abbott is likely to adopt a carbon-tax approach, there’s no need, and the LDP exec has had no problem having the party officially endorse a recent anti-environmentalist movie (NEJW).

  14. The Liberals need to appear more progressive to be electable, in my opinion. The Liberals are feeling more and more out of touch with the youth of Australia and they need to reconnect because their elderly base is dying off and the young’uns and turning 18 and starting to vote.

    Progressive doesn’t have to mean redistribution. It can mean opposing the internet filter. It can mean lifting the ban on R rated games in Australia. It can mean we stop giving subsidies to the automotive industry. They are all progressive ideas that are also libertarians. They are ideas that resonate with today’s youth.

    Abbott is taking a libertarian position on the ETS by coincidence, really. He’s only ever going to have a position in common with us by chance. Most of his ideas are backwards and backwater. Turnbull wasn’t much (if any) better despite all the bluster and Hockey seems content to be moderate. Abbott, though, he epitomises all the things wrong with the right of the Liberal Party. I’m glad he’s opposing the ETS and getting the Liberal Party right there but thankfully he won’t be Prime Minister, ever.

    The Liberals need to start framing the debate differently without compromising liberal values. The left has a monopoly on compassion at the moment and the electorate is voting based on compassion and caring. The right seems cold and uncaring. Which is bullshit. We need a caring “right”, we need a progressive “right”. It is the only right that is electable in the modern political climate without moving to the centre.

  15. I don’t think Abbott will support a carbon tax – the base is against it as much as I am (and as much as they were against an ETS). It’s true that the LDP exec are against actions they know won’t work against climate change (even the true believers), but it’s also true that many of them support a carbon tax as many seem to consider it a “pragmatic” approach.

    I could be wrong, but as I said, I don’t really trust them not to. I would need to see some firm commitment on the issue before I supported them again.

  16. I think that given the political climate at the moment the LDP would be best to come out in support of an adaptation approach to climate change rather than a mitigation approach.

    I think the winds have shifted ever so slightly in favour of scepticism. Global Warming denialism is still not a politically feasible option. But an adaptation approach is.

    I’m no longer on the LDP exec but it’s my policy suggestion. I also recommend the debate be framed using compassionate terminology. An adaptation approach better targets effected areas than a mitigation approach, after all. A mitigation approach tries to pick winners, where as an adaptation approach deals with realities as, where and when they occur.

  17. Fleeced the main voice from the LDP that has argued the merits of the carbon tax is John Humphrey. I have supported that argument. However it is a relative argument not an absolute position and it is dependent on other taxes being cut or abolished. Neither John or I are on the LDP executive any longer. I personally don’t think a carbon tax should be LDP policy.

  18. Fleeced – both LDP candidates oppose the ETS.

    Anyway, if were were serious about limiting the damage of a carbon tax and reducing CO2, an alternative is a 30 year tax exemption on all taxes for any firm that mitigates or sequesters carbon, net of emissions and for the proportion of the business involved in such activity [such as sustainable, carbon sequestering agriculture, sustainable forestry, transportation technology that can use clean power {e.g electric cars} renewable or nuclear energy and carbon sequestering fisheries], in addition to removing all current direct subsidies to carbon energy sources and energy users, with the caveat their tax exempting activity does no more environmental damage.

    Of course this implies getting rid of the restrictions on nuclear energy and iron seeding of the ocean (useful for aquaculture).

    It would require no more bureaucracy and a yearly audit in exchange for no taxes, State, Local or Federal.

    This avoids “picking winners” in all but a general sense.

    My view is that the Government won’t solve climate change and we should all enjoy much lower taxes and abolish subsidies. Government intervention may not be justified.

    If the Government stepped out of the way, fisheries would demand iron seeding and energy markets would demand nuclear energy. I agree with David L here. Before pollution trading existed, firms set up voluntary carbon credits throughout Europe. Strangely if you model this, I think lay people are less likely to believe this than a fancy mitigation scheme.

    The public however are convinced that solutions are needed. A good policy mitigates their desire for policy at any cost. In a way, the carbon tax/income tax swap John proposed did this with no regrets. It would also seem more effective than the ETS.

    The problem for libertarians is that the public looks at the evidence and assumes that Government action was the cause of the success of progress. Just as adaptation is the domain of the entrepreneur, praise will fall on mitigation schemes. This is as wrong as crediting the growth of public sector spending for the growth in real wages since the industrial revolution. At the moment, adaptation is stifled (re nuclear) and with real wages and public sector spending, the causation is actually reversed.

  19. Fleeced – it’s normally best to notify the party when you resign, but I’ve noted it based on your comment here.

    PS Do you have any evidence to indicate the LDP supports a carbon tax, or did you just wake up knowing it must be true?

  20. David – I think it was mainly the joint press release with Conservatives For Climate & Environment prior to the last election:

    http://www.ldp.org.au/federal/policies/pressReleases%202007.html#16_Nov_07c

    And yes, the release did declare that LDP had “no preference” for a new tax, but it does then go on to talk it up:

    “However a carbon tax would be a better approach than a carbon trading scheme. A carbon trading scheme creates a whole class of carbon credit rent-seeking businesses keen to endlessly lobby government. A carbon tax is more transparent and creates greater certainty for investors. However, whilst we think that a carbon tax is a better option compared to carbon trading, we would only support a carbon tax if it was revenue neutral. Any move to impose a carbon tax on electricity production should include an increase in the tax free threshold on income tax or else reductions in fuel taxes. In fact if a broad based carbon tax replaced the existing fuel tax completely then it may even be a worthwhile tax reform in its own right,” concluded Terje.

  21. Fleeced read in full the press release is pretty good I think. The paragraph prior to the one you quoted is as follows:-

    “The LDP has no policy in favour of carbon taxes. In fact we generally advocate lower taxes across the board and as a low tax party we are not much in favour of new taxes,” said Terje.

  22. So the LDP also gets itself wedged over the global warming issue. Almost too funny. Though I have to say that anyone who can construe the party as strongly in favour of CO2 reduction may well be at risk of joining the Graeme Bird worldview faction. Where do you stand on martian pyramids, Fleeced? Honestly, if the party leadership were less enthusiastic about reducing greenhouse gasses we’d be out setting fire to things just for the CO2 release.

    That said, I don’t see anything wrong with that press release from the election – I don’t have a philosophical problem with shifting the tax base from income to carbon. Provided it locked in revenue neutrality. And one advantage of a carbon tax is that it reduces revenue over the long run as there is a switch to less carbon intensive industries. It is like a self-cutting tax. Combine it with a TABOR constitutional ammendment to stop the government jacking up income taxes a year or two down the track, and it is pretty much a win-win.

    Except of course for the brutal and pulverising ice-age, but you get that.

  23. The point is that the LDP does not have a policy in support of a carbon tax. A press release that discusses a carbon tax (and merely says it would be preferable to carbon trading) is not a policy.

    But Fleeced doesn’t trust us. He thinks we are closet carbon taxers, just waiting for the chance to come out. So I guess it’s the Citizens Electoral Council for him. They wouldn’t even utter the words carbon tax.

  24. Of course not, David. A carbon tax is part of the Queen of England’s conspiracy to perpetuate mass genocide on the people of Africa.

  25. Fleeced — your position on this is strange. The LDP has never had a policy of supporting any action on climate change. As far as I know, the people on the exec all prefer no action. But it is certainly true that a carbon tax is better than an ETS. You seem to be upset that somebody in a political party told the truth.

    I also find it very funny that there is anybody in Australia who has the position of “every press release must be worded in a way I approve, or I will not support that party”. I look forward to finding out which party meets that criteria. lol.

    I still think the suggestion I had in my CIS paper “exploring a carbon tax for australia” would be a better policy than either major party will end up with. I called for no subsidies and no command & control… which would have led to a smaller government. And then a small tax swap, much more moderate than the GST-income tax swap. And then with a McKitrick clause to potentially get rid of the new tax anyway. It’s obviously far too free-market for a major party, but I thought it might influence the debate.

    But even I don’t think it should be LDP policy. Unfortunately, there are too many simple-minded people who can’t tell the difference between substance and perception. They think a $1 tax is worse than a $100 spending plan (which obviously has to be paid for through $100 worth of tax). Why? Because the first plan has a naughty word. Unfortunately, even simple-minded people get to vote, so we have to worry about their “vibe”.

  26. Thanks David… you’ve always struck me as the most rational LDP member – who I mostly agreed with (along with Whelan) – but you clearly are an over-sensitive dickhead. And thank you, Shem for jumping on board. Yes… clearly I, Kirk Fletcher (aka Fleeced,) – one of the more conservative LDP members – am a closet CEC supporter.

    You say that LDP doesn’t have a carbon tax policy, and Terje says he doesn’t support a carbon tax… and yet, Terje’s defense of the press release pretty much confirms otherwise. Oh, sure… it’s not policy – but it’s pretty clear that you would VOTE for a carbon tax as a “pragmatic compromise”.

    My position now, as it was then, is that LDP is not in a position to ensure “revenue neutrality”. In short, the LDP should simply: Not. Support. Any. New. Taxes.

    The press release was indicative of a willingness to do deals with the devil. You can spin it how you want, but it’s pretty clear that you made promises of supporting a carbon tax in exchange for preferences. Am I wrong on this? You can deny it all you want – but if you do, we both know you are full of shit.

    The LDP is not in power – and I’m sorry to tell you, is not likely to be – so, by supporting a new tax (even with provisions) you are simply giving a new weapon to “the enemy”. Even the Libs have learned this lesson – what will it take for the LDP to do te same?

  27. I was merely commenting on the beliefs of the CEC AGW “sceptics” who are actually just “believers” of another brand.

    I don’t think you’d belong there. But tongue-in-cheek humour is mildly amusing. I do think you are being very stubborn about this issue.

    That press release simply says “maybe no action is needed, but a carbon tax is more free market than ETS”. That much is true. It’s not like a carbon tax is a big secret the other parties don’t know about and us talking about it will mean we’ll be saddled with a carbon tax AND an ETS. They are alternatives and one is more market based. And one is better at dealing with the possibility that climate change is going to be a harsh reality.

    I don’t think a carbon tax is good, but it is better than an ETS. I think an adaptation approach is better than a carbon tax- we’re better off when and if climate change proves problematic. Policy-wise what is going to garner support? Not sure, but that is important. A party promoting a carbon tax in the Senate is better than a Senate with ETS bandwagoners. A party supporting 30/30 in the Senate is better than a party without elected members supporting 0% taxation.

  28. Policy-wise what is going to garner support? Not sure, but that is important.

    You are seriously misjudging your target audience if you think supporting a carbon tax will garner more votes for the LDP.

    Most of the people who support us are violently opposed to any environmental taxes. People that want to “do something” about the environment can already vote for the ALP, the greens, the liberals, and every other party in Australia.

    In terms of getting a person in the senate, the smart thing to do would be to chase after the rougly 30% of Australians who think the entire “Climate Change” thing is a bunch of bullshit. Not that I’m suggesting we should formulate policy based on what is popular, or anything.

  29. The press release was indicative of a willingness to do deals with the devil. You can spin it how you want, but it’s pretty clear that you made promises of supporting a carbon tax in exchange for preferences. Am I wrong on this?

    The short answer is “yes you are wrong”. Now for the long answer.

    I can only really talk in regards to preferences we made in trying to secure a position in the senate via the NSW ticket. In that regard the only thing we offered other parties in trying to secure their preferences on the ballot was our promises to preference them a certain way. Even this was done selectively and in many cases no explicit agreement was arrived at but we were still favourably treated, due I suspect to the many good natured discussions. We did not promise to do anything one way or the other if elected to the senate. We did not promise to support any given policy or to vote any given way on any given issue. We did however have some full and frank discussions regarding our parties view points and our personal outlook.

    I certainly did discuss how other parties could achieve some of their objectives in ways that would be less offensive to libertarians. The point of being in politics is after all to try and influence policy outcomes and I wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity to talk about policies with the various political parties.

    My position now, as it was then, is that LDP is not in a position to ensure “revenue neutrality”. In short, the LDP should simply: Not. Support. Any. New. Taxes.

    I personally have no problem supporting a new tax if it replaces an old tax and it is a less offensive tax. Just about any tax would be better than payroll tax. A small carbon tax on transport and electricity would be better than the current fuel tax.

    This does not mean that I think we need new taxes. We could abolish loads of tax simply via spending restraint. However I don’t think small parties should avoid signalling the types of reforms they would tolerate and the type they wouldn’t.

    In terms of ensuring “revenue neutrality” this isn’t that hard. If the proposed reform is revenue neutral or revenue negative then it might get support depending on other factors (eg does it centralise or decentralise tax powers). If it isn’t revenue neutral or revenue negative then it does not get supported. Telling major parties that this is what you think is a good idea and I wouldn’t want to say it in private when it can be said in public.

    If I was a senator I would have voted against the ETS without hesitation. I would vote against a carbon tax also unless it was structured such as to achieve a better overall tax outcome and was agreeable to the party. However I am not a senator and I won’t be putting my hand up for the job in the forseeable future. I’m leaving it entirely to others to do the hard yards and I’m sure this is worthy of far more criticism.

  30. Yobbo- how many of those 30% that think climate change is bullshit would be vocally opposed to an internet filter?

    And how many of those would support gay marriage?

    If the LDP wants to be a libertarian party it can be, but it will only get the support of libertarians.

    If the LDP is a moderate libertarian party, a mainstream libertarian party, then it will get the support of reasonably mainstream, reasonably moderate people that support civil rights and low taxes. But a lot of policies will need to be moderated. The ACT Party in NZ has been successful, but their policy is basically “let’s be more like Australia”, it’s not radical by any means.

    During the 2007 election it felt like action on climate change was inevitable and that rejecting an ETS would be like rejecting climate change outright. Even Howard buckled and supported an ETS. At the time when an ETS felt inevitable a carbon tax seemed a palatable alternative.

    2 years later in 2009 climate scepticism is becoming more acceptable. The number of people supporting action on climate change is shrinking. There is a politically viable alternative to a carbon tax. In 2007 based on the limited information we had at the idea we thought it was an idea that could at least soften the blow. I supported a carbon tax (though it was never adopted) at the time as a lesser of two evils. I felt the LDP had to look like it was “doing something” unless the party be seen as crazy climate change denialists. “Doing something” doesn’t feel as popular as it did. Doing nothing seems to be increasingly popular.

    I think it is now politically viable to offer a “do nothing” or a “do stuff as bad stuff happens” approach. My reading of the political atmosphere has changed since 2007.

    I think the LDP in order to be effectual needs to be to libertarianism what the Greens are to socialism. Not what Socialist Alliance is to socialism. Pursuing an ideology works for philosophy. It doesn’t work for politics.

  31. Fleeced… if given the opportunity to lower the total tax burden, but that included a change in the tax mix, would you take it? (This is what I suggested.)

    If given the chance to increase the total tax burden, but it wasn’t transparent so that simple-minded people didn’t notice, would you take it? (This is the current policy, that you seem to endorse.)

    BTW, this is somewhat my fault. It was me (and some people who agree with me) who have talked about a carbon tax. Many in the LDP disagree and it has never been LDP policy. Unfortunately, some people automatically link anything I say to the LDP.

    I have not been LDP president for five years (there have been two other Presidents since me — David McAlary & Peter Whelan), and I have not been on the LDP executive for one year. I think it is important for there to be a moderate libertarian party in Australia and I hope the LDP continues to grow and steadily improve. While I have disagreements sometimes with the details and style of the LDP executive… I also recognise that they are volunteers and are putting in real time & effort into something they believe in. The key players all have their hearts in the right place.

    But my point is that I am not the LDP and my comments and ideas should not be confused with LDP positions. Indeed, I’m currently looking at joining the Liberals. (Which might mean that Fleeced has to disassociate from the Liberals too.)

  32. In 2007 based on the limited information we had at the idea we thought it was an idea that could at least soften the blow. I supported a carbon tax (though it was never adopted) at the time as a lesser of two evils. I felt the LDP had to look like it was “doing something” unless the party be seen as crazy climate change denialists.

    That’s funny I remember the 2007 election and the major issue seemed to me to be “We are sick of John Howard after 13 years”.

    The LDP will always be seen as crazy by people who worship governments and think the welfare state is the greatest thing in the history of mankind. We will never get votes from those people, and supporting stupid new taxes in order to try is a waste of time and only dilutes our message.

  33. Graeme – you mention science and economics but seem to be oblivious to the politics. Besides you don’t own the LDP.

  34. Yobbo, there are government cynics that believe that global warming is scary. People that generally don’t like taxes while at the same time think “something” should be done.

    I don’t think those people worship government.

    There are people that vote for major parties or the Greens that would like the LDP message of smaller government. It still has to be a mainstream message of smaller government, though.

  35. “Yobbo, there are government cynics that believe that global warming is scary.”

    The answer is quantity discount medical help. If someone has delusional beliefs do we:

    (a) Corrupt economic policy on behalf of the delusional people?
    (b) Graft ignorant economics onto irrational science delusions?
    (c) a & b
    (d) refer them to counseling.

    To fail to pick option (d) is to reverse all commonsense and all precedent, in terms of how we are supposed to be dealing with scientific evidence. Notice that every one of those fools who gets the science wrong is utterly useless in their economic theory also. And in their sense of political strategy. This is what comes about by being a repressed CO2-bedwetter. Better to not repress your delusions under further delusions of personal political savvy. Much better to get all that stuff out into the open and tell it to the man taking notes.

  36. There are people that vote for major parties or the Greens that would like the LDP message of smaller government.

    Then they are obviously deciding who to vote for by throwing darts at a board. Perhaps our how to vote cards should be in the form of dartboards.

    People that generally don’t like taxes while at the same time think “something” should be done.

    When people say “something should be done”, they usually mean “by the government”.

  37. With a vote of 54 to 29 against the ETS, its clear that turnball should have just opposed it… The party has done the right thing. When the leader no longer represents the party its time to go.

  38. Mudi, Turnball really believed in the ETS. So he couldn’t just oppose it. Therefore, it was best for him to go. Also, he tried to run the party like a CEO, not an equal partner. Another reason to replace him.
    If he learns that leaders are not Ceasars, Malcolm will have a future in politics. Or he might go back to the Republican movement.

  39. It’s also interesting to hear people talk of Turnbull being “pragmatic” in supporting the ETS… since so many in his own party were opposed – surely political pragmatism would have demanded he set his own views aside?

    It’s a funny thing funny thing – it seems “the need for pragmatism” is always brought up when someone wants other people to be pragmatic in supporting them

  40. “Mudi, Turnball really believed in the ETS. So he couldn’t just oppose it.”

    He could have come good with the evidence is what he could have done. Policy isn’t about following irrational beliefs. See what you are saying here is “I believe this …… but if you believe THAT …… well if thats your “bag” man I’m cool with your beliefs. Follow your star..”

    But you cannot be like this. Its not a question of belief. Its a scientific question. And we had a whole contingent of born traitors who refused to come good with the evidence and jumped from foot to foot talking about principle sometimes and pragmatism when it suited them.

  41. “It’s a funny thing funny thing – it seems “the need for pragmatism” is always brought up when someone wants other people to be pragmatic in supporting them”

    Of course, pragmatism is an essentially meaningless movable one-size-fits-all buzzword.

  42. Lets have an answer for this most brazen lie of revenue-neutrality. Putting aside the unethical nature of putting forward stealing-neutrality in the first place. Just lets put that aside. It remains obvious that the carbon tax is a tax that destroys its own revenue base.

    To suggest otherwise is to claim that the carbon tax will be unsuccessful. I’ve challenged proponents on this but they are dishonest so they run away. The carbon tax systematically destroys its basis for its own revenue. So this idea that its going to replace company tax and lead to an increased tax free threshold must be seen for the lie that it is.

    If its not a lie, then the carbon tax would be ineffectual. In which case why the hell propose it in the first place?

  43. Graeme — you are making a point that I have made many times before. A carbon tax will shrink over time. Especially if you introduce a McKitrick clause.

    So if you reduce other taxes, and replace them with a tax that is going to disappear (or at least, shrink) then you will have reduced the total tax take. If you want to increase or maintain taxes… then that’s a bad thing. But if, like me, you would like to see taxes reduced… then it’s a good thing.

    Of course, this benefit doesn’t exist as much with an ETS and it doesn’t exist unless you cut other taxes. That is why it’s important to loudly argue that any climate change policy should include tax cuts. That has been my point from the beginning.

  44. Pragmatism is largely subjective but I wouldn’t say it’s useless. Political pragmatism is often based on a mix of polling and just personal experience. If everyone I talk to wants action on climate change and thinks not acting is like being a holocaust denier then I’m going to think action on climate change is pragmatic.

    Politics is about power and belief. You can have strong beliefs, but without pragmatism you’ll never have the power to see your beliefs implemented. Unless you are REALLY good at convincing people anyway. While the LDP represents libertarian belief so far it’s done nothing for libertarianism. It has no power. The Democrats and Republicans have done more for libertarianism than the Libertarian Party in the US. They’ve just done more against libertarianism, too.

    I think a political party like the LDP just needs to be on the side of smaller government, not always trying to push small government. Each issue needs to be dealt with within the political context within which it’s in.

  45. It remains obvious that the carbon tax is a tax that destroys its own revenue base.

    Graeme – nice to see you’re catching up.

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