I have a new proposal for all Australians in the lead up to the shockhorror slash and burn, OMG Cutting Expenditure BUT STILL IN DEFICIT Federal Budget. This isn’t quite how The Australian or even the Daily Telegraph will report it, but it will be close. That is because the dumb way our populace has been fooled into believing that budget deficits are BAD THINGS. That was Costello’s masterpiece of spin and the myth is promulgated continuously by newspaper economics reporters who should know better, through the verbatim quoting of Joe Hockey. It’s depressing and just plain wrong. Before I make my suggestion, however, I need to outline the context of my proposal.
The absurd thing about the deficit furphy is that it’s apparently Western Sydney that demands the government “balance its books” – an oft repeated mantra from Andrew Robb that defies any mature, considered economic analysis of the complexities of a Federal Budget. Robb and Hockey dumb the message down because, apparently, it’s a message about the budget that people in the West understand. It comes, after all, from the party symbolised by “Great Big New Tax” and the knuckle dragging stupidity that that entails. Apparently that’s successful politics if we were to believe certain news outlets.
But what is my point? I’m also from Western Sydney and therefore not one of the inner city “latte sipping” set that the likes of Andrew Bolt and Miranda Devine like to deride as the biased policy setters who don’t live in the “real” world. That means I can put forward a policy and not be pigeonholed. After all, I don’t sip my latte, I slug it down before fighting the forces of the M4’s traffic hell, damnit!
I am here to say that many people in Western Sydney are not, in fact “doing it tough” they are, in fact catered for very well economically and aren’t disadvantaged. After all, there is the following –
1. The Family Tax Benefit, which arrives just conveniently in time for spending at the Big W Toy Sale every year
2. Negative Gearing, which helps the bogan develop a property portfolio
3. The First Home Owners’ Grant, which encouraged bogans to buy houses they couldn’t afford
4. The Private Health Insurance Rebate, which encourages bogans to undertake procedures that the ordinary people in their suburbs about which can only dream (or, ironically enough, allows them to be queue jumpers)
And, in the delicious irony orchestrated by the lies of Ray Hadley, et al:
5. Their ceilings were insulated by the Federal Government – in a process that was three times safer than previous insulation installation
6. Their private school’s hall (or other more pressing needs, in many cases) was built without needing fund raising BBQs organised by the parent body
7. Hot water made cheaper through the solar panels incentive
(But shhhh, don’t tell the bogan that these three programs that had great benefits for them and their communities, because they KNOW that they were “an outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars.)
The main deficiency, however, in this bogan buying bonanza in the amorphous Western Suburbs (in Melbourne, that now includes the South Eastern Suburbs) was in the investment in public, government owned infrastructure. Trains, for example. This is why I am suggesting that the government bites the bullet on its budget, put it in the surplus that the bogans are encouraged to crave – but at the same time support those in this Western Sydney who are actually doing it tough – those who depend on social and transport infrastructure. That is – fire up the Bogan Tax.
I am suggesting a 10% tax on everything bogans buy, consume, throw away afterwards. The crew at Things Bogans Like have been working very hard at assembling that list – to the extent of starting a boganomics blog – so the items are already there for the plucking. Spray Tans. +10%. V8 Utes. +10% Foreign label / locally produced beer. +10%. Andre Rieu albums. +10%. Foxtel. +10% Boost Juice +10% Anything bought from a national franchise, like Bakers’ Delight +10% Any designer label item with a large brand name on it. +10% Pre Mixed Drinks +10% Large Screen TVs (larger than 81cm) +10% Masterchef Merchandise (except Ben Pobjie’s Superchef) +10%
You get the idea. Just look at the bogan list. Plenty of chances to raise revenue. The beauty of this tax is that bogans actually don’t seem to care what brand named things they consume actually cost them – it’s about the image and their belief that by buying a 126cm TV and Gucci handbag with a giant G on it, they have fulfilled their aspirational dreams. They will pay the tax unblinkingly. After all, Bakers Delight bread seems to already have a maxtreme tax on it already. (This same bread, curiously enough, according to their “Real” Youtube channel, never seems to be made by Asian people, despite our long and proud connection between Vietnamese immigrants and the baking of bread.)
The final part of my proposal is what to do with the tax. Save part of it to Stop the Deficit (of course), but also to spend it directly on government infrastructure in the geographical regions where bogans reside to solve problems in those areas. In that way, in a great irony, you could possibly even sell the benefits for the bogan. For example:
1. Spend the proceeds on more trains and train lines, light rail lines. Get poor people off the roads so the bogan can drive their Hummer down the M2, M4 or M5 at faster than 10KmH.
2. Employ more people to work for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, so asylum seeker processing can occur much faster, so we can find out much faster who should stay and who shouldn’t – lessening their “burden on the ‘real’ taxpayer”. In addition, these new Australians can more quickly be converted into work units that clean up after the bogans ; stack their shopping trolleys when the bogans “can’t be arsed” returning them ; or staff at low cost the abattoirs that produce the meat they love.
3. Build solar thermal plants so a carbon price would be much less of a “burden” on everyone for a lot shorter time.
4. Build more community centres and facilities for youths to gather, instead of “roaming the streets”. More social workers to deal with, head on, the problems in communities, rather than having police dealing with them later. (Though, many of the problems faced by police is caused by arrogant bogans wanting to “glass” each other at Phriction, Panthers or the Mean Fiddler.)
Yes, that’s right, I’m suggesting an assertive, progressive spending of the Bogan Tax, spending on infrastructure, government owned things. Bleeding Heart Issues. The irony of this is that if the ALP actually did such a tax, and by some miracle failed to explain the benefits to the bogan, they would not lose many votes. This is because conversion to Liberal support was part of the boganising process from being ordinary, unassuming westies to these aspirationals who are so easy to satirise. There is no way someone from the west in the 80s and 90s would support a silvertail from Manly like Tony Abbott over a genuine westie like Julia Gillard. That has changed, though, because the bogan now thinks that having a Maxtreme Mortgage on a McMansion in Menai or Mount Annan is actually the same thing as living in Manly. A symbol of success.
So, come on people – support the Bogan Tax. You know it makes Real Sense. And feel free to suggest what else could be done with the Maxtreme Tax Dollars this scheme would rake in.