Tax Forum and Chinese whispers

I attended the Federal Government’s Tax Forum in the last two days which was quite worthwhile.

I was supposed to have two goes at the ‘inner circle’ where you got to talk, but one of these two goes was subject to Julia Gillard not wanting a go. Turned out – on the question of personal tax she did want a go, so I didn’t get to take her seat – she did. Anyway the people in the inner circle were the ones engaged by the facilitators but as a consolation prize they threw to me on super.

I said that we should both walk and chew gum  and that as a consequence as we were increasing the amont of compulsory super we should also allow people as they first began saving in their 20s and 30s to access their super to meeting their very first major investment need – a deposit on their house.

I also said that this would be a lot better than the Mickey Mouse scheme for a housing deposit the government had set up. And that further, since we were looking for savings, when one did this it would be a good time go get rid of the First Home Owners’ Scheme. Anyway, it was all I said.  Shortly afterward I was rung by James Massola who said he wanted to write it up.  He asked if I helped put together the super scheme back in the old days. I told him I was in the Treasurer’s Office when it was happening so if he wanted to say something regarding that, he could say that, but not that I was otherwise involved.

Anyway, entertainment is a higher priority than anything else so James story came out with the customary up beat reporting and in the bold print introducing the story . . . well I ended up being “a Keating-era economics adviser who helped devise Australia’s super plan”. Being a generally quite nice person and the furthest thing from a conspiracy theorist short of someone with a lobotomy, I suspect a stuff up – well not exactly a stuff up a slip-shod piece of subbing.

The text that got it wrong was the introductory bolded text. I’m guessing that the subbie either extracted it or wrote it cold from the article.  And who cares if it slightly changes – ie makes up – a fact? This is a small price to pay for a bit more egging of the pud.

Then it got a little more egg in Adelaide Now. “GENERATION Y should be allowed to use their superannuation savings as a deposit for a house, according to the man who helped devise Australia’s current super scheme.

Anyway, for the record, I didn’t help devise Australia’s current super scheme.

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8 Responses to Tax Forum and Chinese whispers

  1. Ken Parish says:

    So it’s you that’s to blame for all those super fiascos, you bastard! The huge fees charged by insurance companies, the paltry returns over the last few years, the impossibility of tracking down lost super of deceased workers who’ve had multiple jobs. “Gruen Transfer” Murdoch’s News Online just headlined it. Gruen bloody rip-off more like it. Why, they should throw you in that chaff bag along with Juliar, take you out to sea and chuck you overboard. Don’t think your mealy- mouthed denials are fooling anyone around here. Where there’s smoke there’s fire I always say.

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Yep, that’s me – the architect of super. I did it for secret payoffs. But I’m not telling you from whom. Not till they’re dead.

  3. kymbos says:

    It used to be that you could get the gist of a piece from the title and the first para.

    Now it’s best to skip those, as they often misrepresent the true direction of the piece.

  4. Paul Frijters says:

    that’s a classic.

  5. Pingback: Superannuation and home ownership | Translations

  6. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Well this thing seems to have continued to whirl away making it onto ABC radio in Melbourne, a bunch of regional stations who rang me and also the 7 pm project.

    One further item of clarification – my reference to a ‘Mickey Mouse’ scheme was a reference to the special ‘save for your deposit’ scheme that the government set up when it couldn’t quite muster the fortitude to allow people access to their super to fund a deposit. It wasn’t a reference to the super scheme. Even Mickey Mouse isn’t worth over a trillion dollars.

  7. observa says:

    You’re getting there Nick, but of course there’s no reason why all Superannuants can’t continue to pay their super into their mortgage up to a prescriced and quarantined amount, say $350K which might be indexed for inflation over time. Nice if we didn’t have inflation but I’ll leave that for Antal Fekete and the Chinese gold vending machines soon. Quarantining means you sell and the super contribution amount goes back into a super fund until you purchase a roof over your head again. Gets rid of the silly FHO savings scheme as the super funds can manage it.

    As for negative gearing driving investment in existing housing well you get rid of that problem altogether if you totally rely on fossil fuel and resource taxing(hello Labor) and you also get rid of the need for a xenophobic FIRB when you do that. Then there’s that FHO grant hanging around like a bad smell re equity. Nice if graduazzi mum and dad can help you out with a deposit and a leg up but not so nice for struggletown. We’ve got too many graduazzi anyway so let’s get back to the 3Rs up to year 10 and then roll all the Yr11, 12, TAFE, Uni, apprenticeship graft, etc and the FHO grant into one education/life grant which each new chum can use on approved Ed or else for a quarantined deposit on a home should they be a Bill Gates early leaver type. Nothing like a level playing field for true social consciences like ours eh?

  8. observa says:

    The obvious question that raises is, with all taxing raised via fossil fuels and resources companies, firms and individuals have a massively decreased administrative burden(16000 pages of that Tax Act now) as well as total relief from GST, stamp duty, PAYG and company tax, just how much could you slug them all for the fossil fuel tax component to save the planet supposedly? Well that would depend somewhat on how much you want to gather via other forms of resource taxing and perhaps an annual nett wealth tax should you deem necessary with the demise of income tax. Then how you’d hang it together to get the best environmental outcome without the need for such profligate and stupid policies as we have amassed to date on that score. Bearing in mind we’ve just got rid of such a plethora of problems re simplicity, equity, neutrality, disincentives, high EMTRs, etc.

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