catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Vote Buying

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Ahhh, vote buying; the timeless love of the politician. I’d like to say it is a cheap trick, although the latest insanity from the Senate Republican leadership is anything but cheap. The plan is to offer $100US “rebates” to 100 million taxpayers to “compensate” for high petrol prices. As I’m sure Dan Quayle learnt in a humiliating manner, you know it’s going to be expensive when a “back of envelope” calculation gives you an error message on the calculator… So – a ten billion dollar proposal; that’s very impressive. Especially when one hears that singles earning less than $146,000US, and couples earning less than $219,000US will be eligible. In a country where the average annual wage is approximately $40,000 it’s good to hear its narrowly targeted at the needy and not just a broad slab of the voting public. ..

I’m all for tax-cuts, whatever the form; given the total inability of Australian governments to do anything useful with my money, why wouldn’t I be? If they are going to – in Ross Gittens memorable phrase about Howard’s baby bonus – “piss it up the wall”, they might as well give my money back to me so I can, quite literally, go to the pub and “piss it up the wall”.

And in that spirit, here’s my challenge. Given that the NSW Labour Government is soon to be flush with cash from the sale of Snowy Hydroelectric, and that there is an election in the not too distant future…. What “needy” portions of the population (i.e. the entire population of marginal electorates) are going to develop a sudden “need” for cash, immediately before the election? My guess is that the elderly are suddenly going to find the cost of transport a real difficulty, and will be in dire “need” of some cash.

I thought a constituent quote in the NY Times about the $100US rebate was rather apt (although I am not optimistic about the answer to the latter question being “no”):

“Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?”


Written by Admin

May 2, 2006 at 9:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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