September 23, 2003


Mark Latham continues his slow march to the bullying left:

Poor people could be trained to save more if they gave up "wasteful spending" on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling, Labor's treasury spokesman, Mark Latham, said yesterday.

They could also save more if taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling were reduced. Help the poor people!

Posted by Tim Blair at September 23, 2003 06:20 AM

Why would they even want to copy Evil Amerikkka anyways? Don't they know that it's a capital crime to be poor in Evil Amerikkk and that we shoot all poor people at dawn?

Posted by: Irene A at September 23, 2003 at 06:28 AM

...trained to save more...

Arf! Arf!

Good boy!

Posted by: mojo at September 23, 2003 at 06:51 AM

But Tim, the taxes are the training. We can raise sin taxes 50% and simultaneously reduce consumption 40% and increase revenue 300%. Of course lowering any tax immediately results in the takeover of the government by unelected Nazis who are bound to cancel elections.

Posted by: Bob71 at September 23, 2003 at 07:02 AM

Freedom is overrated.

Posted by: charles austin at September 23, 2003 at 07:26 AM

And even more can be saved if a large, very large chainsaw were taken to government consumption.

Posted by: d at September 23, 2003 at 09:50 AM

Those stupid poor people should also give up sleeping - think what they could earn if they worked that extra 8-10 hours per day..... I am sure Mark will come up with that one eventually.

Posted by: Rob at September 23, 2003 at 10:14 AM

No, think how much more saving we would have if we put to death people who didn't save. Talk about an incentive. Save or Die. What a campaign slogan. I'll just give Mark a call and let him know. I'm sure he would be keen. After all, it worked in Russia and China, so why not here?

Posted by: Todd at September 23, 2003 at 10:47 AM

What about using some bodies as yum cha for the starving in North Korea: Latham can lead by example. What a noble act of self sacrifice.

Posted by: d at September 23, 2003 at 11:13 AM

No Rob, Mark wouldn't want people to miss out on their sleep. He'll just train them to sleep faster.

Posted by: Michael Gill at September 23, 2003 at 11:23 AM

I wonder what his mate Singo would have to say about his new position on ciggies, piss and punting. He might think Latho has turned into some sort of Bob Carr type poofter.

Posted by: James Hamilton at September 23, 2003 at 11:44 AM

Latham's working class credentials are bullshit; on the "Denton" show he came out as strictly middle class- played rugby don't you know? Not too many bevans from out Parramatta way even KNOW there is another code of rugby; if he was the working class hero he purports to be, he would have been playing in the lower grades with the Eels. The bloke is an idiot.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 23, 2003 at 12:37 PM

As much as I think Latham is a gutter-mouth Commo arsehole, his suggestion, whilst VERY badly stated, may have some merit.

Ciggies are bad for any/everyone, too much grog is a major social issue, as is too much gambling.

No-one would deny any Aussie - especially the poor - their fag, tipple or punt, but I have seen many instances where those areas have added to or caused extreme hardship for those who can least afford it.

A well-run education plan aimed at curbing smoking, drinking and gambling is not a bad thing, be it for kids or oldies.

Some unionist was quoted today as saying "his" people on $30K pa didn't have anything left at the end of the week. Question: How many of those people are spending perhaps $2K - $5K pa on fags, booze and gambling? My bet is a hell of a lot.

I personally know people who consistantly spend $5K pa on fags and then whinge like buggery because they don't have that sort of money for much-needed medical attention.

Latham's a prick, but every now and then he actually has a half-decent idea. Pity he can't put his brain into gear before opening is sewer-mouth.

Posted by: Bushy at September 23, 2003 at 12:41 PM

Slow march to the bullying Left? It might be bullying, but it seems more of a Labour Right position from earlier times.

As for the tax on alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling, that's faction-neutral.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 23, 2003 at 12:43 PM

And just when you think John Howard & Co are in a bit of trouble in the polls!

Sounds a bit like the idea being tossed around by the Rann govt in SA to get old bombs off the road. Basically they've mooted the idea of a means tested, $1500, incentive payment to scrap old clunkers because we have one of the oldest car fleets in the country. Streuth, wouldn't our poor, middle class, uni student off-spring have a field day with that one!

Posted by: Observa at September 23, 2003 at 12:45 PM

Who the hell is to decide what "wasteful" spedning is? Just because someone doesn't like booze or smokes or pokies doens't mean its wasteful to the person who enjoys it.

Aren't people allowed to have any hobbies anymore, or just approved ones?

Posted by: James Morrow at September 23, 2003 at 12:49 PM

Maybe the government will offer incentives for people to brew their own:

Home beer - $0.40 / stubbie
Home vodka -$4.00 / bottle


Posted by: Rob at September 23, 2003 at 01:54 PM

Firstly, I don't understand how Latham can support a savings plan when the savings are to be spent on education, among other things. What is he suggesting? That people should use their own money to pay for their own betterment? Wash thy mouth out Mark! Buy some tinnies, some cigs perhaps, even a fast car, but never, ever spend your money on evil activities like attending lectures, or tutorials, or, shock, horror, hanging about on the library lawn.

More importantly, it seems when these poor souls have saved enough for a noble purpose then the government will match the amount. Anyone interested in a business wherein we lend the requisite amount to these Joe Average's so they can get the government money, which they then split with us along with refunding the money we let them use as 'savings' in the first place?

Posted by: GeoffM at September 23, 2003 at 05:25 PM

He could maybe set up ethnically diverse and culturally sensitive training camps where social responsibility could be inculcated. At the exciting end of a cattle prod.

Respecting traditional Leftist values, we could call them 'gulags'. Or maybe 'concentration camps', because the inma^H^H^H^Hresidents would be required to concentrate on their lessons.

Posted by: Paul Johnson at September 23, 2003 at 07:00 PM

What is the difference between tax and excise? Isn't it all set at 10% flat?

Enlighten me, gurus.

Posted by: Pigfucka at September 23, 2003 at 07:19 PM

GST is 10% of the landed cif (cost, insurance, freight) + duty price of imports, on local goods is set at the last transaction price- ie if manufacturer sells to wholesaler at $100, GST is $10. if wholesaler reatails at $150, GST is $15; in this case the manufacturer gets an input credit of $10. Excise is a local duty on excisable product such as booze, fags and petrol. The sneaky shits have just introduced it on biodiesel, so forget about making your own diesel fuel. GST was to be reasonably simple until the fuckwads in the minor parties got their ideology-addled tiny minds involved, and it is now an incredibly complex disaster.

Posted by: Bob From Border Patrol at September 23, 2003 at 10:43 PM

Excise is just another tax. Excise is paid on locally produced goods, and duty is paid on imported goods.

Tobacco attracts a variety of taxes and licensing fees both state and federal, then GST on top of everything else.

Cigarettes and alcohol are favourite products to tax as the demand tends to be inelastic.

Cigarettes are more adictive than heroin.

In my humble opinion, extra taxes on gambling, smoking and drinking are immoral, since we know that the poorest people spend the most (proportionally) on this trio, and we know that (generally) they are addicts.

If the price of fags/beer goes up, the consumption will stay about the same, and smokers/drinkers will spend less on something else - food for their children for example.

Posted by: bai ren at September 24, 2003 at 12:18 AM

An excise is a levy by volume or weight of product, whereas a tax is levied on the product's value. Hence alchohol and petrol are taxed per litre and tobacco per gram. You may fine tune the excise to allow for different concentrations of alchohol or nicotine content in particular products. For example, to place a $5/litre levy on beer and scotch, would produce a shift in consumption to scotch, whereas a levy on the alchohol content of each probably wouldn't. Historically excised products are chosen because consumers will not decrease their consumption much in response to the higher price. It would be dumb to excise cola drinks, when you could switch to lemonade. Taxing beer doesn't make you switch to lemonade, but it may tip some into home brewing.

Posted by: Observa at September 24, 2003 at 01:27 AM

Sorry - a tax is ANY compulsory financial contribution imposed by the government.

Excise (also known as "excise tax") is a tax, customs duty is a tax, council rates are tax, a levy is a tax, and so on.

Canada has imposed 'excise taxes' on (among other things) playing cards, cosmetics and jewellery.
I don't have all the details, but I don't think they charged more for heavy decks of cards.

My essential point (and I think Observa agrees) is that 'sin' taxes have little effect on consumption of the 'evil' product.

Of course, if too many people turn to home brewing, and avoiding excise tax, the government will make it illegal - as it currently does with home distilling.

Posted by: bai ren at September 25, 2003 at 05:54 PM