Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Paul’s Perspective

Draining the swamp, slashing taxes and student activist idiocy.

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31 January 2017

The new year has started at frenetic pace with the inauguration of President Trump and his rapid-fire issuing of Executive Orders, while the self-described “social justice activists” scream and cry in public, calling the duly elected President a “fascist” or “literally Hitler”. Of course, they never cited any concern for Constitutional propriety when President Obama issued Executive Orders regularly rather than seek to negotiate and compromise with the Congress – and it’s even more hypocritical when some of Trump’s EOs are the simple revocation of Obama’s.

The sky is not falling in with the new President and there is much Australia should admire. His promise to slash corporate taxes to 15% has our Treasurer and the business community worried that Australia simply won’t be competitive with high tax rates. There’s not much to think about – just cut them and watch the economy and personal wealth grow! Wealth is best spent by people on themselves – as Milton Friedman explains, it’s the human condition. Of course, that means there will be less money available for politicians to jet themselves and their loved ones around the country on the taxpayer dollar, be it the Liberals here, here or here, Labor here and here, or the Greens here. Funny how when they fly their families to be with them it’s to places like Broome, not Meekatharra!

Politician’s expenses are not the only swamp to be drained in Australian politics. President Trump has banned officials from lobbying for five years after leaving office, and from ever lobbying for a foreign government. It’s a great idea that we should emulate, as I’ve seen a senior official of a political party resign the position, leave a job as a senior political insider, then soon after take a job with a subsidy-seeking firm and return for “quiet chats” with old friends in the Leader’s office. Similar to the expenses issue, it may not be corruption according to the black letter of the law, but that’s a failing of the wording – it is morally corrupt.

Another action the President took overnight was to decree that for every new regulation, two must be removed, reversing the growth in red tape that places a stranglehold on industries across the economy. It is a brilliant move and he should be applauded. Our friends at the Institute of Public Affairs counted the scary burden of red tape a few years ago – and it’s only worsened since.

One final thought – Ron’s Mannerism this month discussed the latest virtue-signalling, far-Left PC instance at UWA. UWA has a very impressive new Vice-Chancellor so I expect to see the campus improve soon. UWA’s darkest days occurred in 2015 when Bjorn Lomborg was blocked from researching statistics because childish activists worried that his statistics might not fit their preferred political narrative. The latest allegations about the Student Guild’s view on “white males” are not surprising – they fit the latest “social justice” movements in the US (why do these types seem to hate America but follow the latest anti-intellectual American campus trends like sheep? Can’t they think of their own cause?)

In my day, the Student Guild was a breeding ground for aspiring Left politicians. Few normal students took much notice of their antics but most resented being forced to pay a compulsory Guild fee (branded a “services and amenities fee”). The Guild was at pains to claim that they were forced to accept it (though they didn’t want to refund it) and it was really nothing to do with them. This was despite the President at the time having been a staffer for a Labor MP – none less than the Minister responsible, if my memory serves correctly. A group of Guild activists even sat in Parliament in the middle of the night to watch the legislation pass a late-night sitting. Apparently it’s easier to ask your mates in the government to give you other people’s money than to convince people to buy a rubbish product. If we don’t follow President Trump’s lead and drain that swamp of cronyism, we may yet see some of those Guild hacks in either politics or lobbying – even worse, both.

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