Monday, April 21, 2008

The Dow Jones picks up my sentiments Good financial management is like fresh air, exercise and a healthy diet. Organisations need it every day to stay fit and to live a full and active life.

Isn't it peculiar that governments in South Australia and Tasmania are stoutly resisting cries for permanent corruption commissions to be established in those sainted states? It scarcely seems credible that they should resist such a terrific suggestion. A glance at the NSW model of corruption fighting should be enough to put any besieged government entirely at ease. Odd to fear watchdogs, as bark's worse than bite

Am I the only person to be surprised not by the complaints but by the lack of ambition Martin Wolf
This is not an example of public sector inefficiency as a result. It is an example of private sector greed and inefficiency.

Martin Wolf is one of the best respected economic commentators in the world. His column in the FT this morning is a classic. He argues that:
Am I the only person to be surprised not by the complaints [by the non-domiciled], which are predictable, but by their lack of ambition?
And he goes on, by arguing in absurdum, that if the non-doms arguments are right:
a) Everyone in the UK should be able to use the remittance basis and so pay tax on an optional basis;
b) There should be no tax on incomes over £100,000;
c) Because they generate so much wealth those earning over £100,000 should in fact have a negative tax rate;
d) Billionaires should be paid to come to the UK.
As his argument makes clear, no one has put forward such claims because they know that tax has to be paid by someone. What the wealthy want is that it is paid by anyone but them. As Leona Helmsley put it:
We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
This is what the non-dom debate is about. But as Wolf puts it:
From long experience, I am deeply sceptical of special interest “the sky is falling” pleading. More fundamentally, I am opposed to this particular pleading because it is subversive of any enduring political compact among citizens. If we take the principle that successful people are too important and too mobile to pay tax to its logical conclusion, political community will collapse.
And as he concludes:
Yet the experience also shows that the case for a simple, neutral and stable fiscal system, which taxes the worldwide incomes of all long-stay residents on the basis of ability to pay, is overwhelming. As soon as one departs from that principle one enters in a maze of special pleading or invidious distinctions, in which failed ideas of industrial policy - subsidising winners through the tax system - return to the fore. If the application of that great principle means some rich people leave the country, so be it.
I agree. Entirely.
I also agree (and some should note this) with the simplification part of this argument. Getting rid of the domicile rule would be a great way to do that. But for once the professions seem quite opposed to simplification. Is it because they too think that only the little people should pay tax? I fear it is.

I agree. Entirely. [Everybody, listen to me, And return me, my ship. I'm your captain, I'm your captain. Although I'm feeling mighty sick. -- Mark Farner American Poet B. Flint AGE OF UNREASON ; ]
• · It's not going to be pretty at the Labor Party's state conference when Morris Iemma lines up to show who's in charge - Donations fuss driven by media dragons … Premier's power play; A man's home may no longer be his castle, but it could well end up being somebody else's castle - THE State Government plans to give its agencies and councils power to compulsorily acquire private land to re-sell to developers at a profit - or, if they choose, at a reduced price so the developers make even more money State can sell your home
• · When stainless steel corrodes - which it shouldn't but does - the result is especially catastrophic because the corruption works unseen, crumbling the core material while leaving its glorious surface unblemished. Nothing is visible, until that fateful instant when the bolt, cleat or cable gives way with a sudden hollow shudder. And calamity abounds. There are various theories on this chemical perfidy. Most involve pitting, from microscopic manganese inclusions that disturb the electrochemistry within, voluntarily rearranging the electrons without approval from head office, much as happens in political parties. Highly polished Carr a rust bucket in disguise; NSW Labor to reform political donations
• · · THE Opposition has accused the Government of contempt of Parliament by failing to disclose four documents containing criticisms of a deal to allow development on land that Planning Department staff had rejected as highly unsuitable. O'Farrell outraged at papers' absence; NSW Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell has marked his first anniversary in the job with a stinging attack on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), accusing it of ducking tough State Government corruption claims. In an extraordinary outburst, Mr O'Farrell said the ICAC was a far cry from the fearless watchdog it was under previous commissioners Ian Temby and Barry O'Keefe. O'Farrell attacks watchdog
• · · · Duncan Hardie YOU only have to look at Duncan Hardie's sprawling faux Spanish villa in the Hunter's wine district to know this is a man who thinks big. Sweetwater Ridge is the realisation of the ultimate dream home for the chairman and founder of Hardie Holdings. Sweetwater was also the name the 57-year-old New Zealand-born speculator gave to another unlikely dream, a new city of 28,000 homes for 59,000 people, with a university and commercial centre thrown in. Paving paradise to save it; The Hardie Holdings subsidiary Eco Trades exhausted its bank of high-conservation land in 2006 when it agreed to hand over 7400 hectares of land to the state's national parks system. Developer moves on to Mid North Coast
• · · · · Hardie Holdings; Land-clearing blots no barrier to biobank plan - Environment ...
• · · · · · THE State Government dismissed advice from its own planners and allowed developers to clear valuable bushland to build housing estates away from existing towns and transport, after months of aggressive lobbying by developers. Secret files expose the sway of developers ; A FEDERAL Government move to expose the lobbying industry to greater public scrutiny has generated a backlash, with lobbying firms seeking changes. ; COMMUNICATING WITH GOVERNMENT - A BUSINESS - Bruce Hawker. Managing Director. Hawker Britton Pty Ltd. On TUESDAY, May 13, 2008 George Orwell and the STATE GOVERNMENT FAMILIARISATION PROGRAMME ; ONE of the problems for long-term governments is that the past inevitably catches up with them. Hawker pops up in the spin doctors segment on Sally's show about once a month - If you’re in government – any sort of government – there are two things you could be doing: selling your programs or defending them. All of these are possible sources of juicy stories which can stop promising careers in their tracks.