Everybody understands the concept of personal taxation …. where a supposedly fair share of your wealth is taken from you and placed into pool to be used for the common good of the society in which you live.
It used to be more honest and easier to understand in days long gone …. where the local sheriff and his goons would turn up at your house and simply carry away your valuables as tax due to the local lord …. who in turn paid a share of what he stole from you, to the king, from whom he got his power. It was a system that was patently unjust and rife with corruption and exploitation. Really great if you were a landholder or a king … but crap if you happened to be an Ordinary Joe. The rich guys basically took whatever they wanted and you were powerless to resist.
Fast forward a few hundred years and we see a much more sophisticated taxation system ….. where your wealth is taken away before you ever actually get it. The middle man is gone and it all goes directly to the big guy …. and there are no goons appearing at your gate to carry away your property and rape your daughters. So much more civilised, eh? Except that the changes seem to me to be largely cosmetic. Your wealth is still being looted and pillaged, but in a much more subtle way. And the modern system seems to work in such a satisfactory way, that you don’t even notice when the most brazen of thefts happen right under your nose!
In recent times, it has become politically popular to blame ‘The Other Guy’ for whatever ails our economy. So politicians like to talk about those who are dependent upon the welfare system, using terms like ‘leaners’ …… to demonise any who aren’t ‘contributing’. The media loves to expose the excesses of our political masters as having their snouts in the public trough ….. implying that they are ripping off more than their fair share of your tax money. And of course, we constantly hear about the ‘corporate citizens’ who are evading paying any tax whatever, seemingly with impunity.
Most theft is done in private and its only occasionally that some corrupt politician or corporate tax dodger is actually exposed and called out. But there’s another form of taxation heist going on on a grand scale. Its reported in the newspaper and in full view. It seems we are so desensitised to being robbed, that we no longer even have the will to question what is being done to us.
So let me share with you, an article that recently appeared in a local rag here …. “Tasmanian Country” March 4, 2016, Page 3. The article is titled “Relief in pipeline for dry district’
The article is very upbeat about a wonderful new irrigation scheme that will deliver 7415 million litres of water across 8000 hectares of farmland to 27 properties.
The scheme is expected to help make farming more intensive and create 40 jobs.
But here’s the bit that kind of jumped out at me. The scheme is costing $31 million. The ‘farmer investors’ are kicking in $8.66 million and the rest ($31 mil minus $8.66 mil = 22.34 million dollars) is being paid for by …. you guessed it …. the taxpayer (i.e. YOU).
A quick ponder of the maths here is in order, I reckon. 22.34 million dollars of taxpayers money is being spent on a scheme that will benefit 27 properties …… that means on average, each property will have $827,000 of your tax money invested in it! And your right of return on this investment is actually ….. $0!
You won’t have any rights over these properties or over the enhanced productivity that they will apparently enjoy. The scheme will consume 7415 million litres of water that previously belonged to humanity generally but will now be the very private property of those 27 farms. I assume they will pay an ongoing fee back to the government for the use of the water but perhaps I assume too much.
This might not sound like such a big deal but right now, here in Tasmania, two of the biggest freshwater catchments in the state, which are used to generate the state’s power for industry and domestic consumption are down to 6% and 14% of capacity respectively. Our politicians are claiming that it’s all about a lack of rainfall but there’s no indication of how much of the missing water has been used to generate power that was exported to the mainland or how much has been drained off into the state’s new irrigation schemes.
Everywhere one looks here, there are massive Pivot irrigation plants pumping endless water onto the paddocks. And often, I can’t see that they are growing anything more intensive than green grass for sheep! There isn’t a river that doesn’t seem to be having its life sucked out by these endless irrigators.
The State is facing a power crisis and it’s capacity to import power from the mainland (maybe buying back some of what we already exported) is compromised by a mysterious break in the Basslink Cable. We are pretending that this isn’t actually happening and that everything’s going to be just Hunky Dory ….. so well done guys on keeping the population calm.
This latest irrigation scheme is one of fifteen schemes being planned or completed here in Tasmania right now. So I assume that a similar transfer of taxpayer funds, for the sole benefit of a few select land owners has occurred in every case.
There is zero detail offered as to exactly how the suggested forty jobs will be created, how much they will pay or for how long. But there’s the usual line up of local identities and politicians, spruiking on about what a great scheme this is. I can see that it must be too ….. if you happen to be one of those lucky landholders who’s having millions of taxpayer dollars spent on him.
You don’t need to be Einstein to understand what will happen to the land values on every one of those properties, the instant this new infrastructure comes online. I know that the State’s biggest dairy property has just been sold to China but I’m confident there will be plenty more Chinese buyers, queuing up to buy up these new and enhanced holdings.
I’m sure I must sound like a bitter old cynic. But this scheme Reeks of just more transfer of wealth, from the many to the few.
Just to compare ….. the 22.34 million dollars of your tax money that is being ‘invested’ in this scheme to benefit those 27 lucky landholders, would pay the average salary of 100 farm hands for five years, 100 nurses for three years or the fortnightly pension payments of 100 single aged pensioners for ten years! And this is just one of fifteen current irrigation schemes here in Tassie!
Is it just me?