Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You have no idea how hard it is for big business

I have disturbing news. The big business people of Australia are feeling quite upset about the recent federal election, or so I am informed by The Australian Financial Review.

Quite frankly – and this is a shocking thing to say – the mood of the campaign was "anti-business". As young people say, big business was disrespected.

Those rotters in the Labor Party were shameless in their behaviour, seeking to win votes by portraying their Liberal opponents as apologists for big business.

Why did the Libs have cutting the rate of company tax as pretty much the only item in their plan for Jobs and Growth? Purely, so the voters were asked to believe, to please the Libs' cronies at "the big end of town".

Why were the Libs so vigorous in their opposition to Labor's idea of a royal commission? Because they were doing the bidding of their big four banking mates, Labor claimed.

Really, it was disgraceful. But perhaps even more depressing was the performance of the Libs.

Malcolm Turnbull, one of our own – and didn't those Labor people keep hinting at it – the man in whom we had such faith after Tony Abbott's failure as their longed-for messiah, has proved such a disappointment.

He may have championed a proposal to cut the company tax rate by a niggardly 5 per cent, but he wanted to string it out over a decade – a decade! With, mind you, big business not getting a penny until close to the end.

Talk about trickling down the trickle down. Surely if lower company tax is the big reform it needs to deliver jobs and growth, the sooner you do it the better. Be decisive. Take risks for the good of the nation.

But Turnbull lacked the leadership to increase the goods and services tax or to cut the top personal tax rate. Such a disappointment.

And he performed so poorly against Labor and the mushrooming populists – when could you ever accuse big business of trying to be popular? – he looks unlikely to be able to deliver on the company tax cut. Such a disappointment.

Then, to top it off, no sooner is the election over than Liberal loudmouths like Michael Kroger start blaming the Business Council of Australia for their poor performance.

The Libs went out to bat for big business, but we failed to back them with donations or ads. There's talk Turnbull had to pay for a lot of the campaign himself.

Well, really. It's not the business council's job to pass round the hat. The Liberals' job is to fight for the interests of big business purely in the national interest.

What part of "all care but no responsibility" do the Libs not understand?

And then there's the way the pollies suck-up to small business. All that bull about small business being "the engine room of the economy".

Yeah, sure. Say it enough times and the punters forget most of them work for big business, not small.

It couldn't be because small business has more votes than we do, could it? We could try telling our employees who to vote for, but I'm not sure we'd get far.

So politicians on both sides are a huge letdown. Why won't they show a bit of leadership? Why won't they put their jobs on the line in the national interest? Don't they think we would?

As for the voters themselves, big business is more in sorrow than in anger. How can you blame people for acting like sheep when they're so badly led?

There are so many crazy ideas abroad that the pollies have failed to scotch. Do you know there are people who think business should be paying more tax, not less?

There are people who can't see why business needs a tax cut when it's already doing such a good job of avoiding paying much. This is so unfair. Some of us do pay quite a lot of what we're supposed to.

The pollies' failure of leadership makes it hard to blame ordinary people for not understanding there's a budget repair job to do and we have to get on with it. There are "harsh realities" that must be faced.

Strong policy action must be taken and the public must be persuaded to take its medicine.

If the budget is to be balanced we all have to give up something. Businesses have already offered to give up some of the tax they pay, and now it's your turn to volunteer.

Government spending is growing unsustainably. Surely you could give up some of those free visits to the doctor. Surely you could pay more for your pharmaceuticals. Surely your pension doesn't need to be so generously indexed.

Someone needs to tell you this: all the talk of a royal commission is reducing confidence in the banking system. Stop it, or on your own head be it.

And lack of support for big business on both sides is sapping confidence in the economy.

I mean, really. With such hopeless politicians and foolish, self-seeking voters, how can big business to get on with its job?

The incompetence and unworthiness around us is so disheartening. It's all we can do to get out of bed each day and collect our pay.