I was at the usual shop picking up lunch when I ran into some people I always meet. One of them said he was thinking of voting for the Greens. The other was a gnarled mechanic in overalls saying the Greens want to bring in death duties. I interjected, “well why not?”
“Kerry Packer said why should his family give up money so you can misuse it?” the older guy retorted.
“For the common good. That’s why. I mean Jamie Packer didn’t exactly work for that money. Why the hell should he get such a big head start in life on account of his dad being obscenely rich?”
“Yeah but if my mum dies and she leaves half a million, why should the government tax that?”
“For the common good.”
“…But they’ll only waste that.”
“…and you’d only sit on it for you own pleasure. How’s that helping anybody? If it’s all the same, the 15% they would take from it would be put to better use than you sitting on it,” I offered. “I mean, you didn’t earn it. Your mum did; and when she goes, she can’t take it with her, so a portion may as well go to the state, because the state probably looked after her as much as you with its hospitals and doctors and nurses.”
You should have seen the guy’s expression. He was apoplectic with rage. I said, “mate, don’t worry. I think they should tax everybody more, but that’s just me. We don’t pay enough taxes as it is and we wonder why our hospitals are clogged with waiting lists.”
He looked even angier.
“I mean, tax everybody. Who really cares?” I continued. “The money you get taxed, do you really miss it? There’s still enough for you to pay your bills and pay your rent and still have a drink with your mates. I mean what were you going to do with it that was going to change other people’s lives? That’s what governments do, so give them what they need.”
“…But they’ll waste it,” he offered again. “That’s what governments do. They waste it.”
“What? On hospitals and ambulances and police and emergency rescue workers and all that? Roads and trains and water and sewerage treatment and electricity? How about schools for kids, day care centres for infants and libraries and colleges and TAFE? Apprenticeship schemes where you got your training, it’s all a waste is it?”
“Bullshit mate,” he snarled, grabbed his lunch, and stormed out. Couldn’t say I blamed him. I’d hate to be harangued by me while picking up my lunch too.
The first guy said, “I’ve been back to Greece and when you go to the country side, they have nothing. No roads, no schools, no sewerage or running water. It’s like medieval times. They don’t even know about taxes. Never even heard of the idea, let alone paid it. And the place is so backwards and they wonder why. So yeah, taxes are fine by me,” he said.
Apparently, that’s the way things are in the spiritual home of democracy and a country racked with sovereign debt issues.
So vote green, peeps! Vote for higher taxes for the rich. Get a little Bolshy. Higher taxes never killed anybody.