It’s a pretty obvious loss of perspective at the AFR. Those article attacking the banking levy:
- Budget 2017: Ken Henry slams bank tax, budget strategy
- Bank tax worries investors of all kinds
- Voters fear they will pay for bank tax, claims Labor
- Scott Morrison adamant bank tax will start on July 1, despite ‘technical issues’
- Bank tax risks worsening housing cycle fallout
- Budget 2017: Super funds say bank tax will hit returns, dividends
- Bank ‘tax grab’ will spook investors: Don Argus, Alan Joyce, Andrew Thorburn
- Bank tax won’t hit investment returns: AustralianSuper
- Government bank tax may not collect $6 billion
- Bank tax is a populist whim
- Foreign, regional banks get free kick on bank tax
- Banks warn new tax creates many dangers for economy
- Malcolm Turnbull says bank tax has ‘far less’ impact than RBA rate hike
- CBA’s Ian Narev says ‘there’s no such things as absorbing’ the bank tax
- Westpac says impact of bank tax ‘uncertain’
- Arnhem’s Nathan says banks are no saints, but the tax is unfair
- Brian Hartzer says bank ‘stealth tax‘ will harm the economy
- Budget 2017: Treasury in the dark on Scott Morrison’s bank tax
- Budget 2017: Dismayed bank CEOs say shock ‘stealth tax‘ may weaken banks
- New bank tax like a tightening on monetary policy if passed on
- Budget 2017: Scott Morrison plans to impose a tax on bank liabilities
- A tax on five banks is ‘absolutely unfair’: Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted
- Budget 2017: Bank CFOs leave Treasury meeting with many questions unanswered
Those supporting it:
Does that look like fair and balanced coverage to you? Even The Australian noticed how good Chris Joye’s article in support of the levy was:
Yet they have a point on Scott Morrison’s 0.06 per cent bank levy. All the tabloids loved it — and who could fail to be amused by the Daily Telegraph headline on Thursday “What a bunch of bankers”.
The levy does have the look of the mining super profits tax about it and many suspect punishment for appointing former Queensland Labor premier Anna Bligh chief executive of the Australian Bankers Association. That and a bit of populist bank bashing to match Labor’s.
Best argument in favour of the levy, apart from budget repair, was made by Chris Joye in The Australian Financial Review on Friday. Joye noted the five banks to be slugged already benefited from an implied double upgrade by the ratings agencies on the back of assumed government guarantee of their solvency.
So is the era of deficit repair really over? I think not. If the economy manages to grow for another four or five years and voters stick with the Coalition rather than Labor, which now looks reckless in its attitude to spending, taxation of middle income PAYE taxpayers and anti-business company tax rhetoric, growth will take care of the deficit.
I am left to wonder though why so many media conservatives on radio and pay-TV rail so hard against deficit financing but give such enormous publicity to the crossbench independents who have since 2014 blocked budget repair. And as this paper’s Adam Creighton revealed last month and Bolt mentioned again on his Sky News program this week, with 60 per cent of households now receiving more from the government than they pay in tax, the system needs reform so voters do not simply opt for ever more spending financed by those few in society who actually pay for everything.
Yet the same piece did not even run in the printed AFR edition. A few points:
- banks are the paper’s biggest advertisers so some sympathy is inevitable but the above bald-faced bias?
- the paper has been doing quite well since Michael Stutchbury took over (Stutch). He is a graduate of the Murdoch school of business journalism which conflates private ownership with functional markets and often therefore subordinates market structure to individual business interests;
- however, that makes for dreadful business media, which relies upon objectivity to drive readership, so Stutch may be overreaching.
Get it together, AFR. The bank levy is a long overdue Piguvian tax that rectifies a dreadful market imbalance and public subsidy. If you’re in favour of liberalsim and functional markets then get behind it. Any other point-of-view is bought at the price of your own credibility.