It’s not intergenerational theft




Greedy pigs on the cover of the Grattan Institute report


Catallaxy Files – Judith Sloan

20 August, 2016

Grace Collier is completely on the money to call out the Grattan Institute for releasing tacky, biased pap and using cheap undergraduate humour to make its point.  A picture of pigs with their snouts in the trough as representing people who have worked hard and saved according to the applicable superannuation rules.

In its campaign to impose higher taxation in order to fund bigger government, the Grattan Institute has come out with some completely loony proposals ($11,000 annual concessional contributions cap –  is this a joke?) dramatically to increase taxation on superannuation, proposals which have appealed to our left-leaning government.

Read my lips: we don’t have age-based taxation.  Current income is taxed in the same way irrespective of age.  The taxation of savings is another matter and every economist (not that Daley is not an economist) knows that savings need to be taxed in a different way from current income – apart from the little twinks at Grattan.  (Wood should know better, by the way.)

(What’s that you say?  The pigs are actually the staff at the Grattan Institute who have their snouts in the trough courtesy of two Labor governments just giving away taxpayer money ($30 million) without any competition and with nary a proposal as the ends to which the monies would be put.)

Here’s the key section of Grace’s piece:

Most MPs don’t understand their own policy, let alone where it came from — a publicly funded left-wing think tank, the Grattan Institute.

Its report Super Tax Targeting is sexist and ageist. It urges the government to take money off “rich old men” who don’t need it and are committing “intergenerational theft” anyway via their superannuation accounts.

Further, self-funded retirees should be aware the authors of the report — John Daley, Brendan Coates and Danielle Wood — regard them as greedy pigs. Look at the report’s cover, pictured [above].

Sceptics who doubt the Liberals would be so foolish as to adopt the institute’s leftist agenda should seek out the report on Google and read just the first page.

Back in June, when a public furore broke out about the policy, the institute put out a media release by Daley and Coates. It was titled “Tax-free super is intergenerational theft” and said: “A number of politicians have struggled this week to explain the Turnbull government’s proposed changes to superannuation … this complexity explains why intergenerational ‘theft’ through superannuation has continued for so long. No one has ever explained why we should have an age-based tax system … some of these voters are now objecting vociferously to losing their privileges but they were never justified in the first place.”

I sent off emails asking the Coalition powers-that-be to deny their superannuation policy was based on or informed by the report, and whether they deny meeting the authors. The Treasurer and Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer declined to offer a denial and sent back a statement saying they talked to everyone.

The Grattan Institute was formed in 2008 and $30 million of taxpayer funds has been given to it.

It is housed in taxpayer-funded accommodation at the University of Melbourne and is crammed to the rafters with ex-Labor staff. All of this, in itself, is not such a bad thing. What is life without diversity? We can’t all be productive members of society. But the problem is that a body such as this shouldn’t be setting Coalition policy.

How on earth did this happen? Who knows, but the PM and his wife are listed on the “Friends of Grattan” web page as individual financial supporters. Further, Lucy Turnbull has been on the board since December 2012. So in the absence of any other rational explanation for the Liberals’ superannuation madness, there is always that.