The garbage that the Coalition government spouts about the ‘inaccuracies’ in the now famous article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s economics correspondent Emma Alberici is appalling. The article, published on February 15th, 2018, was entitled “There’s no case for a corporate tax cut when one in five or Australia’s top companies don’t pay it”. It began by stating that there is “no compelling evidence that giving the country’s biggest companies a tax cut sees that money passed on to workers in the form of higher wages. Treasury modelling relies on theories that belie the reality that’s playing out around the world. Since the peak of the commodities boom in 2001-2012, profit margins have risen to levels not seen since the early 2000s but wages growth has been slower than at any time since the 1960s”1,2.
These were the main points of the article and the reason the government got particularly agitated about it was because it demonstrated that large corporate tax cuts do not lead to increased wages, nor increased employment. This was just when the government was spruiking the benefits of massive corporate tax cuts. They say they cannot afford to increase the pension significantly, nor can they increase the unemployment allowance (Newstart)3, but they can afford tax cuts of many billions to large corporations. Unfortunately for the government, they couldn’t get these tax cuts through the Senate and in admission of failure and of its electoral unpopularity, they caved in and dropped the proposal, not long before they dumped Malcolm Turnbull.
An example of the apoplexy of the corporate class to Alberici’s articles can be found in the Financial Review where, in a very poorly (and presumably hastily) written piece4, Aaron Patrick apparently picks up nine errors in an article on corporate tax avoidance5. However, all the ‘errors’ are of little consequence to the main thrust of Alberici’s article; that many large corporations pay little or no tax. This has been published elsewhere to little complaint, mostly because the data comes from the tax office6. The reason for this is that among the corporate class, the ABC is the enemy, and it must be damaged at every opportunity. The corporate class is aided and abetted in this exercise by the Coalition government, who have cut budgets, complained, and ridiculed the organisation at every opportunity. It must be disturbing for them that it remains one of the most trusted institutions7, whereas politicians are some of the most distrusted people in the nation8. This is unsurprising given their propensity to utter so many bald-faced lies, especially about the ABC.