We workers create the wealth Hockey and Abbott are redistributing to the rich
Joe Hockey has tried to find another angle to sell his bosses’
Budget. Now he is trying to win the sympathy of tax paying workers by
arguing that we workers work for a month to pay the taxes that provide
support for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the old, the young.
One obvious rejoinder is ‘Good.’ I am proud my taxes go in part to
supporting those less well off. I am pissed off that some goes in part
to subsidise the rich and capital, and war.
Another obvious response – see the meme above – is, well what about all those benefits that go to business?
There is another deeper response we on the Left should also make.
Where does all this income – profits, rents, dividends, interest, wages etc – and the taxes imposed on it, come from?
It is the wealth (or more precisely, in Marxist terms, the surplus
value) we workers create that we are talking about. It is ours. We
should decide where it goes, not the parliamentary popinjays of profit.
Attacking poor people and workers, which is what this Budget does,
is about transferring even more of the wealth or surplus value we create
to the bosses. The best way to stop that in the current circumstances
is at the point of production, that is, to win higher wages.
This is a point I make at length in my article Neoliberalism in Australia and the Henry Tax Review in (2013) 8(1) Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association 117.
The link to the full journal, not just my article, is here.