The Saturday Paper

How to fund services better


Cassandra Goldie is correct that “we cannot afford to run away from serious debate about how we will pay for the services we need” (“The dog that caught the car”, August 7-13). A serious debate requires an honest reckoning with how services are currently financed. The Morrison government’s budget reveals that taxes and other revenues will fall $106.6 billion short of covering services this year. Yet these services, though inadequate, will still be provided. The financing gap will be bridged ostensibly by “borrowing from the private sector”, but under current arrangemen­ts, the Reserve Bank buys back $5 billion in bonds each week. If directed, it could circumvent the private sector indefinite­ly. So too for tax. Progressiv­e taxation undergirds the good society, but the sooner we recognise government services can be untied from the tax take, the sooner we can fund services properly – and tax the rich regardless.

– Daniel De Voss, Zillmere, Qld

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