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ralph_cassar
Ralph Cassar

Consistency… always

AD candidate Ralph Cassar writes: Weak public services will mean a weaker society, but maybe that is what those who espouse the neoliberal model of the market as the arbiter of everything

ralph_cassar
Ralph Cassar
18 May 2017, 12:59pm
A flat tax, such as VAT, means that whatever your means, you pay the same rate of tax
A flat tax, such as VAT, means that whatever your means, you pay the same rate of tax
When Busuttil and Muscat speak about taxation, as if there is no limit below which they can be lowered, they are either failing to mention that they will tax other forms of capital, raise VAT or come up with new sources of revenue, such as for example introducing local fees for services i.e. waste collection, parking charges and other fees, or else they are playing a very dangerous game. By all means let us discuss the taxation system – but the whole system and underlying ideology behind the system must be discussed. The piecemeal, election mode approach is irresponsible and a huge insult to the discerning voter.

Yes, it is possible to reduce income tax – up till now those who benefitted most were those with higher incomes. But a serious and wide ranging discussion, away from elections is necessary. Income tax is inherently fair – the rate depends on the level of income. A flat tax, such as VAT, means that whatever your means, you pay the same rate of tax. That’s why, for example it would be fairer if luxury goods are taxed at a higher rate than normal, necessary everyday products. I can already hear some of you objecting. But the truth is that something’s got to give. Reducing revenue from income tax will mean raising income from somewhere else. And that somewhere else should be from those who have the means to contribute more to society.

The idea of shifting tax from work onto pollution is a Green idea. The philosophy behind this is that as technology is making a host of activities less labour intensive, hiring workers should be made more attractive. A lower income tax is effectively a pay rise. Taxing polluting activities instead while ensuring a source of income to support a functioning society, would also serve as an incentive for the development of sustainable practices, in manufacturing, transportation, construction and so on. Here again, as income from one source diminishes, income from new and different sources is a must. It is a must for those of us who believe in strong, effective and modern public services – from the national health service, without which even the better off would find themselves destitute over night should they need expensive health care services, to the public education system, from childcare to primary schools and secondary schools with adequate resources, to higher education institutions.

Make no mistake, those who will suffer most when public services do not work well, when public services are lacking or are scaled back, apart from the poor, are those who earn a modest average salary, like most people do. They will find themselves struggling to make ends meet. Weak public services will mean a weaker society, but maybe that is what those who espouse the neoliberal model of the market as the arbiter of everything. The logic of the market, in everything and for everything must be resisted.

***

I will not repeat my or AD’s position about hunting. It is well known. However, I cannot but mention the pathetic spectacle of Simon Busuttil and Joseph Muscat falling over each other to please strong and arrogant lobbies at the expense of everyone else. 

This is environmentalist’s Tolga Temuge’s comment on Facebook regarding Simon Busuttil’s eulogy of hunting and hunters: “Before the spring hunting referendum, he told the BirdLife director at the time that he was against spring hunting but conservationists did not want the issue to be politicized and asked him to remain silent… He then went public stating that he would vote in favour of spring hunting. Now he tells his coalition partners that he will not allow spring hunting if he is elected Prime Minister but again goes public in favour of spring hunting.”

A case of telling different audiences different things. Another case of inconsistency and hypocrisy. But that is what you get when you vote as you always have. You get a Simon Busuttil who unashamedly changes his tune according to his audience. You get Joseph Muscat who preaches ‘Taghna Lkoll’, but instead he continues the ‘taghhom biss’ mindset he inherited from his Nationalist predecessors. You can send a strong message by voting AD. A message that you are fed up with a system which has failed yet again. A system that promises change but in which everything remains the same. Vote Green, vote clean.

Ralph Cassar is Alternattiva Demokratika’s secretary general and will be contesting the 7th and 11th electoral districts  

[email protected]

ralph_cassar
Ralph Cassar is secretary-general of Alternattiva Demokratika and Attard local councillor
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