The Flawed Economics of Cutting Penalty Rates

It was a "sleeper" issue in the recent election, and led to the defeat of some high-profile Liberal candidates.  But now the debate over penalty rates for work on weekends and public holidays shifts to the Fair Work Commission.  The economic arguments in favour of cutting penalties (as advocated by lobbyists for the retail and hospitality sectors) are deeply flawed.

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Looking for "Jobs and Growth": Six Infographics

We have prepared six shareable infographics based on material in our research paper, "Jobs and Growth... and a Few Hard Numbers," which compared Australia's economic performance under the respective postwar Prime Ministers.

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Jobs and Growth... and a Few Hard Numbers

Voters typically rank economic issues among their top concerns.  And campaigning politicians regularly make bold (but vague) pronouncements regarding their competence and credibility as “economic managers.”  In popular discourse, economic “competence” is commonly equated with being “business-friendly.”

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6 Reasons to Be Skeptical of Debt-Phobia

By Jim Stanford, May 2 2016

In the lead-up to tomorrow’s pre-election Commonwealth budget, much has been written about the need to quickly eliminate the government’s deficit, and reduce its accumulated debt.  The standard shibboleths are being liberally invoked: government must face hard truths and learn to live within its means; government must balance its budget (just like households do); debt-raters will punish us for our profligacy; and more.  Pumping up fear of government debt is always an essential step in preparing the public to accept cutbacks in essential public services.   And with Australians heading to the polls, the tough-love imagery serves another function: instilling fear that a change in government, at such a fragile time, would threaten the “stability” of Australia’s economy.

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State Income Taxes Would Promote Inequality and Debt

by Jim Stanford, April 5 2016

The latest “big idea” on tax policy from the Coalition government is to grant independent income tax powers to the states.  This would be accompanied by a devolution of funding responsibility for big-ticket services like health care, hospitals, and schools.  Prime Minister Turnbull argues that forcing state governments to raise the money they spend will lead to more accountability and efficiency in public service delivery.  And it’s a politically convenient response to the demands from states for more revenues: “If you need it so much, go out and raise it yourself.”

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