A few days ago, the Menzies House team put up a quick website expressing our concern at the macroeconomic implications of Julia Gillard’s plan to increase taxation at a particularly volatile time for the Australian economy, specifically noting the negative effects it would have upon aggregate demand as consumption declines, and that this would lead invariable to business reducing expenditure to recoup lost revenue through reducing employment, which in turn would lead to further downward pressure upon consumption, and economic growth spiraling downwards. Of course, we supported the reconstruction efforts – how could you not? – and indeed encouraged charitable donations, but the argument rested upon the most effective fiscal response.
We specifically framed our argument in as broad a way as possible, and in such a way to bring in not only the more free-market argument against it, but also the numerous Keynesian critiques from the left; although our obvious preference is that reconstruction be paid for through redirecting other government expenditure (such as scrapping the White Elephant NBN), to try to be as cross-partisan as possible, we also included the possibility of financing through government borrowing and stressed affects on AD.
Now, obviously we expected a bit of pushback both from Labor hacks, and from people who don’t understand economics, don’t understand how decisions are made on the margin, don’t understand aggregate effects saying “but $5 a week won’t change my spending, I can afford it”. Which is quite okay, there are a lot of economically illiterate people around, and the fault lies with the education system, not with them.
What I did not expect, however, was waking up to this:
I am laying down five thousand dollars to whoever does a hit on any of the owners of this webpage.
Or to to receive well over 100 emails and messages and facebook comments calling me a “f**khead”, a “c**t”, telling me I ought “swing from a tree”. Indeed, I, Chris (who should be enjoying his well-deserved holiday right now and instead is holed up in a backpacker’s hostel netcafe somewhere) and John (whose uninsured house itself was destroyed by 1.7m of floodwater) have been forced to deal with a torrent of vitriol and abuse on fb after Young Labor directed their members to attack the page, the majority of whom didn’t even bother critiquing the argument, and simply engaged in, well, abuse.
To stress: this was all triggered not by my saying all Queenslanders should suffer, nor even by my arguing against government spending, but simply my questioning the precise nature how these were financed.
Now, as someone who has been through the fire of student politics, believe me, I can deal with this easily – I’ve certainly had a lot worse thrown at me, and my skin is not particularly thin. And, to be honest, I’m kinda flattered by a site that was just set up warning people about how “dangerous” I am (although I really wish they’d be accurate and call me libertarian right, not religious right).
But, considering the nature of political discourse here in the last few few weeks, the next time a leftist hack dares to complain to about civility on the right, I will, very politely, very civilly, tell him exactly where he can go shove it.
Tags: Stop The Levy