Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Level Paying Fields

Australia does not subsidize their farmers like the EU and the US do and it is a great source of angst when one is trying to be competitive on the world stage.

Australia does though subsidize many industries, including agriculture, through direct investment, tax breaks for the film industry, items like the diesel fuel rebate for mining and agriculture, subsidies like the one that was implemented to "save" the sugar industry or to compensate dairy farmers when faced with deregulation after a 10 year warning that it would occur, import duties which affect any number of industries. There are also incentives for manufacturing, technology and education industries, to name but a few.

And is landcare a subsidy or an investment? I think it would depend on your "green" credentials. And is government "incentives" for the car industry in South Australia self-serving? I think it depends on whether you are one of the workers or not.

I am not arguing that this is right or wrong - it just is, a reality of the global world that we live in. And it could be argued that is still doesn't compete with the direct subsidies given to US or UK farmers (I am not even getting into French farmers lol). And it is difficult to compete financially with, say, Asian economies where the wages and standard of living is so much less than our. Layer onto that the requirements of various trade agreements we have entered into (is there any other way of describing the one with the US as "we got screwed" and everyone involved should be in sack cloth and ashes and tried as a traitor") which require a minimization of trade sanctions. And trying to play a "level playing field" when no one else is is self-defeating at the best of times.

So while it is important to acknowledge that we perhaps subsidize less than out international competitors, I think it is equally important to acknowledge that many, many industries are subsidized. So while we debate the pros and cons of a super-profits tax on the mining of our natural resources, keep in mind that many industries are dependent on government protection funds for their success.

One way or another, the taxpayer always pays ....

Image: "Wheat" by Konijntje

2 comments:

pita-woman said...

For every viable arguement "for" something, there seems to be an equally viable arguement "against" it as well.
Sometimes we choose sides and do what we feel is right. Other times, you just try to stay neutral and let the others hash it out and hope the outcome is in our favor.
Taxes suck, yet seem to be a necssary evil, if only to line the pockets of those politicians who otherwise couldn't find employement.
Sorry, I think I was rambling there.

Mountaingirl said...

No more rambling than I was. :-)

One day I am going to find a topic to contemplate that has an easy solution, nice and black and white. So much easier to agree or disagree with a situation like that. If only i could find one lol