Is Malcolm Turnbull losing the plot?

The Age reports that Malcolm Turnbull said Labor’s negative gearing policy: “…is an assault on private enterprise, it’s an assault on economic freedom,” Mr Turnbull said. He said the totality of Labor’s proposal was “so much more extreme” than that modelled by (the now discredited) BIS Shrapnel report.

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 Limit negative gearing, you’ve got to be joking

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce went further, accusing Mr Bowen of practising “Zoolander economics” and orchestrating a “complete re-engineering of the Australian economy”.

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 You would have to be worried with a man like this watching your back

 Well Barnaby, if Chris Bowen can completely re-engineer the Australian economy, he should almost certainly be Treasurer.  The current bloke doesn’t seem to be able to do much.

The problem for Malcolm Turnbull in defending negative gearing is that anyone who understands how it works, knows he’s wrong and those who don’t understand it, may not care.

Turnbull’s political gamble is that he hopes the people who don’t understand it will respond to his scare campaign. It worked for Tony Abbott with the mining tax and with the carbon tax. Unfortunately, the Australian taxpayer will pay a high price for these two disastrous decisions. The Australian taxpayer will continue to pay a high price for the tax benefits of negative gearing for high income earners

It’s interesting that Turnbull completely ignores the benefits of reducing negative gearing: increased revenue flow for the Federal government.

But the fundamental question about negative gearing is whether the Australian taxpayers should subsidise the investment decisions of a small group of wealthy investors.

The answer that question would be very simple if the option were to be “Abolish negative gearing for the few, and have tax cuts for all.”

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