Sunday, 2 December 2007

Taxing times

I've always been in favour of tax, much as I've always been in favour of taxidermy. Any system that can redistribute wealth and fund the ABC's screening of the National Chess Championship and embalm one's late ocelot for the benefit of posterity gets my full and unreserved support. Actually, scrap that about taxidermy. Taxidermy can get stuffed. (No! Me? Plagiarise a pun? Surely not.) Meanwhile, seeing we're qualifying, let's just amend my enthusiasm for tax and say that there are taxes (like income-indexed income tax) and then there are taxes (like the medicare levy surplus), and some of them (like income-indexed income tax) are good and right, as, by the way, are mangoes, puppies and well-turned rhyming couplets, but some of them (like the medicare levy surplus, which you don't have to pay if you get private health insurance, even if the cost of your private health insurance is less than the tax would be) are wicked and perverse, like black puddings, intestinal parasites, and sentences of undue convolution. These taxes, the wicked and perverse ones, are used to persuade high income earners to fling their money at private health insurers rather than giving it to the government, whence it could funnel into the public health system. Another thing: I prefer being taxed when I suspect my money's being spent on walking frames, Bogong moth husbandry, and maths teachers; I'm altogether less enthusiastic about being taxed when I suspect the dosh of which I've been brief custodian turns into landmines, prime-ministerial eyebrow pruning, and concentration camps for refugees.

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