Sent: 16-11-2010 11:48:07
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Conrad Black's Interesting Ideas
Many of you will know of Conrad Black. For reasons that are not important here he spent more than two years in a US gaol but has been released after successfully appealing some aspects of the criminal case against him. The case has returned to the Courts and he is currently out on bail.
Black is a newspaper man from way back and certainly knows how to write. He pens regular opinion columns for a Toronto daily which he used to own.
In one of his latest columns he reminded me of two points he had made before which are worth some consideration:
- "if Paraguay decreed that everyone in the country must write a poem and sell it to someone else, so each adult citizen buys and sells ten poems a day for $100 each, each day for a year, the country would have the highest per capita income in the world and the fifth largest economy in the world. This, of course, would be a fraud, but there is an element of this in the colossal income of the financial and other service industries of the U.S., including most aspects of law and consulting, that represent hard work and ingenuity, but little productive work.
- "the [US] tax system should incentivize consumer debt-reduction. And income disparities should be approached at least preliminarily by anti-poverty measures, starting with a modest wealth tax on the genuinely affluent, that would be paid toward poverty-reduction or job-creation measures that could be selected by those paying the tax. This tax would be self-reducing as defined poverty was reduced, and would give the ablest financial minds in the country a role in poverty reduction. The wealthy would have an interest in the elimination of poverty: to reduce their own taxes."
I don't think either of these ideas will ever get much of a run in Australia. Nonetheless they are good issues which deserve some thought.
In relation to the second point I quoted above some might argue that we already have the mechanisms in place with the private charitable trusts that can be created. To some extent this is true but I think Black's idea extends much further than such trusts. The trick with something like this would be the make the tax high enough so that the "genuinely affluent" actually have enough of an incentive to begin programs to reduce poverty. You'd also need a good independent basis to measure progress.
Finally please consider purchasing a copy of "A How To Book Of Self Managed Super Funds". You can look at the contents page at the following link: http://www.atcbiz.com.au/r.php?r=0mjd6ne
The 3rd edition was released a few weeks ago.
For details of the changes made from version 2 to version 3 visit: http://www.http://www.atcbiz.com.au/r.php?r=7aj5d3d
There have been many changes to this book. Version 3.0 contains over 30 pages of new material.
This update has taken longer than I would like however I have been delayed due to a frustratingly steady stream of political policy announcments, review documents and the release of various ATO documents.
Two purchase options are available - once only subscription - $55 inc GST - or an annual subscription will gives you access to all the updates made throughout the year ($120 inc GST). The book can be purchased at the following link: http://www.atcbiz.com.au/r.php?r=5a4agqb
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