Enemies? Bowen needs to get to know Labor’s friends

Enemies? Bowen needs to get to know Labor’s friends, by Nick Cater. Australian property prices to be guided down by the next federal government?

A fortnight ago, [opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen] was claiming that winding back negative gearing and capital gains concessions would make housing more “affordable”, a euphemism for cheaper.

“What we’ve consistently said is that this was a policy designed to put downward pressure on housing,” he said on January 8.

When Shorten was asked last week if the measures would reduce house prices, however, he backed away. “No, it won’t,” he said. “Let’s be clear about that.”

The Opposition Leader’s predicament suggests one of two things: either he is unable to listen to wise advice, or there is a lack of wise advice to which he can listen. …

One person’s unaffordable dream is another person’s nest egg, and Labor needs both votes. … Someone should have told Bill Shorten that a promise to impose new taxes is no way to endear oneself to voters. No opposition leader since John Hewson has given his opponents so much delicious material to play with. …

The old economic fallacies are still trotted out by ideologues:

Bowen once believed that economic growth was fuelled not by governments but by the energy of an entrepreneurial middle class. Now he too has fallen for the fallacy of “inclusive growth”, an ungrounded theory that stealing from the idle rich and giving to the poor boosts the economy.

His first mistake is to believe there is such a class as the idle rich who stuff their money selfishly and unproductively under their beds, rather than put it to work in investments that generate jobs while self-provisioning for a comfortable retirement. His second error is to assume there is enough of them to provide the hundreds of billions of dollars Labor needs to fund its spending programs.

His third error might be called the chimera of the serene slaughterhouse, the belief that the pork can be extracted without having pigs squeal.

Bowen may well be right to claim that half the negatively geared property is owned by the top 10 per cent of income earners.

So what? The price of admission to the top-income decile in Australia is a disposable income of barely more than $1700 a week or $91,000 a year. …

The [2016 Australian Election Study] found 16 per cent of those who voted for Shorten’s Labor at the 2016 election owned investment property, compared to 13 per cent of Green voters and 26 per cent of Coalition voters. …

Whoever devised Labor’s punish-the-rich campaign failed to recognise how widespread investment property and share ownership has become.

Or how new Labor has become the party of the well-off, especially of the PC ones. Think of bureaucrats, media types, academics, virtue signalers, consultants, doctor’s wives, greens, etc. As a class, they switched from voting non-Labor to new Labor over the last three decades, once Labor dropped the working class and pursued the interests of this class of people — the very class that nearly all modern Labor politicians are drawn from.

There are only two ways I can see that Labor can lose the upcoming election. They are if the electorate gets the impression that Labor will allow illegal immigration to start up again (like it did under Rudd), or that they will crash property prices (as yet without precedent). The media will work hard to protect Labor by preventing these impressions from taking hold before the election.