July 22, 2024

Not in America

There has been some extraordinary news recently that has received very little attention in the United States or coverage by our news media. For the past two months, Australia has experienced cataclysmic flooding. The most devastated region was the State of Queensland where an area the size of France AND Germany, or larger than the State of Texas, was underwater! Imagine that!

Infrastructure, crops, homes, schools, businesses were destroyed in a State representing 20% of the nation’s economy. Thirty-five people died. 5% of the world’s steelmaking coal exports have been removed from the world market. Soon after Queensland, the States of Victoria and New South Wales were also ravaged by flooding.

So, the first extraordinary news is that one of our closest allies has been flooding for two months and most Americans know very little about it.

The second bit of news should be at least as extraordinary to Americans. The Prime Minister and Federal Parliament announced yesterday a one-time tax levy designed to cover some of the reconstruction costs incurred by the floods. Australians earning between $50,000 and $100,000 per year will be assessed an additional 0.5 percent of their income. Australians earning more than $100,000 per year will pay an additional 1% of their income to contribute towards the massive rebuilding costs.

Australians earning less than $50,000/year OR who were victims of the flooding pay nothing.

Imagine that happening in the United States of America? Our infrastructure is crumbling and our neighbors are in need. Should the Congress decides to raise taxes for the common good? Fuggetaboutit!

Hell, we just gave an estate tax bonanza of $25,000,000,000 to 6,000 rich families and extended tax cuts to millionaire and billionaires who use teams of accountants and off-shore accounts to avoid paying taxes in the first place.

If a great American city is wiped out by a flood, we wait until Leighton Meester holds a telethon or Justin Bieber organizes a bake sale. Quick! Call a Kardashian! Surely, Jessica Simpson can save the day!

Government is to be avoided at all costs. Charity uber alles!

Last night, I was listening to the BBC coverage of the Aussie flood tax levy and the program interviewed an economist from the Westpac Bank (a major Australian bank). He casually referred to a person earning $150,000 per year as HIGH INCOME! President Obama is attacked  for attempting to define $250,000 as the upper limit of being MIDDLE CLASS! The American mythology causes voters to act against their own self-interest based on the fantasy that we will each be a billionaire any day now.

2 thoughts on “Not in America

  1. I agree, Gary, $150 K is high income. There’s been mixed response to the Government’s proposed flood levy – an interesting reaction I read in several letters to the editor in the Adelaide Advertiser was a feeling was an affront to Aussie generosity! Several writers said that they had already given generously and that was akin to the government not trusting Aussies to help out their fellow citizens. I myself will happily pay the levy – 0.5 % is a very small ask. – I think it will amount to about $400 in my own circumstance. I too am amazed that the floods have received little coverage in your media. I suppose the flooding in Brazil (with significantly greater loss of life) probably got even less coverage. Kind of ironic considering how much US news gets broadcast here.

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