If you wish to progress, you need to be progressive

Letter to the editor

[Forum] As a lucky country and a smart country, we seem to be intent on shooting ourselves in the feet on both counts.

At least with our political system, we have the option of changing our stodgy representatives occasionally. Not all politicians are stodgy of course, but the current party systems encourage the progress of complying hacks, rather than intelligent progressives not shackled to ideological extremes. If you wish to progress, then you need to be progressive. Does your current representative present any original thoughts of their own on an issue, or do they merely parrot political points written by backroom staffers? The taxation system is at the centre of any country’s distribution and use of the country’s wealth. One aspect of our tax system is our treatment of home ownership and property investment. As a home owning, selffunded, retiree, I feel I can comment on this area.

It is self-evident that people who retire owning their own home are in a much more comfortable personal and fi nancial position than renters. To me, this means that policies to encourage this are justifi ed as improving lifestyles and reducing public expenditure on public housing and rental subsidies. I do not believe that preferential tax treatment should be extended to investment properties. These should be taxed like any other investment. Capital gains tax and negative gearing are separate issues. The scare tactics of the property industry over Labor’s negative gearing proposals are just that, self-serving scare tactics.

The extreme rise of our housing prices have certainly boosted the assets of those of us who have been in the market for a while, but it certainly is not boosting the social cohesion of future generations locked out. Individuals and businesses, both large and small, benefi t most when a society is stable and prosperous, and should be prepared to pay their proper dues to sustain this. Social harmony requires, amongst other things, people in stable jobs, in stable housing (whether owned or rented), government keeping appropriate control over public services, and keeping close control over rent seeking by privileged groups (lots of inequities here favouring high income earners). Do we wish to leave a better place than we inherited? So how about some longer term considerations from our current generation and politicians?

Email, Oct 21 R Ashcroft, Green Point