Ross Gittins for the Sydney Morning Herald writes:
She didn’t put it this way, but the truth that tax “reform” has long been pushed by well-off men for their own benefit – and at the expense of less well-paid women – was demonstrated in a paper given at a tax conference last week by one of our leading tax economists, Professor Patricia Apps, of the University of Sydney Law School.
She showed how the Productivity Commission’s recent report finding there’d been no increase in inequality in recent decades rested on lumping couples’ incomes together, ignoring the difference in contributions by each partner and, in particularly, assuming that “home produced goods and services” – such as childcare, cooking or cleaning – make no contribution to the family’s standard of living, so can be ignored when they have to be bought in because both partners are working.
To be fair, the commission did its analysis the way it’s usually done. But that’s because such analysis is mainly done by men, to whom it never occurs to take account of home production.
The various tax changes we’ve had – which aren’t nearly enough to satisfy the tax reformers – have favoured (mainly male) high income-earners, without any sign it’s made them work more.
The people whose decisions about whether to leave the home to do paid work, or to move from part-time to full-time, are those most likely to be affected by the tax they have to pay, but are no better off and probably worse off.
No prize for guessing these are mainly women with children. All this is long known by true tax experts – but just as long ignored. Tax reform is a game for well-off men on the make. Wake me when the women take over.