Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Australian Conservation Foundation's tricky maths

Reader ICW emails:
If you have the time or the inclination, I think it's worth a post on the "fossil fuel subsidy" canard that green groups regularly peddle, but which rarely gets corrected by the media.

The latest example is the ACF's Don Henry claiming that the fossil fuel industry gets $12b of subsidies.

If you click through to the accompanying document, it's clear the ACF's definition of a "subsidy" bears no resemblance to reality.

The biggest item is "Fuel tax rebates" ($4.99b). That's a deduction that any business which uses a vehicle is able to claim for the cost of using that vehicle - just like any other ordinary deductible item. How that constitutes a "subsidy" is beyond me.

The second biggest item is "Lack of indexation on fuel excise" ($3.235b). John Howard stopped indexing the fuel excise after the GST was introduced. Basically, what the ACF is re saying is that because an additional tax isn't levied on a particular class of business or fuel consumer, that's a subsidy to the fossil fuel industry!

The third biggest item is "FBT company car concession" ($1.11b). It's not a concession at all - it's one method of determining how FBT is levied on a company car so that an employer is taxed for a non-cash benefit provided to an employee.

I guess this sort of ignorance and/or deception is to be expected from environmentalists, but what gets my goat is that these claims get reported untested. Yet if the major parties are $1 out in their costings, they'll get hounded for weeks!

Chris Berg from the IPA has recently noted this deception, but it seems some in the media need re-education.
There's no point in re-writing points eloquently made by ICW.


Blogger Boy on a bike said...

I saw a similar report, prepared at the behest of Greenpeace I think, which claimed that the cost of congestion was in fact a subsidy for oil companies!

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simplest explanation: greenies are economic illiterates.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare you criticise the Gospel of The Church of the Latter Day Luddites?

Has anyone in the media ever queried whether professional political activists ,such as ACF should be accorded the benefits of a charitable organisation?

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Fred Furkenburger said...

Sadly what you seem to forget is that too many (particularly left) governments seem to condsider what you earn as "their" money. So anything which allows you to keep some of this money is seen as either a "cost" to the government or a subsidy from the government. Given the leftwing bias of most of the MSM then they will perceive these "subsidies" in the same light as the ACF thus demonstrating their own economic illiteracy.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous cohenite said...

Thanks for this; I've been meaning to take this bs to task for some time but other things pressed.

Basically the green luvvies are saying that business expenses are not legitimate tax deductions.

The difference such tax deductions and green energy subsidies is that green energy subsidies subsidise the non-production of wealth whereas tax deductions encourage the production of wealth.

The cognitive dissonated greens can't make such distinctions.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for this. It makes a handy list of all the Green programs we need to cut.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Greens could claim that Bob Brown was Jesus Christ and Julia Gillard was Mary Magdalene - and virtually all of the atheist Australian Press include the Fairfaux and their ABC would immediately kneel down and worship.

7:26 PM  

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