Make more money, give more money

By Ruth Limkin

I work for a non-profit charity and we need money to help people.

So, of course, I want successful companies to be generous and invest back into the communities around them.

But something didn’t seem right today when the Treasurer said BHP Billiton’s half-year profit of $10.51 billion was proof that we needed a super-profits tax.

Why does a company being successful mean that we should make them pay a higher percentage of tax? They are already paying more than many other companies because of the amount of tax they pay.

I was even less convinced when the graphic in this article showed that BHP’s profit could buy 21, 572 average Australian homes. After all, if one of our most successful companies can only buy 21,572 homes that doesn’t seem particularly extravagant.

How much money will we let Aussie companies make? The kind of sentiment expressed by the Treasurer today almost sounds as if we’re trying to encourage companies to stay mediocre by punishing them when they succeed.

To be honest, I want Australian companies to be stunningly successful, and post large profits. I also want them to be exceedingly generous and give large gifts to non-profits and community organisations. These aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

I suspect that more taxes aren’t the solution to alleviating poverty. Imagine instead if the government could provide incentives for companies to succeed and invest into communities, so that together, we can all work to build individuals and strengthen families.

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ruth@ruthlimkin.com

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