After a great speech I gave on the Gold Coast last Friday, I had a nice beach run and swim, escaping before the torrential rain hit. Then I joined a party of friends who celebrated their 150th birthday (combined!) and was besmirched on twitter by a Labor Party stooge or tribal fan.
I’d promised myself not to read the unfair tripe on twitter because there’s supportive stuff and smart stuff that makes me think. But I also do believe the William Blake observation that “without controversy, there’s no progress.” (That’s my modernisation of Blake’s line by the way)
On the flight up to the Gold Coast, I talked to a Queensland journo, who didn’t know me! She was involved in a women in media group and I filled her in about what I/we do and talked about the 47,000 who take our newsletter each morning. As we stood up to leave the plane, a delightful lady behind us introduced herself as one of the 47,000 who read this newsletter daily!
And in front of the journo, she threw in: “I think you’re the most objective commentator in the country who I read” or words to that effect. She might be a biased reader but it was nicer to hear her say that in front of a journalist!
I’d like to use that old line: “But this is not about me, what about you? What do you think about me?” However, this is about me and what I try to do and how I hate political stooges, second-rate thinkers and vindictive, gutless critics, who operate under a nom de plume, such as ‘hunchback’. In disguise, they think they can rip into me and accuse me of being a phoney and unethical without me returning fire.
It’s significant that I didn’t have any vicious criticism on twitter until I objectively revealed that Labor’s three policies (firstly, the ending of the tax refund for most retirees who invest in dividends; secondly, their negative gearing changes; and thirdly, their reduction of the capital gains tax discount from 50% to 25%) had bites that people need to be aware of.
I’m also concerned that the Government has shown itself as being close to hopeless at marketing or political campaigning. If you need proof, just look at the Wentworth by-election!
On negative gearing, the simple upshot of the policies, if they get through Parliament, will be to advantage homebuyers over home sellers. That’s the reason for it to help first homebuyers and upgraders compete better with property investors, who buy with a tax deduction. By the way, that will still apply under Labor for new properties and for positively-geared properties. And if you had a stable of properties, where some are positively geared and others are negatively geared, you’d be able to reduce your overall tax bill, as the rental losses on some properties would reduce the rental gains on other properties, so investors still would have a tax advantage.
On the retirees to lose tax refunds because they don’t pay income tax, it just seems unfair for a couple living on $50,000 a year to lose $15,000 worth of tax refunds, when previous governments encouraged them to invest in super for the future to get them off the pension. I’m sure the Parliament will make Labor put a cap on these refunds, for fairness sake.
On the capital gains discount, which I think is the biggie for investors, this simply needs to be explained, as it also applies to investors in shares and other assets, where holding these assets for a year or more brings a 50% discount when you sell them. This will drop to 25% and there’s no grandfathering here, unlike the negative gearing policy.
Grandfathering or letting property investors using negative gearing keep this tax benefit until they sell the asset is fair. But when they come to sell, because the asset will be less appealing to an investor, it’s likely less or no investors will show up, unless they can positively gear the property. And that will happen where they borrow money to buy the apartment and the interest will be a tax deduction but they will make more rent than their overall costs.
That said, there are less properties that people can access in that situation. The non-fake news conclusion has to be that Labor’s policies will hurt price growth and, in some cases, add to property price reductions.
If introduced three years ago, these policies would have been less impactful, with Sydney and Melbourne going through a huge boom. But Perth, Darwin and Brisbane would have hated it, as they were struggling with real estate prices at the time.
This chart shows what happened with property prices when Paul Keating killed negative gearing. There is analysis that says it wasn’t all caused by the policy change but the coincidence is hard to ignore.
The June 1985 house price slump was the second-biggest between 1960 and 2015.
Anyway, my basic job is to explain policy implications. But Labor Party stooges and/or fans think it’s OK to play the man rather than the issue/policy. But I won’t cop unfair reputation slagging.
One second-rater came up with this classic tweet: “Peter likes to funnel usually older Australians into his trap. Listen to any one of his TV/radio shows, people ring up for ‘advice’ and the answer usually is to talk to Switzer Home Loans or our dividend fund might be a good fit for you. He is not an economist, just a generic fool.”
The last line was harsh and when I replied with “That’s rude” and that my home loans are 3.89% and my defensive fund returned 11.7% grossed up in its first year, he came back with another classic that only a Labor Party stooge/social media honky is paid or committed to do.
“Got nothing to do with being rude” he or she wrote. It was clearly rude, as the words “generic fool” are definitely rude. He goes on: “Your tactics of playing the nice guy, proving the most basic information on national TV and radio, to lure in older generations is nothing short of misleading and unethical. Even this tweet you can’t help to promote yourself.”
After that I had to investigate “Humpback 43” and all his recent tweets screamed out that he was a bleeding heart leftie, who is enamoured with Labor. I have no problem with that but I don’t like being accused of being tactical in being a “nice guy”.
At the risk of being accused of being self-promotional (which I am because I employ over 50 people who need to be paid), I don’t get an ABC wage or get subsidies from the Tax Office apart from my negative gearing, I guess.
On my radio podcast, which I pay to produce and then provide free, I promote our 3.89% home loans, which have been lower than most lenders for years. We don’t fool borrowers by having a low headline rate and then add in fees so the comparison rate is actually higher. Humpback 43 sees that as unfairly promotional but he or she shows me what sometimes worries me about Labor: they don’t understand business.
I need business for my business to succeed. I pay journalists to write for my website. Lots of media outlets get me to do stuff and because they don’t want to pay, they allow me to promote my products/services.
However, my products aren’t rip-off ones. My financial planning business was so pure when a prominent business commentator tried to create a directory of planners, who charged flat dollar fees and rebated commissions like me, he could only find six in the country at the time so he dropped the idea!
I talk to older generations because they are more interested in wealth-building. But in my Yahoo columns, which talks to younger generations and even to my own Switzer Daily audience, I tell people that industry super funds have been the best and the cheapest.
I push my products because I’m in business but they are good, honest products. Recently, a retired couple who had sold their business for a few million wanted to put it all into our Switzer Dividend Growth Fund and I told them no. I told them they needed a more diversified investment mix and even though the fund is designed to be defensive and would in all likelihood be good in a crash, I wouldn’t simply flog my good product.
And ASIC doesn’t allow financial groups to put their clients into their products easily because it’s seen as a conflict of interest!
The only time I’m not seen as a nice guy is when my objective analysis upsets others who have a different view. A few years back, a well-known politician told me that he had told his wife that “Switzer was his own man” when it came to commentary. That man was Bill Shorten and the Labor Party hired me to interview Chris Bowen after a Budget reply, because they suspected I was objective, and I know my objectivity pissed off a few Labor stalwarts that night. But that’s the price you pay when you try to be objective.
The other price you pay is that one-eyed, second-rate thinkers believe they can throw mud at people like me and get away with it.
I’d never take it out on Labor because they have vindictive dopes like Humpback 43 working in disguise for them because plenty of Labor’s policies are good and fair. But I won’t back off explaining policies and how they will affect voters because that’s my job.
And I won’t stop being self-promotional while I have great products because that’s the job of every business owner who gives people jobs in this country.