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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: U.S. lawmakers should learn from Aussies

- - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A new conservative Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, will cut taxes to boost his country's ailing economy, scrap the unpopular carbon tax on emissions, curb the rising tide of asylum seekers and continue the pro-American foreign-policy tilt of recent decades ("Cooling off Down Under," Comment & Analysis, Sept. 13).

For more than a decade, until 2007, Australia had one of the most successful conservative governments. In that year, conservatives lost to leftist Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party. Mr. Rudd took over the country and ran it into the ground. He destroyed the economy with leftist "green" ideas and big-government tax-and-spend policies — until he got fired last week by the voters.

There is a lesson here for U.S. Democrats: Beware of faddish politics of climate change. Labor in Australia won a majority in 2007 at the height of the global elite's drive to impose cap-and-trade and other anti-carbon policies. Mr. Rudd passed a windfall-profits tax on mining companies and a carbon tax to pretend to do something about global warming.

A carbon tax may sound good to liberal economists, but has proved to be bad politics. If Republicans want to think about doing that, they better eliminate the income and/or payroll tax at the same time. Otherwise, voters will see through the scheme and throw them out.

Voters are looking for leaders who have solid principles and stick to those principles. Mr. Abbott was successful because he ran on restoring the economy to the prosperity known before leftist statism, especially restoring labor-market rules that made it easy to hire and fire workers. Since the economic crisis of 2008 (caused by leftist giveaway programs of money and houses along with overspending), much of the West ran to big-government liberals like President Obama and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Last week, however, Australia demonstrated the great foresight, after seeing economic disaster after disaster, to pull back from socialism. The center-right politicians of America and Europe should now learn from Mr. Abbott and do what he did to restore freedom and prosperity.

LT. COL. DOMINIK NARGELE

U.S. Marines (Retired)

Arlington