A CE who asserts his or her authority on any major initiative only stirs up legislators. Real achievement is invariably frustrated. It is inherent in the system.
Thus I don't put great store by the manifestoes of the four largely identical government servants who have so far declared, "Me, me, pick me! I want to drink the poison."
But I think John Tsang was particularly muddle-headed in advocating a two-tier tax regime.
It implies a moral judgment – Big Corporation bad; Small & Medium Enterprise good.
It is a commonly held opinion but I expect a former financial secretary to consider it a little more closely than a placard waver would.
Try to imagine a small and medium international airline, one that employs only 25 people, or does less than HK$1 million of business a year. Try think of a bank like that. The United States had such banks in the 1930s and hundreds of them went bust.
More from the South China Morning Post:
John Tsang touts tax breaks for SMEs, allowance for low-income families
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Developers blinkered into viewing parks as simply cash cows
Alternatively try to imagine a big corporation in home renovations or hair styling. It just doesn't fit. The best size of any corporation is largely determined by the business it is in.
I think it offensive, in fact, to cast aspersions on my grocer because he is employed in a supermarket chain. This is what a two-tier tax system would do, however, by taxing that supermarket more heavily. Does Mr Tsang really think it better that I should always pay higher prices for toothpaste in a commercially less efficient mom'n'pop shop?
This is not to mention that government itself generally prefers dealing with bigger corporations. They accommodate themselves better to regulatory oversight.
Government may talk small but it likes big.
And think of the muddled definitions that such a two-tier system would introduce. Profit is an accounting convention, not a hard fact like a five-dollar coin. That's why the longest statement in any set of accounts is the one on principal accounting policies.
Set a maximum profit limit for SMEs and you will find a curiously large number of them reporting just less than that limit every year.