A Tale of Two Privileges.

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, September 16th, 2017 - 72 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy, liberalism, Politics - Tags: , ,

From my perspective, what follows represents the ground on either side of a deliberate fissure or divide or fracture in NZ society/culture that’s been brought about by the fear that is an inevitable political component of Liberal economic ideology.

Theotherside’s original comment and responses to it.

“Hi Michelle,

Just as per your situation I would like to offer mine, maybe some understanding will help all of us.

We are “rich pricks”, with our household bringing in 112 000 a year before tax.

That sounds awesome hey? We get 2150 a week!
Then we pay 500 a week tax, leaving 1650.

But since we are rich pricks we are not allowed any help or any discount, except the 20 hours a week childcare from 3 years old.

Currently childcare is a whopping 465 a week for us!
That leaves a bit under 1200 a week.

We need to pay our own rent, get nor housing supplement or discount, or pay our own mortgage, mortgage for a 500K loan gets us a 3 bed, 1 bath 90 square old damp cold house.

That mortgage cost us a bit over 600 a week, leaving 600. Yes we could rent better for roughly the same, but that is not the point.

Then we have insurance and rates, at another 100 a week. we are left with 500 now.

Cellphone, internet and power is another 150 a week. We are down to 350 now.

Petrol and car rego etc is another 100 a week.

We literally cannot afford Sky TV.

We are left with 250 a week, living a a 70’s build cold damp house, where the water does not condensate on the windows, it actually freezes, to feed a family of 4, plus entertainment etc.

We can get no help, since we are rich pricks, we can get no discounts, or community cards etc, since we are rich pricks.

Do you see the problem here? Taxing my family another 100 a week means we lose our house.

We really do feel sorry for you, and all people in your situation, but we do wish people will realize most of us rich prick families, work 80 + hours a week, get no help or assistance, and pay the majority of the tax, to live a lifestyle that is even worse than most of the real beneficiaries live.

And Michelle, i am not having a go at you, I have no idea what assistance and help you do get, except the 26 000 you mentioned a year. I do not know if you have a community card and what discounts you get, i do not know if you get a free house or housing assistance pay part of your rent.

I do know you have it hard, i do know you have it tough, and I do wish it will get a lot better for you, but I want you to see the other side of the coin, we also have it hard and tough, and forcing us to lose our only asset, the family home, is also not fair.

All we ask is, in the process of making your life better, which we do wish for you, please do not destroy ours.

I hope you the best in life, and with the positive attitude you are displaying I am sure you will make it, remember to be successful in life you need to get things right 51% of the time, not 100%.”


And Korero Pono’s response from this morning

“Hi Theotherside

This is going to be an extremely long post but I would like you to read to the very end because my most important point is made at the end.

Some in my circles would class me and my partner ‘rich pricks’ too – let’s compare our stories and see how different they are. I will use your story as a template to my own and we will find marked differences in how we think, even though our stories are similar or not as the case may be.

Our household brings in $48,000 a year before tax. In comparison to some families that is awesome. We get $923 a week!

We pay $161 a week in tax, $69 per week in Student Loan and $28 a week in Kiwisaver.

Leaving us with $682 per week. We get a top up through Working for Families of $112.00 per week – making our total weekly income $794.00.

We don’t pay childcare as we choose to have one stay at home parent as we believe that is better for our child. We know we are making a financial sacrifice to do this. Our child just started school but before that we took advantage of the ‘free’ 20 hours – but we still paid ‘donations’ and were happy to do so because we knew it would allow the community kindy to function better with a high teacher to child ratio of 1:5, not including the voluntary hours my stay at home partner was able to put in at the kindy as well. My child is happy. We are happy. We feel privileged that we can do this, most can’t. Now at school, my partner is able to volunteer there as well, participating in swimming, helping with sport and fundraising activities to support the school. My partner also supports elderly parents with tasks they can no longer do themselves.

We pay our own mortgage – we feel privileged that we can afford to own a house, we feel privileged that we do not have to rely on the whims of landlords about our living situation. We live in a 110 square metre old wooden house with a pretty shitty oven that needs replaced this year. We’re so privileged because it is more than most have, it is more than even you have. Our house needs work, it needs updating and because my partner does not work well that is a task that gets done when our child is at school and as we can afford the materials.

Our mortgage costs us $200 per week. Our rates and insurances are around $85 per week that leaves us $509 per week – we feel extremely privileged about this.

Then we pay cell phones, internet and power at around $85 – we’re down to $424 left.

Petrol/car regos/maintenance etc takes another $70 a week (one of our cars is pretty old and definitely on its last legs and I am worried about how to replace it but hey – I feel pretty privileged because it is legal, it gets me to work and I don’t get tickets, so we are damned lucky, we’re privileged. So after car expenses we have $354.

We have sky, I don’t know why but it may be laziness instead of finding a solution to our television reception issues, that’s $25 per week. So we’re left with $329 per week – to cover our house repairs (there’s quite a few) to cover a car upgrade (and we know that mine is on its last legs), to buy food, clothes, medical costs (and we have some high ones due to a long term health condition).

We feel absolutely privileged because clearly we are way better off than you and Michelle – it surprises me that we on our humble $48k (with our $112 pw top up) are so much better off (both financially and socially) than you are on your $112,000k – life takes some funny turns.

You know we’re so privileged that when I work in the community with people not so privileged I sometimes spend some of my spare cash to make sure some families have milk and bread to feed their kids, because that is what you do when you know you’re privileged and they’re not and you can’t bare walking away knowing there’s no food in their house, it’s late Friday afternoon and there’s no way you can get them help – so you go buy some stuff yourself out of your own money so you know their babies won’t go hungry over the weekend. We are privileged because I know we can afford to eat, I know we can go on a yearly holiday (nowhere fancy but still a holiday), those people can’t and never will as things continue on this path.

Theotherside, I am not having a go at you, I feel really sorry for you and really sorry that you not getting a tax cut may lead to you losing your house – I am not sure you will lose $100 per week but of course I don’t know what it’s like to get a tax cut when your on $112,000 k, I only know what it feels like on a much lower income – even though last tax cut we got $10 per week but that got sucked up on higher GST on our food etc so we didn’t notice any benefit from a tax cut – but still we feel privileged and grateful we can have our lifestyle – but I know that we are and will always be one pay day away from poverty – we don’t have much to buffer us if I should get sick and not be able to work. But right now I feel damned privileged compared to Michelle who struggles to put food on her table and feed her child, damn the impact that must have on her well-being and the high level of stress she must endure must be heart-breaking.

I thank god for people like Michelle because they make me realise how lucky I am everyday – I wish her life to be better and I want to pay more tax to help her and people like her, I want to make their lives as easy as my life, I’d like your life to be as easy as mine, clearly you’re under a lot of financial stress, I can see how having more money makes life so much harder for people.

I do worry however when people say “All we ask is, in the process of making your life better, which we do wish for you, please do not destroy ours” – you assume that it has to be either/or so if Michelle is to be lifted out of poverty, that it’s somehow going to destroy your life? So are you suggesting that in order for you to get ahead that other people must live in poverty and struggle to feed their kids? Are you suggesting it is inevitable for children to live in poverty so that people like you don’t have to struggle? I am not having a go at you but genuinely confused about what you’re saying – on one hand you are saying that you want her life to get better but not at the risk of your lifestyle? So you getting a tax cut is more important to you than the wellbeing of society?

You do make assumptions about Michelle’s level of support – and based on what she wrote I can see that her $26k must be combination of benefits and wages because no beneficiary gets $26k in taxable income and no beneficiary gets given a house – they pay rent like everyone else – unless they’re privileged enough to own a house or have family supporting them in some way. I know this because working with people on benefits is essentially my bread and butter.

I think it is completely unfair to blame Michelle and people like her for your financial woes, it is not her fault, it is not their fault…blame the Government who has created a housing crisis, thus making your housing unaffordable, blame a Government who has devalued the role of parenting and forced families like yours to work 80 hours a week to feel like you’re getting ahead whilst denying you the enjoyment of participating fully in your children’s lives. That is not Michelle’s fault. The Government has created this situation and instilled in you the belief that it is somehow the Michelle’s of the world who make your life harder…you are not to blame for Michelle’s positon and she is not to blame for yours – the real culprits are the wealthiest New Zealanders and their companies who pay virtually no tax, and those on high incomes whom through legal tax loopholes not only evade paying their taxes but also enjoy sucking various benefits from the system by way of Working for Families and the like – I know this to be true because I once worked in the tax field, doing the taxes for these leeches and the wealthiest ones were the ones that got the greatest kickbacks and paid the least or no taxes, even arranging their tax affairs to avoid child support and get student allowances for their children, all whilst sitting on millions on assets. It is their fault and until these loopholes are closed, until these leeches pay taxes and stop sucking from the system your plight will continue and so will Michelle’s and before you go and tick your Blue/Blue boxes – you should know that National refused to close these legal tax rorts when it was recommended back in 2010, they continue to allow these leeches to suck us dry and then they mind fuck you into believing that it is somehow going to be Michelle’s fault if you lose your house!”

72 comments on “A Tale of Two Privileges. ”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Septic
    I don’t know what you are talking about and feel in my water that you don’t either.
    That is a great post and I have just read every word in it and hope that I haven’t missed anything.

    Thank you for putting it up Bill. Thank you to Michelle, just keep holding your head up when others put you down and give you the sneer when you say you need help, and what’s more deserve it as any citizen does, especially when you are trying to a good citizen. People trying like yourself trying to do the right thing and holding onto their belief in the goodness and worth of most human beings, including themselves, keep the human spirit alive and pass that onto their children who need that attitude more than they need money and comfort, though food, warmth, health and a bit of joy in the company of other good people and hope for a better future do heaps to help grow good kids.

    Thank you to Korero Pono who probably doesn’t agree with the line I have taken on his well enunciated response. Sorry but it all just presses my buttons and once the hurdy-gurdy starts it’s hard to turn down the volume.

    Thank you for Theotherside sitting down and in a straightforward manner putting in the time to tell us how it is for you with the expectations that you have been encouraged to have and be able to fulfil. The house pricing is obviously killing, and to know that even renting is unaffordable in the areas where people work, is sad and a bloody example of just why you should be standing on your hind legs and barking ‘This is not good governance from a government that costs big bucks to run and that has the pipeline to every expert on how to run anything properly.”

    If you aren’t then you are a wuss and a NZ one at that which is what we excel at in all the developed world. We will put up with anything shitty if someone sells it to our need for feeling superior. For National supporters to admit that they have been voting for useless, uncaring incompetents for years is for them to admit they have made the same mistake more than once, and as the saying goes, that shows what a sorry fool that you and all are, and that cannot be faced because you are all such smart arses and know what-is-what and look down on all other lesser beings.

    This all sounds silly and unreal and fatuous personal flatulence but unfortunately it is real and is a reflection of the mindset of the middle-aged, middle and upper class earners who should have engaged with some maturity years ago and come out of it somewhat wiser. But no we get justifications for not shifting into gear.

    [I’ve no idea what happened to the comment by ES Sceptic that you’re replying to. I guess they thought better of it deleted it? Who knows.] – Bill

    • greywarshark 1.1

      Bill
      I searched – it had gone to Open Mike. Thought you did it. Crummy loose collection of phrases supposed to mean something!

    • Korero Pono 1.2

      “Thank you to Korero Pono who probably doesn’t agree with the line I have taken on his well enunciated response. Sorry but it all just presses my buttons and once the hurdy-gurdy starts it’s hard to turn down the volume”

      It’s either a bad day or I missed something but this has gone right over my head – I am not sure what line you have taken.

      • greywarshark 1.2.1

        @Korero Pono
        That’s all right then – I just agreed with your points so much that I thought I would possibly get told I misread something when I wrote mine. So no worries. I hope that all this discussion will filter past people’s mental barriers and we will all see definite change next weekend.

  2. Zorr 2

    Holy crap – people put petrol in their cars every week?!?!?

    Currently supporting a family of 5 on ~$630p/w which is precarious and I’ve had to support me and mine on less before.

    You sit there and complain about being left with so little at the end of the week after paying bills you have incurred to reach a level of societal standing you deem necessary. “Yes we could rent better for roughly the same, but that is not the point” is the entire fucking point! You have the glorious option of choice!

    To hear you explain your situation as some inescapable mire of difficult financial decisions while I attempt to manage my own finances on a week to week basis. I carefully manage it so that I don’t end up having to choose between the bills I need to pay and my children having enough to eat.

    Yes, I chose to return to university to increase my opportunities, and I consider that a huge privilege. Many of my neighbors would never have the possibility of making that choice. I don’t complain about it, I suck it up and get on with focusing on “the future” and hoping I haven’t gambled poorly. No matter what though, I refuse to be part of any attempt to pull ladders up because the costs of poverty far outweigh the costs of making sure everyone has the opportunity to partake in our society.

  3. Molly 3

    Great juxtaposition post there Bill.

    Glad you put it up. (So says another privileged person.)

  4. Rosemary McDonald 4

    “…the real culprits are the wealthiest New Zealanders and their companies who pay virtually no tax, and those on high incomes whom through legal tax loopholes not only evade paying their taxes but also enjoy sucking various benefits from the system by way of Working for Families and the like – I know this to be true because I once worked in the tax field, doing the taxes for these leeches and the wealthiest ones were the ones that got the greatest kickbacks and paid the least or no taxes, even arranging their tax affairs to avoid child support and get student allowances for their children, all whilst sitting on millions on assets. It is their fault and until these loopholes are closed, until these leeches pay taxes and stop sucking from the system your plight will continue and so will Michelle’s and before you go and tick your Blue/Blue boxes – you should know that National refused to close these legal tax rorts when it was recommended back in 2010, they continue to allow these leeches to suck us dry and then they mind fuck you into believing that it is somehow going to be Michelle’s fault if you lose your house!”

    +10000000000……

    • Antoine 4.1

      > you should know that National refused to close these legal tax rorts when it was recommended back in 2010

      What does this refer to?

      • Korero Pono 4.1.1

        https://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/centres-and-institutes/cagtr/pdf/tax-report-website.pdf – have a read, all 73 pages. The Government of the time did not pick up the recommendations of the TWG – hence the loopholes that allow supposed ‘legal tax evasion'(a term coined by Dunne a few years back) to continue unabated.

        • Rosemary McDonald 4.1.1.1

          “The Government of the time did not pick up the recommendations of the TWG”

          Which kind of explains why they have their knickers in a knot at the very hint of a thought that Labour just might respect a TWG’s recommendations.

          Collective spontaneous bowel evacuation from the right….

          Messy.

        • Antoine 4.1.1.2

          I have read the TWG report before. I think you overrate it if you think the unactioned recommendations would deal with _”the wealthiest New Zealanders and their companies who pay virtually no tax, and those on high incomes whom through legal tax loopholes not only evade paying their taxes but also enjoy sucking various benefits from the system by way of Working for Families and the like”_, including those _”that got the greatest kickbacks and paid the least or no taxes, even arranging their tax affairs to avoid child support and get student allowances for their children, all whilst sitting on millions on assets”_.

          Which recommendations in particular do you think would have significantly fixed the problems?

          I think the work to prevent tax evasion is difficult, is largely carried out by bureaucrats rather than politicians, and will continue under L/G much as it has under National.

          A.

          • Korero Pono 4.1.1.2.1

            Whether I overrate it or not is irrelevant and you know it. Don’t presume to know how I rate something, I certainly do not agree with the ideological position taken in the report and the overall push to reduce marginal tax rates, however some of those recommendations would have made a difference. For example the recommendation to introduce a CGT, would see those making huge profits from property investment having to pay tax on those profits – thus reducing ‘entitlements’ elsewhere. When property or high end ‘assets’ are purchased to hide income (and receive kick backs from depreciation), whilst receiving drawings, and very little income to suck from WFFTC. Aligning various tax rates at that time would have made a difference.

            As to my comments that you quoted above, they were identified as problems in the tax system in the report, with various entities used to shift income around to increase entitlements and minimise liabilities. I know these practices occurred because I was unfortunate enough to have to support these legal practices while doing my job. I saw wealthy people skim from the system, I saw distribution of income altered in Trusts to minimise child support liabilities and gain student allowances, a lot of work went into maximising advantage to those with a lot of wealth. The TWG recommendations, while not ideal would have at least minimised some of these practices. What is of more concern though is that the Government knows these practices occur, have known officially for at least 7 years, yet to date there has been no move to close these loopholes. I am not sure what your point is re L/G – I live in hope that these parties will have the balls to introduce a CGT at the very least, that’d be a great start I think.

          • reason 4.1.1.2.2

            Antoine …..The work to fix tax evasion is actually quite easy …. it just requires willpower …..of which you obviously have none … for your own reasons no doubt.

            Reversing the work of that sneaky conniver John Key would be a first step ….

            His expertise in undermining Government revenue by corporations and the rich not paying tax …..is what Nationals ‘creative’ tax laws are based on ……

            Its why New Zealand was specifically mentioned by the Panama papers whistle blower

            Do keep up …. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

            • Antoine 4.1.1.2.2.1

              Pretty sure KP has a good idea what he’s talking about and you don’t, but feel free to prove me wrong? What would be your first step in reducing tax evasion by NZ resident individuals and NZ companies?

              A.

              • Korero Pono

                Antoine, what is your point? Do you actually have one? Because it looks more and more like you don’t and you don’t actually know what you’re talking about – I doubt you have answered ‘reason’s’ comment and have no idea what you mean when you say “Pretty sure KP has a good idea what he’s talking about and you don’t”….then follow that up with a question that I suspect you can’t even answer yourself, it’s time wasting and a distraction to the original discussion.

    • Eco maori 4.2

      Yes john key certainly stacked everything in favor of the wealthy.
      But not all the wealth take advantage of this sham of a tax system key set up.
      Some no that the systems won’t function with out money so they pay there taxes.these people are not neo liberals they are just wealth KIWIS

    • TheBlackKitten 4.3

      Agree which is why Paye tax increases are a sad joke to the middle class of NZ.

  5. Whispering Kate 5

    Thanks for your post Bill – the first guy obviously is not a very good budget organiser as it sounds pretty unusual to be on his high combined wage and still not managing. The second person has his heart in the right place and it’s ticking very well and they are very good at making their budget work for them.

    The first person is a glass half empty and the other is a glass half full – some people just grizzle and are never thankful and others just make the best of their lives from everything they do. Interesting post.

    • Korero Pono 5.1

      Actually whispering Kate I am anything but a half glass full kind of person, I am a realist and an angry one at that – I spend half my days having to educate stupid people about why homeless people are not in the situation they’re in because they made stupid choices, spent too much on power bills or just didn’t learn to budget properly or whatever despicable bullshit people use to justify why this family or that family are deserving or undeserving. It is shit, absolute utter shit that there are more ignorant middle class, social do-gooder wannabes think they’re doing everyone a favour by voting Labour instead of National, whilst pretending to care about the poor – who can stay over there and not taint their nice little lives. Half glass full, I don’t think so. As to my budgeting skills, I doubt they’re much better than the first writer, we have different circumstances and they’re trying really hard too like they’re supposed to. I think the point was missed – but stop buying into the bull that some people do better cause they’re better at all the things we’re taught we need to do, that simply is not true in most cases.

      • Whispering Kate 5.1.1

        Mea Culpa Korero Pono – I have obviously got myself skewed in my thinking on this post – will go back and have another read of it all. I thought you came across as someone who struggles but keeps yourself positive, not a person to let it get on top of you. I do completely appreciate the hardship folk endure on a daily basis as I have a close loved family member who lives on a benefit and has to use every ingenuity they possess to live a good and well life. I cannot believe how little the benefit is and its a bloody disgrace.

        I have always maintained that we, each and every one of us is a heartbeat away from complete poverty and unexpected hardship that comes with it. Don’t knock budgeting – it helps when one has limited means as my family loved one has proved – it’s disgusting that this is the way society is today and you are correct – blame the Government – I am voting Greens this time as they are the only ones we have left who are progressive and will keep Labour honest.

        One other thing – anger is a negative energy for your health – the Government and all those other people which piss you off are not worth venting over – use all your good energy which you have for those you care about and others which need your help as well, its food for the soul.

    • Molly 5.2

      Hi Whispering Kate,

      Our household has a similar income, on which we support a family of six, and until recently another two young people who needed support. (One has managed to save enough for a car, get his licence and after working full-time for a year, find a place of his own.)

      Our mortgage payments take up about 45 – 50% of our net income, which would be similar to rental payments that would accommodate us up here in Auckland, so I can also understand and empathise with the points he makes about juggling bills and priorities. (I think on the poverty indicator I took once, we entered our details and we sat at the 4th percentile, just below the average.)

      So it’s not so much the income that gives an indication of how well a household is doing, it is more meaningful to look at the disposable income. (For instance, our house is the same size and build as KP’s, but our mortage sans insurances/rates/maintenance is around $500 more a week. Extend that out to a year and it equates to around $35,000 of that extra income to have a place to live.)

      The fundamental mistake he makes in his narrative, is that he makes the assumption that looking after others would cost him personally as a direct financial hit, ergo – he can’t afford it. He doesn’t even consider the long-term financial cost to him or his family when the poor are not looked after, the homeless are not housed, the health system is not adequately funded, and other essential services are run down.

      Our household would be correctly identified as one of the precariat, but seeing so many doing it so much harder than us, has stripped both myself and my partner of the fear that comes with this financial position. A change of perspective has taken us from a place of stress, to one of relative calm and without the increase of a single dollar.

      Since it has been a couple of days, it would be good to hear from theotherside again, to see whether any of the great comments made here or on the original post, have resulted in a change of perspective.

  6. Do you see the problem here? Taxing my family another 100 a week means we lose our house.

    Is someone proposing to lift people out of poverty by increasing TheOtherSide’s taxes by $100 per week? They write that as though it was a political party’s policy, but I can’t say I’ve seen it. Even if Labour were to raise the top tax rate (which they’ve ruled out), a household on $112,000 is likely to consist of two incomes that don’t attract the top rate.

    Also: here we see again the horrendous cost that rampant property speculation by the well-off inflicts on the not-well-off. When my family had a household income similar to TheOtherSide’s, we had a mortage of less than $100,000. TheOtherSide’s paying off a $500,000 mortgage – that makes a huge difference to your standard of living, and of course the difference gets worse the lower your income.

    • CC 6.1

      In response Psycho Milt, this may not be expressed very clearly but it seems the ‘rampant property speculation by the well-off inflicts on the not-well-off’ you refer to is very serious but exacerbated by a similar effect from the ‘churn of businesses’. Frequently, the exemplars of success that we are supposed to revere play the same game. Something is set up that has value for the services or benefits that it supplies but by the happenstance or intention is not to achieve the social aim but to on-sell at a profit. The extreme example may be the Gareth Morgan clan and Trade Me.
      Once the small enterprise is on-sold to a buyer who many cases may be very wealthy but still uses borrowed finance for the acquisition. The costs of goods and/or services then increase to cover the financing AND to provide a return to the investor. This starts the churn which invariably means after a number of acquisitions, the ‘big players’ in the financial markets step in and do the usual ‘ restructurings’, killing the original business while extracting every last cent. This process of course is financed, not by the haves but everyone who ends up absorbing the costs in their domestic budgets. In many cases, these costs are distributed far and wide in ways that don’t even relate to the goods and services that the original businesses were involved with. An example that comes to mind is a taxi company that paid millions for a favourable taxi rank at an airport which ended up being spread through its general fare structure.
      This has become more apparent while overseas with being flabbergasted to realise how expensive things are in NZ by comparison and discovering that scale of population argument is absolute garbage as an explanation. In parts of Europe, it is apparent that small businesses are the powerhouses of the economies and are invariably small start-ups and inter-generational family businesses that have a sense of permanence in what they do. The NZ concept of supermarkets is even neutered as the European city equivalents are small competing operations and local markets of multiple suppliers that provide for local communities. Of course, city families rely on walking, cycling and public transport so the social dynamics are a positively confounding influence. To compete, the ‘big boys’ if and where they exist have to play honestly. On the Iberian Penninsular, even McDonalds appears to be kept in line with small green-painted outlets and small golden arch branding in competitivly priced markets. Bet they also have to pay their fare share of taxes too.

    • weka 6.2

      “Is someone proposing to lift people out of poverty by increasing TheOtherSide’s taxes by $100 per week? They write that as though it was a political party’s policy, but I can’t say I’ve seen it.”

      Quite. And Tos was asked to clarify what they meant about that and then they mysteriously disappeared. They did say that an economist had said that Labour’s policies would raise the average tax by that, or something.

      I do think it’s possible that Tos’s family are working long hours and not getting ahead fast, but if they pay off the mortgage they’ll be much better off eventually.

      Adam made a good comment in the original thread acknowledging that they’re like lots of families who aren’t doing very well under National but aren’t in total poverty either.

      • Antoine 6.2.1

        I don’t know what was going through TOS’s head, but I suspect quite a few on the left think that a left wing government would redistribute money from people like TOS (with six figure household income) to people like Michelle and that this would be a net improvement.

        A.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          How would that happen exactly? Because I think you are making shit up. Prove me wrong and explain how it would work. e.g. increasing taxes despite neither Labour nor the Greens wanting to go after tax rates in that bracket.

          The Greens for instance want a new tax rate on income over $150K. They also specifically say that everyone earning less then $150K will be better off. That’s because the ‘rich’ people Tos was referring to don’t earn the $55K he/she is on, they earn far more than that.

          Afaik Labour don’t want to raise income tax at all.

          So you either believe they have a secret plan for increasing tax on lower incomes, or you are literally making shit up. Which is it? And if not, please do point to the lefties that believe Tos should pay more tax so that Michelle has more income. Because again, I think you are making shit up. It’s the same transparent anti-left argument that Tos made but it’s not based on anything real.

          • Antoine 6.2.1.1.1

            OK, lets have a go [rolls up sleeves]

            Lets be clear though, do you want me to prove (a) that some people think ToS SHOULD pay more tax, (b) that some lefties think ToS WOULD Pay more tax under a left wing govt, or (c) that ToS WOULD pay more tax under a L/G govt than under a Nat govt, under currently announced policies?

            (I think I could do all 3, but just one seems fair for a quiet Sunday)

            A.

            • weka 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Let’s ignore the ‘lefties think a L/G govt would take $ from ToS to give to Michelle’ because it’s a nonsense statement (I’m sure I could find 2 or 3 LW voters who think that if I really had to).

              But have a crack at how ToS would pay $100/wk more in tax than now (or have $100/wk less in income, or whatever) under Labour and/or L/G. That’s pertinent to the conversation. I’m genuinely curious, and then we can look at that against the increase in public services and have a conversation about the relative merits of social democracy.

              • Antoine

                > Let’s ignore the ‘lefties think a L/G govt would take $ from ToS to give to Michelle’ because it’s a nonsense statement (I’m sure I could find 2 or 3 LW voters who think that if I really had to).

                Hehe yes I thought that was going to be easy

                > But have a crack at how ToS would pay $100/wk more in tax than now (or have $100/wk less in income, or whatever) under Labour and/or L/G.

                Will do.

                Before I begin, can I point you to ToS’s comment that “if National never got in, and Labour stayed the course, not dropping taxes, we would currently pay $115 dollars a week extra tax. If national did not bring in 20 hours free childcare from 3 years old, not means tested, we would pay another $ 155 dollars a week extra childcare.” Also to remind you that ToS has calculated that they do not benefit from Labour’s Families package (having a 6 figure salary and only 2 kids). Also, they may live in Auckland so there is the regional fuel tax to factor in as well.

                > we can look at that against the increase in public services and have a conversation about the relative merits of social democracy.

                Have you got the idea that I’m against increasing taxes?

                A.

                • …can I point you to ToS’s comment that “if National never got in, and Labour stayed the course, not dropping taxes, we would currently pay $115 dollars a week extra tax.

                  A view that ignores the trade-off of increased GST and assumes that a 2008 – 2017 Labour government would have for another 9 whole years not moved the rate thresholds. Also, $115 is 5% of TOS’s household income – that’s a pretty generous tax cut, I’m pretty sure I didn’t get anything like that.

                  If national did not bring in 20 hours free childcare from 3 years old, not means tested, we would pay another $ 155 dollars a week extra childcare.

                  A view that assumes a 2008 – 2017 Labour government would have done nothing to improve access to professional childcare, which is laughable.

                  Still, on to this $100 per week an incoming Labour government is supposedly going to take from people like TOS to give to the poor. Which Labour policy is being referred to? I think it’s made up – we may not be able to stop people making things up, but we should certainly point it out when we see it.

            • reason 6.2.1.1.1.2

              Why not comment some more on the subject that you think is to hard to fix … Antoine http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/corporate-tax-minimisation-costs-governments-1-trillion/7587092

              • Antoine

                So you read that article and think ‘this looks easy to fix’? Quite a different take away from me.

                How would you do it?

                A.

                • reason

                  The first step would be to stop saying …. ‘ ooohhh its to hard to fix ‘ …. as your passive regressive position appears to be.

                  Then we could have things like Consequences Antoine ….. Try to steal 2.2 Billion from the Government and people have to lose their jobs and go to jail …. http://i.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/2946334/Westpac-expected-to-appeal-961m-tax-ruling …… not be rewarded ala John Shewan

                  And there are many experts who have solutions and could be called upon for help ……. Like George Rozvany for instance. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-11/corporate-tax-minimisation-costs-governments-1-trillion/7587092

                  Asset forfeiture and stopping corrupt money flows from tax havens buying New Zealand land and businesses …..

                  Networking with others …… https://greens.org.au/tax-avoidance

                  Making New Zealand part of the solution …. instead of part of the problem as we have been under National ….

                  Why do you think cheats should prosper at the expense of everyone else ….. Antoine ?????

                  “”Sham structures have been set up in Luxembourg, again, looking like normal commercial transactions but really with a view to being taxed in Luxembourg at 1 per cent as opposed to a 25 per cent or 30 per cent rate in another country,” Mr Rozvany observed.

                  “The cost to the international community is enormous.”

                  • Antoine

                    > The first step would be to stop saying …. ‘ ooohhh its to hard to fix ‘

                    Noooooo

                    nothing good comes from that

                    The first step is to admit “it’s hard to fix”
                    The second step is to say “let’s try to fix at least part of it”
                    The third step is to have a darn hard think about what best to do

                    A.

                    • reason

                      “The second step is to say “let’s try to fix at least part of it”

                      So your only for partially fixing loop-hole frauds ….

                      So much for your ‘darn hard’ thinking …..

                      And you missed out the fourth step …..

                      Everyone who is not using tax havens and John Shewan type ‘vehicles will face less tax and be better off ….

                    • Korero Pono

                      This is really pathetic, there are easy fixes if there is a will. Just to start if IRD treated drawings like income for the purpose of WFFTC – you’ve already closed a legal loophole used by the wealthy to rort the system and pay wealthy families WFFTC that they simply use on overseas holidays, that will shut down a multi-million dollar slush fund that the wealthy like to abuse. Wealthy individuals who make it their business to move their income around numerous entities to hide income and rort the system should be immediately audited to expose the level of ‘legal tax evasion’ and calculate a realistic tax liability – these loopholes can be closed, they know they can be but at this stage there is no political will. It is political will that is missing in this equation.

                      Another thing that can be done immediately is CGT – it is a no brainer – bloody pity Labour have run scared at doing something about it – which means they are part of the problem too.

                    • reason

                      I would definitely nominate Korero Pono onto any Tax review commission …..

                      Antoine Is being pathetic on this subject …… while expressing the same lines as dirty lignite Bill and his party of dandy do little right wing bull-shitters …..

                      Or Bill shitters as some have observed and named it

                    • Antoine

                      Interesting stuff, I see some WFF loopholes got closed in 2010 (https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/tax-cuts-strengthen-economy-and-help-families) but others apparently remain?

    • Craig H 6.3

      My wife and I are on a similar household income, but no children and we live in Christchurch, so have less than half the mortgage, all of which makes our financial situation better.

      Personally, I wouldn’t think of a family income of $112,000 with a mortgage of $500,000 as being rich – we’re talking a house well outside appropriate affordability measures of 3-4 x annual income, and two incomes to boot.

  7. Incognito 7

    If I understand this Post/Bill correctly the point is that there is a cynically manipulated & manufactured class war raging now between lower class/Precariat and middle class (‘the many’). The result is that the upper wealthy class (‘the few’) get off scot-free laughing all the way to the bank and their large overseas hidey-holes & holiday homes.

    • Bill 7.1

      There are always a manufactured divisions ‘under’ capitalism (ie, divide and rule).

      But those divisions are less sharp and extreme within social democratic settings than within liberal ones that always explicitly set the individual at odds with ‘everyone’ in order (so it’s claimed) that they can gain and hold onto some measure of success or well being.

      Obviously, not everyone buys into that crap. But many do. And even those who don’t buy into it have it (at least through consequences) imposed on them in innumerable ways.

      Still. This next three years will hopefully be the last three years of Liberal governance. Then it’s a case of a quick hop to social democracy in preparation for a skip beyond all capitalist economics and a jump to freedom.

      Or we can merely settle for social democracy and await the full impacts of global warming 🙂

      • Incognito 7.1.1

        A hop and a skip to removing capitalism and its benefactor & protector the almighty state. Yes, I think we might need the ‘help’ of a very upset Mother Nature …

      • Gristle 7.1.2

        In the early 2002 Vodacom in Tanzania would charge about 1 cent per minute for cellphone talk time: the NZ equivalent saw Vodafone charge around 45 cents per minute. The issue that was being milked was “affordability.” In terms of disposable income for the punters it may was about the same “cost” just translated into two different economies.

        In the two cases presented by the OP the housing costs have the same impact of stripping cash out of both households. The thought that a $500,000 mortgage on a $115,000 pre tax income being sustainable is crazy.

        Housing costs increase the real size of the precariate to be far larger than what a cursory view would have believe. Consumerism has the impact of making vast swathes of the population living week to week and having no ability to weather even the slightest turbulence. Imagine what happens when the interest rates rise. Continuous increasing house prices is sold as the benefit of taking a $500,000 mortgage: without this promise you are continually going through massive stress only for the benefit of the bank. The need to feed the mortgage etc keeps people conservative. They cannot afford for there to be any change from the status quo.

        Having been out canvassing over the last few weeks, I estimate that at least 20% of the people I talked fell into this financial trap. And this financial trap leads to wanting another National Government because it meant no change.

        My opinion is that just making things a little too hard for people is a strategy used by Neo-Libs to break their spirit. Not too hard so that revolt or revolution occurs. Bill English has been the master of slowly tightening the screw to get to the desired “goldilocks state” we’re too many people are betting their last dollar on the game, so the game can’t be disrupted.

        • Bill 7.1.2.1

          Interesting take.

          I’ve heard it said (and I agree with the basic idea) that Australia has acted as a pressure valve for NZ in the past. When the squeeze is on, people bail. Not sure that is as effective now as it has been.

          On financial traps, I’m well aware that workers just can’t strike, regardless of anti-strike laws …because debt.

          I’m also aware that traditionally, the “protest” acts as a pressure valve and also a barometer that allows government to make judgement calls on how far they can go, or how tight they can turn those screws…for now.

          Kinda why I find myself being increasingly against protest and in favour of movements that make no demand of incumbent powers, but seek instead to reclaim and exercise it. (You ever wondered at the insistence from – I’ll say ‘mainsteam’ quarters – that a movement, to be legitimate, must produce a list of demands that can be responded to by authority….judged/graded/ contained/satisfied?)

          • Gristle 7.1.2.1.1

            We (the non 1%) are owned by the Company Store and deep down inside we know that one day the bread won’t be handed to us over the counter. But let’s just wrap that thought up, lock it in a small hemetically sealed box, and bury it for tomorrow.

    • Gristle 8.1

      Wow, what a message from that research. If it doesn’t scare the shit out of bankers and the government then they need to be kicked out. If that doesn’t scare the shit out of everyone else then we are headed for a big heap at bottom of a high cliff.

      Like many ecological and environment systems with GCC, have we developed an economic and social system that is now at or nearing tipping points? A situation where minor changes will create massive swings of outcomes.

  8. TheBlackKitten 9

    Key issues here. Theotherside is classic middle NZ. What is Labour or any left wing party going to do to help people like Theothetside? Nothing and that’s exactly why they vote for National. Instead labour treat them with contempt and label them as rich pricks and tax the crap out of them. I read one other comment who said (sorry can’t remember who it was) that the real culprits are the very wealthy. I think that’s a more fair comment rather than turning septic on middle nz as many left wingers do today.
    The issue with the Michelle’s of this country is not enough jobs or opportunity so they find themselves in a life of poverty with no hope and future and become reliant on a life of welfare. Every single human needs hope in life!. Without it, you get the social ills that we have in today’s society. Chucking more welfare money is not hope. Creating more jobs and opportunity is.
    The white elephant in the room here is high unemployment and the jobs that are available don’t pay a good wage to enable one parent to stay at home to raise their children without some form of welfare from the government. And yes, cost of housing is hurting all of us. So is the cost of food and other basic necessities. Our standard of living is falling rapidly due to trading with countries who have poor labour laws.
    Again, what political party is going to address this. None are. The left wing solution is to tax the crap out of middle nz to subsidise those on lower incomes. It’s a piss poor fix and a lazy one at best.

    • Carolyn_nth 9.1

      You over-simplify, reduce, and mis-represent the left here (which includes a wide range of views).
      No-one on TS called TOS a “rich prick” that’s what he called himself. And when TOS originally posted that view elsewhere on TOS, no-one here agreed he actually is a rich prick. Someone pointed out that was originally a comment Michael Cullen said about ACTUAL rich people – those whose income is over $200,000 per year.

      TKP said others he knows may think of him as a “rich prick” – but that group was not identified by political leanings.

    • Korero Pono 9.2

      So what is the answer then Black Kitten? Do you think National have the answers? Are they part of the solution or part of the problem?

      • TheBlackKitten 9.2.1

        No I don’t think National has the answer but then National have never been a party that is supposed to look after the worker but Labour…….yeah well.
        The answer is stop trading with counties that have appalling labour laws and pay a pittance to workers. This then allows companies that do pay a fair wage a decent chance at competition with their product in the market place. Employers to invest in more on hands training ie: apprenticeships – builders, plumbers, painters. Currently we have a huge shortage of trade skills why? Because employers won’t and have being allowed to get away with non investment. The other answer is look at why we pay what we do for basic necessities. Why is food so expensive. How much does it actually cost to get milk from the cow to the supermarket shelf? Is there a huge markup? Who is getting the profits from that mark up. If we can reduce the current greed gouging of basic necessities then people’s pay packets will go a lot further and enable them a better standard of living.
        Does any political party do this? No they don’t. Why? Because it’s all too hard. It’s much easier to chuck more welfare money at the unemployed, leave the contracts acts in place and just hope it all goes away whilst people like theotherside continue to get slammed with tax. And they wonder why they vote National.

        • Antoine 9.2.1.1

          TheBlackKitten, would you describe yourself as a “left wing” person?

          A.

          • Janet 9.2.1.1.1

            Does one really have to be defined left or right or whatever?
            I agree with TheBlackKitten, thats where it is at.
            All we ask is ….
            The Power of Freedom
            (from the epigram by Parmenco in the Greek Anthology)
            The homely cloak is good enough for me,
            Fed by the Muses, from your proud fools free,
            I shun the banquets rich, and will not live
            A slave – for all that luxury can give.
            I am contented, for I keenly feel
            The blessed pleasure of a frugal meal.

            • Antoine 9.2.1.1.1.1

              > Does one really have to be defined left or right or whatever?

              Absolutely not!

              I’m just asking

              • reason

                Are you a troll …. or are you genuine ????

                Just asking … as I have you pegged as a troll ……..

                A. ….. passive regressive Troll

          • TheBlackKitten 9.2.1.1.2

            No I am not left wing as in the labour or Green Party of today but am for the days of the Labour Party under Kirk.

        • Korero Pono 9.2.1.2

          Black Kitten that is an interesting response to my question. So you think that money gets chucked at welfare at the expense of people like Theotherside? How do you think they keep wages low and prices high? And how do you think that people like Theotherside have been indoctrinated into believing that it is welfare that is causing their problem? I am genuinely curious because it appears that we have become so indoctrinated with this type of propaganda that we have lost sight of who the real culprits are. This propaganda is part of the problem because it ensures an ongoing internecine between people like Michelle and Theotherside – leaving either side blind to who really causes the problems and thus reducing their capacity to unify and collectivise to effect systemic change.

          And if both National and Labour are part of the problem, who is not part of the problem?

          • TheBlackKitten 9.2.1.2.1

            Welfare is a poor lazy fix to the real issues. Agree that people like theotherside resenting people like Michelle are not looking at the real issues. But I also think that those that resent people like theotherside (and plenty of left wingers do and demand that these rich pricks should pay higher tax to support more welfare) are equally just as ignorant and fail to see the real issues we have.
            The real issues are:
            Low wages
            Trading with countries with poor labour laws.
            No opportunities
            No investment in employees by NZ employers
            Exceedingly high costs for basic necessities such as food and housing.
            High unemployment – not enough jobs for all
            Welfare is not going to fix these issues. Welfare has been the lazy easy answer of many left wing parties around the world for years. However I fear that many university educated people have been indoctrinated by their left winged professors to believe that it is the only answer.

            • Korero Pono 9.2.1.2.1.1

              So if that is how you feel about welfare, what do you do instead of providing the ‘safety net’ of welfare to those who either cannot find a job, cannot work due to illness or finding suitable work is difficult due to parenting responsibilities? Or and dare I say it they are retired and age limits their ability or willingness to work.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.2.1.2.1.2

              The National Party has indoctrinated you. The process was described in Nature Neuroscience and summed up as “the brain adapts to dishonesty”.

              That’s why you have no original opinions, and spend your energy repeating the lies you’ve been spoon-fed. I bet you think the dpb encourages teen pregnancy, and drivel about bad choices too.

              Ever wondered why right wing “think” tanks never submit their gobshite to peer review? Of course you haven’t.

      • John 9.2.2

        If BlackKitten knew the answer they wouldn’t be asking…
        You have responded to a question with more questions!?
        I too am curious how Labour will help people in theothersides position, after all there are lots of them.

        • Korero Pono 9.2.2.1

          But John, surely you must’ve noticed that BlackKitten has all the answers. As to “how Labour will help people in theothersides position”, I imagine that the improvement in health and education spending will be of great benefit to TOS. Perhaps them and their children will benefit from an improved environment, better water quality, higher police numbers. Certainly they are not going to be any worse off under Labour than they are right now. Meanwhile you have people on much lower incomes struggling to feed their children, homeless people and people killing themselves who cannot get any help from the current Government so stop making TOS out to be hard done by because other people may get a chance at living in a house, or being able to feed their kids with decent food. Maybe if the new Labour led Government grows some balls and introduces a CGT and goes after the tax dodgers, people like TOS won’t have to carry the tax rorters by paying so much in tax. Let’s not forget that TOS is in the position they’re in because of the National Government.

    • Instead labour treat them with contempt and label them as rich pricks and tax the crap out of them.

      And here we go again. If you’re going to make claims, back them up:

      1. Name the tax increase/s that Labour plans to apply to people like TOS.

      2. Cite the instances of Labour politicians calling people who earn as little as TOS.

      Otherwise, you’re just repeating National’s attack lines for them and should be treated as such.

  9. TheBlackKitten 10

    Kirk said “people need four things in life, somewhere to live, food, clothing and hope.” I think that just about sums everything up in a nutshell.

    • Janet 10.1

      If NZ companies like F&P had not sent their manufacturing off shore….
      If Free Trade agreements with China had not killed off more than 3000 NZ potters and most of their service industries…
      If we sent logs not jobs to Asia….
      If we encouraged organic/sustainable gold and discouraged White (milk) gold….
      We could take time to smell the roses again.
      Right ?

    • Korero Pono 10.2

      If that is what Kirk said, then he was not completely right but meh.

      People do not have enough food, astronomical rise in food banks, food bank use and research showing NZ has significant food insecurity evidences that statement.

      Many people have no where to live, they do not have affordable, sustainable housing and they are homeless – you don’t have to go far to find proof of that.

      Save Mart stores have plenty of clothing, which they sell at astronomical prices, while systematically harming their employees ,clothing they procure under the guise of a charitable enterprise – a farce. Clothing that will never get to the needy, or not the good stuff anyway. This is in the news at the moment and sounds like some very unethical people are involved.

      Many people do not have hope, that is why they are killing themselves or feel suicidal. That is also well researched and evidenced – NZ has one of the highest suicide rates in the OECD.

      NZ has is an extremely unequal society. Those at the top are benefiting from everyone else’s struggle – This is also evidenced. Poverty is rampant among both welfare recipients and low waged workers alike.

      These negative statistics have increased inline with the neoliberalism – the free market economy is responsible for what we see today. Neoliberalism is a failure.

      Finally TOS is just a much a victim of neoliberalism as is Michelle, however one is definitely more privileged than the other – one can access capital, the other cannot, one has a permanent asset, the other does not, One more than likely can afford food, the other cannot.

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