Blind ideology

Written By: - Date published: 3:03 pm, October 20th, 2007 - 37 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

Tempting to leave this one to Kiwiblogblog but perhaps they need a break…

DPF writes this morning:

As I have said many times, most left wing parties do not share NZ Labour’s ideological hatred of reducing tax.

Kiwiblog is starting to read like a National Party line-book.

National desperately wants to position Labour as “ideologically driven” and National as “pragmatic”.

Their polling presumably shows public perception of Clark as ‘sure of her opinions’ while Key is perceived as rather more fickle and less driven by principles. To turn National’s weakness into a strength and Labour’s strength into a weakness National needs to sell the idea to the public that Key’s flakyness is actaully “pragmatism” and Clark’s conviction is “blind ideology”.

Hence quotes like the one above from National Party blogger David Farrar and others within his party.

The problem is that the analysis just isn’t borne out by recent facts. It’s spin.

Cullen’s musings since the announcement of another larger-than-expected surplus show that he has far from an “ideological hatred of reducing tax”. He’s identified four tests that have to be met for tax cuts: no borrowing to fund them, no cuts to services to afford them, no inflation flowing from them and no increase to inequality as a result.

Alongside the Key faction’s “tax cuts at any cost” mantra, that looks to me, decidedly pragmatic.

37 comments on “Blind ideology”

  1. r0b 1

    Excellent post. Cullen has been a good and prudent manager of the economy. That’s a very hard record to attack. Credit to National for creativity I guess, to find an angle – “ideological hatred of tax cuts” – but that’s all it is, an angle. Spin.

  2. Nice work all_you_base.

    The Nat’s are now so heavily exposed on tax cuts you have to wonder what the plan is if/when Labour cuts them? I think Cullen’s idea of a test is entirely correct and prudent, the values you might ordinarily expect from the Nats too. The Standard’s spot on, Key’s strategy is populist and shallow.

  3. Luke 3

    Nationals continued emphasis on tax cuts is just a distraction from their real agenda of privatisation and further destroying the state.
    They know they can never be an acceptable governing party if they articulate there true vision confidently.
    The past month has shown the problems with this strategy, it is very difficult to keep up for two years.
    Although voters may get a few dollars in week in tax cuts (much more if you’re really rich) they will lose in several ways. One is that they will have to pay much more for health, education and other services. Interests rates will soar as they will push inflation up, as oppossed to Labour’s policies that have kept inflation down as announced recently. The third way is the Employment Contracts Act will be bought back so workers conditions will be pushed down, and wages will be pushed down.

  4. hmm, and since when has tax-slashing and infrastructure gouging not been ideologically motivated i wonder?

    considering this http://thesproutandthebean.wordpress.com/2007/10/20/herald-frontpage-keys-gaffe-reveals-spies-role/
    i guess they need to distract the public as much as possible right now

  5. amk 5

    you guys can preach the good news of massive taxation till the cows come home. more power to you for it.

    however you might want to keep your eyes on our socialist minister of finance (you know.. the one with the huge salary, huge pension and huge blind spot…) when he deftly starts lashing budget surplus cash towards iffy voter groups. it would look silly to have your current song sheet, rather than flicking over to ‘The lollynomics overture in D minor’.

  6. amk 6

    (oh, and haven’t stopped by for a few days and… oh look! there’s a tumbleweed!!!)

  7. Lighten the mood…
    http://kiwiblogblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/21/cnut-of-the-year/

    A homage to National’s Tsar of PC.

    And, without trying to thread-jack: I’d like to ask all you Standard readers out there to spare a thought for Samuel Duncan Parnell and, at some point this weekend, also spare a thought for all the action that has had to follow to obtain and preserve decent working conditions.

    Have a great Labour Day everyone!

  8. Robert Owen 8

    Samuel Duncan Parnell was inspired by Robert Owen

    And who could forget the”Tolpuddle Martyrs “

  9. r0b 9

    amk – “you guys can preach the good news of massive taxation till the cows come home. more power to you for it.”

    What massive taxation? http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=441

    “deftly starts lashing budget surplus cash towards iffy voter groups.”

    What iffy voter groups? Families? “Mainstream” New Zealanders?

    “oh, and haven’t stopped by for a few days and. oh look! there’s a tumbleweed!!!”

    Out having a life. Speaking of which…

  10. Leftie 10

    amk said “however you might want to keep your eyes on our socialist minister of finance (you know.. the one with the huge salary, huge pension and huge blind spot.)”

    So amk, shouldn’t Cullen get credit for not cutting taxes? After all, according to you he would be one of the people who would stand to benefit the most.

  11. burt 12

    terence

    So since we haven’t had tax cuts why are interest rates so high?

    Dr. Ideology with his blind Cullen (yes the two words are interchangeable) will be proud of you.

  12. Z K Muggletonspofin 13

    The simple fact is that tax has always been branded as “bad” by the right since forever. Taxes pay for public services and it’s the desired level of public service that in the end is at issue. In the recent local body elections, many candidates preached cut-backs on rates whilst promising more services. Go figure?

    Of course tax cuts will be attractive to many, and why not? The problem for Labour is to propose how they can be given without impacting on Michael Cullens 4-way test. However, I suspect that Michael’s biggest problem is how to give tax cuts and then be given some credit for creating the ability to give them. We can be sure that our great mates in the National Party will be wanting to claim the credit – go figure?

  13. burt 14

    ZK

    When more tax is taken than required we have a surplus. A bit like big bad nasty business overcharging for their products/services because they can making a nasty big profit (surplus).

    The left scream their partisan heads off when a bank makes a record profit because it’s ripping off it’s customers to make that profit yet when the country makes a record profit it’s astute political management – go figure?

  14. PhilBest 15

    You Marxist believers completely ignore the power of incentives on human behaviour. Where is the incentive for anyone to earn and save money responsibly for years before starting a family and qualifying for all those hand-outs? Oh, but of course that notion is just a “social construct” of dead traditions.

    Things might be provably “not bad” but the fact is that nations with the strongest incentives for the work ethic, thrift and responsible behaviour are the most successful at lifting the greatest number of people out of real poverty. Obsessing about inequality and trying to work against it actually only hurts everybody, including the poorest that you’re allegedly trying to help.

    One could relate to you guys criticisms of Tax cuts the Don Brash way, making the reductions off the top rates. But you’re completely exposed by your OPPOSITION to the abolition of tax for the lowest income earners!!!!!!! Incredible. Sickening.

    And by the way, I’m a lower income earner.

  15. thomas 16

    When deciding who to vote for one would hope that people look at a range of factors, Key decisions made and their outcomes.

    for example
    Yes we do have a surplus but nobody can argue that NZ has not an extremely low unemployment rate with good levels of economic growth

    Decisions like Not following GB and Oz 2 Iraq.

    A decision which if the Nats were in power would have been disastrous, and lets face it really much much more important then whether we have a tenner extra in our pockets.

    We are getting a lot of skilled migrants from Europe
    When you talk to them they tell you NZ is paradise on Earth
    and can’t believe how lucky we are.
    It makes me fucking sick that all the doom and gloom merchants can’t see this . And if they fuck off to Oz so much the better in my humble opinion.
    We as a country are doing fucking well!

  16. Leftie 17

    PhilBest
    Yup about $10 extra per week is your reality as a lower income earner. Woopity doooo.

    What will you sacrifice to get your 10 bucks?

  17. “The left scream their partisan heads off when a bank makes a record profit because it’s ripping off it’s customers to make that profit yet when the country makes a record profit it’s astute political management – go figure?”

    umm gee burt, maybe the difference is that when private multinationals make a profit the money goes offshore and into new bentleys for their millionaire executives, while when the country makes a surplus as the result of astute political management, the money goes into more domestic spending, to the benefit of all new zelanders. can you figure that one bertie?

  18. Robert Owen 19

    I know its completely off topic but………..
    Monkeys kill Delhi deputy Mayor http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7055625.stm

  19. Z K Muggletonspofin 20

    Thanks Sprout, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Burt, I do agree that people need “incentives” to create wealth. Not paying a fair tax hardly qualifies but, as I said, its the level of tax/public service that’s the issue and should be where the debate is made. A government’s role is to help create environments where wealth is created so that all of society can fairly benefit. But that position seems to give the Torys an open invitation to paint this government as a ‘redistribution Government’ intent on penalising people with high taxes. In the last six years peoples’ real living standards have improved, business profits and share market movements are at record levels, at the same time that people at all levels of society benefit from much improved public services.

    Michael Cullen is not taxing people so that he can rip people off. He is rightly considering all the implications for the majority of New Zealanders – mate that’s the true role of government!

  20. Nih 21

    Happy International Stuttering Awareness Day!

  21. the sprout 22

    anyone notice this slap to Key from SIS head Warren Tucker?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4244031a6160.html

  22. PhilBest 23

    Yeah, lefties can’t do maths, or read either. I’ve never visited this blog before and I probably won’t again. It’s like poison.

    By the way, you can stick your cradle-to-the-grave socialist health care. Notice how the whole system is geared up to fob people off? Go to the doctor, get tests done that won’t reveal if you’ve got a problem 50% or more of the time. When you’re nearly dead, they’ll actually admit there’s something wrong and put you on a waitlist forever. Or maybe they’ll tell you that there’s nothing that can be done for you, and leave you to find out for yourself if there actually is.

    Then, if you’re lucky, you might have money (hard saved for your future with a family) that you can use to obtain your own treatment.

    The only difference between Socialist State provided “care” or anything else, and the cruel, unscrupulous filthy rich businessmen who devise scams in free market conditions to rip off the poor, is that Socialism actually exists and is a far bigger and more successful scam than anything that could be dreamed up in an unscrupulous businessman’s wildest dreams.

    Pppppppffffffffftttttttttttttt. Bye bye.

  23. Daveo 24

    PhilBest – you seem rather thin-skinned. I can’t see anyone here being rude to you so I don’t know what you mean by poison. I guess you’re used to hanging out at Kiwiblog where everyone agrees with you?

    And dude, if you think being a low-income worker in a privatised health system sounds like fun go talk some Americans. Honestly mate, no health system’s perfect but at least when it’s socialised everyone gets treatment. I’d recommend having a look at Michael Moore’s film Sicko if you want to learn more about Americanised healthcare.

  24. the sprout 25

    and let’s not forget the freemarket pharmacy approach, that makes american pharmaceuticals the most expensive in the world.

  25. burt 26

    the sprout

    umm gee burt, maybe the difference is that when private multinationals make a profit the money goes offshore and into new bentleys for their millionaire executives

    So how about instead of using a Bank as an example we use a GP. Given probably all of NZ GP’s are not overseas owned, using you ‘overseas’ argument it would seem that if GP’s overcharge patients and make a massive profit it would be OK. I don’t think many Labour supporters would agree with that.

    You have skirted the issue. The issue is ‘why is profit through over charging’ bad when it’s private business but just the bees-knees when it’s the state?

    The money goes into more domestic spending in both cases, to the benefit of all new zelanders. can you figure that one sproutie?

  26. burt 27

    the sprout

    and let’s not forget the freemarket pharmacy approach, that makes american pharmaceuticals the most expensive in the world.

    Yes ideology is the problem here again. The pharmaceuticals are expensive so the people of NZ are denied them – meanwhile we have an $8b surplus. (surplus = taxation taken in excess of public spending).

    So yes it’s tragic isn’t it, tragic that it’s OK for NZ govt to make a massive surplus by over taxing while refusing to spend the money taken for provision of social services on social services.

  27. Z K Muggletonspofin 28

    PhilBest

    “Yeah, lefties can’t do maths, or read either. I’ve never visited this blog before and I probably won’t again. It’s like poison.

    Is it just me or is there the appearance of a significant number of ‘fresh’ arrivals at thestandard who write in the style of DPF commentors? Then they claim indignation and leave, presumably to come back as Tom or Dick?

  28. All of this is just about softening up journalists and voters for a massive round of tax cuts and privatisation.

  29. ak 30

    The current obsession with vote-buying (“tax cuts”) is no surprise: the tories simply have nowhere else to go. The inadvertent glimpse at their privatisation agenda went down like a lead balloon and nearly everything else has been “innoculated” away. The subtle feelers that were being put out to the Greens and the Maori party have also, predictably, fallen flat.
    I hope they keep bellowing “tax cuts” till their little throats are hoarse: every mention reinforces in the public mind the fact that the economy is in safe hands – and builds an unassailable justification for Labour to deliver next year. National’s only hope will be to “outbid” Labour – which would not only be politically undignified, but would necessitate the other lead balloon of borrowing to afford it.
    Unfortunately, when the polls narrow, the Smiling Snakes will become the Cornered Rats. With nowhere to go but back into the gutter, we can expect another disgusting Orewa One-type attack weeks out from the election. Labour could counter this with a bold “closing the gaps” initiative early next year (thus leading the debate and neutralising the surprise factor), but whether they have the courage or nouse to do so remains to be seen.

  30. burt 31

    ak

    So will you abandon Labour and call them smiling snakes if they develop a vote buying obsession and introduce tax cuts or threshold adjustments in 2008?

  31. the sprout 32

    bertie
    you’re right “banks” were a really bad example – you have sooo much to learn about propaganda!

    but as you said yourself up thread, the surplus is the result of “astute political management” resulting from government under-spending and the economy doing even better than expected. it’s not from ‘overcharging’ as you say in your delightfully naive way.

    and i’m not sure what comics you’ve been reading but in this country people get extremely good access to pharmaceuticals at heavily reduced cost, thanks to pharmac and government subsidy. this is in stark contrast to countries hostage to your simplistic neo-con ideology. the only drugs “denied” are those that are over-priced and which have a comparable pharmac sanctioned alternative. where there are no alternatives for your condition pharmac will still sponsor them even if they are very expensive. the only people denied drugs are those who suffer a fully user-pays ideology like that of your national party. you really shouldn’t believe all the anti-pharmac propaganda drug companies so desperately want you to believe.

    oh and by the way bertie, the surplus was 2.9bn, not 8.

  32. burt 33

    bertie
    you’re right “banks” were a really bad example – you have sooo much to learn about propaganda!

    Yes I agree.

    The rest of your comment was pure gold. As well as spinning the facts you even quoted me out of context. Thanks for the lesson.

  33. the sprout 34

    my pleasure bertie. make sure you tell all your friends.

  34. Sam Dixon 35

    Philbest – lefties can’t do maths? check out your idelogical brother Burt’s effort vs Tane and myself on median incomes:

    National: it’s not worth the pay cut

  35. terence 36

    Burt,

    Interest rates are high (actually they’re not that high) because the reserve bank is trying to quell inflation. Were Cullen not running a surplus inflationary pressures would be higher and interest rates higher still.

  36. Robert Owen 37

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/3/story.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10471823

    Tax cuts are inflationary: say the reserve bank

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