Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, March 2nd, 2019 - 31 comments
Categories: capital gains, Deep stuff, poverty, socialism, tax - Tags: charity, donations, government spending, philanthropy, spark joy
The Government has dropped the ball [hat tip to Ad] with the report from the Tax Working Group and left a narrative void till April, or May, or till they do something substantial and relevant (…). This void is filled up with attack tweets from the Leader of the Opposition and the usual MSM noise. Don’t get me wrong, these tweets are not attacking in their own right but they are about the Government, or rather the recommendations of the TWG, attacking ordinary Kiwis going about their ordinary lives. The tweets themselves are masterpieces of irony, hypocrisy, tone deafness, and comedy and are as harmless and funny as a flying rubber sex aid hitting an unmovable object.
We hate paying tax. Even though we all know it’s necessary for a functioning society and we all benefit tremendously from taxes paid throughout our lives we seem to have this in-built negative reaction to paying taxes and nearly die from tax increases or even just thinking about it. The objections span a wide range but often objectors mention that our taxes are being used for stuff that they don’t agree with but they have no say in, no control over. This is particularly common among neo-liberals who carry high up in their flags personal control and self-responsibility, especially in their own affairs.
Contrast this with charity, donations, and voluntary work, for example. People love giving, freely. People love helping others, from the goodness of their hearts. The rich – some of them – don’t mind showing their largesse by donating large sums of money to the cause of their choice. A little bit of attention and positive PR (AKA being in the limelight) does help. It suits their egos and they generally have large egos. They are becoming a separate class of citizens (often domiciled overseas) who have to be admired, wowed, and lauded with gongs: philanthropists.
However, we might not need their largesse if we were to tax the rich and seriously and not so seriously wealthy at rates that are more appropriate. This argument could include any large taxes that are infrequent and unpredictable like a CGT. If we were to legalise for a part of any CGT to be donated to a charity of your choice, with all the fanfare and largesse on show, it could well change something we hate into something we love – the line between love and hate is a fine one at the best of times.
We would get to have a choice, we get to do something good that we love doing! It might take some practice, some getting used to, but I reckon it could work. Imagine this, you’ve just sold one of your rental properties and netted a CG (profit, if you like, or good luck or windfall) of $1 million and you have to hand your fair share, say $300,000, to society. You organise a big charity fundraiser (e.g. a BBQ sizzler with a blind auction of donated goods to keep up with the trendy Kondomania hype) with friends and family and raise another $50,000. The sum total of $350,000 will be donated as you wish. The media will be there because they like feel-good easy stories and you and your friends and family get the feeling of enormous satisfaction, compassion, love and happiness – it might even spark joy! I reckon this could be a winner!
What do you reckon?