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Right’s threadbare excuses for tax gifts for the rich

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 pm, January 5th, 2010 - 71 comments
Categories: tax - Tags:

The Right is trying to build momentum for more tax cuts for the rich. The argument comes on three fronts: ‘if we don’t lower company tax rates even further businesses will run away’, ‘if we don’t lower income tax on the rich even more, they’ll run away’, ‘tax rates should be the same or people will spend money gaming the differences’. Right-wing economist Craig Elliffe was rolled out in the Herald yesterday to make these arguments but he just shows the holes in them:

Companies have the third-highest tax burden in the OECD (measuring tax revenue as a percentage of GDP), and the Treasury is still concerned the company tax rate is among the highest in the smaller OECD economies

We’ve got to get off this stupid race to the bottom on corporate taxes. It’s just the multinationals bidding countries off against each other, threatening us with capital flight. They’ll never be satisfied – our low 33% rate became too high, now 30% is too high. As a mate said t me the other day ‘we could take it down to zero percent and they’d still be saying its not enough incentive, they would want tax credits’. We’re being tricked into a race to a receding bottom – a game that businesses have used to make towns in the US compete against each other that they are now making international. It just means more profits for the capitalists, and slashed public services or debt for the rest of us.

The burden of personal tax is also high, with New Zealand again the third-highest in the OECD in percentage terms. In the 2009 Budget the top 1 per cent of taxpayers pay 15 per cent of the tax, while the top 3 per cent pay 26 per cent. It is not known if these high effective rates of tax contribute to our having the highest diaspora (population of New Zealand-born expatriates) of skilled workers in the OECD, but highly skilled people are mobile and sought after in the global economy.

Two problems here. Elliffe’s figures relate to the share of tax paid by different income groups but he then refers to these numbers as “high effective rates of tax”. That’s a bit like saying an apple tree has more leaves, therefore its apples are sweeter – they’re just not the same thing and Elliffe must know that, unless he got his qualifications of the back of a cereal box. Honestly, this guy is a professor? And he thinks it is OK to mislead us like this? What the f#ck is wrong with academic standards in the economic departments of this country’s universities.

Secondly, Elliffe admits there is no evidence that marginal tax rates influence people’s choices to emigrate. In fact, the evidence is that wages are far more important than tax and that makes sense – Aussie wages are much higher than Kiwi ones, the tax rates are within a few percent of each other. And there is no ‘brain drain’ anyway – emigrants are disproportionately lower skilled – they go to Aussie for better pay in manufacturing, construction, mining (sectors that have very high levels of unionisation in Aussie).

A related problem to our high taxation of business (in particular company) and personal income taxes is that, according to the Treasury, there is growing evidence these types of taxation are bad for productivity and the most negative for growth.

It’s obvious that taxing work is going to decrease economic output. That’s one reason why we ought to be taxing capital accumulation but Elliffe can’t resist trying to bolster the argument with a lie that is meant to encourage tax cuts for the rich. Our corporate tax rate is not high. It’s right in the middle of international rates. Our income taxes are not high – we have one of the smallest ‘tax wedges’ (the portion of money paid out by the employer for employing someone that gets taken as tax) in the OECD and one of the lowest top tax rates.

an individual is subject to tax at 38 per cent on the highest rate of income, the company in which he or she invests, or carries on business through, is subject to tax at 30 per cent. Meanwhile the family trust, of which he or she is the beneficiary, pays tax at 33 per cent.

Note how it is assumed that all taxpayers (or at least all the ones that matter) are in the top tax bracket, when only 10% are. For the great bulk of people the ability to game the different income, corporate, and trust rates is irrelevant because they don’t have the income to make it worthwhile. Elliffe, like all the Right, seems to thing the solution to some people ripping off the rest of us but exploiting loopholes to take advantage of this different tax rates is to make all the rates the same (at the lowest, or an even lower level, like 27%). Seems to me that is like saying ‘well, some burglars manage to break into some houses, we may as well disband the Police and leave the doors open’. Why reward the bad behaviour of some high income people by giving them all a great big tax cut?

Working for Families tax credit scheme, designed to help families with children by adjusting tax payments. Sometimes these payments are adjusted so some people pay “negative amounts of tax”, that is, they get larger transfer payments than they pay in income tax. As their income rises the amount of aid they get abates. The rate of abatement in some cases can be greater than 100 per cent [no it can’t]. In 2008 nearly 170,000 people in the country were on tax rates above 50 per cent.

This is throwing the baby out with the bathwater stuff. As anyone who can count knows you can’t have a decent level of family tax credit (which is a huge help to low income families) with a low abatement rate without having a high upper income for people getting it. You can’t do all three, if you lower the abatement rate (to reduce the marginal tax rate) you either have to slash the size of the full credit or people on higher incomes will get it. Working for Families works well. So a few people have higher marginal tax rates, so a small number of high income people get small payments, so what? They minor and unavoidable side-effects of a good system.

All these arguments for getting rid of tax credits for the poor and putting in more tax cuts for the rich have gaping holes in them. That’s because they’re not really arguments, they’re excuses. Excuses for more money grabbing by the rich.

71 comments on “Right’s threadbare excuses for tax gifts for the rich ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    There are companies and then there are companies, though. A wholly NZ-owned SME, perhaps a husband and wife business, employing NZers on a decent wage and perhaps even contributing to our balance of payments by exporting surely deserves different treatment to a foreign owned multinational employing people on minimum conditions and funnelling its profits offshore?

    There are other ways of supporting the first group of course (not that we’re very good at those either) but since we’re talking company tax, why does there have to be a single rate?

    What about different rates based on the level of NZ ownership (difficult to determine that, I accept)? Different rates for private versus public companies? A rebate for every employee?

    I’m no economist so I’m sure there’s fish hooks in these off-the-cuff suggestions.

    But my point is that rather than taking a “all companies are explotative capitalists and shouldn’t be given any quarter” approach, let’s think outside the box.

    There was a need, back in the 80s, for the government to stop picking winners, as at that stage it was tending to gamble the taxpeyers’ money on things (through instruments such as the DFC etc).

    But as usual we allowed the pendulum to swing too far the other way, to the extent that for most government purposes a small corner store and merchant bank are seen as pretty much the same.

    Let’s start identifying the kind of businesses we want to flourish and unashamedly helping them, not by assuming any of their risk but by getting out of their way and avoiding the temptation to tax them to death when they’re still start-ups.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      The multi-nationals shouldn’t be operating here – it’s bad for the economy.

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1

        The way in which most of them are allowed to operate is bad, yes. But that’s only because we let them, under successive governments I might add.

        It’s our nation, we can set the rules however we want. If that means all the multinationals pack up and leave then so be it, but I suspect we’d sort the wheat from the chaff and only the truly awful ones would decamp.

        It’s human nature. If you let me come into your yard, borrow your tools and never return them, loan your car and bring it back dented and low on gas, drink all your beer and never buy a round and shag your missus I’m probably going to.

        If you tell me to smarten my ideas up and that you’ll let me have the tools and the car if I take care of them, the beer if I buy my share and to keep my hands off your wife, I’ll probably suck it up and comply.

        • Zorr 1.1.1.1

          So what would be your opinion for dealing with franchised multinationals like McDonalds that are part of the greater whole but, at least on the local level, are owned by NZ residents? (just curious in the answer is all)

          • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure I understand the question in context of my earlier comment, Zorr? I advocate we apply the same rules to them that would be applied to any company in terms of proscribing their behaviour. If they don’t like it they can leave but I suspect they wouldn’t.

            The famous “level playing field”… but of course at present it’s anything but level because a multinational can afford to employ people to deal with mountains of bureaucratic waffle whereas a small business owner spends his or her weekends doing it. A multinational can also employ a tax accountant to slide past a lot of its obligations – the person at the kitchen table strauggling with their GST return can’t. And so on.

            And if they did leave then, as logie97 points out below, that’d create an opportunity for a local entrepreneur who couldn’t otherwise enter a saturated market.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2

          No Rex, no matter how well the multinationals operate or not, they’re bad for the economy. All that wealth that we produce with our labour goes offshore to prop up another economy that has declining production.

          • logie97 1.1.1.2.1

            If their is a demand for McDonalds type food, what is to stop a New Zealand company setting up the same sort of franchise? Same amount of mouths to feed. Just send McDonalds packing and someone here will fill the gap. And the profits stay here…

          • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1.2.2

            So how do we obtain, say, cars? Better surely to have them made in the country by a multinational which employs locals who then spend their wages in the local economy, and to get what tax we can out of them, than to simply import high-value items?

            I hate to see our wealth go offshore (driving past the unprcessed logs on Wellington wharfs used to give me such regular apoplexy that passengersd would beg me to take an alternative route). But it seems that we either reduce our standard of living or find a practical way to get the most we can out of multinationals, which we’re most certainly not doing at present.

  2. BLiP 2

    The sooner the rich run away, the better for the rest of us.

    • luva 2.1

      Explain?

    • Tim Ellis 2.2

      Yeah, who needs the jobs their companies provide, anyway. Better to have no rich people and everyone live in poverty, except for a political elite. Everyone is always so happy in North Korea.

      • felix 2.2.1

        What makes you think there are no rich people in North Korea?

        • gitmo 2.2.1.1

          Yes I here Kim Jong’s doing very nicely.

        • Tim Ellis 2.2.1.2

          I had hoped you might include “learn to read” among your new year resolutions Felix.

          I didn’t say there weren’t any rich people in North Korea. I said that the political elite are the only rich people.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        It’s not the companies that are going away – only the rich people. The people who actually produce the wealth will still be here.

        As a community we really do produce far more than we need but very few people end up with that all that wealth. Get rid of the selfish people, make the allocation of resources more democratic and there won’t be any poverty.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    What the f#ck is wrong with academic standards in the economic departments of this country’s universities.

    They’re teaching a delusional theory as if it was gospel.

    • Sam 3.1

      We have a winner!

    • Craig Marshall 3.2

      Don’t you love ad hominem arguments? Question-begging is pretty fun too. How about some data on what is wrong with the academic standards of economics departments of this country’s universities. But wait, perhaps you just disagree with them!

  4. A good post. One thought though – I know of no evidence of a link between tax rates and skilled emigration, but it is a plausible link, worth exploring. In an increasingly integrated global economy, in which skilled/highly-qualified labour is likely to be mobile, the trigger factors in the choice to move will have to be better understood.

    • Zorr 4.1

      Currently in NZ that factor primarily seems to be two things:
      1) Student debt…
      that is then combined with…
      2) Low income

      Anyone with a degree who wants to ever see the back end of their student loan generally moves in search of higher paying jobs overseas. The grass is very green here and lots of people I know would love to live out their lives here but the fact is that they can’t afford to.

  5. infused 5

    Shows how out of touch you are. This is possibly going to be my last year in New Zealand. My business is growing every year, but I’m sick of working 60-80hrs a week for peanuts. The taxes are high. I only have one employee, but god damm it costs a lot to have them.

    It’s a fact. If you can do well here, you can probably do 2x as well somewhere else (with better weather and lifestyle 🙂

    My partner keeps hitting me up about going overseas. Sadly this might be the case. Which sucks, because my business is good and I love it here in NZ.

    One thing they need to change is the provisional tax system.

    • lprent 5.1

      One thing they need to change is the provisional tax system.

      Yep. The thing is off the ark. You’d think that the tax department never seen modern accounting systems or realized how hard it is to predict profits a year ahead. I reckon that half of the ‘fiddling’ in this country to purely to make sure that your profit is the same as your predictions – even if you have to make stupid investment decisions to do it. Those penalties for being out on an forward estimate are just stupid.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        or modern communications or computers. I’m truly amazed at them still forcing people to guess at what their income will be over the next year. Especially considering that the whole damn thing could almost be done in real time.

        • Rex Widerstrom 5.1.1.1

          Overestimate and Dunne and English get free use of your money for a year. Underestimate and they screw you over because your tea leaf reading abilities aren’t up to “Sensing Murder” standards sand Dunne and English get to keep your money.

          They (both Ministers of Finance and IRD officials) know it’s a crock, it suits them to continue it because they are greedy officious bastards. Nothing particularly amazing in that.

      • prism 5.1.2

        Provisional tax – working out your next year’s likely revenue and paying some of the tax on it now. Not unreasonable idea, as the first year of a business you pay no tax then – have to get revenue before you can be taxed on it. But government always has the propensity to go over the top about money.
        I remember the strange case of the undertaker who was being cautioned by the tax department because his turnover! was higher than he had estimated. The crazy tax shits couldn’t work out how vulnerable he was to unforeseen events. I’m sure this was in NZ in the 1980’s.

  6. handle 6

    If you can not make a business work in one of the easiest countries in the world to do business in, then good luck anywhere else. Don’t drink the roundtable kool-aid.

    • infused 6.1

      Maybe you should read. I’ve made it work.

      • Then what’s the problem? Every international measure tells us that NZ is one of easiest country in the world to set up and run a business. Its regulatory regime is, despite the huffing and puffing by the business sector, one of least demanding, Its tax regime is mid-range in the OECD. In all seriousness, what more would you want? As for working hard, that’s the general case in NZ. We work longer hours than most OECD economies. And that’s the problem – we work long hours not very smartly – and who permits that? The business sector, which does not invest or do R&D as do our competitors. So here’s the conundrum: we are an easy place to do business, with every government falling over itself not to upset business (including Labour), yet business does not respond in terms of R&D and firm performance. Instead, like those who already have a great deal, they want more – concessions, support, freedom from any constraint and on it goes. And I type as a sometime employer.

        • Paul 6.1.1.1

          So true – I run a small business – it way way easier to operate in New Zealand than it was when I was in the US.- minutes a month rather than hours or days sometimes

          BTW: Don’t forget when you compare tax rates in different countries to include state income taxes – fixed 5-6% in Australia depending on state, 10% max in California – these numbers get mutiplied in in a subtle way, you don’t just add them – so a 6% Aussie state tax ends up being about 4% extra on a $100k income – to add to the confusion the Aussie state payroll tax also effectively raises their salaries so someone earning ‘$100k’ in a 6% state is really being paid $106k in NZ terms

      • handle 6.1.2

        “I’m sick of working 60-80hrs a week for peanuts”

        • Clarke 6.1.2.1

          I’m sick of working 60-80hrs a week for peanuts

          Infused, are you looking to move the company overseas because the compliance burden is too high, or is it that the business will scale better in a bigger market – i.e. more potential customers means the whole thing is less hand-to-mouth? Genuine question, btw.

          • infused 6.1.2.1.1

            Possibly. I haven’t made up my mind. I can quite easily get a job that would put me on 90k, I just cannot stand working for someone after doing things myself for so many years. Money isn’t everything (kind of ironic yeah?).

            It’s the whole package. A few of my clients moved to aussie, no biggie. The money is damm good there though if you have the right skill set. My clients think I should setup there, but it takes a lot of effort to setup a business and get well known.

            At a cross roads so to speak. I haven’t done any research on aussie, so I don’t know. The question is crossing my mind a lot more these days though. All my mates are in aussie now. Partner wants to go. My business is still growing every year so I’ll give it another year I think before making up my mind. /rant

            • Clarke 6.1.2.1.1.1

              I can see what you mean – although having run companies on both sides of the ditch, Aussie is a very different place to operate in my experience.

              The compliance costs are definitely higher in Australia. Things like PAYE and GST are much more complex, there are more levels of government bureaucracy, and some of their systems (such as the complexity of registering a car or buying land) simply defy logic. NZ looks like a friction-free place to do business in comparison.

              But there’s no question that Australia is a much bigger market, and it’s far easier to grow a business with some scale to it. Ending up with ten staff and a multi-million dollar turnover is a couple of orders of magnitude easier across the ditch, as there are simply more customers and (in my experience) your competitors lack the drive to compete aggressively – so there’s more room for newcomers.

              So yeah – trade-offs in both directions. Good luck with your decision!

  7. burt 7

    infused

    You are exactly the sort of person Labour wants to drive from this country. You don’t need welfare and won’t vote for increased taxes for other people to provide the entitlements you need.

    GO ! GET OUT ! We don’t need people like you who create wealth and therefore independence.

    • gitmo 7.1

      Yes the rich (what does that mean anyway) are all evil and have never done anything for NZ apart from exploit the working classes we must get rid of all of them to make NZ a better place………. mmm wonder where all that cash is going to come from to fill the govt coffers ?

      Perhaps we can start borrowing 500 million a week to live beyond our means ………. wonder who we should phone ?

    • prism 7.2

      Another remark gone for a burt-on.
      handle said he was sick of working for peanuts for 60-80 hours a week and burt uses the post as an example of someone creating wealth and therefore independence. WTF He has just made the point he is not creating these things, just working long hours for poor reward. It is very possible to do that in NZ – they call this group the working poor, and stats show how many there are.
      Labour tried to set viable wage floors to ensure that they didn’t sink too low but the economy management diminished that by encouraging housing speculation. And of curse! by freely joining up with the ‘free’ market and dropping our trousers at the same time so we now have no hidden agendas, no handy tariffs for our economic protection. No wonder it’s cold down here in the nether world.

    • burt 7.3

      prism

      Where you show a complete lack of understanding is that although it might be easy to set up a business in NZ from an administrative/registration perspective that has no correlation with how easy it is to be successful in business.

      Using a little bit of logic it could be that because it is easy to establish a company that more people do exactly that having spent insufficient time/effort researching the viability of the business they will run through that company. It could be the case that because the establishment of a company is so easy business has a higher rate of failure in NZ than countries where people don’t establish companies on a whim because it seemed like a good idea and it was easy to do so.

      If you think that ease of administration is the same thing as being easy to turn a profit then clearly you have never tried it yourself.

      • prism 7.3.1

        Some of the statistics about setting up a new business and being successful in the long run with it are suspect. For instance when looking closer at those that are no longer in business after say two years, they have not all failed. Some have closed in good condition – the entrepreneur’s situation has changed and they close it down. Or it has been sold, or changed to another sort of enterprise. So quoting well-known truisms about business may be repeating half-truths.
        You sound so sure about everything. You also assume I don’t know anything about business. I do know a bit – not to match Infratil or Graham Hunt or even a clever property speculator but some things.
        Also I do know that employees’ lives and options have been eroded over the years and that pay for many has not kept pace with the race of house inflation. That is not business’s fault but it is a fact.

  8. handle 8

    Wealth is wonderful. Whinging that it’s too hard to do business distracts our businesses from investing in their productivity. Working longer hours is no substitute and we already do too much of that.

  9. Adrian 9

    Compared to here running a business in Australia is a nightmare. There are about 5-6 more levels of tax, Accident insurance is done privately and hardly ever pays out without a court case and costs 3+ times as much. The only thing going for it is a bigger customer base. Try and open a bank account in Britian and God help you if you want to start up in the US without a platoon of lawyers. Once again, we don’t know how lucky we are.

  10. tc 10

    The system is broken, the recent crises wasn’t fixed it was bandaged up and sent back to do it all over again…..with all the same dark lords intact.

    Look at the unbridled greed eminating from the business sector echoed by mouthpieces like this professor/O’Reilly/Blinglish etc. more for us, who cares about the rest.

    Whatever happened to a resonable rate of return ? Burned at the altar of ever increasing returns at the expense of consumer service and delivery (telecoms), workers the environment (many examples here) etc etc

    Business has had a boom time over the last few decades and being predatory wants more and more….at the expense of those at the bottom.

    I recommend viewing Zeitgeist Addendum for anyone who thinks the system is designed to benefit society as a whole……it’s designed to benefit few indeed.

    We’re seeing these few control the agenda/media/legislation currentlly and isn’t is just working out fine…….yeah right !

  11. randal 11

    this country is efficient by definition. i.e. we produce goods that other people buy in the face of competition.
    unfortunately most of it is high volume low cost but nevertheless we earn our way in the world.
    however that doesnot stop the compradores and owners from wanting more than their share and obtaining the government benches is just another right wing ruse to put more pressure on the profits generated by our industry.
    the right is not happy with a fair share they want the lot.
    they want winners so they can laugh at the losers and they want people screwed down so they can apply psychological pressure and watch them squirm.
    if YOU think I am making a false case then you haven’t done enough reading in either business or psychology.
    and because we are so far away from the mainstream they have almost free reign in the media to propogate their deceits and lies.

  12. Mac1 12

    Adrian,
    under Cullen New Zealand ranked 2nd in the World according to the World Bank “Ease of doing business’ survey 2008.

    I note Infused spoke of having one employer but how it costs a lot to have ‘them’. A simple error or made-up so-called anecdotal rubbish, a tactic of the political spinner?

    • Herodotus 12.1

      It is difficult to start a business when the banks are extremely reluctant to grant credit lines, and when the do the cost of debt is extreemly high. Take a case I am involved in when 18 months ago our fee/charge from the banks was 1.2% just refinaced and the additional charges have increased to 3.5 – 5% above base lending rates, and the credit line term for review has been reduced from 2 years to 9 months. No matter whatthe stats state your have to pass stage 1 i.e. access to capital to develope a business.

      • Rex Widerstrom 12.1.1

        You’re telling me! When I did a radio business show the most common complaint was “no sources of start-up capital”. When I went into politics the most common complaint from would-be entrepreneurs was “no sources of start-up capital”.

        So… why don’t we have a tax system that rewards start-up investment? Why do we allow an economy to develop wherein it’s so much more attractive to become a property developer than a business person? Why do we not only bail out banks when this all goes wrong but then don’t touch the banking regulations to ensure it’s less likely to reoccur?

        Because we continue to elect gutless people bereft of an original thought (unless it’s something like cycleways or smacking, we’re very good at trivia in this country).

    • felix 12.2

      Mac1, it’s not unusual to use the word “them” to refer to one person.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

      (He’s probably still bullshitting though.)

    • infused 12.3

      Now that it’s easy to get the right person (re 90 day law) I actually want to employee. It’s very scarry hiring someone for the first time. No matter how many interviews you do, or questions you ask, you never know till they are working for you.

      You guys should be thankful for this law. Without it, this person most probably would never have been hired. I would have just worked harder. I’m glad I have however. All I’m saying is that hiring people in a small business can be very risky.

  13. handle 13

    It probably does seem costly to employ someone if you are comparing it with the constant propaganda about how much red tape we have and how much easier life is over the ditch. That’s not Infused’s fault.

  14. prism 14

    “Honestly, this guy is a professor? And he thinks it is OK to mislead us like this? What the f#ck is wrong with academic standards in the economic departments of this country’s universities.”
    I thought I would look Elliffe up. He is not in an economic department, but is a leader in taxation in NZ. He has built himself a wealthy lifestyle using the conservative lines he espouses in the newspaper item.
    Sounds like the medical guy carrying out the cervical treatment experiment. And he wasn’t stopped without long and determined efforts by a handful of people going through many and various legal hoops. And still there are people disagreeing and producing obscure information to disprove the case made.
    Getting clearance through the smog of present taxation orthodoxy is nearly impossible isn’t it? Are we doomed to have everything stripped away from ordinary NZs by the practices and dogma of such fat cats? And when things go to custard I am sure there will be no acknowledgment of error by them. The old rule of economic thumb of 80/20 will prevail. The top 20% will have 80% of the country’s wealth and opportunity, if not more. And this will remain the proportion as that wealth diminishes.

    Elliffe’s tertiary home is – The University of Auckland Business School.
    Professor Craig Elliffe, LLB(Hons), BCom Otago, LLM Camb.
    Craig has been newly appointed to a chair after 14 years as a tax partner at KPMG and 7 years as a tax partner at Chapman Tripp. Craig’s research areas are in the field of international tax, corporate tax and tax avoidance. He is the author of Dividend Imputation: Practice and Procedure (Lexis)
    and
    Craig’s areas of expertise include taxation consulting in technology and electronic commerce; international tax; restructuring; and cross border transactions. Craig has been involved in cross border royalty, income tax, and GST issues. His particular interests are in information, communication and entertainment, as well as international tax, services and manufacturing.
    Widely published, he is a recognised public speaker and is Professor of Taxation Law and Policy at Auckland University and is the Director of the Master of Taxation Studies, the premier qualification for postgraduate taxation in New Zealand.
    Interesting. I wonder what his attitudes are to the new censorship and control legislation for the internet which are trying to stop copying etc. He has been on the Victoria University Tax Working Group of recent times. Also interesting and probably irrelevant is that Auckland University sacked Paul Buchanan for being too demanding and rigorous for high standards of student integrity. An international student is good business. Business is king I think.

  15. Mac1 15

    Felix,thanks for that reference.

    On reflection, also, Infused might have been referring to more than one employee, employed in succession but only ever one at a time.

    Or, he could have been trying out for the leggie vacancy in NZ cricket, as you say- (right hand leg spinner, delivery often spun from the top or the back of the hand, with looping trajectory and requiring resolute defence and watchfulness in release and flight. Left handers often get a wrong-un’.)

  16. burt 16

    It is people like infused that ruin this country, before we know it people who work will be better off than people who bludge. This must be stopped if we are to stay in recession and maintain falling productivity and expansion of the glorious welfare state for the betterment of Labour’s electoral success.

    If Trotter has taught me anything it is that corruption must not only be tolerated when it is in Labour’s best interest – it should be justified AND encouraged if it helps Labour.

    • lprent 16.1

      Gee burt – are you daft enough to think that the only people who support Labour are ‘bludgers’ or government employees? Guess what – they aren’t. The vast majority are taxpayers who don’t bother avoiding taxes (unlike you from other comments you’ve made). Most work in businesses (like me), run businesses (like I do if I cannot avoid it), or own them (like I have done). They support Labour because it makes policy for the long-term, unlike the supporters of National and even ACT who seem to have a issue with looking past the mythical past.

      That is why Labour supporters and others look at what you’re saying and think that you are so full of crap that it must be dribbling out of your ears as well as mouth and fingers.

      You really need to sharpen up and start using the grey matter you were endowed with at birth. Of course repetitive unthinking behaviour like you’re displaying has some disturbing implications about how far you’ve already abused your brain. Have you had a checkup recently?

      • Boris Clarkov 16.1.1

        Bullshit.

        The Labour electorate overwhelmingly comprises the beneficiaries and the criminals.

        It is in fact the largest political irony that the Party that represents the beneficarycriminals to the detriment of decent working people names itself “Labour.” “Labour” implies “working” – an activity oh so few Labour voters are familiar with.

        • lprent 16.1.1.1

          I suspect that you have pure bone between the ears. Hardly worth talking to you and explaining why you are incorrect.

          However, you are wrong. The numbers don’t add up unless you’re wanting to say that about 40% of the country in 2005 were criminals or beneficeries, and 33% in 2008. Frankly I suspect you’re too stupid to understand the numbers.

          I suspect that there are more white-collar criminals amongst the right than in Labour. I’m sure that there are more white-collar criminals than any other type. They just don’t get convicted often enough.

          • gitmo 16.1.1.1.1

            Is this an obtuse way of calling someone a cocksucker ?

            • lprent 16.1.1.1.1.1

              I was thinking shambling zombie at the time I wrote it. It was obvious that he’d long ago lost most of his senses and appendages so cocksucking was out.

              It is rather amusing watching these old troll models turn out drooling their unthinking lines – it is so 2007. You’d have thought by now they’d realize that you have to turn your brain on at the door here – even if you disagree or agree

          • prism 16.1.1.1.2

            captcha – flashes
            of wit? How can this bone be graced with the adjective pure? Is it 100% pure? I doubt that – 100% bonedust more likely. Poor Boris, the world is so bad that the only way he can cope is to retreat under the desk and fire potato pellets at earnest people who try to think of ways to improve our situation.

  17. tc 17

    Average top CEO paid $7.2m last year ….from a national newspaper today.

    So we must give these poorly rewarded folk a tax cut and also the business they run as clearly it’s a struggle.

    I’ve been lokking at it all wrong……don’t count until you’ve past a million or two as that’s needed just for necessities.

    So if you don’t reach a million or two……you must be doing it tough.

  18. burt 18

    lprent

    are you daft enough to think that the only people who support Labour are ‘bludgers’

    No, I have no idea how you came to that conclusion although it did provide a soap box for the remainder of your grumpy old man I-know-more-than-you attack.

    If the concept that people who choose the beneficiary lifestyle support political parties who increase benefits (rather than decrease them) is too hard for you to grasp then that explains why you claim “lprent says’ insight on so many subjects.

    • lprent 18.1

      Ummm the vast majority of beneficeries are on the superannuation – given to everyone over the age of 65.

      For some reason they don’t split the way you’re suggesting in the poll data. The split is pretty even in the over-65’s between the right and the left and has been for a long time.

      That kind of invalidates what you are suggesting. Even you must realize that you could be talking crap?

      Incidentally from canvassing I’ve done, what you’re suggesting isn’t even the case amongst the unemployed, teachers, nurses, etc. Most tend to the left (apart from nurses – who are usually just grumpy), but there are sizeable minorities that vote right. You have to remember that many people don’t operate as if their own circumstances are the only thing of any value to society.

      That is a right myth and largely used to justify their own selfish behaviour.

    • Pete 18.2

      burt – I think you may find that benefit payment amounts weren’t ramped up by Labour in their nine years in power either – they stuck at the same level they were Ruthenaised to during the Nat’s last time in the hot-seat.

      If you dug a little deeper you may also find that social policy shifted toward mechanisms that promoted getting into work for all beneficiary types (and made getting a benefit harder) under Labour’s watch – including Working for Families (despite the ‘it’s making us all bludgers’ rhetoric some espouse).

      Basically you’re talking through an outdated hole in your head – not hard to know more than you (as you’ve suggested of lPrent) when you’re not blinkered by the old disproved ‘conservative dogma’ ball ‘n’ chain…

      Thanks for reading, now keep going.

  19. Irascible 19

    Interesting sidebar in an USA newspaper recently was a note that many communities which had introduced tax break incentives to attract businesses to their area are now looking to claw back the tax breaks as they’re finding that they cannot sustain the credits for businesses from the personal tax (rates) take they can raise as the results of the depression caused by the gambling of the money speculators bite – rising unemployment and reduced ability for the individuals to support the companies that fired them.

  20. burt 20

    lprent

    You say;

    I suspect that there are more white-collar criminals amongst the right than in Labour.

    “lprent says’ based on what ? Based on there being more white collar workers amongst the right?

    Are you asserting in an lprent kind of way that “right’ is more likely to be criminal perhaps?

    Can you explain why on one hand you say Labour hasn’t got a stronghold on beneficiary support and on the other hand indicate National has a strong hold on white collar crime ?

    Unless you have your own definitions of white collar criminal which overlap with your own definition of beneficiaries then you must be wrong about at least one of these “lprent says’ assertions you have make.

  21. Herodotus 21

    Should there not be a discussion on if the govt should operate with a deficit, surplus or be a self balancing budget, then if deficit or surplus should this be indexed to say GDP or do we exist as what has ocurred in the last 8 years when times are great money flods into the govt and when the crap hits then we have to cut our cloth according. i.e. there is no plan “good’ governments are a consequence of good times that have little or no bearing on the quality of the govt.
    As an aside There was an interesting article onthe herald by a ex commons MP re the manipulation by the Res Bank (read Nat and Lab) in being so focused on one strategy that the country suffers

  22. burt 22

    Marty G

    Another small point. It is impossible to give “tax gifts” to rich people, unless of course you are talking about people earning over the rich prick threshold (therefore they must be rich …) receiving welfare because they are poor….

    It is however possible to reduce the amount of tax “rich” people pay (which WFF also did under Labour) and I guess if you take the stance that the gummit has the right to choose winners and losers in the economy then you would blur the lines for the sake of justifying your ideology.

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