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Running for cover

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 pm, April 21st, 2020 - 41 comments
Categories: food, jobs, poverty, uncategorized, us politics, welfare - Tags:

More 1% Americans are heading our way, according to Bloomberg. The Texas company building underground bunkers is getting more enquiries. They’re not running from the virus but fear the aftermath when the breadlines turn.

Seeing the pictures of those queuing for food, sometimes packed close together or practising social distance in long lines of cars, one feels that this fear is not without justification. Trump has handled the virus appallingly, focused only on himself, to the point of egging on open-air protests against State governors, with some carrying arms.

With an expensive insurance-based system mostly provided those in permanent work and a low level of unemployment support, costs of adjustments to economic shock in the US fall on workers. The helicopter money of $1,200 to individuals pales in comparison to the trillions d going to banks and corporates, without any oversight or regulation. No wonder the rich are fleeing.

Some of our corporate leaders such as Rod Drury want to welcome the self-centred refugees. He’s apparently put the idea to David Parker, who was not keen. I’m not either. Our culture of support for each other and manaakitanga is what has seen us start well on our way through this crisis.

One Silicon Valley refugee mentioned in the Bloomberg article mentioned how he had found a place to live in Waiheke Island, chosen because he had heard it was where the billionaires were. Unfortunately because of the lock-down he hadn’t met any billionaires. They’re probably in the bunkers.

41 comments on “Running for cover ”

  1. Nick 1

    It's $1,200 only.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.1

      Yep. From the IRS:

      Eligible individuals will receive $1,200. Two eligible individuals filing a joint return will receive $2,400. You will receive an additional $500 Payment for each qualifying child you claimed on your tax return being used to calculate your Payment who meets the following conditions …

    • weka 1.2

      I edited it now, thanks.

  2. weka 2

    The Herald tweeted this earlier today. However the article appears to instead be about Ardern toying with Hoskings (a delight to read).

  3. Peter 3

    So you help create chaos, shit in your own nest as it were and then you escape. The great democracy that you sing about and salute, pay allegiance to from the time you're born and say is the greatest country in the world isn't that.

    You can't get your own way, things end up with fuckwits running around your capitals with guns so want to come here?

    All the money you've made to prove how successful you are at life is used to escape the sign of how unsuccessful you've been at creating a good country.

    At least if you get here you'll probably have enough money to pay for your bone spur surgery you seem the types to suffer with that.

  4. McFlock 4

    Give me your scared, your wealthy, your cowering elite, yearning to be safe from the people they exploited…

  5. RedBaronCV 5

    I have a lot of trouble with the idea that government ministers ( who I expect are generally pretty busy at the moment) having to waste time listening to the rich pushing what I would call off the wall wacky ideas like Mr Drury's to benefit other rich people. The rest of us wouldn't even get the phone answered if we called – so why do the rich have this selfish compulsion to jump the queue and think their ideas are best.

    .I also wonder if those installing the bolt holes here are dodging work visa requirements when doing so.

    Lastly should there be a ban on the arrival of foreign business jets/reduce the length of visa for those that can leave. Frankly I think those who fled here are overwhelmingly selfish in that they may have brought the virus and I'm sure they expect to be able to use our health system if they need to. Maybe it's time to toss a few of these people out. Do we know how many people are still here on a visitor visa and when are they are going home? Shouldn’t the investor visas be canned if they are trying to get one? Rich people arriving to destroy another country. I have seen in the past visa’s being awarded because a donation has been made to a local school or similar. Passport selling.

  6. Gabby 6

    Surprised Rod hasn't found a buyer for the whole outfit. Why think small.

  7. mac1 7

    These 1%ers come from the land that Utah Phillips sang about. They are the ones who flee when they fear the consequences of verse three. The first verse is a deadly accurate portrayal of US 2020 conditions.

    "This Land is Their Land" sung to the tune of the Woody Guthrie original, and itself a protest song if you get to the last verses.

    "As I was walking
    An endless breadline
    My landlord gave me
    A two week deadline
    The local paper
    Printed a better headline
    This land is not for you and me

    This land is their land
    It is not our land
    From your plush apartment
    To your Cadillac car land
    From your wall street office
    To your Hollywood starland
    This land is not for you and me

    So take your slogan
    And kindly stow it
    If this is our land
    You'd never know it
    Lets get together
    And overthrow it
    This land was made for you and me"

  8. aom 8

    Hey, let the buggers come. A couple of weeks locked down in a cheap hotel with bags of food dropped of at the expense of the state, followed by a severe financial fleeing to invest in the country and no access to tax havens and they might make desirable citizens. If not, they know what they can do.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1

      " they might make desirable citizens. "

      They didn't get filthy rich by being desirable citizens, in general. They did it by exploiting those around them and minimising their contributions to society.

      The very last sort of people we need here.

    • georgecom 8.2

      thank goodness we have a Labour/Green/NZF government where it has become harder for the 1%ers to simple set up their bolt hole here. Key would have been welcoming them with red carpets. If they want to transfer their wealth here and pay tax on it and take NZ residency/citizenship then yes, maybe so, they are welcome to make an application for residency.

      • georgecom 8.2.1

        another option I did consider. The 1000 people Drury want to be able to build houses here, for every year they are not living in NZ, charge them a (suggested) 20% land tax on the value of their house. When they decide to live permanently in NZ the tax can be scrapped but until they do each and every year they pay the 20% tax.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    I forgot to ask. How is the bloke in the Bloomberg story holed up on Waiheke being allowed to work here or is he doing it illegally? I'm assuming he came on a visitor visa and it seems to have been replaced with something else pretty quickly- has it all been within the rules? Note how he says he will go back when things become more normal!

  10. joe90 10

    pales in comparison to the trillions d going to banks and corporates, without any oversight or regulation.

    First up, best dressed.

    But by April 16, less than two weeks after the program launched, it ran out of money. Many thousands of small businesses, some of the brink of permanent closure, were not able to secure loans.

    […]

    But, before the money ran out, Ruth's Hospitality Group, the parent company of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, was able to secure a $20 million loan. How did a company with thousands of employees and over $441 million in revenue last year — and $86 million cash reserves — benefit from this fund while thousands of real small businesses received nothing?

    The law contained an exception for restaurant chains as long as the chain didn’t have more than 500 employees at any single location. Ruth’s Hospitality Group exploited that exception by applying through two corporate subsidiaries, obtaining twice the limit for a single company on April 7. Ruth’s Hospitality Group was able to get to the front of the line because JP Morgan Chase, like many banks, gave preference to companies that had a preexisting banking relationship.

    https://popular.info/p/a-raw-deal

  11. dv 11

    See Branson is asking for the British tax payer to bail him out.

    And putting up his island for a loan

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/121173438/coronavirus-richard-branson-turns-to-his-island-to-help-bolster-virgin-empire

    "Branson has not paid tax in this country for 14 years," British lawmaker Diane Abbott tweeted in response to his letter. "On no account should he get a taxpayer bailout, loan or otherwise."

  12. Ad 12

    Prime Minister Ardern should get off her high horse and actually welcome such tourists here.

    It's not like there's any other tourists coming.

    We've got plenty of billionaires from across the world who have invested here over the last two decades.

    Ardern has just enforced a country that is 100% Pure (again). It's high time she figured out that this is a massive competitive advantage for New Zealand.

    • Anne 12.1

      The last thing I want to see is a large bunch of Peter Thiels in this country trying to turn it into a super-duper neo-liberal tax haven for the rich and powerful!

      I refer you to Mac 1 @ 7.

    • Gabby 12.2

      They sound more like refugees than tourists.

    • AB 12.3

      It's not a particularly high horse – but it does have the virtue of actually being a horse. More supine members of the animal kingdom are available.

    • RedLogix 12.4

      I've had the opportunity to spend several hours, one on one, with one of those genuinely wealthy people most people here so deeply resent. It was a rare, accidental slice of messed up travel time, circumstances beyond both our control momentarily giving me a once only insight into the mind of a real billionaire. (Tens of billions actually).

      I asked him questions about his role, about how and why he thought he had become so wealthy. In short nothing about him conformed to the stereotypes so many people here have about the rich. I didn't find his demeanour arrogant or secretive, but it was clear that he had the capacity for both intense work and an appetite for risk most of use could not embrace.

      He was very aware that everything depended on the people he had working for him, he was clear that he regarded choosing and managing them as his primary contribution, a role that demanded insight and empathy, but also the ruthlessness to cut out deadweight when it threatened the whole. There was nothing casual about him, he carried huge commercial responsibilities and one bad decision on his part could have major consequences in all manner of directions.

      If nothing else I got the sense that he found his wealth both an opportunity and a burden at the same time that separated him from the mass of ordinary people more often than he'd like. People like him are always surrounded by others with an agenda. He never got to sit around in the bar like I could and chill with a beer and bullshit.

      Yes you can resent people like him for their wealth if you want, but it's a waste of energy IMO.

      • Mike Smith 12.4.1

        I'm guessing he didn't have an underground bunker in Wanaka.

        • RedLogix 12.4.1.1

          No.

          Although oddly enough he was digging one of the largest holes in the ground in the world, and the copper production from it is part of a system that makes much of the modern, comfortable electrical based life you take largely for granted, possible.

      • AB 12.4.2

        Wariness concerning the very rich makes no moralising assumptions about them as individuals. That would be foolish and hypocritical. Sensible objections are entirely systemic:

        • to an economic system that allows accumulation of wealth that is disproportionately great compared to other citizens – as well as only loosely correlated with the effort involved or any social value produced
        • to the flow-on political influence that accrues to the very wealthy and its potential to weaken democracies

        In a society where everyone was free of financial insecurity, the first point probably wouldn't worry too many people. The second point is more intractable.

        In fact the second point is exactly why we don’t have a society in which everyone is free of financial insecurity, i.e. the intractability of the second point brings the first point into play as an issue.

        • RedLogix 12.4.2.1

          I can mostly go with that comment AB; it's self-evidently a lot more thoughtful than much of the kneejerkery that goes on around this topic.

          as well as only loosely correlated with the effort involved or any social value produced

          It's definitely true the correlation is often looser than anyone would want to defend; yet it's not zero either. While it's easy to imagine all the wealthy as little more than idle parasites, the reality is different. Some are very hard working and produce a great deal of social value; often in ways that are very unfamiliar to ordinary working people. No they rarely if ever wield shovels in a fashion you or I would recognise as work, but what they really do is align resources in ways they hope will produce a reward. And in doing so often take on a level of risk most of us can scarcely comprehend.

          Putting U$7b at risk on one project, as the person I met was doing, is not a casual undertaking; it's demanding, stressful and above all requires good judgement in many dimensions to pull off successfully. His ambition and drive was employing over 10,000 people from 40 different countries, and transforming the economic outlook of the country it was located in. It only looks easy in hindsight, but the truth is if it were really that easy everyone would do it. But only a few of us can; it's actually a rare talent.

          For certain there are many people whose wealth is not honestly earned in any manner I would care to defend, but that is not the same thing as condemning all hyper-successful people as a class.

          • KJT 12.4.2.1.1

            "The rich are rich because they are more, hard working, talented and/or meritious than, "ordinary" people".

            The other day you were claiming they are "the same".

            Make your mind up!

            • RedLogix 12.4.2.1.1.1

              Yet many people here consider them sub-human parasites that according to the title of the post should be 'eaten'. Very confusing.

              • KJT

                Some aren't, obviously.

                I've a couple in the family who became rich through developing innovative technology. Both acknowledge the role of luck, and the excellent start they got from NZ tax payer funded education and business development, though. And, they pay taxes in New Zealand.

                But do you really think Trump, and his enablers, including the Koch brothers, Bezos, and also tax dodgers like Branson, are not, repulsive, parasites?

                • RedLogix

                  Why ask questions I've already answered. "For certain there are many people whose wealth is not honestly earned in any manner I would care to defend,"?

  13. Anon 13

    Seen on NBR in the comments about Richard Branson’s need for a bailout: 

    The following NZ rich listers have put in for chump change through the wage subsidy scheme….

    Wyborn Management: $42,000
    Cook Property Group: $21,000
    Tournament Group $127,000
    Bob Clarkson Ltd: $42,000
    Masfen Holdings: $88,000

    If they need the money that badly, they must be on the ropes. Or very greedy!

  14. A 14

    In as little as a month or so the US will begin running into the start of food and possibly have water issues (not the food banks – think much wider scale). The coming situation is so bad that it is my belief that the news around this will far eclipse anything about Covid.

    Food has been wasted due to not having the ability to process it. The faster there are discussions around how to ramp up food production the less suffering there will be (sorry I'm getting off track cause a bit emotional about so many starving to death).

    A number of factors have compounded the issue globally making the next year very precarious.

    Key point: NZ will open up and allow compassionate resettlement here, billionaire or not, which will result in an explosion in population.

    When this occurs let's remember NZers first. Of course we should assist where we can. I had visions of every berm in NZ being utilised for food production…

    But we need to stop being the fucking global doormat because you can bet the same people who don't pay corporate taxes (eg Google, Facebook….many more) will land here and organise themselves in such a manner as to exploit as many of our resources as possible while not paying their fair share.

  15. Obtrectator 15

    "I had visions of every berm in NZ being utilised for food production… "

    Forget it. Too many toxic traffic fumes. Unless your vision included the current little or no traffic as a permanent state of affairs.

    • A 15.1

      Polluted food is better than no food 🙁

      Plus we don't know if the cars will be running – and with those cars goes a hefty chunk of tax revenue. The govt is going to be desperately searching for income to replace this, possibly looking to those billionaires. They won't miss 500 million.

  16. Grumpy 16

    These types of schemes never work. Anyone with that level of disposable income probably already have a bolt hole maybe even in New Zealand. They will not come to a country where they have no contacts or political influence and are still subject to the US IRS for their global earnings.

  17. bill 17

    egging on open-air protests against State governors, with some carrying arms

    Seems to me that the Trump Admin is trying to push a Hobsons choice on swathes of Americans. Apart from the absolute arseholes who out there are banging on about "not China" and "constitutional rights" (or whatever) – there are a lot of very desperate people who have lost their jobs, their health care coverage and their ability to buy food or pay rent.

    Unacceptable, except that for some reason, we basically accept people in the likes of India get to choose between starving or "getting back out there" and maybe being lucky. It's been being said for some years now the 'third world' that was 'over there' was coming to a doorstep near you.

    And of course, we have seen it coming true in terms of homelessness and desperate poverty right here in NZ. Trump's horrible bullshit is just the next logical step, and one embracing a mentality not a million miles distant if austerity is rolled out as a post covid prescription for liberal capitalism in NZ.

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