The patriotic millionaires

Written By: - Date published: 11:54 am, May 3rd, 2017 - 127 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democratic participation, Politics, tax, us politics - Tags:

Pushing the boat out on the edges of the social democratic project is a group called the Patriotic Millionaires. They don’t want tax cuts. They want higher taxes.

They are a group of high net-worth Americans committed to building a more prosperous, stable and inclusive nation. They have three core principles:

  • All citizens should enjoy political power equal to that enjoyed by millionaires
  • All citizens who work full time should be able to afford their basic needs, and
  • Tax receipts from millionaires, billionaires, and corporations should comprise a greater proportion of federal tax receipts.

Their focus is not on the strength or otherwise of the nation-state to redistribute wealth by all its indirect instruments. They concentrate on the direct tax and citizenship relationship with a fairly basic social contractarian platform.

It’s chaired by Morris Pearl, a former Blackrock executive, and on their list includes the likes of Alan Patricof the venture capitalist, the billionaire medical devices heiress Pat Stryker, big tech guy Steve Silberstein, and a fat list of others you can look up.

If you want to read their book, its: Renegotiating power and Money in America.

It’s not every day you hear of power brokers acting directly against their own rational self interest by rocking up to Congress and asking them to take more money away from them.

I’m sure a future progressive government will come up with some amazing redistributive tax platform. Any time soon. What is striking is how absent this kind of group is here or in Australia. We have spectacular wealth disparity here. We have very, very few philanthropists of note. Instead New Zealand’s wealth is carefully worn under a camouflage clothing range called ‘lifestyle’, which you can see richly illustrated in Life and Leisure magazine: the multiple millions required to look like you are living a simple and rosy-cheeked farm life doing craft projects, with the multi-squillionaire husband almost never pictured.

While basic Marxist critiques apply, what we don’t have is a group with any semblance to the Patriotic Millionaires. Maybe we’re not mature enough, maybe we will never have enough millionaires either numerically or proportionately for something similar, maybe we won’t ever let go of the fear impulse after 30 years of wealth draining out of the middle class. Maybe those are the usual excuses.

A future progressive government prepared to tilt New Zealand’s tax system will seriously need the support of those who can clearly say: I can be rich and I can pay more tax. And be proud of what that will do for New Zealand.

127 comments on “The patriotic millionaires”

  1. mac1 1

    George Lakey in his book “Viking Economics” argues that Scandinavian entrepreneurs and other high earners also welcomed high taxation as they saw the benefits to them of a secure, well-educated, well-organised and contented work force.

    Free University education was a no-brainer for them, as they got the intellectual and creative bounce from this.

  2. Antoine 2

    > the multiple millions required to look like you are living a simple and rosy-cheeked farm life doing craft projects, with the multi-squillionaire husband almost never pictured.

    This is sexist as f*(^

    A.

    • Antoine 2.1

      PS I am probably of above average income, and I would be glad to pay more tax, but only if the quality of Government spending improved markedly along with it.

      I don’t want to give Steven Joyce more money to piss away on unnecessary roads and corporate welfare, and I’m by no means sure that I want to pay for Kiwibuild either (not convinced it’s actually going to result in livable dwellings being produced on time and on budget).

      A.

      • Molly 2.1.1

        “…quality of Government spending improved markedly along with it…”

        Just out of interest, what does this look like to you? You say what you don’t want, but what would be a better quality of spending?

        • Antoine 2.1.1.1

          I would love to see more money going to special needs kids, family carers, early childhood education, addiction treatment, mental health services. To name a few off the top of my head.

          (Until a few weeks ago I would have added rest home staff, etc, to that list, but now I think they may be more justly dealt with.)

          That’s just me though.

          A.

          • Molly 2.1.1.1.1

            … and yet it sounds as if you are a dedicated right-wing voter.

            Not only does our current government reduce the spending in this area, what spending they do is often ineffective or politically spent. How do you reconcile that?

      • WILD KATIPO 2.1.2

        Yes well , – we have just recently had to endure the interviews by Guyon Espiner of a collection of ex NZ politicians with their failed neo liberal ideology who legitimized the grand theft of the Commons wealth during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

        And yet we are asked to retain some sort of benign respect for that theft simply because they are supposedly ( in the case of Bolger , at least ) ‘ older and wiser’,… and to be considered some sort of elder statesmen and women.

        Perhaps in naming these criminal political and economic saboteurs for what they really are instead of carrying on some sentimental misty eyed charade that they were not would go a long way in releasing this country towards the type of fairer and more logical system the Scandinavians have always maintained.

        Something that I have always advocated.

        Perhaps when there is a large enough groundswell of public disgust for what those people and their Mont Pelerin Society ideology did to us all we will see the emergence of such a philanthropic group such as the Patriotic Millionaires.

        An interesting read of how and why we got to where we are now is always that of Hugh Price.

        New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
        http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

    • Ad 2.2

      You have to pick up a copy of the magazine and check it out.
      It’s not routinely as bad as that, but it’s all there in the code.

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        To be honest I actually thought it was you being sexist, but I see now that you’re rather satirising L&L mag. Apologies.

        A.

  3. rhinocrates 3

    As a sidebar, the growth of a two-tier economy and social structure in America that these few people are trying to mitigate:

    https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/america-is-regressing-into-a-developing-nation-for-most-people

  4. Mrs Brillo 4

    That sentiment should bring on the Donald’s heart attack.

    As to L&L magazine, which I see at the hairdressers, it is beyond satire.
    Except that I think AbFab got there first with their fash mag slag editor (played by Kathy Burke) who wanted them to run more stories about cars so that she could get a free car. I seem to recall one editor tried this tactic with NZ House and Garden magazine, a while back, but no one took the bait.

    • Ad 4.1

      L&L should have a new magazine store R18 rating called “Bourgeoise Happy Porn”

  5. indiana 5

    Isn’t more simpler to make an independent contribution to the Govt, as I believe that US tax laws permit this, instead of writing a book and campaigning to increase taxes? If you think you should pay more, simply just do so. Or is this group advocating that if we pay more taxes, they want more of a say in how that tax money is spent?

    • Antoine 5.1

      Obviously, they don’t want just themselves to pay more taxes, but other rich people as well. (Among other things.)

      • Gosman 5.1.1

        And that’s the problem. It’s all very well arguing that you yourself should pay more tax. It is a different matter when you try and argue others should pay more tax as well.

        • McFlock 5.1.1.1

          No it’s not. It’s called “living in a democracy”. The arguments are the same: arguments to adjust the tax code via legislation by representatives.

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.1

            It’s common for leftie supporters to presume that tax is a right that the state has to everyone’s income. It isn’t. It’s a forced taking of something that I earn.

            They need to renew their compact with me about that every election.

            The whole of the collective – those who provide more and who provide less tax to the state – all get to contest that. And we all get to live with the results and suck it up.

            That’s why I enjoy finding little groups who do more than act in rational self interest about tax.

            • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s common for leftie supporters to presume that tax is a right that the state has to everyone’s income. It isn’t. It’s a forced taking of something that I earn.

              Oh bullshit. It’s the charge that you pay for living in a society that not only lets you earn, but has actively supported and contributed to your ability to earn that money.

              If at any point you do not wish to pay that charge, you are free to leave.

              • Ad

                A tax (from the Latin taxo) is a financial charge or other levy imposed upon a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a state or the functional equivalent of a state to fund various public expenditures. A failure to pay, or evasion of or resistance to taxation, is usually punishable by law.

                Can you show me where that is taught in high school, or primary school, or by anything? Is it something you just acceded to prior to birth?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You use our gear: ‘the state’. There’s a fee attached: tax.

                  You are free not to work in this economy if you don’t like it.

                  • Ad

                    Is there something like that on a roadsign?

                    I think it’s a massive mistake to presume the social contract exists.

                    Plenty of people can barely pay taxes or rates at all; it doesn’t function as an entry fee at all.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Plenty of people can barely pay taxes or rates…

                      They can be eligible for income support and rates rebates etc. You are free to become one of them if you don’t like our terms.

                      But so long as you insist in taking advantage of the privileges that this economy can offer you, you will pay to play.

                    • Ad

                      I just reject the idea of a ‘pay to play’ society as much as possible.

                      We’re in a more subtle and certainly more networked society than that.

                      I think what we have been missing is that the social contract we assume is in place and functioning. I don’t see that. I see all kinds of tax and cost everywhere, but very few rewards.

                      I see in fact the opposite: the people who have the greatest indirect proportional tax burden – the poor with GST and high cost-of-living – are the ones who are the least mobile in society.

                      If the left can’t restate both to the rich and to the poorest how this implied social contract functions, they do not have a show of winning hearts and minds.

                      That to me is one of the biggest lessons of multiple losing campaigns for the left across the world. Not that tax is too high or too low: but that tax as a social contract for redistribution no longer works.

                      So they go elect the person who gives them the most money back the fastest: the hard right.

                    • Tax as a social contract is well known – in left circles it is THE most important aspect of the tax/don’t tax argument imo

                      Everytime you drive or do anything in society you partake of the benefits of the contract – it is an awareness thing.

                      Sure the social contract has been shot, knifed, strangled and drowned by all the neo libs and their great individualistic agenda and sure that was done deliberately AND whatever the way forward the left needs to discuss and explain and bring people along with the concept of the social contract. I think this will/is happening – the tree of neo-whatsits is withering, barren and desolate – there is no fruit there for most – NOW is the time to really trash the concept of this social contract and squash neolibs into the ground.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I see all kinds of tax and cost everywhere, but very few rewards.

                      I know that’s what you see. You’ve said it so many times you should change your name to “Bellman”.

                      Or perhaps more accurately “Bellman’s megaphone”.

                      By contrast, I look around and I say to myself “look what we made”.

                      Edit: your narrative is quite sad, really: you don’t cast yourself as having any agency in this endeavour, despite your contributions, financial and otherwise.

                    • Ad

                      Marty, I know the old social contract is attractive.
                      Particularly to a kind of old left who view it as an escalator of civic virtue.
                      It’s not coming back soon.

                      House of Cards used to sound like fiction.
                      This used to sound harsh:

                      Now even Frank is getting outflanked by reality.

                    • I dunno ad – to me this is what they want us to believe because it suits and supports their agenda but it isn’t reality – you are entitled to nothing is based on incorrect and deliberate misleading framing – entitled is not the word. We pay taxes to receive benefits – roads and what not – this is FACT this is not a story or made up, it is what has and is happening today – this is the social contract – it is real. You are not entitled to anything is not real it is fiction spread by those who admire underwood and what he represents. Presuming the social contract doesn’t exist leads to nowhere and nothing imo.

                    • Ad

                      Wild Katipo below has it right on point, and he was responding to huge ‘social contract’ expenditure released just today by our own government:

                      “And 42,000 homeless and familys living in cars because they cant afford rents due to minimum wages that are in many cases around 2 decades or more out of date compared to the actual costs of living.”

                      We’re in for another winter in which people won’t be driving on those much-vaunted taxpayer funded roads. They will have driven off them, into parks, so they can sleep in their cars.

                      This is not a social contract to respect. This theory has to work for all sides of politics if it is to sustain society.

                    • It isn’t working because it got slam dunked by the lovers of neo-liberalism – which included many of those who benefited from it.

                      If it isn’t working we fix it and to do that we need the gnats gone and labour acting like a left party, Now sure that may be a bridge too far but I don’t think so.

                • McFlock

                  Isn’t it a cut and paste from wikipedia?

                  So you just provided your own answer.

                  As to what you acceded to prior to birth, funnily enough those choices were made by your parent or guardian on your behalf, Upon reaching maturity, the individual can choose something else.

                  • Ad

                    That’s a really appalling line of argument that is indistinguishable from anyone on the hard right that essentially blames all choices and current conditions on the forebearers. It’s not an appropriate argument for this country, let alone most other postcolonial ones.

                    • McFlock

                      No, it doesn’t blame all choices on ancestors. It’s exactly the same as me not choosing which school I went to, my parents did. I, however, chose which university I went to.

                  • Ad

                    I can see that line of choice theory working for your life.
                    I can’t see it working for more than a privileged few.

                    • McFlock

                      Where did you live for the first fifteen years of your life – somewhere you chose for yourself?

                    • Ad

                      Ask that question of the whole of society and you have the basis for policy.

                      I remember similar arguments run about one’s own responsibility to the state by all kinds of bigots; racially motivated ancestor determination, gender determination, colonial, patrician, classist determination, even people who inherit diseases, people who are born poor … heck I can even remember that same concept taught in Sunday School as Original Sin.

                      The longer we keep assuming that old compact consists of the “choices of our ancestors”, the more brittle and oppressive it has become in time.

                      The left needs to grapple with that idea of social contract pretty hard.

                    • McFlock

                      Arguing that parents make decisions on behalf of children for the first couple of decades of the child’s life is not arguing that children deserve to be punished for the decisions of their parents.

                    • Ad

                      So what are you arguing for then?
                      Are you making an analogy between parenting and a broader social contract?

                    • McFlock

                      No, you asked whether the social contract was agreed before birth.

                      It was, on your behalf, by your parents.

                      Then you achieved the age of maturity, and made the contract on your own behalf.

              • Gosman

                How big is that charge? According to Draco that charge is 100 percent of your income over a certain amount. Does the State have the right to decide that any property you have is subject to confiscation without compensation at any stage so long as it is done in a democratic manner?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  That’s exactly what might happen during a state of emergency. Let’s put Gerry Brownlee in charge of you for a while and then point and laugh.

                • McFlock

                  If it did that, you can leave.

                  You’re making a better argument for 100% tax rates than draco did…

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.1.2

              a forced taking of something that I earn.

              Bollocks. The state facilitates your earning potential in the first place. Those roads and schools and hospitals: we paid for those. If you want the privileges they bring, you owe us.

              rational self interest

              It’s in our rational self-interest to fully fund high quality universal social services. Grasping at money isn’t.

            • reason 5.1.1.1.1.3

              select little groups …… like the chicgo group of economists

              Reagun , thatcher, dougglass , shipley, ruthless richardson , brash and key

        • Ad 5.1.1.2

          Tax is a massive forceful take of money that I earn.

          Elections are among other things public mandates about how much I allow the state to take off me. Trump’s lowering of the corporate tax rate was pretty well signalled before the election, and I am sure pretty attractive.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.2.1

            No-one forced you to work in this economy: the one we organised and paid for. Before you started work, you knew that one of the conditions was that your income would be subject to tax.

            If you don’t like these terms, you are free to withdraw your labour.

            • Ad 5.1.1.2.1.1

              Where did anyone explain that social contract?
              Someone did sociology 101 for us all at Kindergarten?

              Can you tell me where that freedom to withdraw labour is?
              I thought there was some kind of law about paying tax.
              Did I get that wrong?

              The left are never going to get fresh votes beyond the usual % unless they can state a whole lot more clearly than they are today why people pay tax, why they should pay more, why it’s in their interest.

              Otherwise the right is going to keep taking votes by promising to lower tax and the role of the state and its tax-taking capacity. Which on the surface looks attractive, unless people like the Patriotic Millionaires get to say something fresh.

              • McFlock

                Your freedom to withdraw labour is your freedom to leave.

                • Ad

                  Leave what?

                  • McFlock

                    the country.
                    Or just go bush and live off the land, I guess. Dunno what taxes you’d face there. Maybe do some barter if the total value was below taxable thresholds? Hell, you might even still qualify to vote and have free healthcare without paying a dime in taxes. Aren’t we all generous?

                    • Ad

                      You are not making any sense.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Your inability to grasp the point makes the needle that much more satisfying 😈

                    • McFlock

                      You want to withdraw your labour because you don’t want to pay tax.
                      So either leave the country, or do labour that isn’t taxed – like going bush and living a hunter-getherer lifestyle.

                      It’s a pretty simple concept.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Are you saying you were ignorant of the fact of taxation when you started participating in this economy? Or that now you’ve decided you want out you can’t figure out how to stop earning, or buy a plane ticket?

                As for the popularity of taxes, I can recall opinion polls that say people are prepared to pay more tax for better social services. I can’t be bothered searching for them, though, because you’re the one asserting otherwise.

                I suspect most people get this, and perhaps you might be projecting a little.

                • Ad

                  A social contract implied from the existence of tax is pretty weak.

                  I’m sure it’s there, but what we have to watch for is the same kind of eruption that is happening right across Europe and helped get Trump into power: the system failed to deliver.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    What ‘social contract’? I’m aware of the concept, and it forms no part of my argument, which is simply this: if you personally don’t like these terms and conditions (eg: taxation, which you are clearly aware of because you’re reciting the ACT litany about it) you are free to stop earning.

                    • Ad

                      I don’t see freedom in those terms at all.
                      I have never proposed that people should withdraw from paying tax.

                      What we are facing is far larger than any one person’s will to redefine freedom. Which sounds exhausting personally.

                      We have been used to simply going along as a society presuming that there is some bind between earning and paying tax called citizenship. It’s not true: you pay tax irrespective of that status – as New Zealanders in Australia will attest to you, or anyone attending one of our hospitals will attest.

                      No, the real fundamental breakdown that we are facing is that multiple electorates in mature democracies rejecting the idea of the collective right to its foundations. We are used to assuming that everyone simply gets that tax is the price you pay for a civilised country. We need to re-think those assumptions, because those assumptions are getting completely upended right across the world.

                      Here’s a little forecast: the Obamacare resistance will win, even though Trump’s budget brings the corporate tax down to 15%.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Would you like some help shifting those goalposts? They look heavy.

                      That’s what those election results say is it? I thought they said people are fed up with globalisation. I didn’t realise they were all about taxes.

                      I guess they say whatever you want them to, if opinion is your thing.

          • AB 5.1.1.2.2

            “I earn”
            Not entirely – it ends up in your pay packet and your effort has certainly played some part in that result.
            But the “I” you are talking about doesn’t really exist in quite the way you suggest because you are enabled in this activity of ‘earning’ by all the other “I’s” (paid and unpaid) that are also doing their thing.

            However I do like the implication from your comment that “earned” income has a special status. We can therefore usefully distinguish it from unearned income such as capital gain from housing speculation. This unearned income then simply becomes open slather for the state to tax in order to discourage such activity.

        • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1.3

          Gosman is another one who fears contemporary observers of the neo liberal reforms , who was really behind them and what the real motives were.

          And it sounds a lot like ‘ Ad’ is as well.

          Its that sort of constant justification for Mont Pelerin Society thinking and their ilk that will fight fang and claw to prevent this country from ever being a fairer place.

          It is a shame Hugh Price is no longer with us today.

          New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
          http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

        • Psycho Milt 5.1.1.4

          It’s all very well arguing that you yourself should pay more tax. It is a different matter when you try and argue others should pay more tax as well.

          Everyone who lobbies for any kind of law change is advocating something that will affect other people as well as themselves. In a democracy, how is that a problem?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.5

          It is a different matter when you try and argue others should pay more tax as well.

          That’s the contract you accepted, Gosman. You are free to earn in some other economy that someone else pays for and maintains if you don’t like the fees attached to earning in this one.

          Taxes, like investments, can go up and down. According to eg: Warren Buffet, no level of tax ever deterred anyone from making a profit.

          Go on, withdraw your labour from this economy: that’s called ‘a gap in the market’. Someone equally facile will occupy it soon enough.

    • Ad 5.2

      You are seeking to limit them to magnanimous philanthropists, rather than people seeking complete policy change in tax.

      The expenditure problem with occasional and limited magnanimity is that it’s impossible to make a sustained difference until every one does it: firstly the government income over multiple years would be too lumpy, such that for example it would be impossible to redistribute a large pay increase year on year like the caregivers’ one.

      The policy problem is of course freeloading: an unreasonable few of the very rich consistently give more, for the benefit of all, while the rest of the rich don’t. The point of policy – as distinct from some one off contribution – is consistent and equitable distribution of the impact of decision.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    I’m sure a future progressive government will come up with some amazing redistributive tax platform.

    Don’t need one per se.

    Need a 100% income tax on income over $100k
    Need capital taxes that are directly applied to personal income – this will limit ownership
    Need to get rid of trusts
    Need to ensure that allow tax tax dodging in any way are fully illegal

    In other words, legislate rich people out of existence.

    A future progressive government prepared to tilt New Zealand’s tax system will seriously need the support of those who can clearly say: I can be rich and I can pay more tax. And be proud of what that will do for New Zealand.

    And that will still result in the collapse of society.

    We cannot afford the rich.

    • Stunned Mullet 6.1

      🙄 still spreading the crazy I see.

      • McFlock 6.1.1

        Much as I disagree with dtb, and his categorical edicts really irk me, I don’t particularly mind his brand of crazy. It’s good to float the position of “why do we even need rich people?” every so often, just to realise there’s more to life than capitalism.

        It’s the fucking tories who piss me off much more, with their basic inability to recognise human decency. Their brand of challenging the status quo is more “why shouldn’t we grease engines with the tears of the poor, and make kids work 14-hour days for a dollar? It’s more efficient and encourages them to innovate”.

        • Stunned Mullet 6.1.1.1

          Yeah because everyone with an income over 100k a year is rich and doesn’t contribute to society 🙄

          • McFlock 6.1.1.1.1

            Yeah it’s a stupid comment, but does at least point to a useful comment.

            What about 100mil a year? What about 90% rather than 100%?

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.2

            You don’t need more than $100k per year to live a comfortable life and society really doesn’t owe you more than that. And it’s the capital taxes that will get rid of the rich.

            Own a house and pay 15% of income in capital taxes. Own two and pay 30%. Own ten and pay 150%. And, because you’re limited to that $100,000 it doesn’t matter how much rent you charge on those houses – you still won’t be able to afford to own ten.

            Same would apply to shares and all other capital. There would be a absolute limit to how much you could own.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Crazy?

        Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

        “… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

        Which, as is pointed out in that article, inevitably leads to collapse.

        Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

        Capitalism is doing the same thing that has always led to collapse and expecting a different result.

        • WILD KATIPO 6.1.2.1

          ” Capitalism is doing the same thing that has always led to collapse and expecting a different result.”

          Pretty much.

          And certainly regards finite natural raw resources . The frontier is dead. So is Daniel Boone. And the only way the elite can continue is by squeezing even more out of the populace – but even that is finite .

          No moolah to spend ? – no moolah for all that production and ‘ growth’.

          Its a bit like sucking on that lollipop expecting it all to be there the same tomorrow when you put it down for the night…

    • Enough is Enough 6.2

      That is just fucking brilliant Draco

      You seem to easily articulate the solutions to all our problems. Paradise appears to be so achievable from the tone of your black and white comments.

      This one is very simple, yet very clever.

      Why can’t you start a movement?

      I am sure the general population would embrace these sorts of ideas if they were simply aware of them.

      Rather than telling us on a daily basis how terrible society is, why don’t you run for parliament and give the public the chance to vote on and ultimatley experience your version of nirvana?

      • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster 6.2.1

        Draco is getting a bit of stick – some of it sarcastic – but his general premise is 100% correct – we cannot afford the rich!

        He’s also correct in that if we levelled the income field to enough to live comfortably on, the whole of society would be much happier and socially cohesive.

        So I for one, agree with what he says!

        • WILD KATIPO 6.2.1.1

          Oh , – but weren’t you listening when Bolger and Shipley and Douglas lectured us all on creating a ‘ level playing field’….

          For the rich and the elite , that is ….

          New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
          http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

        • Stunned Mullet 6.2.1.2

          We cannot afford the rich 🙄

          How do you (or the state) define rich ?

          With Draco’s brilliant plan how many of those defined as rich would remain in NZ and of those that did how many would leave taxable assets here, what would that do to the current tax take from that group ?

          It’s all fine and well to make fatuous statement on a blog but when you implement tax policies as per the self styled genius that is DTB how would you end up running a functional society in NZ ?

          Can anyone point to a society over the last 50 years or so that implemented these kind of tax rates ?

          • Ch-ch Chiquita 6.2.1.2.1

            I was wondering how long it will take before someone will pull the argument that if you raise tax the rich will leave. I say, be our guest. Go on, leave. The cemetery is full of people who thought they are irreplaceable.
            Do you think immigrating to a new country is easy? Leaving all your support behind you – family, friends, connections, going to a place where you are not 100% sure of the social nuances. Even if you are rich it is a very harsh experience.
            So yes, leave if you don’t like being taxed for the good of the country. I’m sure there will be enough good people left to fill the vacant jobs.

            • McFlock 6.2.1.2.1.1

              The cemetery is full of people who thought they are irreplaceable.

              nice line, and true

            • WILD KATIPO 6.2.1.2.1.2

              Damn right , Ch-ch Chiquita,

              Let them say it, – they can fuck off and that’d be one less pollutant in our atmosphere as they left.

              And they can take their parasitic , scum shit bullsarse neo liberal free market con job ideologies with them.

            • stunned mullet 6.2.1.2.1.3

              The stupid it burns !

        • Enough is Enough 6.2.1.3

          He gets a wee bit repetitive though doesn’t he without actually ever testing his crazy ideas?

          Most other proposals from people in here (whether they be right, left or somewhere in the middle) are tested in real life. We get to assess their results.

          Draco however comes up with ideas which are evidently so unreasonable and unpopular that no one outside of his head, supports them. And he has the audacity to suggest other people do not live in the real world.

          I don’t want him to stop his line of comments. It would just be good if he took them outside of this blog and promoted them in the real world like everyone else does.

          • WILD KATIPO 6.2.1.3.1

            @ Stunned Mullet and Enough is Enough ,…

            Perhaps you’d prefer someone like Roger Douglas then , who not only tested but imposed them on an unsuspecting country called New Zealand …

            Or perhaps a bit more like Milton Freidman did on a more global scale with his Max von Thurn und Taxis backer… the same guy who sponsored Hyek and his foundering of the Mont Pelerin Society , – and the same family who created the Thule society – which backed the NAZI’s !!!

            Max von Thurn und Taxis … who attended the Mont Pelerin society meeting in Christchurch in 1989, – ( yes apparently he was pretty old then , but still equally as psychopathic ! ) – and to which Roger Douglas was the guest speaker in appraising the New Right results of the “worlds most radical free market revolution ” …

            New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
            http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

          • Stunned Mullet 6.2.1.3.2

            @ Enough is Enough – I disagree with DTB on many things but I absolutely defend his right to be heard and put his views out there.

            Censoring opinions you disagree with is a slippery slope that leads to a pretty ugly place.

            • Enough is Enough 6.2.1.3.2.1

              Yep – Which is why I am encouraging him to take it to a wider audiance

          • Ch-ch Chiquita 6.2.1.3.3

            If you will never challenge the consensus how will you come up with fresh new ideas?
            And should I remind you that once upon a time (in a far away galaxy) the idea that women would vote was so evidently unreasonable and unpopular?

            • WILD KATIPO 6.2.1.3.3.1

              Ahhh… but unfortunately for Far Right wing idiots like Enough is Enough and Stunned Mullet , – all ideas and input are good so long as its neo liberal input.

              They are about as diverse as Henry Ford was when he said ” you can have any colour you want so long as its black ”…

          • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.3.4

            You and stunned mullet are the ones proposing the crazy. You know, the status quo that has been proven time and time again not to work ever. So much of a failure that it increases poverty and generates stagnation. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s destroyed civilisations throughout history.

            You don’t like my suggestions because you would actually be limited to living within our means and you wouldn’t be able to cater to your greed and hubris, your sheer bloody stupidity.

            • stunned mullet 6.2.1.3.4.1

              Yes dear

            • Enough is Enough 6.2.1.3.4.2

              Yeah you really missed the point.

              I am not sure which proposal of mine you consider to be the crazy, but yeah anyway….

              I am just wondering why you don’t spout your gospel outside of this blog, because your daily bleating in here is not going to build popular support for your excellent ideas.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I am not sure which proposal of mine you consider to be the crazy, but yeah anyway….

                By implication you’re proposing that we keep the failed status quo.

                I am just wondering why you don’t spout your gospel outside of this blog,

                What makes you think that I don’t?

                • Enough is Enough

                  No Draco – you assume that that I want to keep the status quo.

                  Well done for taking your ideas outside of here. Do you have any idea why no one is running with them?

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    @Draco T Bastard +1
    I also notice that a few of these so called benevolent millionaires have been very big political donors in the past, which is a complete contradiction to their first ‘principle’, why am I not surprised….what a load of bullshit.

  8. Wonderpup 8

    One of the things i like about the sensible rich, is that they know that if they don’t make these minor concessions, its mobs and pitchforks time. The gluttonous rich, and their libertarian dupes delude themselves they live in vacuum.

    • lloyd 8.1

      Good point, Wonderpup. That’s why there is one thing wrong with Advantage’s original article’s statement that these millionaires are “acting against their rational self-interest”. They aren’t. These millionaires must recognise there is rational self-interest in paying more taxes.

      An example is health.
      -A taxation based universal health system is likely to keep a millionaire alive longer than a pay as you go health system. A good hospital in every town rather than a few excellent hospitals in the towns where most millionaires are means an individual millionaire is more likely to survive a car or plane crash travelling away from those towns.
      -If all the population is inoculated against a virulent disease, the millionaire is much less likely to be exposed to that disease.

      Taxes on the rich spent by the poor will be circulating in the economy far faster and much more reliably than money in a millionaires bank account. Therefore giving rich peoples’ money to the poor boosts the economy and assists businesses which sell to the population as a whole. In other words taxing the rich will make a lot of the rich, richer.

      Making the economic distribution in an economy more equitable reduces the drivers of crime and therefore makes the lives of millionaires directly more safe. That’s well before the violence results in revolution.

      The irrational bastards are the millionaires who want to reduce their taxes and argue we should all pay as we go.

  9. Siobhan 9

    Alan Patricof …thats the co-founder and managing director of Greycroft Partners right?, the guys squawking blue murder about Apple getting taxed???

    Its hilarious at how even the ‘left’ spread these guys spin, the schooling system really let us down when it came to critical thinking.

    “You’ve already seen some sparring between U.S. leaders and European leaders on the fact that it’s creating an environment that is not favorable for U.S. businesses, and perhaps it’s over the top, negative for … all U.S. businesses that are operating in Europe,” Ellie Wheeler, partner at venture capital firm Greycroft Partners, told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Wednesday. “The applications are far beyond Apple, so they really need to take a tough stand.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/31/eus-apple-ruling-step-backward-in-fighting-tax-abuse-former-irs-leader-says.html?view=story&%24DEVICE%24=native-android-mobile

    • Ad 9.1

      Wonderpup has the response.

      If the hard left don’t find a way to dialogue with those of the rich who want to improve the lot for everyone, the same stalemate occurs as we have now.

      • Wonderpup 9.1.1

        Or we just eat them. I’m not saying mobs and pitchforks isn’t the answer.

      • Adrian Thornton 9.1.2

        How can you ‘dialogue’ with a person when they talk with forked tongue?

        The Left has the moral obligation to call these people out and say you are full of shit…I mean just google these guys.

        Maybe in the future when I research one of them, and read the news item explaining how they are publicly rallying against money in politics and are berating their friends who fund lobbyists, and lawmakers, then maybe we should start listening to their ideas, but until then, they have no weight in any way shape or form as far as I can ascertain in any discussion on a fair and equal society.

    • HAHAHA , Siobhan ,…

      Burst everybody’s bubble !!!

      🙂

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      • Adrian Thornton 9.2.1

        Thanks for that link, makes for pretty sobering reading.
        Neo Liberalism has a lot to answer for.
        Of course this is why Labour can’t get any traction with the NZ public, so many people just instinctively don’t trust them any more…and why should they?

  10. Incognito 10

    Gareth Morgan?

  11. Incognito 11

    I find it strangely retrospective and pseudo-corrective to propose higher (additional?) taxes on the very wealthy & powerful. It does not address the root cause, only the symptom. In a more equal society without such extremes in excessive wealth/income & power we would not have this discussion. It seems back to front but since we live in a capitalist society we can (only?) expect capitalist ‘solutions’; I’m not buying it.

    • Higher progressive taxes are only part of the solution , – as are trade tariffs – the problem is the BRAND of capitalism we are currently under , which is neo liberalism.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      • Incognito 11.1.1

        You missed my point: higher taxes and trade tariffs are no solution. At best, they treat the symptoms but they leave the status quo largely intact and unchanged. Put differently, it is tinkering and meddling. Taxes are by many regarded as punitive and/or “legalised theft”, but the bitter irony is always lost on those people.

        • WILD KATIPO 11.1.1.1

          Well without being philosophical about it , as I said they are only part of the solution used more of an example of a regulated economy , but in order to derive a fairness , and not penalize those who do want to accrue wealth ( which Im not necessarily against ) , or be self employed we need to present a whole package.

          And as others have said , in Scandinavia ,and historically in this country as well , social democracy’s run on a broad Keynesian economic theory still seems to be that best formula. We had millionaires and very wealthy people here before 1984 , but what we didn’t have was the runaway wealth at the expense of the living standards of so many. It was virtually unheard of to hear of family’s deliberately living in cars, or not being able to pay for rent while still holding down two jobs. And much of that was because we had a taxpayer funded effective welfare state and adequately funded social services and govt depts that actually ensured security for family’s etc.

          There was none of this palming off of social housing problems to a Marae or the Salvation Army like has happened under this govt – the govts pre 1984 used to fund organisations to function properly. Now they don’t. All we get now is deliberate underfunding and excuses to pave the road for more privatization. And thats just a few examples.

          And all for the sake of upholding their destructive, useless neo liberalism.

          New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
          http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

  12. Red 12

    National bloody fascists hard right policy as per kiwi blog (sarc)

    The Government has made a number of announcements today, mainly focused on a $321 million spending commitment on social investment to help the most disadvantaged families. Details are:

    $321 million for social investment initiatives
    $28 million for a national roll out of Family Start
    $35 million for an expansion of behavioural services for young children
    $6 million for a new programme to support pre-school children with oral language needs and literacy difficulties
    New Better Public Services targets including
    90% of pregnant women to be registered with a lead maternity carer in their first trimester, up from 65%
    Reducing the number of hospitalisations for children 12 and under with preventable conditions
    Improving the literacy and numeracy of children – focusing on higher achievement of students in year 8
    Reducing the number of serious crime victims by 10,000
    Achieving a 20 per cent reduction in the time it takes to house priority clients on the social housing register.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      New spending? Or existing budgets.

      [citation needed]

      The recently touted Ministry of Vulnerable Victims of National Party Behaviour (I think I may not have the exact name) isn’t part of this ‘new’ spending is it?

      I think you are probably lying, and I know you are being lied to, so let’s see your source.

    • @ Red.

      And 42,000 homeless and familys living in cars because they cant afford rents due to minimum wages that are in many cases around 2 decades or more out of date compared to the actual costs of living.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

  13. Jeremy 13

    I can tell you that business taxes can be absolute murder on start up businesses.

    Our first personal and business tax bill after one year in business pushed us into debt, as all available funds were tied up in our accounts receivable. Our business had good margins, low bad debts, etc., etc. but at the time all the profits were on paper.

    I don’t see how start ups in more competitive niches without outside capital can succeed, which must be limiting competition in NZ.

    Looking back at the stress of that time now, I’d pay a slightly higher rate today for a 3 year (for example) exemption from business taxes for start ups for first time business people. My experience is that wages would also be pushed up in industry niches where start ups succeed, our business pushed up wages for people with experience in our field (at least good people).

    • Ad 13.1

      Great to hear a really practical example.

      I’m sincerely hoping that Joyce follows through and does a similar thing for the poor, namely; greatly increase the level at which the poor pay tax.

      Alternatively, just to follow your argument along, I could imagine a circumstance in which everyone straight out of school paid no income tax until they turned (say) 18. That would give them a little bit more of a start in life. Maybe even start their Kiwisaver right off.

    • David Mac 13.2

      Yes Jeremy, I can see merit in easing a genuine start-up into paying full freight tax.

      But geeeez, the loopholes. How would I be policed from winding my business up each year and starting under a new entity? Forever paying half tax.

      It is a sad fact that 95% of start-ups fail. I suggest that this is generally because of a flawed business model or under capitalisation rather than ‘We were sunk by our first tax bill.”

      Tax is another overhead like the electricity and insurance. The business is viable or it isn’t.

      • Jeremy 13.2.1

        Hi David, that is why I specifically said your “first business” to avoid as much shenanigans as possible. The companies office keeps records of every business someone has ever been involved with as a director and shareholder, and your IRD number can easily be linked to the IRD of the business – and you get three uses (exemptions) only.

        Much less than 95% of start ups fail, after 5 years something like 25% are still trading, however of those that do fail cash flow is the main problem. By getting big early tax bill the government is creating a cash flow problem and eliminating a number of borderline viable businesses that would have been started by people with lower levels of savings (capital) I don’t think the government should be limiting business start ups to people who are already wealthy (or have a revolutionary product or business model) through tax policy.

        If instead, there was a tax free period, it would be more than offset by a say 1% higher corporate tax rate, and more business would last to the point where they were paying slightly higher tax rates on much bigger profits.

    • lloyd 13.3

      How about the government forgiving the early taxes of start-ups for a share in the company and the company’s profits later? Government shareholder representative could give advice to assist in the development of the company.

      • Jeremy 13.3.1

        I’d say the government already owns a 28% share in all businesses via its right to dividends via taxes.

  14. David Mac 14

    I lived and worked in Sweden in the late 90’s. Over many terms their Social Democratic government had honed an appealing social contract. Rather than ‘Hey rich guy, gimme more of your money.’ The wealthy were happy to be hammered by the tax-man, the benefits were omnipresent. A spin off benefit of a functioning system like this was: Doctors became doctors to heal people, not to get a Lamborghini.

    Kids and old people got a really great deal. If you want to touch someone’s heart, do something for their kid and their Mum. Wages were such, bus drivers bought new Volvos.

    Folk retired on 75% of their average salary over their 3 final years of working. People aged with dignity, means and a comfortable warm clean place to live. Many don’t own their homes, live in them for decades, they’re generally managed and owned by a ‘Kommun’. The people, in a region about the size of one of our electorates.

    When the tax hammered doctor sends the kids to her retired parents for a week of their holidays, Gramps and Gran were taking them for a look round Northern Europe, on their govt pension.

    The way to make the rich comfortable with paying more tax is to present them with the real tangible benefits of their doing so. A happy self-funding Mum, their state educated kids reading and writing fluently in 2 languages before teens.

    I don’t like what’s happened in Sweden since, the life I thumbnailed has had to be pulled right back to a welfare and tax-payer benefits system that resembles ours, that’s another story. They have global mega brands, ideal for a neoliberal mind-set. But they’re not there to make a few fat, they all dine on any success Husqvarna might enjoy. When I lived in Sweden, I thought it was about as good as ‘How to run a country’ gets.

    • Ad 14.1

      Some of the Scandinavian states continue to be real role models to which we can but aspire within our incredibly punitive and narrow framework.

      But then, not everyone gets both lucky with a massive oil strike, AND has a strong postwar socialist government prepared to make the most most massive social welfare fund for intergenerational benefit. That kind of softens the income tax regime.

      The retreat of Sweden is yet one more example that really strong social democrat arrangements are in serious trouble. And yet they are the historical highpoint of good government.

      • David Mac 14.1.1

        Yes, Norway is one of the richest countries per capita in the world because of their exploitation of the North Sea oilfields.

        The Swedes did it through centuries of making quality stylish stuff. Their winter days are so short. They spend 3 months of the year sitting around a fire knocking back shots and debating the virtues of helical cut gears. I loved it.

        Our framework is as narrow and punitive as we want to make it.

        I think Sweden is in trouble because a component of their ‘All for one’ attitude involves sharing their great lifestyle with everyone that might like to join them. There are now 100,000’s of working age people that call Sweden home that have no intention of getting a job, ever.

        I like the magnifying glass Labour are scanning over immigration.

        • Antoine 14.1.1.1

          Did you mean, the magnifying glass National is scanning? When they recently adjusted immigration settings?

          If you did mean Labour, where’s the glass and what do they see in it? An immigration policy would be nice

  15. Antoine 15

    So Ad, how do you think redistribution can be sold to the electorate?

    A.

  16. Richard McGrath 16

    Let these millionaires put their money where their mouths are, and hand it over to the U.S. government – however the vast bulk of that money will end up as consumption spending, rather than being reinvested back into production.

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