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Translating Tories: “Incentives to get ahead”

Written By: - Date published: 12:58 pm, February 3rd, 2010 - 49 comments
Categories: class war, tax - Tags: ,

This is the first post in an occasional series that will translate Tory speak into plain language (fellow writers and guest posters are welcome to play!).

Today’s exhibit is this corker from the Double Dip: “Finance Minister Bill English today confirmed Budget 2010 will be delivered on May 20 and will set out important policies to lift economic growth and give hard-working New Zealanders incentives to get ahead“. This particular Tory speak is so transparent you could double glaze with it. What does “give hard-working New Zealanders incentives to get ahead” mean? It means “give more money to rich people”.

The world supposed by this particular Tory speak is one where all we hard-working New Zealanders don’t currently have enough incentive to get ahead. We just work hard every day for the hell of it I guess. But suddenly some how the knowledge that those on huge incomes will (for example) pay a few percent less in taxes will suddenly fire up the “get ahead” spirit that we had previously been lacking, and we will all go out and work even harder, or suddenly have brilliant ideas, found companies, and all become millionaire CEOs in a nation where no one cleans the toilets. Hurrah!

It’s bollocks. We have enough incentives to “get ahead” already. We’re hard-working already. Capitalism depends on a supply of cheap labour and most people will never be rich. Knocking a few percent off the taxes for the rich won’t change any of these facts. What it will do is give more money to those who don’t need it by (and here’s the rub) taking it from the poor. There’s no honest way to justify such robbery, so it’s hidden behind the flimsiest nonsense about “incentives”. How do they get away with it?

49 comments on “Translating Tories: “Incentives to get ahead” ”

  1. fizzleplug 1

    Presently, the quickest way for me to pay less in (net) taxation would be to have children with my wife. Which I need to make sure she doesn’t find out, as she will want them even more than she does now!

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Cool! And will we be looking forward to incentives for housekeeping support (via State allowance)? Would be fantastic if we can also get fully/partly subsidised accounting advice to arrange our household income in the most advantageous way.

  3. prism 3

    The phrase is regularly used isn’t it – “to lift economic growth and give hard-working New Zealanders incentives to get ahead”.
    I think it is meant to go right to the suspicious heart of many middle class (but never rich!) NZs that they are bearing the weight of keeping NZ going while all the other lazy buggers fritter around, skive off, or sit around on benefits moaning in between draining beer bottles.
    As an old correspondence school advert (probably 1950s) puts it – “The successful man Does to-day what the failure Intends doing to-morrow”. There’s something in that but Key’s approach appeals to a simplistic knee-jerk reaction in many workers.

  4. indiana 4

    “We have enough incentives to “get ahead’ already. We’re hard-working already”

    Are you saying we should be content with what we have? And if we are already ahead we can stop working so hard now and relax?

    “most people will never be rich” – this reminds me of the Fat Boy Slim album cover where the kid is wearing a T-Shirt that says “I’m #1, so why try harder”

  5. BLiP 5

    Brilliant suggestion. I look forward to the series of “plain English” posts. I was tempted to contribute with an explanation of “Trickle Down” but, by now, is there really anyone who doesn’t already know that its just a Tory’s giggling expression for “Golden Shower” whereby the rich get to piss all over the workers?

    [lprent: Nah – go ahead and write a short phrase dictionary… ]

  6. randal 6

    “THEY” get away with it because there are enough two bob tin pot tories to vote them in.
    if there are no losers then “THEY” cant be winners.
    simple really.
    appealing to the basest motives of the wannabees and tryhards.

  7. hard working new zealanders…pffft.

    who exactly is that ?

    it aint maori cos well, they’re maori not new zealanders and besides they can always go back to the corporate warriors in their suits and ties for a tribal handout. yeah, key got those [please use a non racist term] on lock down. just keep feeding the kupapa ( thats uncle toms for those not down with teh reo) the crumbs and buy em off with jobs for the boys.

    it aint polynesians cos most of us have this identity crisis shit going on. too fucked up in being held back by honour and pride to island culture to let go of it and become new zealanders. besides we’re just too humble and ignorant to push for what we’re really worth figuring it’s better than being back home.

    economic growth for us is being able to upsize our happy meal so i wonder what the incentive will be for us to work harder ?…i know, how about food vouchers ?

    [This comment is borderline pollywog. You have points to make, but please don’t cross the line into racist language. — r0b]

    • ieuan 7.1

      Can someone please remove this offensive comment.

      [Thanks ieuan – see note added above — r0b]

    • pollywog 7.2

      i always find it funny that white people get offended at the ‘n’ word as if sticking up for brownie shows how enlightened they are but really, for whose benefit is the show for ? kinda condescending to be offended on someone elses behalf

      it aint no big thing its just how we talk in the hood. you know how you guys call each other righty and leftie ? well we say nigga, like in street nigga and house nigga. still, fair enough gotta be careful with the language eh ?

      like it’s ok to talk shit about the working poor and how they need to have more initiative, possibly should have stayed in school longer, learnt the white way, taken risks and be more entrepreneurial but when most of the working poor is of a differing ethnicity then you wouldn’t want to be seen as racist by legislating policies that inhibit their ability to ‘get ahead’.

      tell you what, in future i’ll subsitute niggas with muthafuckas and distiguish between white ones and black/brown ones where appropriate. but if you guys can warn others on crossing the line into sexist language like tosser or prick then that’d be fair too eh ?

      • BLiP 7.2.1

        You ain’t no brudda

        • pollywog

          i know we live under a white mofo instituted system and from it’s inception there has always been a cultural bias in favour of your good selves so it might come as a surprise for some that everyday polynesians (inclusive of maori) don’t understand the distinction between left and right, tax law, bank law, corporate law, how the market works and even exactly what capitalism is, except that it’s effects have disadvantaged them from day one and made us some of the fattest people on earth.

          so while you guys have your class war and all, dont mind us if we choose not to take sides cos we’re in a class of our own. it’s usually the lowest and its lessons are not taught in our languages. its a lot like translating tory speak. it all sounds the same to us no matter which side of the political fence you’re talking from.

          seems we still respond well to baubles and trinkets though or carrots and sticks.

          • pollywog

            hah…stormy seas aint nuthin to us Baron.

            but i am surprised no ones shat on my grammar, spelling and punctuation…yet:)

            • felix

              Perhaps that’s because no-one can be arsed deciphering it.

            • r0b

              Pollywog – that’s an interesting blog you have. You have a voice.

              You’ve clearly decided to adopt a certain persona here — that’s fine, whatever. Most of us don’t shit on grammar, spelling and punctuation, most of us are here to discuss the ideas. But moderators do keep an eye on overtly offensive language. It is a difficult balance, of course you can argue it any way you like, each of us just does the best we can. (Oh – and we’re not all white or all male here either).

          • Morgan

            “from it’s inception there has always been a cultural bias in favour of your good selves ” – Good point.

            “so while you guys have your class war and all, dont mind us if we choose not to take sides cos we’re in a class of our own.” –

            This is a good point. The identity politics which is so keenly espoused by the likes of Bryce Edwards and Chris Trotter, although valid in the context of Pakeha people, is simply not applicable to Maori and Polynesians, a sizeable chunk of the Labour Party vote. Maori and Polynesian identity goes far deeper than class. Maori culture is based upon bloodlinks – whakapapa. Whakapapa underpins the Maori world. For that reason Maori vote tribally. They vote for there own blood. This was perhaps best illustrated by Nania Mahuta and Parekura Horomia who, against intellectually superior candidates, won their seats. Both are in the Maori sense royalty in their electorates whilst their opponents were not so well connected i.e. there whakapapa was not as far-reaching or cheifly.

      • The Baron 7.2.2

        Christ, you’re gonna get all kinds of hangwringing going on with that sorta talk.

        You’re in chardonnay socialist country here my friend. These people don’t actually talk Maori/Pacific Islanders, just issue decrees on what they “know” will be beneficial. Then get all riled up when someone who actually knows the situation uses “the wrong language”. Christ, how condescending.

        I predict stormy seas.

  8. PT 8

    wrong rob, learn to read. more incentives means you pay less tax and keep more what you earn. that’s what incentive is, much better than you stealing labour pricks

    • Sam 8.1

      Can someone ban this person already? He or she cannot stay on topic and resorts to ad hominem far too much. He or she belongs in the sewer.

      • r0b 8.1.1

        He or she was recently banned under another pseudonym, and is certainly working hard on getting themselves banned under this one.

        [lprent: I just put all known access under a auto-moderation. Too noisy and too little content. In other words looks like a troll. ]

        • kiwiteen123

          All though In accept that PT is a troll. His/her first comment was quite interesting. Is there a reply? Lynn? r0b?
          Could you, r0b, please translate some of Phil Goff’s catchphrases at the moment. You would be doing us all a favour.

    • Mac1 8.2

      We men of the Left don’t need to go stealing labour pricks, since we have our own and are, in the words of the old joke, “all in perfect working order.”

      Or, learn to use commas, PT, if you meant to be insulting. Better, though, not to be insulting and thus show your ignorance.

  9. How to nurses, teachers, bus-drivers and other essential workers ‘get ahead’ by working harder?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      They don’t. They’re already working as hard as they can and are going nowhere. This applies to about 70 to 80% of the population.

  10. randal 10

    pt, are you a simpleton?
    without taxes nothing would happen in this country and you know it.
    so you are just being an agent provacateur.
    do you understand anything about economics at all or are you stil jerking your knee?

    • PT 10.1

      nothing happened in nz until cullen put up top tax rate to 39 cents just to punish hard working people, shut up randal. extra tax labour raised just got wasted buying labour votes.

  11. The Voice of Reason 11

    ‘learn to read’ P(athetic) T(roll) above.

    When you learn to write, you can start telling others to read, you illiterate tosser.

  12. “All of this is essential if everyday New Zealanders are to enjoy the incomes and living standards that give them opportunities to get ahead.”

    which excludes those of us who are nzers every other day and especially if we send our savings back to the islands anyway.

  13. Clarke 13

    Ooo, I’ve got one:

    “Labour market flexibility” == “I’d love to see wages drop”

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      That’s probably the best option on that. My “Labour market flexibility’ == “labour so desperate they’ll do what they’re told, when they’re told with no questions asked and answer with “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, Master” is probably a bit long winded.

  14. tc 14

    Nice to see Bill’s doing some actual work in his own portfolio after he props up the lame ministers like Bennett/Tolley/smith etc.

    As long as Goff and co keep the message simple the MSM will be unable to spin in NACT’s way (but they’ll try) and Blinglish pathetic attempt at ‘reform’ will be seen as just that….pathetic.

  15. ak 15

    Corker post and series concept r0b.

    Yes, all the repulsive and divisive toryspeak undercurrents in this tpically putrid, anodyne ejaculation from NACT Marketing: the explicit exclusion of anyone not in the top tax bracket from the “hard working” category, and reiteration of the obscene neolib notion that monetary gain is the sole, essential incentive for human endeavour.

    Take from the poor and give to the rich

    Then blame their brothers and conjour a witch

    And rub raw salt in their pus and eyes

    Lest they pierce at last our thin disguise.

  16. Onomatopoeia 16

    It means “give more money to rich people’.

    In fairness, they still have to earn it. No-one is giving it to them.

    • Bright Red 16.1

      *earn* is the crucial word here. It assumes that people are rewarded based on the value they create. In fact, that’s not true. Wages are determined by supply and demand, not the value of the work done. And capitalism – as suggested by the name – inherently rewards the owners of capital.

  17. Onomatopoeia 17

    Wages are determined by supply and demand, not the value of the work done.

    How else could they be valued?

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      How about by study and research?

      • Onomatopoeia 17.1.1

        How would this work? Instead of the parties to a transaction determining what it worth to them, then a bunch of “new economists” would set the value of the exchange? Sounds entirely workable.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Instead of the parties to a transaction determining what it worth to them,

          Except that the weaker of the parties (ie, workers) doesn’t set anything. They take what they’re given.

          then a bunch of “new economists’ would set the value of the exchange? Sounds entirely workable.

          Considering that the research so far shows that bankers are massively over paid and cleaners are massively under paid in relation to their actual value I’d say a hell of a lot better than what we have now.

  18. millsy 18

    I always belive that ‘incentives to get ahead’ is double speak for kick the crutch out of the poor and working classes.

  19. Bill 19

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, about the ‘give more money to rich people’ translation. That’s squeezing square pegs into round holes shit.

    give hard-working New Zealanders = anyone who considers themselves hard working…a battler in Oz speak….most people… incentives to get ahead = we (the Torys) recognise, identify with and will reward your battler attitude.

    And it’s utter bullshit but sufficient to pull the wool over many peoples eyes because people identify with the sentiments.

    The kicker is that the Torys are claiming to give these sentiments expression through the establishment whereas the reality is that they employ many mechanisms that abuse, disempower and impoverish hard working new Zealanders who are trying to get ahead.

    And, yes. They give more money to rich people. But that’s another matter again.

  20. Ed 20

    There was an interview with one of the Tax Working Group on National Radio this morning, and one of the subjects raised was the high effective marginal tax rates that apply to people people eligible for Working for Families, and the need to reduce those effective marginal rates – I think the accountant said he saw them as obscene. Perhaps National are going to remove Working for Families?

    • SPC 20.1

      National promised no change in WFF.

      Of course if the sock puppet lies he loses his credibility and with his credibility goes this government.

  21. SPC 21

    When a father taught a son to believe in the divine right of kings he taught the subjects of the land to get a head.

    And at the moment a left wing governments human rights legislation in the UK is providing an incentive to some higher placed German to declare his own form of pilgrimage of rebellion.

    One wonders what incentive this government will provide by 2011 to remove their’s and them?

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