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What Cheeto, Bojo and Scomo are up to

Written By: - Date published: 3:56 pm, December 21st, 2019 - 76 comments
Categories: australian politics, boris johnson, Donald Trump, internet, jacinda ardern, making shit up, religion, twitter, uk politics, uncategorized, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

What a week it has been for the three conservative male leaders of the English speaking the Western World.

In America the House of Representatives predictably passed the Impeachment motion against POTUS.

I don’t see how they could not. The evidence was startlingly clear. Trump tried to get the Ukraine Government to investigate Joe Biden and dig up material that Trump could use for his own political purposes. And Trump then tried to frustrate the investigation and refused to hand over material that had been subpoenaed.

God, or at least his twitter account could see it.

Christianity Today, a prominent envaligical magazine founded by Billy Graham, could also see it and broke conservative ranks and called for his removal from office.

From the New York Times:

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Mark Galli, the editor in chief of Christianity Today, wrote in the editorial. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Trump’s response was rather muted … nah just kidding. He went ballistic on his twitter account.

But calling the paper “far left”? This would be as crazy as, for instance, Simon Bridges calling Nigel Latta a lefty. From the Herald this week:

[Latta’s] a guy who trades as an independent boffin who’s kind of nice and straight down the middle – the reality is he is clearly deep on the left; he doesn’t like National” he told reporters.

Why does the authoritarian right categorise anyone who opposes their behaviour as far or deep left?

In the UK Boris Johnson has responded to increasingly loud concerns for the Government do so something about the toxic effect on politics of unregulated social media ads by proposing instead a solution to an a completely different and imaginary problem, voter fraud.

This is a phony problem, with only eight instances of voter fraud being reported in the UK last year. The proposed solution is totally out of kilter with the size of the problem. And the depressing effect on poor people will be disproportionate.  No doubt that is the intent.

From the Independent:

Boris Johnson is poised to push through requirements for photo ID at polling stations – plans that critics warn are designed to suppress the ability of young people and disadvantaged groups to vote.

The prime minister faced immediate calls to ditch the “dangerous” proposal. The Electoral Reform Society warned: “Make no mistake – these plans will leave tens of thousands of legitimate voters voiceless.”

Campaigners accused the prime minister of taking action on an “imaginary” problem while ignoring more serious threats to British democracy, such as anonymous political ads, dodgy donations and fake news.

Meanwhile, the 15-year limit on expats voting in general elections is to be lifted, allowing UK citizens living abroad to continue casting their ballots for the rest of their lives.

Traditionally this has been seen as a way of boosting the Conservative vote, though Mr Johnson risks a backlash from the million-plus UK citizens in the EU who overwhelmingly supported Remain in the 2016 referendum but were denied a vote.

Parliament also supported his Brexit Withdraw Bill. Take that Gen X from the Baby Boomers.

And in Australia, Scomo is missing in action, New South Wales is on fire, Sydney’s downtown has hazardous levels of smoke and the police are terrorising 13 year olds who are protesting against the Government’s inaction. Where the bloody hell is he?

The young woman, Izzy Raj-Seppings spoke for a nation when she said this:

Many people have asked me what motivated me to drag my dad on a one-hour bus trip to Kirribilli House on one of the hottest days of summer. My answer? Our politicians’ denial, and the inaction of our government and our prime minister. Their denial has gone on for far too long. I’m tired, tired of the lies and misdirection. I’m tired of watching my future, my friends’ and family’s futures, all of our futures, burn before our very eyes.

How dare Scott Morrison race off to Hawaii during Australia’s time of crisis? What we need is a prime minister who acknowledges that this isn’t another normal fire season, that the cause of this is climate change! Lives and homes have been taken while Morrison lies on a tropical beach with his head in the sand.

And at this time of crisis what is the Government concentrating on? Changing the law so that religious bigotry will not only be tolerated but protected.

The Guardian has collected these examples of what the Government is trying to protect:

  • A Christian may say that unrepentant sinners will go to hell, an example cited in the EM which mirrors the facts of Israel Folau’s case
  • A doctor may tell a transgender patient of their religious belief that God made men and women in his image and that gender is therefore binary (EM)
  • A single mother who, when dropping her child off at daycare, may be told by a worker that she is sinful for denying her child a father (Public Interest Advocacy Centre)
  • A woman may be told by a manager outside work that women should submit to their husbands or that women should not be employed outside the home (PIAC) 
  • A student with disability may be told by a teacher their disability is a trial imposed by God (PIAC)
  • A person of a minority faith may be told by a retail assistant from another religion that they are a “heathen destined for eternal damnation” (PIAC).

Arn’t you glad you live in New Zealand?

And who is the stand out leader this year amongst all leaders in the Western world?

76 comments on “What Cheeto, Bojo and Scomo are up to ”

  1. I believe we are entering an ‘age of anxiety.’

    An age when humans are slowly coming to accept the unthinkable – that human life, you know, us, the highest form of life, could and probably will become extinct!

    I think the ‘movers and shapers’ of this world have realised this for some time – but that this awful idea is slowly filtering down to the grassroots of humanity.

    In an age of anxiety, people in desperation look for other-worldly solutions – the Bible, the Koran etc.

    I expect to see a rise in pretty uncompromising fundamentalism in the next decade – the do as the book says or be damned brigade.

    Couple this with the enforced mass migration of peoples, climate refugees, and all the strains this will impose on social order, plus the crop failures and extreme (and I mean extreme – you ain’t seen nothing yet) weather events – well, the human race will not “go gently into the night.”

    Merry Christmas!

    • adam 1.1

      You may not like it Tony Veitch (not etc.) but the reality is the first labour government was committed to the bible. Indeed probably our most effective PM ever was a Christian who took looking after the poor seriously – he use to piss off the Tories by his ability to quote sections of the bible to justify what he was doing.

      Peter Fraser was also a Red Fed, and one time hard core socialist. He edited the standard.

      So people running to the bible won't be a bad thing – we just have to remind people the the Gospels are the core of Christianity, not the old testament.

      And always, always keep an eye on these people.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnl9DJZN3mM&ab_channel=Mrs.BettyBowers%2CAmerica%27sBestChristian

      • I have a picture (the well-known one) of Michael Joseph in my 'library.'

        His brand of Christianity was light years away from the intolerant fundamentalism of the bible bashers.

        As you so rightly say, the Gospels rather than the Old Testament,

  2. Sabine 3

    i suggest people read this, it could be illuminating 🙂

    https://www.salon.com/2019/12/17/are-republicans-afraid-of-trump-hell-no-hes-destroying-democracy-and-they-love-it/

    Republicans are not cowering in fear of Trump. On the contrary, they are exalting in his shamelessness. Watching Republicans at impeachment hearings, where they performed outrage for the cameras, lied with obvious glee and gloried in sharing conspiracy theories, it did not appear that they were intimidated by their president or anyone else…….

    As a Twitter user claiming to be "a white male in a red rural area of a red southern state" explained in a persuasive and widely shared thread on Monday, conservative voters have convinced themselves that they "are fighting for their lives and country," which they believe is under threat from racial diversity. They therefore "feel justified in voter [s]uppression as a result" and "in winning by any means necessary."…….

    It's a movement of white men and their wives who hold a narrow, racist, reactionary view of what being an "American" is. They believe that those of us who don't fit into that view — because we're not white or because we're not Christian or because we're pointy-headed intellectuals who believe in free thought or because we're queer or because we're feminists — are not legitimate Americans, therefore not legitimate voters. So Trump's law-breaking to undermine the 2020 election is seen only as a necessary corrective to the "problem" of a pluralistic democracy.

    That is why there's such deep division in the U.S. over impeachment. It's not that conservatives can't see what Trump did when he used the power of his office to cheat in the 2020 election. They just don't care. If anything, they're glad he did it. This is the same party that repeatedly tried to shut down the government during Barack Obama's presidency and was hugely successful in blocking his judicial appointments. This is the party that suppresses votes and gerrymanders districts into meaninglessness. They feel entitled to run the country and do not care if the voters disagree. Voters are just one more obstacle to be overcome in the Republican power grab……

    they are the same group of people, they go to the same prep schools, the same schools, the same universitys, they get the same degrees and they all are on board with their dismantling what little of democracy we had in the past.

    for those deluded enough to think that the economic anxiety of white males and their wifes are important to them – well, only if you are an economical anxious white guy and wife who will vote for them, then maybe they pretend to care. If you are not, don't bother applying.

    And Simon No Bridges and his little parliament missus Paula Benefits play this same game.

    They are not incompetent, its not that they don't know, its not that they don't care….they know, they are not incompetent and above all they don't care.

    We are either cost or profit centres. And when we don't make profit we get sacked. 🙂

  3. Chris T 4

    "Why does the authoritarian right categorise anyone who opposes their behaviour as far or deep left?"

    Says the person criticising some politicians for having the audacity to be dudes, and accusing them of all being authoritarian.

    [Attacking an Author under his own Post is a stupid thing to do. Undoubtedly, you can provide a link to where the Author said that all politicians are authoritarian because otherwise I’ll have to conclude that you are making up shit and spreading false accusations about the Author. The irony is that the Author is, in fact, a politician. Banned for a month for playing stupid games – Incognito]

    • Incognito 4.1

      See my Moderation note @ 9:10 PM.

    • North 4.2

      I am tearful about the victimhood of those "having the audacity to be dudes…..". God protect and hold safe from all questions my 'dudeyness'…..my 'crudeyness'…..my pugnaciously wilful 'no-cluedyness'.

  4. Australian PM Scott Morrison shares a Christmas message

  5. peterlepaysan 6

    "English speaking"?

    CANADA is using violence against indigenous protesters using their land to transport Oil and gas via pipeline across their land.

    English speaking half wit climate change deniers are everywhere.

    Non English speaking deniers can be easily found in Australian parliaments.

  6. peterlepaysan 7

    Actually having the worst job in (leader of the opposition) the world does raise questions of sanity.

    Bridges cannot shut up. He needs psychiatric/psychological help.

  7. Stuart Munro 8

    I wish I were as sanguine about the richly deserved collapse of the Right – Simon has hit upon a particularly odious line in untruth, and the media simply aren't up to debunking him point by point, so much of his lark's vomit gets through. We don't see that easily because we are not the constituency he's aiming for. But the level of habitual untruth represents an existential threat to our kind of democracy, as if we didn't have enough existential threats lined up already. Not much hope of enlightened governance with this malarkey going on.

    So as a voter, I'm curious: Why am I supposed to tolerate a political system which at best means things get worse slightly slower? Like Trump, the current iteration of Bridges is simply not fit for the purpose. I'm not satisfied with Labour – never mind Simon the subhuman shitstorm.

  8. Arn’t you glad you live in New Zealand?

    Only as long as the people in it are allowed to say what they believe, even if they believe some fucked-up things.

    • Incognito 9.1

      The more fucked-up their beliefs, the more defensive they are when you question them about their reasoning let alone when you challenge them and push back. You would think that their fucked-up views would be underpinned by a system of consistent principles, values, and morals but generally their only ‘come back’ is hiding behind free speech, anti-PC gobbledygook, and moral outrage (the irony!). In other words, there is no substance behind their views, it is an empty hollowness that is easily filled with fear and hatred.

      A telling characteristic of a believer of free speech, IMO, is someone who’s prepared to listen (i.e. shut up) and even change their views. At the same time, they show integrity by explaining, elaborating, expanding, testing their own views and thus challenging (and changing!) themselves instead of resorting to platitudes. Otherwise, what is the point of free speech? A cacophony of voices talking past and over each other?

  9. mikesh 10

    It seems all but two of the democrats in the HoR voted for impeachment, while all the republicans voted against. This hardly sounds like an honest, disinterested result. And, while Trump's actions may have been morally dubious, were they actually unconstitutional; is it that the democrats are afraid that Sanders, the guy they don't want as their candidate in 2020, is the only one capable of defeating Trump, and are they therefor trying to nobble the latter's candidacy in advance.

    And what if it should turn out that Biden is actually guilty of stuff in the Ukraine. You will have to excuse me if I say I'm not terribly impressed with this impeachment.

    • We don't have to excuse you at all, because you should know better. I know that right-wingers think "ethical" is a synonym for "within the rules," but you have to take that to extremes to believe it might be within the rules for a PotUS to use his position to pressure a foreign government into trying to dig up dirt on one of his political opponents.

      And what if it should turn out that Biden is actually guilty of stuff in the Ukraine.

      What if it should turn out that something there's no reason to believe happened did actually happen? I guess we'd all be very surprised, but in the meantime it's better not to believe something happened if there's no evidence to suggest it happened – unless you're a partisan irrationalist, that is.

    • Andre 10.2

      Thank you for posting today's Trumputinlican talking points.

      First a couple of questions: Do you think it's OK for the president to withhold Congress approved and taxpayer funded aid to try to extort a foreign country into smearing a political opponent of the president? If you don't think it's OK, what do you think House Democrats should do about it?

      Have you any expertise on the constitution on which to base your opinion about the unconstitutionality or not of Dolt45's actions? Here's a couple of pieces written by actual experts:

      https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/democracy/news/2019/09/26/475114/founders-impeached-trump-ukraine-related-misconduct/

      https://www.npr.org/2019/06/14/732571895/fear-of-foreign-interference-in-u-s-elections-dates-from-nations-founding

      Have you any evidence whatsoever of any improper action by either Biden in Ukraine? Or are you just saying that because some deranged dotard has been publicly saying it?

      edit: You also failed to consider Justin Amash, and here’s what Jeff Flake has to say on the topic:

      https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/475581-flake-pens-op-ed-telling-senate-republicans-to-put-country-over-party-in

      • mikesh 10.2.1

        ""First a couple of questions: Do you think it's OK for the president to withhold Congress approved and taxpayer funded aid to try to extort a foreign country into smearing a political opponent of the president? If you don't think it's OK, what do you think House Democrats should do about it?"

        I did not suggest it was OK. I actually questioned whether it unconstitutional. I also pointed that the way the house voted suggested that the morality or the contitutionality of Trump's action appear not to have been the house's main concern.

        I suspect that Joe Biden is the democrat PTBs' favoured candidate for 2020, and that they are trying to divert attention from any suggestion of wrongdoing that he may have been involved in the Ukraine; and of course there have been rumours.

        • Peter 10.2.1.1

          It wasn't unconstitutional. If it seemed to be that way it was only because it was against a phony part of the Constitution.

          You did realise that there are phony parts?

        • Andre 10.2.1.2

          There is precisely zero actual evidence that either Biden did anything inappropriate in Ukraine (beyond the inappropriateness of Hunter accepting a well-paid position for which he had zero skills or qualifications that was only offered to him because of his father's position). If there was any actual evidence, do you think the craven toadies currently heading the CIA, FBI, Department of Justice and other agencies wouldn't have already found it and made it public?

          Furthermore, what do you make of the fact that the satsuma shitgibbon didn't care whether Ukraine actually did any investigating, all he wanted was a high profile public announcement of an investigation?

          What do you think motivates how House Republicans vote? Perhaps a desire to placate the tangerine toddler in the Oval Office who has already proven his vindictiveness in destroying the career of anyone who stands up to him? (See Mark Sanford, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker etc) Or maybe it's not fear, maybe it's because the way Darth Drumpf is trashing democracy is what they've always wanted to do all along but never had the brazenness to go as far as fast? Or do you want to give all the rest of us a belly laugh by asserting you think there are still some Repugs in the House that still possess spines and principles and considered the evidence and concluded the Terracotta Turdface's actions were all good?

          I suspect your "concerns" about House Democrats' motives stem more from a desire to deflect from Trump's wrongdoing and a desire to whine about Democrats, rather than from any desire to gather evidence, and reason from that evidence.

          • mikesh 10.2.1.2.1

            "I suspect your "concerns" about House Democrats' motives stem more from a desire to deflect from Trump's wrongdoing and a desire to whine about Democrats, rather than from any desire to gather evidence, and reason from that evidence."

            My main concern was that the democrats' claims of "unconstitutionality" may amount to "fake news" aimed at influencing the 2020 voters rather that pursuing justice. After all they have virtually no hope of obtaining an impeachment given that they require a 2/3 majority from a republican dominated senate to succeed.

            • Andre 10.2.1.2.1.1

              Your concerns about claims of unconstitutionality appear to stem from uncritically swallowing whole Trumputinlican talking points, rather than any expertise in constituional matters or any apparent attempt to educate yourself on them.

              • mikesh

                I'm not aware of any "Trumputinlican" talking points around this issue. I have looked at the US constitution and, while I can claim no particular expertise, I can't see that Trump has done anything that is unconstitutional. However if you can point to something in that constitution that proves me to be uniformed in this respect, I'm willing to be persuaded.

          • mikesh 10.2.1.2.2

            "What do you think motivates how House Republicans vote? Perhaps a desire to placate the tangerine toddler in the Oval Office"

            Yes. You are probably right. But this is the point I have been trying to make all along. Both sides of the house are trying to score political points rather than pursuing justice.

      • North 10.2.2

        "And what if it should turn out that Biden is actually guilty of stuff in the Ukraine." – Mikesh at 10 above.

        According to sworn congressional evidence all Trump actually wanted was the 'announcement' of an investigation. Something about Zelensky coming out in a "public box". Not an actual investigation. Just the 'announcement' of one.

        To incite people like Mikesh to disseminate Trump-Swamp talking points. Flake's op-ed is compelling reading.

        https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/475581-flake-pens-op-ed-telling-senate-republicans-to-put-country-over-party-in

  10. Ad 11

    Fair that Ardern got her accolades for her performance this year.

    But New Zealand and Finland are about the only two places in the world where voters rewarded leftie politicians for being nice.

    For the rest, the mood is against 'nice', and it is almost completely against 'nice+left'.

  11. pat 12

    What is a Socialist?

    Recent discussions around 'who are the true Left' caused me consider how it can be measured and have determined the following.

    If the antithesis of pure socialism (100% state) is pure libertarianism (zero % state) then a simply proxy for the measurement is taxation….or tax as a proportion of GDP.

    NZ by this measure is around one third socialist whereas the Scandanvian countries are approximately half socialist…there would appear to be no functioning countries (unfailed states) that operate at the extreme ends of this spectrum and for good reasons….a pure libertarian state is not a state at all but merely individuals and a pure socialist state must have no leadership and so both are in effect not societies at all and cannot therefore function as such.

    So the only question societies need to ask themselves is not whether they are socialist or libertarian but how socialist they wish to be.

    I am 50% socialist (or expressed another way, a much disparaged ‘centrist’),….where is my 50% socialist political party?

    • mikesh 12.1

      I think you need to define socialism in terms of what one is trying to achieve rather than in terms of some particular form. I would say that a socialist system is one which looks after the interests of the people as a whole rather than one which looks after the interests of a small elite. There may be no state involvement at all under socialism – though this is unlikely, even if, as Marx predicted, the state eventually withers away.

      • pat 12.1.1

        That is why the tax/GDP ratio is such a clear proxy….and why I defined 'pure' socialism and libertarianism.

        If you try to define it in something so vague as goals it is needlessly subjective and divisive (as we witness), hardly conducive to social cohesion…and besides it is already defined….as the public ownership of the means of production/resources

        • mikesh 12.1.1.1

          One has to define Socialism, or any other 'ism' for that matter, in terms of what it seeks to achieve, otherwise you will not be able to 'see the wood for the trees'. Julius Caesar, for example, was a dictator, but one who sought to defend the common people against the depredations of the Roman elites (which why the elites eventually assassinated him). You, looking at the form of government practiced by him, would probably call him a fascist rather than a socialist.

          • pat 12.1.1.1.1

            dont agree….you can describe a mechanism without having to define its function (especially if the functions are multiple) and knowing how that mechanism operates you can maintain and repair it without needing to know what its function is….if you are all knowing so much the better but it is not necessary and we live in an increasingly complicated world.

            The fact is it translates at all levels of society from the family unit to nation states or even globally

            • mikesh 12.1.1.1.1.1

              "dont agree….you can describe a mechanism without having to define its function (especially if the functions are multiple) and knowing how that mechanism operates you can maintain and repair it without needing to know what its function is….if you are all knowing so much the better but it is not necessary and we live in an increasingly complicated world."

              You can define a mechanism, but you can't evaluate it except in terms of what it achieves. Given that socialism is an ideology evaluation is important, so it is probably more important to look first at what it seeks to achieve rather than at its particular form.

              • pat

                socialism itself is not an ideology evaluation that is what we (many of us) subject it to…socialism is a tool

                • mikesh

                  A pencil is a tool, but it is of no use to anybody unless they know what it's purpose is. A pencil is also a thing, whereas socialism is a set of ideas (an ideology) but unless we can find some principle of evaluation we have no way of deciding whether to implement socialism (as defined in terms of a particular form) or some other type of government. The principle I suggested originally, that socialism is a system which looks after everybody's interests rather than those of a small elite, seems reasonable.

                  • pat

                    is socialism the only ideology that looks after everybody's interests?…and how does it look after everybody's interests?…and if it cant look after everybody's interests how does it prioritise?….what is the most effective form of socialism?

                    How long do you want to spend arguing (the curse of the left) while inequality grows?

                    you dont need to be van Gogh to sharpen a pencil

                    • mikesh

                      The question of how a government looks after people's interests, and how it prioritises, are really questions of politics. How successful it is in these matters is a matter of judgement – each case needs to be judged on its merits.

                      However, what sort of government would count as socialist seems to vary in different eras.Marx thought it would imply a "dictatorship of the proletariate" while Lenin saw it involving leadership by a small well organized group. More recently we have evolved into social democracy, underpinned by keynesianism.

                      Galbraith thought that as societies became more prosperous they put a greater portion of their GNP into public expenditure, and later he opined that corporations should be regulated when they reached a certain size. There seem to be all sorts of opinions on the question of tax.

                      Anthony Giddens, who apparently coined the term "third way", has suggested that the left, these days, has lost its bearings as a result of forces like globalization,which led to the establishment of the Bretton Woods arrangements and then to their breakdown twenty five years later, of precarity, and also of the "knowledge" economy. Climate change is also a factor which needs to be taken into account.

                      It looks as though the left has some thinking to do.

                      PS: Steve Maharey has been running a series of blogs on Giddens on the Pundit website.

                  • pat

                    Yes have seen Maharey's defence of third way on the Pundit….I would argue that the scale runs from pure socialism (no private ownership) to pure liberalism (no public ownership)….and the centre is the fulcrum, which would indicate a society that taxes and redistributes less than 50% of GDP would be termed liberal leaning but not socialist, nor social democratic….NZ tax to GDP is currently running at around 33%..we are not a social democratic society despite what the politicians or pundits tell us.

                    • mikesh

                      So, what point are you trying to make? Saying that, say, Scandinavian countries are 50% socialist is meaningless unless one knows. exogenously, socialism is. i.e. 50% of what? It's a bit like saying that Special K is 95% fat free. 95% of what?

                  • pat

                    That is the purpose of the proxy…tax/gdp…there is no need to subscribe to a particular ideology, or explain it or even label it…..it is simply a measure of how much you determine any economy needs government intervention to ensure best outcome for the electorate as a whole.

                    The debate the becomes a question how much and accommodations are more likely to be achieved than debating personal ideologies if they can even be articulated.

                    What do we want?….what will it cost?….heres how we pay

                  • pat

                    you are not mistaken, we are ….without worrying about labels

                    • mikesh

                      "tax/gdp…there is no need to subscribe to a particular ideology, or explain it or even label it…."

                      "tax/gdp" tells us nothing useful in terms of the system itself. The ratio appropriate to any system depends on that country's circumstances. A tax system that burdens the poor for the benefit of the rich can hardly be called socialist even if the tax/gdp ratio is quite high.

                  • pat

                    tax/GDP does tell us something about the nature of society but you are correct it is entirely possible that the redistribution is in the wrong direction (corporate welfare) but would point out we vote (every 3 years currently) and in order to achieve the 50%+1 required to control Parliament any tax regime will need to benefit the majority, indeed I would suggest the current structure clearly benefits the fewer but with no alternative fully a quarter of the voting public have left the game….give them a reason to return

                    • mikesh

                      Voting of course can change everything or nothing. The consequences of of a change in voting patterns, or a lack thereof, has so wide a scope that it is not really an argument.

                    • mikesh

                      It's a straightforward syllogism, and therefor logically irrefutable. It can only be wrong if one of the premises is invalid. I'm pretty sure both are valid. You told me yourself that progressive taxes reduce inequality so that can't be invalid. And I explained on an earlier comment why a flat tax combined with a UBI is equivalent to a progressive tax (and I know that Keith Rankin, an economics tutor and an earlier advocate of this at, I think, Auckland Technical Inst., also agrees.)

                      So I'm afraid that it's QEDoes. The logic is impeccable.

                    • pat

                      its refuted by high school arithmetic (not to mention english)….and your assertion that flat tax and UBI reduce inequality (your welcome to demonstrate it if you believe you can) is also 'invalid' (and I suspect like your misunderstanding here you also misunderstood Keith Rankin).

                    • pat

                      Your misunderstanding of the term regressive comes from the fact you ignore the relative nature of its application….it is regressive in the disproportionate impact determined by the ability to pay….. you can try to alleviate this by providing a base level payment (UBI e.g.) or a tax free lower band but that requires a substantial increase in total tax take or acceptance of reduced tax take to provide.

                      For example under your flat tax/UBI proposal of 11,000 UBI and 30% flat rate tax would have a net tax take of around half of what we currently take in tax (good luck running the country on that) while reducing the income of every superannuitant ( almost half) and beneficiaries in the country so to make up that shortfall you will be required to increase your flat tax rate substantially which again hits those at the bottom end disproportionately hard…regressive.

                      And while you may claim a marginal 'progressive' nature to the flat tax/UBI combination, even if we ignore the income and net tax implications it does nothing to limit and redistribute that high end income

                  • pat

                    There is one proven way to regulate inequality and it is taxation….unless you know of another?

                    As we live in a democracy (and it would appear we wish to continue to do so) then voter preference is obviously key, but before that preference can be exercised the option has to be given.

                    • mikesh

                      Taxation may transfer cash from high income earners to lower income earners, but the former continue to earn their high incomes so inequality continues. It's better to find a system where incomes are more or less equal and no cash is transferred. Communism, where the state decides who gets paid what, may be a more effective system, but it seems to have disadvantages. Keynesianism, which helps maintain incomes during hard times through deficit budgeting, may be helpful since the poor are more likely to suffer when overall incomes fall. Land taxes, or other asset taxes, may also help since they would tend to reduce asset values, which are a component of wealth.

                    • mikesh

                      PS: I should have mentioned UBI as well, since that also tends to reduce inequality because, in proportional terms, the poor benefit from that more than the rich do. One may argue that this is just another transfer from rich to poor, but it is no quite that simple; the poor would see a relative benefit even if a flat tax was introduced simultaneously.

                    • pat

                      Am unconvinced by UBI…the level at which it is affordable is too low to achieve what it sets out to do and flat tax is regressive (i.e. fuels inequality)

                    • mikesh

                      A flat tax and a UBI, taken together, are the equivalent of progressive tax. This is because the regressiveness of the flat tax is more than offset by the free handout that the UBI represents. And the greater one's overall income, the less significance this particular feature of the combination has.

                      As to its adequacy, the UBI is really only intended to be a supplement to one's main income.

                    • pat

                      UBI and flat tax (together or alone) may assist in reducing poverty but do nothing to address inequality whereas progressive taxation ,redistribution does…they do not have the same effect

                    • mikesh

                      Flat tax + UBI = Progreessive tax

                      Progressive Tax = Reduces inequality

                      Therefor Flat tax +UBI = Reduces Inequality

                      QED

                    • pat

                      LOL…I'm sorry your QED QEDosnt

                    • mikesh

                      I will demonstrate:

                      Assume a flat tax rate of 30% and a UBI of $11,000 pa,

                      Assume also income of $50,000 then tax = $15,000 and net paid to govt =$4,000: equivalent tax rate 8%

                      Now assume income = $100,000: tax =$30,000 so govt gets $19,000: equivalent tax rate 19%

                      Now assume income = $200,000: tax = $60,000 so govt gets $49,000: equivalent tax rate 24.5%

                      As you can see the rate of tax increases with increasing income, which means that this is a progressive tax system, and it's therefor clear that a flat tax coupled with a UBI produces such a tax system. It follows from that that, given that progressive tax system curbs inequality, a flat tax/UBI coupling must also do so.

                    • pat

                      Progressive tax bands

                      income 100 900

                      tax band 1 10% 10 10 (first 100)

                      tax band 2 35% 0 280 (100-1000)

                      tax paid 10 290 (300 total)

                      net income 90 610 (520 difference)

                      Flat tax

                      income 100 900

                      tax 30% 30 270 (300 total)

                      net income 70 630 (560 difference)

                      As you can see the tax take to gov remains the same but the difference between the two parties increases …the inequality increases, it is regressive.

                      You can apply a UBI payment to both parties at whatever level you like but unless there is some other clawback mechanism it will not alter the difference.

                    • mikesh

                      "As you can see the tax take to gov remains the same but the difference between the two parties increases …the inequality increases, it is regressive."

                      A flat tax is not regressive. A tax is regressive if the poor are paying it at a higher rate than the the rich. This clearly is not the case with a flat tax, which everybody, rich and poor alike, pay it at the same rate.

                      In the present tax system the maximum tax rate of 33% cuts in at, I think, $70,000. If we assume that all tax should be paid at the same rate, then it will be seen that income below that figure is effectively being subsidised, and those whose income is closest to to $70,000 receive the greatest subsidy. Moving to a flat tax and introducing a UBI ensures that everybody receives the same subsidy. This benefits the poor more than the rich because as income increases that subsidy comes to form a smaller and smaller proportion of one's income while the tax proportion remains the same. The figures quoted in my earlier post show the effect of this. As you can see the rate at which net payments are made to the government increase as income increases, which makes the arrangement equivalent to a progressive tax. It may not be as progressive as you would like, but it is still progressive.

                  • pat

                    taxation/redistribution is more than cash transfers, there is the provision of those necessities for a functioning society (well being is measured in more than just bank balance)….there is no need to reinvent the wheel, or even rename it as the mechanism is already there to implement it…..and you may have noted I said 'regulate inequality' …not remove it entirely

                    • mikesh

                      Governments tax incomes but this doesn't reduce incomes. Taxes are one of the things we spend our incomes on.

                    • pat

                      what an odd thing to say….we have gross and net income for a reason…try telling someone their spending capacity is unaffected by that PAYE (or WFF or GST etc) and they will think you mad.

                    • mikesh

                      "Gross and Net Income" are just labels. All we actually have is income, which is a measure of what we contribute to the economy. Taxes have nothing to do with what we contribute. Some may think it odd to say that PAYE is not part of our income. but I can't help what silly people think. How is paying for the services that government provides different from paying rates, or paying for groceries.

                    • pat

                      Quite simply because you are not 'paying for the services the government provides' you…..you are making a contribution to the running of society and that contribution should be based on the ability to pay.

                    • mikesh

                      Yes. There is a difference, though that difference is not significant since you are still paying for services you are deemed to have received from government (whether you actually received those services or not).

                      But, whatever. The point is that the tax you pay has nothing to with the contribution that gives rise to the income you receive. The income and the tax are separate entities.

      • pat 12.1.2

        Indeed it could (and should) be said we are all socialists and only vary by degree (except perhaps for the occasional hermit, and even they must have been socialist at some point)

        • mikesh 12.1.2.1

          One could say that, I suppose. But isn't that just playing with words.

          • pat 12.1.2.1.1

            you could say that (others call it conversation)…an example…a family unit has x amount of resources, those resources are in greater part provided by the parents, do they say these are mine and the children are only going to get what they can provide for themselves?…or do they say one child is to receive less than another?…and should they do so what would be the outcome? …or our judgement of them….and when the parents die and the estate is divided if it is not done equitably what is the result?….the differences are only scale.

            There is one huge problem however that is not addressed by socialism (or any other political ideology) growth and lack of resources

  12. mikesh 13

    "There is one huge problem however that is not addressed by socialism (or any other political ideology) growth and lack of resources."

    This is obviously true. However I fail to see its relevance to this particular argument.

    • pat 13.1

      its relevant in that (imo) we face two existential crisis…inequality and climate catastrophe and its uncertain which will destroy us first…we dont appear capable of addressing the later but the former is relatively easy to address

      • mikesh 13.1.1

        A system which solves the problem of inequality, other things being equal, would certainly fit my definition of socialism – as a system that serves everybody rather than a small elite.

  13. Paaparakauta 14

    Boris had a strong supporter in Donald.

    Donald has just been impeached.

    Brexit, Quo Vadis ?

  14. Blazer 15

    Socialism ,just like Capitalism has many manifestations..on the right we have 'crony Capitalism..on the left we have selective Socialism..

    of course the 'option' is simplified in ..marketing..left =more taxes ..right=less taxes and the 'only the strongest survive'..principle..patent nonsense..but em,bedded by the main stream media..where even today it resonates,irrespective of ..reality.

    • pat 15.1

      yes it is embedded and it resonates because it is true, the challenge is to design it to be a net benefit for the majority…..nobody likes taxation but if the benefit exceeds the cost it is accepted, We have had a 40 year experiment where the market was supposed to provide (and more efficiently) and it has failed, except for the top approx 20 %, that leaves 80% who are in a net negative position re low taxation….that is the target audience.

  15. Bill 16

    The basis the Democrats chose for the impeachment of Trump runs something like somebody spoke to someone who heard another person say they reckoned Trump had sought a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government.

    There are substantial grounds for impeachment, but Pelosi et al chose the sheep shagger route. "Trump will be impeached for ever." were more or less the words of Pelosi. Seriously? Like…Trump will be known as the person we accused of shagging sheep!? For ever!!?

    And meanwhile, what a fucking re-election gift he's been handed!

    ______________

    Simon Bridges is just doing that time worn shite that all liberals do (the socially conservative ones and the socially liberal ones) of using 'left' as a derogatory four letter word when it suits their purposes.

    _________________

    Independent media in the UK is about to be "investigated" for anti-Semitism (The Canary being explicitly named on that front) and the BBC want facebook and the rest of them to quash criticism of the BBC, all the while as they're configuring their algorithms to promote pop media and relegate independent news sources. Boris need do nothing on that front. Socially liberal liberals are pushing that wagon along quite nicely. So, why not make hay while the sun shines and punt for a bit of voter suppression?

    ________________

    Morrison's testing the waters of the inevitable end game of identity driven politics with the Religious Discrimination Bill . Toxic, innit? The "Islamophobia is anti-Semitic" line being promoted by Times columnists in the UK is part and parcel of the same shite imo. (Boris dropped the investigation of Islamophobia in he Tory Party on the same day as publication I think).

    ____

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