I know I should not take the bait but occasionally I bite at the Herald’s click bait masquerading as opinion pieces.
One recent example was this dumpster fire of an opinion piece by Merchant Banker Troy Bowker.
He is the Executive director of Caniwi Capital, a privately owned investment firm involved in private equity, commercial property and farming.
The Herald gave him space to vent against the Government’s response to the Housing Crisis.
He came up with some pearlers. Like this about Robertson changing his mind about extending the bright line test:
The excuse? The facts have changed. That simply does not wash. The facts are going to constantly change in the world we live … “
So politicians should never ever change their minds even if changed circumstances demand it?
Since the CGT fail, Labour have made a series of attempts to inflict financial pain on landlords across the residential and the commercial property sectors in New Zealand.”
If the intent was to inflict pain on landlords as well as merchant bankers then surely they would have passed a real CGT and not mucked around with the bright line test and interest deductibility.
His stand out piece is his claim that the Government is, dear reader, a socialist Government.
A pattern is emerging of a Labour government with a major chip on its shoulder against property investors in New Zealand.
One could be excused for reaching the conclusion these sustained attacks on property investors are driven by socialist wealth redistribution ideology rather than genuine, well-intentioned, well thought out and properly considered reforms.
A standard definition of socialism is that it is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Note community or state ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange is required. What Bowker thinks is socialism, wealth redistribution, is nothing of the sort. It presupposes that capitalism continues but that the extremely wealthy have to give up some of their wealth. And there are some examples to suggest this is a good idea.
Eion Musk and Jeff Bezos for instance have way more than they need and own more than the bottom 40% of the American population combined.
From Yahoo Finance:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has responded to criticism of his huge wealth by Senator Bernie Sanders, saying he would use his money to help humankind.
“I am accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars,” Musk said on Twitter.
Musk has become one of the world’s wealthiest people, alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Liberal lawmakers have called for higher taxes on billionaires, saying they’re not paying their fair share.
“We are in a moment in American history where two guys – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – own more wealth than the bottom 40% of people in this country,” Senator Bernie Sanders said on Twitter on Thursday.
The Vermont senator added: “That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable.”
Wanting to make life multiplanetary does not cut it as excuse. You know how this will work out, the only people going interplanetary will be the wealthy, escaping Earth after having wrecked it.
Of course National also engages in this sort of overblown mindless rhetoric. For instance recently Scott Simpson said this in Parliament:
They want to be like most socialist Governments all around the world, who seem to relish the opportunity to tell people how to live their lives, how to spend their money, and how to make decisions, and they want that to be done from here centrally, from Parliament, issuing proclamations and decrees from Parliament, from the Beehive, and a State-run agency to do the job that, actually, the private sector, given half the chance and the right kind of regulatory and legislative framework, can do very, very well indeed.
The arguments are rhetorically lazy and factually incorrect. And the corollary is the “slippery slope” argument that suggests that any slightly progressive move by the Government is the first step towards full blown socialism.
Of course business does not necessarily think that Socialism is bad. Bowker complained that the Government did not include landlords when it declined to include them in the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme.
One gets the strong impression that capitalists do not think Socialism is a bad thing as long as they can profit from it. And their cries of Socialism are no more than an attempt to tilt public discourse in their favor.