Who’s National looking out for?

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, May 29th, 2012 - 45 comments
Categories: budget2012, class war - Tags:

We’re told that these are tough times and we all have to share in the pain. Yeah, right. National dug this hole with $2 billion in ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts, billions in subsidies to polluters, and white elephant motorways that aren’t worth what they cost. And who’s being made to bear the cost? The rich are doing well, while the poor and middle class go backwards.

Here’s the Greens’ infographic on how net incomes have changed under National (this is pre-Budget, so worse now):

And David Cunliffe at his eloquent best:

45 comments on “Who’s National looking out for?”

  1. ad 1

    Hmmm, the Greens providing the facts, David Cunliffe booting it and providing the leadership. I love the post just for the juxtaposition of what those two could do for leadership in this country.

    And seeing it on one graph, I don’t know why, but with teachers being taken away, workers wages and conditions cut all around the place, and seeing my place on the table, I have an irrational desire to pay more tax!

    Must. Find. Coffee.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Maybe Cunfliffe should just bail on Labour and parachute into the Greens?

      I guess he’d never be able to get a leadership position in their party due to their grass-roots organisation, but it doesn’t seem like he’ll ever get the chance again in Labour either.

  2. vto 2

    Who’s National looking out for?

    I think it has been made perfectly clear. Bill English said a couple of days ago that the government will be giving money to dairy farmers irrigation in Canterbury, and then yesterday John Key said the government will be giving no money to aged care workers.

    Direct experience with aged care workers has shown them to be the most deserving of all workers imo. Direct experience with dairy farmers has shown them to be far from the most deserving.

    What does that tell us about the National Party? And what does that tell us about some New Zealanders?

  3. Gosman 3

    I’m always fascinated by the argument from the left about sharing the pain because what does it actually mean in reality?

    If cuts to Government spending were directed at mainly people, (something I agree with), there would be cries from some quarters about this taking away the universality of benefits. If wealthy people set up competing systems to gain services they already pay for via taxes, (e.g. Health care), there is a outcry from some corners that this distorts the sector.

    Then there are cuts which mainly impact the higher income demographics but the argument again becomes it is an attack on the poor. Tertiary education is an example of this. The uptake of Tertiary education is largest amongst the higher income demographic groups so therefore any change in services proportionately impacts them more than other groups. That is not how it is portrayed though by many on the left.

    Even raising taxes like GST is seen as benefiting the wealthy even though they are likely the ones paying more tax as a result of any increase.

    That essentially only leaves raising the top income tax rate and/or introducing a property/capital gains tax as being the only ‘fair’ way of ‘sharing’ pain in the view of the left as far as I can tell. However it is not really sharing the pain is it. It is just expecting the wealthy to pay more for the rest of society.

    So why isn’t the left more honest on this point? Why don’t they come out and state they don’t want pain sharing, they simply want the wealthy to stump up more cash.

    • vto 3.1

      “they don’t want pain sharing, they simply want the wealthy to stump up more cash.”

      That’s the same thing silly.

      In addition, in the example above, the aged care workers get the pain and the farmers get the cash. Perhaps you can explain how that is pain sharing?

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        As far as I am aware nothing has really changed in the aged care working industry that means they are having more pain at the moment. The question is whether their situation should be made better, not worse. So it is nothing to do with pain sharing again but taking money from one group to help another.

        As for whether I think farmers should get extra support, no I do not.

        • vto 3.1.1.1

          Well that’s the most magnificent display of hair-splitting seen in a long while.

          Relative to the farmers the aged care workers are carrying the pain. The farmers are receiving more cash. The aged care workers are receiving nothing.

          • seeker 3.1.1.1.1

            “Well that’s the most magnificent display of hair-splitting seen in a long while.”

            Spot on vto, cracked up laughing.Pure comedy gold from Gosman.

        • bbfloyd 3.1.1.2

          “as far as i’m aware”…. how are you going to know if you never get your head out of your arse gossamer? … that would be the longest pile of drivel you’ve written for weeks lad… have you taken up amphetamine therapy again?

          word of advice… using the national party as a source if information is only going to have you humiliating yourself repeatedly…. surely even one such as yourself can see the lies inherent in every statement coming out of the beehive lately? you can’t … or won’t?? oh well, there are better drugs for that nowadays…

    • ad 3.2

      That’s an awful lot of straw men to blow down in one breath.

      The simple point of the table is to boil down in whose interests National serves. Tracking for the last twenty years, only the very top have gained anything since the start of structural adjustment. For the rest it has been neutral or worse.

      I am happy to say: the wealthy should pay more tax than the poor. They already do, and they should pay more.

      You will find a number of contributors on this site who will say the same.

    • Blue 3.3

      It’s not truly possible for the wealthy to experience the pain that the poorest in society experience. That’s the point.

      If the Govt makes tertiary education more expensive, the wealthy can afford to pay their own way. The poorest can’t. If the Govt ups GST, the wealthy can afford to pay more, or they will simply buy overseas and claim the tax back at the airport. The poor can’t even afford to think about travelling overseas.

      Being wealthy means that whatever the state is doing, you don’t have to worry because you have your own private means with which to look after yourself and your family.

      When the Govt cuts spending, sure, the wealthy have to use more of their own private money and that is ‘pain’ of a sort. But it doesn’t really compare with the pain of not being able to afford medicine or not being able to give your children tertiary education.

      A right wing Govt says that in this situation, the wealthy should get tax cuts and the poor should have their lives decimated by spending cuts. A left wing Govt says that the wealthy should pay slightly more tax (and still have a very comfortable income) in order to maintain the public services that the poor depend on (and that the wealthy get to use as well).

      • Gosman 3.3.1

        That is my point. Most of the left care about sharing the pain as much as they claim the right does. Your problem isn’t pain sharing but that the rich aren’t copping it big time. Just be honest about it.

        • ad 3.3.1.1

          You might want to check the number on this site who are in the top 10%.

          And willing to pay more.

          So that others suffer less, and so we have cohesive society.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.2

          The rich are better off thus not taking any pain at all.

        • McFlock 3.3.1.3

          Another irregular verb from the Tory Bumper Book of Fuckwittedness (aka “1001 Ways to Feed People Shit and call it ‘Civet-Fermented Coffee Beans'”):

          The poor “share”,
          The middle class “pay”,
          The rich “cop it big time”. 

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      Well, if we didn’t have the wealthy (ie, everyone had the same income and tax deductions) then they wouldn’t be paying more would they?

      • vto 3.4.1

        Ha ha Draco that is the best and most appropriate reponse to their silliness yet.

        Attack silliness with silliness. Perhaps a bit like laughter being the pinprick of exposure.

    • Dr Terry 3.5

      Yes indeed, the wealthy should “stump up a lot more cash” – but they have many devious ways of avoiding just that. Why are people and countries resisting “austerity measures”? The answer is simple, those who must pay up are the lower strata of society, every time. The fat rich go on getting richer in the meantime. You bet, the wealthy ought to be forking out a great deal more than they ever have. But, might I guess what strata of society you belong to? (Otherwise, your head needs seeing to!).
      Remember this, Gosman, very many of the hugely rich also possess poverty of psyche and soul.

  4. mac1 4

    Gossie, if the gummint is saying we can’t afford stuff and at the same time less tax is being paid by the rich, then yes I want the wealthy to stump up more cash, at least up to the levels of the previous gummint. Why shouldn’t those who have a disproportionate amount of the resources pay a greater amount?

    You miss the point about raising GST- this impacts more on the poor since they spend every cent on living and is therefore disproportionate, especially when the rich are compensated for the increase in GST by income tax rates being lowered, as per the tables in the post. The good thing about GST is that income tax avoiders pay some taxation at least.

    Capital gains would pick up tax from people who ‘work’, i.e receive income, but are not taxed. Capital gains also acts to redirect investment money into productive areas of the economy.

    A bit of shared pain increases empathy. 🙂

  5. aspasia 5

    A very interesting Brian Easton article in the Listener August 2008 shows that this is not quite correct. From about 1984 to 1998 the top 20per cent of the population were the only quintile to make any gains. From 1998 to 2008 everyone made gains but the greatest increase went to those in the 20-40 per cent quintile. Figures based on household incomes data. I presume raising the minimum wage every year by a decent amount and the 39 cents in the dollar top tax rate made the difference? Not enough was done for the lowest quintile.
    So it is well within National’s power to make a difference to social inequality. It just chooses to increase it rather than decrease it!

    • ad 5.1

      I humbly demure to Easton.

      Interesting that economically people did badly when National was in power, and well when Labour was in power. No coincidence.

      Possibly the hardest thing to convince people of in 2014 is that there really is an alternative, and economic decline is not inevitable.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        that there really is an alternative, and economic decline is not inevitable.

        Due to global energy depletion economic decline IS inevitable. However, social justice and income equity can all be properly addressed. If it wasn’t for the top 0.1% of the world’s population pushing for more all the time, and the top 1% letting it happen because it suits their interests too.

    • Deano 5.2

      check out this http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/monitoring/household-income-1982-2007/household-indicators-report-2009.doc

      page 60 shows that the wealthier deciles’ wealth increases rapidly from 1988 to 2001, while lower deciles’ went backwards. Under Labour, lower deciles’ wealth rose faster in percentage terms than higher deciles’.

      • ad 5.2.1

        Spectacular dataset there. Can’t wait for an update to post-2011.

        The chilling datasets that track that are the DHB stats that Dr Elizabeth Craig (at the University of Otago Public Health Unit) collects annually from every DHB showing the impact of poverty on child health. Very strong echo.

        • prism 5.2.1.1

          @ad The Uni of Otago used to do a food basket comparison each year for low, medium and high income family food purchases starting with the basic health needs. It indicated that people on low incomes were likely to not get sufficient healthy food with their available dollars. I haven’t seen it referred to lately. Is it still being done as before?

          • ad 5.2.1.1.1

            Sorry not familiar with that one. But Dr Craig or Child Poverty Action Group will have it.

  6. Ed 6

    I would like to see the impact of this budget on different groups (including MPs and Cabinet Ministers assuming no other income) but it appears nobody has done that work. It may however be necessary to calculate changes from post-last years budget – we know that MPs have had a pay rise that exceeded the rise in the unemployment benefit for example, and we know what has happened to prices and the average and median wages. Isn’t this what parliamentary research units are there for?

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    This is fantastic. Cunliffe and the Greens. Everyday this looks more and more like an unbeatable combo.

    Shearer needs to use Cunliffe more (in the Finance port folio preferably). Use him as much as possible. Don’t be afraid of his leadership ambitions. Look at how Key uses English, the same English that would stab in the dark if given the chance.

    • Dr Terry 7.1

      Enough is enough, you are on the right track, I notice that you refer to Key “using” English, and that is quite correct – Key “uses” people. Cunliffe is not a man to be used by anyone, let alone Shearer. We have the rare chance of a quite brilliant leader and it is squandered. I say “rare” because so few P.M.’s are that (apart from Helen Clark, perhaps). Cunliffe is his own man, and he should be our own man too.

  8. Bill 8

    Recently watched an on-line lecture by Elizabeth Warren (US academic who was ‘taken out’ by Obama when he appointed her to oversee TARP related stuff?).

    She took the economic position of a median income two parent two child family from the US in 1970 and crunched their expenditures on an adjusted for inflation basis in comparison to 2003.

    Conclusion? Median income family in the US (two parents two children) is fucking fucked. And that was prior to the financial crisis and the roll out of austerity. There are certain economic peculiarities that only apply to the US, but the basic scenario applies here as much as there.

    If I’ve the time, I’ll cobble a post on it highlighting the main points. But in the meantime, if you have the time, watch the lecture.

    http://keentalks.com/coming-collapse-middle-class/

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Recently watched an on-line lecture by Elizabeth Warren (US academic who was ‘taken out’ by Obama when he appointed her to oversee TARP related stuff?).

      She wanted to enact sweeping consumer protections from the credit industry. And was soundly blocked. Geithner et al made sure of that.

  9. Hilary 9

    Every time some political or media figure cites the economic crisis or the need for austerity as a reason not to spend on x project, they need to be asked, ‘So what are you personally cutting back on? ‘

    Chances are they still expect to have their overseas holidays, investment properties and late model cars, and are unwilling to give up any privileges for the benefit of the wider good.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Can a just society tax the poor while not taxing the rich?

      Nope, but I’m sure that NACT want such a society anyway.

  10. seeker 11

    Such powerful words from Cunliffe. The absolute truth is always powerful, it cuts like a double edged sword. It is only those truthful, wise and articulate enough that can produce words like these, it is a gift. Key and his rabble stand totally exposed as the shameful, dishonourable, charlatans they are after words like this.

  11. Aaron 12

    “David Cunliffe at his eloquent best” – it’s actually my quote and picture on facebook that David “liked.” Look me up – aaron goodwin. I’m glad he guts to “like” it. Many people wanted to be untagged.

  12. Karl Sinclair 13

    THE RICH ARENT REALLY JOB CREATORS:

    The Idea TED Didn’t Consider Worth Spreading:

    Go here
    http://www.openculture.com/2012/05/the_idea_ted_didnt_consider_worth_spreading.html

    Quote: ‘TED organizers invited a multimillionaire Seattle venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer – the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com – to give a speech on March 1 at their TED University conference. Inequality was the topic – specifically, Hanauer’s contention that the middle class, and not wealthy innovators like himself, are America’s true “job creators.”…

    You can’t find that speech online. [Note: it has now been independently published on YouTube.] TED officials told Hanauer initially they were eager to distribute it. “I want to put this talk out into the world!” one of them wrote him in an e-mail in late April. But early this month they changed course, telling Hanauer that his remarks were too “political” and too controversial for posting.’

    Nick Hanauer effectively Comparing the Dialogue (Concerning the Two Chief World Systems) with the current BS believing the rich are at the centre of our economic Universe..

    In reality…. it’s worse than this… The planets really do go around the sun, cf. money is a human construct and the value of can be manipulated…….

    National…. are average……..

  13. David Cunliffe 14

    To confirm, that quote is Aaron Goodwin’s, not mine. Eddie’s gotten mixed up in attributing it to me.

    I agree with Aaron completely though.

    National’s Budget 2012 does pick the pennies out of the pockets of children with after school jobs, it does raid the piggy banks of the elderly with prescriptions to fill, it does crush the dreams of many university hopefuls, and it does attack those with the least power to defend themselves. It is a low and cowardly Budget.

    Keep up the advocacy Aaron. This country needs more young people like you!

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