In which I find the holocaust and taxes linked

The rich need to pay less tax in this country, according to John Key. That will help the rest of us. This is not because trickle down theory worked in the 1990s but because it didn't and that is how John Key and his cronies like it.

I have been thinking about why I am happy to pay tax and why the government thinks we should pay tax. To me, it is about some redistribution of resources in an unequal capitalist economy. Many persons who pay the higher tax rate (perhaps all, but I am unable to defend that categorically) earn that extra money through the exploitation of lower paid workers (or unpaid workers). Diane Foreman came to my attention in last Sunday's paper. The link isn't the Sunday Star Times one which credited her first streak of apparently wonderful entrepreneurial skills with the babysitting register she set up whilst a teenager on the North Shore. She lined up the parents and babysitters and took 20% of the wages of her peers who did the babysitting. This is entrepreneurial? I think it is close to stealing. So absolutely she should pay more tax than her workers. She is profiting inordinately from their labour.

No political party any where near power in New Zealand is going to explain taxes in those terms.

We can of course talk about collective resources for the smooth functioning of our society - roads, hospitals, airports, libraries and schools to name but a few. Taxes pay for these and in our modern world with a high level of government work, these create significant amounts of wealth for people who are not providing labour for a saleable product. Witness the growth of that alongside the transformation of the New Zealand Labour Party from a party of workers to a party of chardonnay sipping bureacrats who like the idea of an equitable society so long as they retain certain personal luxuries beyond what most people can afford.

Back to rich people and their supposed benefits for our society. As far as I can ascertain from John Key's speeches, the benefits of rich persons having more disposable cash far outweigh the benefits of cleaners, supermarket workers, road workers, child carers and bar workers being able to both feed their families and heat their houses in winter.

Are rich people more deserving because they were perhaps cleverer, had a streak of something superior in their ability to get other people to part with their cash? Tax cuts for the top earning bracket seems to suggest exactly that.

So would white people be more superior then? Certainly in the US (as one example), white people are richer and the gap with black people has widened markedly in recent years. Is this because white people are innately cleverer and should be rewarded? To my mind this is repugnant, but what is behind the choices in the changes to the Texan curriculum?

This afternoon I was at a birthday party for our three year old friend E, who is also known as spiderman and ran around in delight in his new spiderman outfit. When the top part is on, you can only see his eyes. I observed that he could be arrested if he was out in the streets in his favourite garb in some parts of Europe. The ban on full face coverage, nothing to do with spiderman and everything to do with demonising Islam, seems to me to be the beginnings of something terrible, something which could yet see us looking at the unthinkable after the fact and wondering how it possibly could have happened. Not that it hasn't happened since, it certainly did in Rwanda. Watch the movie Hotel Rwanda if you haven't already. Not much noise about that internationally and colour has so much to play in that international disinterest.

I can stake no solid claim on coherency or sophistication in my thoughts, but hopefully it is a useful signpost on my journey to be clearer about how injustice and inequalities are either challenged or reinforced in legislation, policy and public discourse. When I was a university history student, I spent a lot of time reading about notions of respectability in Victorian England/New Zealand/Ireland/Australia and about the deserving and undeserving poor. Little has changed.


Steven Cowan said…
My old mate Karl Marx once said: 'The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs.'
Anonymous said…
Never the less, Tax is figured into prices which hurts the less fortunate the most. Then tax is used to pay of the debt to the bankers, which takes the population's money out of the economy, creating more debt that again is reflected in higher prices.

If govt is not allowed to tax the population at all, where will it get money from to pay for itself? It would have to issue the money it needs itself. If govt. is issuing the money it needs itself, what will it's population be voting about?

I suggest the voting would then be about the issuing of money to pay for govt. services demanded for by the population, rather than as it is now, how much money the public has to fork out for public services that don't reflect the value system of debt based growth.

and uncle Karl Marx's communist manifesto, which has been a pretext for hundreds of millions of deaths and totalitarianism, advocates for a private central bank.

Progressive tax is a great concept as far as tax goes, but it's cause and affect in the real world is weak no matter how desirable it's equilibrium nature is. No Tax at all by govt. would be far stronger as a starting point of this nature for those who have to have politics.


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