Wednesday, 24 August 2005

That old green-eyed envy tax

Guest commentary today on Labour's Envy Taxes:

Why do so many bleat so much when 'the rich' receive a pledge to get some of their own money back, and why do those same people bleat so little (or even crow a lot) when someone else pledges to keep taking a lot from everyone with one hand, while doling out the booty as benefits with the other hand.

And why do so many still misinterpret or misunderstand the difference between getting back money that they earned and was taken from them, from money that they never earned that is being given to them?

Anna at ECB explains quite clearly that tax cuts benefit those who pay tax, and if you pay a lot of tax then of course a tax-cut will give you more in dollars than it would for someone who doesn't pay a lot. "Why is this so difficult to understand?" she asks. "Why is it that people think they are entitled to a greater share of other people's money?"

Answer in one word: Envy. It's a killer. If envy was taxed we'd all be able to vote ourselves rich.


  1. That's a tricky arguement to sustain: by the same reasoning we all 'cost' the same amount in terms of public spending, so really we should all just give a fixed sum to the Govt and whatever is left over we keep. That basically means zero marginal tax? Hell, double income families with no children don't use schools so why should they pay for them anyway... they should be paying less.

    But the imporant point is that we don't all conclude that [tax on] earnings is your sole contribution to this country. Having children costs money; some professions are underpaid relative to their intrinsic value to society (read: not necessarily economic gain), and so on.

    But hey, it's all perspective isn't it.

  2. Voting for a political party to gain yourself someone elses money is 'greed', not envy.

  3. No, no. No.
    Greed is good!
    I'll be voting for Rodney Hide because I'm greedy. I'm greedy for a more liberal Enzed.
    Greed is ambition, aspiration, the desire to advance and better one's position in life. This is a virtue.
    The most self-serving thing one can do is to fix one's desires on a libertarian New Zealand- freedom for everyone.

    There are only two kinds of income distribution socialists- smart ones and stupid ones. The stupid ones honestly (honestly, to a certian depth) believe they're doing the right thing for the economy. But the smart ones know they're not yet pretend otherwise in order to serve their vice- ie brute envy.


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