Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Budget: No suprises

A "no surprises" budget is what Cullen is likely to deliver tomorrow, or so he told the country last week. There was a time when Budgets were compulsory listening, when you had to take notice because surprises were thrust rudely upon us, and the Finance Minister's hand was thrust roughly into your wallet with literally only a moment's notice. With just a word from the FM, for example, the service stations/bottle stores/tobacconists of the country had people queuing up to avoid new taxes set to come in before midnight. Such was the power of the Treasurer, including both the power to tax like hell and the power to surprise.

At least, that was the case when Muldoon was Finance Minister. The latter power has now gone, as today's pre-Budget summary in the Herald demonstrates, but the former power still remains -- as today's pre-Budget summary in the Herald of what we alrady know about the Budget demonstrates (sadly the summary is not online). In fact, the power to tax like hell is now greater than ever; greater even than when Muldoon was the government's finance un-wizard; greater even than when Roger Douglas was reading the Budgets (when the tax take was at a previous all-time high) ... greater than at any other time in New Zealand history.

“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.” Frankly, the government does a lot of plucking; the only limit is the hissing you lot put up. If the tax take is a measure, you're not doing enough hissing.

Who's being plucked? YOU ARE. Whose money is it? YOURS. It's your money. Governments produce no money of their own. Every dollar spent by government first has to be taken from you. IT'S YOUR MONEY. As Fulton Huxtable said in a piece that's become a modern classic:

Consider the logical implications of the idea that your money is yours. Money is a repository of the time in your life it takes you to earn it. If your money is yours, then it means the time in your life it takes to earn it is yours. If your life's time is yours, then your life is yours, yours by right and not a single minute of it should be taken from you without your permission.

If your money is yours, then you, not others, have the right to it. If your money is yours, you, not the state, have the right to control its use and disposal. If your money is yours, then you have the right to spend it as you please and no one — not the state or your neighbours — has the right to forcibly direct how your money is spent....

If statists lose their claim to your money, then they will lose their battle to bring you under their control.
If you want to win the battle against statists who seek to deprive you of your rights and freedom, then fight to spread the idea that your money is yours. We need a rising chorus of voices chanting: "It's my money." If we begin to hear this, it will be the best news for freedom that we have seen in decades.
True enough. Get that hissing going! After all, it's you whose being plucked. Or are you one of the moochers we're being plucked for?

NOTE: If you simply must follow every word as it's delivered, TVNZ have their Budget Special live-on-air and streaming live on their site from 1:50 to 4:30pm tomorrow. Details here.

LINKS: It's Your Money! - Fulton Huxtable, Free Radical
Budget coverage 2006 - TVNZ
Are New Zealanders paying too much tax - Phil Rennie, Centre for Independent Studies [8-page PDF]

TAGS: Budget_&_Taxation, Politics-NZ, Libertarianism

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Spitting Llama said...

This is all true, and we want to hiss as little as possible. There does exist a balance between a socially acceptable taxation level that helps fill out the gaps in living standards around us and the burden currently put on our shoulders.

We are overtaxed, but not dreadfully so. Of course, I come from a country where 49% income tax is acceptable. The trends here are what worries me. That and fripperish spending, but hey.

5/17/2006 11:04:00 am  
Anonymous James said...

This is all true, and we want to hiss as little as possible. There does exist a balance between a socially acceptable taxation level that helps fill out the gaps in living standards around us and the burden currently put on our shoulders."

Sigh! There speaks a neck waiting for a noose...

5/17/2006 06:11:00 pm  
Anonymous Spitting Llama said...

No, not a neck waiting for a noose. Somebody grounded in reality. But two points:

1. When you live in a country you pay part of it's upkeep.
2. You can demand to have any spending of your money accounted for and properly spent.

Or maybe you'd care to actually say something, rather than just throw a meaningless soundbite out there?

5/18/2006 07:27:00 am  

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