Never ones to miss an opportunity, when the Fieldays gods chose to place our stand directly opposite National’s – causing John Key to scuttle away yesterday morning when we politely asked “Where are the tax cuts you promised us, Mr Key” -- we grasped the opportunity with both hands and quickly produced two handouts to go with our site’s sign. Here’s the text of the first, of which we’ve already given away a couple of thousand or so:
They lied to you!
Q: How can you tell when a politician is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.
THE LAST ELECTION CAMPAIGN was won by National on a programme of slashing tax cuts. And to be blunt, National’s politicians stood up on their hind legs and lied to you.
Key and English knew about the global crisis as they pledged tax cuts at last year’s election, yet they sailed blithely ahead making promises they never intended to deliver.
Responsible governments know that you can’t promise tax cuts without commensurate cuts in spending, yet they made their promises anyway. Responsible governments know that you can’t make the promises they did when the world’s economies were in the tank, yet they made their promises regardless. And now this government says they can’t deliver.
So how can you tell when a politician is lying about tax cuts? Answer: Their lips are moving.
BACK ON SEPTEMBER 30 LAST YEAR, Bill English mocked Michael Cullen for being over-cautious on delivering tax cuts. "Dr Cullen cannot be trusted to deliver on any future tax promises," said another Finance Minister who can’t now be trusted. He compared Cullen’s record with his own promise to deliver "an ongoing programme of personal tax cuts.”
English said he would treat Labour's tax cuts, which came into force the next day, "as the first tranche on our own tax-cut programme. That will be followed by another tranche of tax reductions on April 1, 2009 [which were fully wiped out by increases in ACC levies], and further tranches in 2010 and 2011". He declared: "National has structured its credible economic package to take account of the changing international climate. Our tax cut programme will not require any additional borrowing."
(To which we can only say “Yeah right. The only two words that can be trusted here are these two: “not” “credible.”)
And on an on, and after swallowing more dead rats than could fill a sinking ship, John Key said in October last year -- after “the books” had been opened and several more dead rats fell out -- that “the pledge to deliver about $50 a week to workers on the average wage remained on track.”
They continued the promises right through the campaign in November and into December, when English confirmed again in Parliament that "National will not be going back on any of those promises, as we fully costed and funded them.
Ladies and gentlemen, they lied to you – and you bought it.
THE NATIONAL/ACT GOVERNMENT IS NOW making out that some wayward economic thunderbolt has thrown their pre-election calculations asunder. It’s been said that if you are an economist and did not see this coming, you should seriously reconsider the value of your education and maybe do something with a tangible value to society, like picking vegetables.
But in October last year it didn’t take any sort of economic genius to predict the crash, because out in the real world the global collapse had already happened. All you had to do was look in a newspaper – or the housing markets – or the empty offices of Lehman Brothers – or the bankrupt banks like Northern Rock. The Dow Jones is enough to tell the story that’s now being fudged by National – that they were somehow blindsided by a crisis they didn’t see coming. As Tom Woods summarises it in his best-selling book Meltdown ,which records the course of the crash,
When the New York Stock Exchange closed on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 14,164.53, the highest close ever. Thirteen months later, on November 20, 2008, it closed at 7,552.29, a drop of 46.7 percent.
Yet over all of those thirteen months and right through their election campaign National never missed a beat – and when caught between hammer and anvil, when deciding which election promise to break, this lot kept their promise to the moochers to keep and even increase their “entitlements” – a sick word to describe payments to bludgers – and broke their promise to the people who have to pay for it all.
Which means you and your grandchildren are forced now to swallow the biggest dead rat of all: a budget that reneged on tax cuts, and delivered huge spending and borrowing increases instead.
So how do you feel now?
The very election promise which offered a glimmer of hope to productive New Zealanders – the promise of tax cuts on which this lot were elected – has been shamefully broken with the excuse that “we never saw it coming.”
And frankly, there are only two ways to judge that sorry excuse. If they never noticed the world economic collapse, then they are incompetent. And since the slump had already begun when the promises of tax cuts were being delivered, then they are liars
So which is it?