Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories on issues affecting our freedom.
This week: Theft, and lots of it
Story of the week, certainly from a business point of view, is Bill English’s second Budget. As usual, the metropolitan papers are full of commentary that has a distinct bias against people that have made themselves wealthy through hard work. There seems to be a general consensus that such people are not paying their “fair share” of tax. The DomPost headline “How The Wealthy Dodge Tax” says it all. As though tax avoidance was illegal, which it’s not. Or immoral, which it’s not. Tax avoidance is a legal and moral act of self-defence. Tax evasion is an illegal but moral act of self defence. As John Shewan, oft-quoted chairman of Price Waterhouse Coopers, opines, tax avoidance trusts are the result of stupid tax rules. Not that he questions the moral legitimacy of extortion, which is what taxation is. Shewan argues that the laws as they stand allow people to defend themselves against government predation, as though self-defence was a bad thing. (I wonder if he thinks women shouldn’t scratch the eyes of would-be rapists?)
John Key wants more “fairness” in the tax system—which means what,exactly?
A flat tax system, so that everyone gets the same amount of their earnings stolen from them? No, I don’t think John is going to give us that.
A tax-free income band as proposed by the Libertarianz Party, so that the first $50,000 of earnings was left untouched, so that everyone got a tax cut? No, John isn’t partial to that either.
What then? John’s dream for the country is to align the proportion stolen from people’s paypackets with the proportion stolen from their trust accounts. Good boy, John! Equal theft from all! I think that’s what people voted for in 2008, wasn’t it?
John Armstrong, in the NZ Herald, says this Budget is all about tax, tax and tax. Taxes on emissions. Taxes on income and spending. If it moves, Bill will tax it. (And if it stops moving, he’ll put it on welfare.)
According to Mr Armstrong, National “needs to demonstrate it wants to stem tax avoidance.” Which means, if I might translate into common sense, that “people need to be relieved of any means to protect the money they have rightly earned.” A Herald reader responded thus:
“The snarky comment thrown at higher income earners about wheelbarrows perpetuates the entrenched attitude in NZ that anyone who works hard to improve their income is a greedy fat cat who should be penalized by having a huge portion of their income expropriated and given to politicians to spend on vote-winning schemes such as ‘Working for Families’ (as in, I'm working, for your family)… That so-called wheelbarrow of cash is mine, I worked for it, I made sacrifices to earn it. I am, & many others like me are, sick and tired of donating it to politicians’ pork barrel schemes!”
Well said, that man!
The Christchurch Press notes that “Key Defends Tax Cuts.” Well, sort of. He (rightly) argues that reducing the rate of theft on higher income levels will stimulate economic growth. But does he believe that increasing the consumption tax will also stimulate growth? Imposing consumption taxes tend to hurt most both low-income earners and the traders who do business with them. Imposing additional taxes on landlords discourages people from investing in rental property, reducing supply in the long-term. Imposing a tax on carbon dioxide emitters hampers local industry, encouraging it to move offshore.
So much for encouraging growth.
“Rich Kiwis Miserly With Words,” says the DomPost. By which they mean wealthy people are reluctant to publicly disclose the methods by which they protect their assets from the IRD. Wouldn’t you be reluctant too, if it was your money? Bob Jones, bless him, is not afraid to come out fighting. “Any tax system would be unfair,” he says. Damn right. “I’m a libertarian,” he says, “[and] if I had my way there wouldn’t be any taxes at all.” Good on you, Bob. I guess that means you’ll be voting Libertarianz next time.
Sam Morgan, sadly, claims later in the same article that he doesn’t “have a proper job” and that it’s not right that he doesn’t pay tax. Sam, you helped create TradeMe, which has enriched the lives of countless New Zealanders. You have been richly rewarded for a fantastic effort. You deserve your wealth. Bill English and John Key do not. They have stolen enough of it already. You owe them nothing. They owe you your freedom. Stop giving your oppressors the sanction of the victim. That is what they are after, what they crave above all else. They want you to love them, as they drain your lifeblood and disempower you. Anyway, as someone pointed out in the comments that follow the article, Sam is probably paying upward of $3m in tax on the earnings of his trust. He needn’t feel the slightest bit guilty for his sin of being productive.
My advice, Sam, is find a tax haven and shift your fortune there. Or gift the money to the Libertarianz Party at the rate of $27,000 each year so that Bill and John don’t get their sticky paws anywhere near it.
This is what John, Bill and Steven are doing with some of that money you, the successful, have been trying to keep: propping up the socialised railway system, formerly known as Michael Cullen’s train set, with a billion dollars of your money. It’s so financially unviable it needs more than the cost of purchase to keep it going. John Key has a dream, however: that in TEN YEARS, the nationalised railway system will be financially viable. TEN YEARS! Oh, and they only want another $3.6 billion of your money to keep it going until then. Forget whatever dreams you might have had for that money of yours; John has his own dream for it. A dream that is a claim on your wealth and assets.
Say “Hi!” to the newish boss, same as the old boss.
“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.”
- Thomas Jefferson