Wealth

Labour supporters believe that taxes are to punish the rich, not to raise revenue

Daniel Hannan blogs at The Telegraph about taxation and how Labour supporters believe that taxes are to punish the rich, not to raise revenue.

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Ponder the graph above. Sixty-nine per cent of Labour supporters would want a top rate tax of 50 per cent even if it brought in no money.

I’m sure they’d dispute the premise. I’m sure they’d insist that it did bring money in. And, on one level, they’d believe it; it’s human nature to start with the result we want and then rationalise it to ourselves with what look like hard data. I think their rationalisation would be false, obviously – once the behavioural consequences of the tax are factored in, it becomes a net drain on revenue – but I might be subject to my own confirmation bias in the other direction.

Anyway, this isn’t a blog about the statistics – I’ve already posted one of those. No, this is a blog about the mind-set of people who see taxation, not as an unpleasant necessity, but as a way to punish others.  Read more »

Hide: ‘Why is John Minto so miserable and bitter?’

Rodney Hide ponders just how grand life is in the modern world:

We are living in a time of unparalleled prosperity. The poorest among us have material comfort undreamt of by the kings of yesteryear.

We have more opportunity than we have ever before enjoyed. We are imbued with the view that there is nothing we can’t do and the modern world has made that view a reality. We can travel to any corner of the world. Anyone can have an idea and set up in business. The only limitation is our own imagination.

We have the world at our keyboard and, with a tap on our smartphones, we access world news, rich repositories of knowledge and literature and maps of the planet and universe. The pace of technological innovation has never been so fast and has never before been so instantly available to the masses.

The best learning materials and tutorials in every conceivable subject are available to anyone with an internet connection. Young entrepreneurs and inventors declare they are too busy learning to attend school.

Yes, we do have a great mass of poor and dispirited but that’s been our democratic choice: we have election after election chosen policies to establish, perpetuate and expand an economic underclass. The poor and dispirited are no longer an economic phenomenon but a clear political choice.

And yes we suffer big, bloated, wasteful government but government now is more a nuisance and source of amusement than an agent of oppression and fear.   Read more »

The myth of a democratic socialist society funded by capitalism is finished

A brilliant article in The Telegraph by Janet Daley about the myth that governments can continue to fund “entitlements”  from the taxes of the wealth producers. She discusses that only the US, with its cut and thrust politics are mature enough to have the debate that is needed.

The cowardice of politicians the world over to confront the entitlement mentality is dooming us to economic failure.

The question that will demand an answer lies at the heart of the economic crisis from which the West seems unable to recover. It is so profoundly threatening to the governing consensus of Britain and Europe as to be virtually unutterable here, so we shall have to rely on the robustness of the US political class to make the running.

What is being challenged is nothing less than the most basic premise of the politics of the centre ground: that you can have free market economics and a democratic socialist welfare system at the same time. The magic formula in which the wealth produced by the market economy is redistributed by the state – from those who produce it to those whom the government believes deserve it – has gone bust. The crash of 2008 exposed a devastating truth that went much deeper than the discovery of a generation of delinquent bankers, or a transitory property bubble. It has become apparent to anyone with a grip on economic reality that free markets simply cannot produce enough wealth to support the sort of universal entitlement programmes which the populations of democratic countries have been led to expect. The fantasy may be sustained for a while by the relentless production of phoney money to fund benefits and job-creation projects, until the economy is turned into a meaningless internal recycling mechanism in the style of the old Soviet Union.

So few rich in NZ , NBR includes foreigners

ᔥ NZ Herald

The NBR Rich List has been released and it has proven that Labour has been incredibly misguided in attacking the rich in New Zealand. It seems there are so few that NBR has deemed it necessary to include foreigners.

The inclusion of four international billionaires in this year’s NBR Rich List has helped bump up the total list’s value by more than $12 billion.

For the first time in its history, the National Business Review has included foreign investors in its rich list to reflect the globalisation of wealth, bringing the number of billionaires on the list to nine.

Graham Hart, who is worth $6 billion, is still the wealthiest New Zealander on the list but he was beaten to the top spot by industrial technologist Alexander Abramov ($7 billion).

Other internationals in the top ten are investor Julian Robertson ($3 billion), winemaker William (Bill) Foley ($1.5 billion) and horse breederDowager Duchess Henrietta Bedford ($1 billion).

The total value of the Rich List has risen this year from $45.2 billion to $57.7 billion.

Although placed just outside the top ten, Canadian filmmaker James Cameron also entered the list with his $900 million fortune.

Intellectual laziness of slogans

The Occupy hippies liked to refer to “the 1%” and that they were “the 99%”. Left wing commentators and bloggers still use these terms despite the demise of the smelly hippies. But why are “the 1%” so evil?

The slogan’s are based on the presumption of an American 1%. But why not the global 1%…well because that would include pretty much all Americans then,a nd a goodly proportion of Kiwis:

If we’re all embedded in a fundamentally unjust, exploitative global economic structure, it’s hard to see why the American 1% should be especially salient. Why not the global 1%, or the global 10 or 20%, which would include pretty much the whole American population. If it is morally imperative to confiscate exceptional wealth and use it to meet human needs, then it is imperative to confiscate most of the wealth in all wealthy countries, not just the wealth of the wealthiest of the wealthy, and transfer it to the world‘s poor, not to the relatively well-to-do poor of the wealthiest countries.

If it’s not possible to bring in $600,000 in a year without therefore being guilty of complicity in a exploitative global system, which invalidates one’s moral claim to one’s income, it’s probably not possible to bring in an untainted, secure $60,000 either.

Good points…of course some leftwing troll will come here and start berating the 1%, Before s/he does that they should read the next bit:

 It’s based on the supposition that the domestic 1% is guilty of something or other the domestic 10 or 30 or 50% isn’t, and therefore deserves to be a target of scorn in a way the 10 or 30 or 50% does not. But, however you slice it, it’s going to be true that a lot of people in the top 1% got there in pretty much the same way a lot of people in the top 30 or 50% got there. If there’s nothing wrong with a way of making money at the 50th percentile, there’s nothing wrong with it at the 99th. And if there’s something wrong with it at the 99th, there’s something wrong with at the 50th. The unwillingness to identify specific mechanisms of unjust income acquisition, and the insistence on treating income-earners above a arbitrary cut-off point as a unified class deserving special contempt, strike me as symptoms of intellectually laziness and a less than thoroughgoing interest in justice.