Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Another Capital Idea...

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  • Danielle, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That's a rather 'wood for the trees' sort of mythbusting, though, isn't it? Because even if a tiny minority of teachers are in the top tax bracket (I'm married to one of them, incidentally), why should *any* teachers be in the same tax bracket as Telecom's CEO? It's nutty.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Butler,

    (Unrelated: w00t! Attachments on comments! Just because I can…)

    Oh! I thought it was just me who had that special power. Things may have changed.

    Use it wisely :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17976 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachments on comments!

    They see Frog and Toad rollin', they hatin'.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Use it wisely :-)

    Too late.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I have a suspicion that way back when, the telecommunications services of NZ were run by the "Chief Clerk of Telephones" within the Post Office, and that that person earned about the same as a school principal and took the bus in from Ngaio every day.

    Maybe we should aim for that kind of society, where people work for the challenge and benefit of the job, not to get rich.

    (One could start by capping public service salaries at the amount paid to the Prime Minister. Why should anyone get more?)

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    where people work for the challenge and benefit of the job

    Yeah, but most jobs suck. Otherwise they wouldn't be jobs. People would do them for fun.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    (One could start by capping public service salaries at the amount paid to the Prime Minister. Why should anyone get more?)

    Because in the private sector they would earn more? I mean, we have a market oriented state sector. If you want to fix that, making the government into a not very good corporate employer is not the way to go about it.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    But I’d rather see it as another tool in the box, with a corresponding drop in something else, than an increase in the pile
    a. Which is what they'll be doing - no tax on income under $5,000; shifting that tax raising to a CGT instead.
    b. Which more broadly assumes our total tax take now is correct - it strikes me that it's not. We're (in the form of our Govt) paying for a lot more stuff than the revenue we're bringing in.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • A. Theo Logian, in reply to Danielle,

    One could start by capping public service salaries at the amount paid to the Prime Minister. Why should anyone get more?

    Amusingly, one of the reasons that Dubbyah got the first Presidential pay increase since Nixon took office (Clinton signed the law but wasn't allowed to benefit from it, since no President can authorise an increase in their own pay) was so that the US public service could offer more to the top-end. The effective maximum civil service pay is the same as a Cabinet Secretary's, and that must be lower than the salary of the President.
    I do rather like the rule that the person who signs the law cannot benefit, I have to say.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2011 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Unfortunately Rich, $70k wasn't always the cut off point. How do you figures stack up at $60k?

    http://www.ird.govt.nz/technical-tax/legislation/2005/2005-120/leg-2005-120-inc-tax-2005-06.html

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Danielle,

    That's a rather 'wood for the trees' sort of mythbusting, though, isn't it?

    bog-standard derailing

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

  • uroskin,

    IIRC the CGT in the US is linked to your marginal income tax rate, not a flat 15% proposed by Labour here. I hope family trusts get caught by CGT too. On a side note, I think trusts should be taxed at the highest marginal rate in use anyway to lower their attractiveness as a tax avoidance scheme.

    Waiheke Island • Since Feb 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to A. Theo Logian,

    Which rather gives the lie to the argument that top public service wages must be limitless in order to compete with the private sector. If in the uber-capitalist US they can recruit for all of their top jobs without this limitation (including paying the chairman of the Fed under $200k, rather less than a junior trader on Wall St), why do we need to pay top dollar?

    Personally, I'd say that $361k is a reasonable salary for any job, and that an organisation that limits its top bod to that *is* being a good corporate employer. (Given how that figure is many times what grass roots staff and clients make).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I guess this is where we come down to different philosophies. I don't think making money is a bad thing. Even shitloads.

    And capping maximum salaries to that of the PM? You wanna see the people already paying by far the lion's share of the tax all fuck off overseas? I don't want to start quoting Ayn Rand, really I don't, but that's a good way to make Atlas Shrug....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1121 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I think finding the teachers pay scale for every year of the 21st century would require actual research in one of those library places. Not today. Sorry.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    You wanna see the people already paying by far the lion’s share of the tax all fuck off overseas?

    Yes.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4221 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Because in fact in the US the top jobs aren't civil service as we understand them, but political. Further, in the US, after you leave your government employment you go into the private sector in lobbying etc and make huge amounts of very filth lucre. This is not really comparable to being the director-general of the ministry of education here.

    (PS. The US civil service is really not very good.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    You wanna see the people already paying by far the lion’s share of the tax all fuck off overseas?

    Yes.

    +1. The myth that these people would be hard to replace is... a myth.

    why should *any* teachers be in the same tax bracket as Telecom’s CEO? It’s nutty.

    My point exactly. Building up for big post on the other thing now.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I don’t think making money is a bad thing. Even shitloads .

    It's how you spend it, is where the moral issues lay.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2289 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    including paying the chairman of the Fed under $200k, rather less than a junior trader on Wall St

    After said Chairman made absolute piles as a trader, IIRC.

    If one looks at the Cabinet Secretaries in the US, they are rarely in need of their official salary. Do we really want to follow that example? I'm far from convinced.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Because in fact in the US the top jobs aren’t civil service as we understand them, but political

    They're still paid < USD200k, though. And their pay is a cap on the salaries of the real civil servants - four-star military officers and their civilian equivalents cannot be paid more than a cabinet secretary.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3733 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Damian Christie,

    You wanna see the people already paying by far the lion's share of the tax all fuck off overseas?

    I'd prefer they stayed for the right reasons - not because we've arranged things so it's too easy for them to rip off others and not pull their weight.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15762 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    You wanna see the people already paying by far the lion’s share of the tax all fuck off overseas?

    Hell, we got Exile on Main Street out of it.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    But the real civil servants don't start until quite far down. (You're at level IV of the payscale before that kicks in.) There are no mandarins in the US & the people filling the positions that would be earning the really large salaries are primarily interested in political power, not pay.

    (And like I say, you just go through the revolving door to lobbying if you need money.)

    It should be noted that the NZ civil service is well known for being a reasonably good one. The US one is not. In general, we shouldn't try emulating things that aren't that good.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1252 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I think what you’re confusing it with is Progressive tax

    I chose to confuse it with progressive tax to put a charitable spin on what you said. Because “I’m not against proportional taxation” means you’re not against the thing that even the ACT party isn’t against. And personally I don’t think that “I’m not actually to the right of Roger Douglas, but…” is a very useful or informative way to start a conversation.

    Hate to sound like I don’t belong on Public Address, but I have a few issues with your phrase “we let the rich keep more of their money…”, as it suggests it was never theirs to start with, that it’s impossible to earn more than, say, $100,000, without your salary effectively ceasing to be yours, to be distributed at the whim of others.

    It would be interesting to have a conversation on whether this view belongs or not on Public Address (personally I think it does), but it certainly reflects the prevalent ideology. It used to be that the money you made belonged to the community, the economy in which you made it because, well, for one thing it was literally true: very few people’s wealth-making ability was actually portable – you couldn’t easily leave the country and take it with you, or if you could, it would be by creating another set of interdependencies in a similar society (besides, there were actual barriers to exporting capital and equipment). Now things have changed, there is globalisation, there is the endless cycle of outsourcing labour, and so a perception has become ingrained – although to be sure it’s still far in excess of reality – that if you’re at the top your work is your own, it’s got nothing to do with the work of others, and the money you make is your money, it doesn’t result from the exploitation of anybody (since the people at the bottom are infinitely replaceable, and they are practically begging to be exploited anyhow).

    In most industrialised countries in the last forty years the average pay of a CEO to that of a salaried worker has increased several fold. In 1980, the top marginal tax rate in the United States was over 70%. Now it’s 35%. So the richer got immensely richer and at the same time they are contributing less to their societies. Is that right? I think it isn’t. But it’s not how conversations of this kind are generally framed on Public Address, is it? We’re all about what good it does. And so let’s not talk about right or wrong, let’s talk about outcomes. You say why do we need to expand the revenue base? Here’s a few reasons: our welfare system, which has been bleeding for over twenty years, is under attack. We have shocking child poverty statistics. Our support for people with intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses is pitiful. Welfare benefits are set 20% below the poverty line. I fully realise that middle class New Zealand liberals are past masters at not giving a shit about any of that, but I say we can do better.

    So let’s go back to taxing CEOs like we did in 1980, when they earned far less money in relation to the rest of the population than they do now, and let’s use the money to reverse some of that shameful heritage from the years of Richardson and Douglas. Is it going to work? No, I don’t think so. But then neither is not taxing them. And at least the extra social spending is going to buy us some time, and dull the pain of neoliberalism a little bit, put a little more food on a few more tables. I’m all for that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

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