Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Things To Do

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  • mark taslov,

    Why not just cut personal income tax altogether, and introduce a hefty tax on spybases?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Or, since it's New Zealand's spy base and not under US control or anything, we could sell the data collected to the highest bidder, like China, or the Russian mafia.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Brash is being a bit disingenuous, or just ignorant.

    I filed VAT as a consultant in the UK when I lived there, and the multiple rates made little difference. I just took the VAT amounts from the invoices as my input tax (which allowed for things like mobile phone bills, where overseas roaming components were tax free).

    Food in the UK isn't "exempt" it's "zero-rated" which means that the output tax is zero, but food manufacturers and suppliers can still claim all their inputs.

    The only exempt supplies are things like financial services and education, which are typicall the only business of an organisation.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Boil down on flat GST:
    Advantage: Simple
    Disadvantage: Not progressive

    So the decision is simply 'Is the added complication worth the increase in progressiveness'?

    Since we already have existing mechanisms for controlling the progressive taxes, we could just tweak those.

    Someone said:

    Just don't do what Australia does, I was over there when the GST was introduced and it's a complete shemozzle.

    I was too, and I totally agree. The project to make the organisation I was in GST compliant dwarfed Y2K. Calculating GST is no longer 'Multiply by the GST constant'. It was 'Query gigantic database for GST rate, passing parameters indicating your breakdown of the class of this item, and multiply by that, if applicable'. You only need to think of how often transactions happen to understand the overhead this kind of taxation system creates.

    It was a bit of a running gag. The GST team were very proud when they announced that their server could deliver on 100 GST calculation requests per second, and went live. Everything ground to a halt in seconds. They had a look at the number of requests per second and found it was in the many thousands per second during the day, and during the overnight processes millions of calculations were being made. Some people had spreadsheets hitting the server harder than it could handle, and there were thousands of such applications throughout the company.

    They eventually came to a compromise solution which created and 'acceptable degradation' in the performance of all their computer systems.

    The problem is not that the poor can't afford food. It's that they can't afford, period. Tweaking income tax is a perfectly sufficient mechanism to handle this kind of inflation. And adjusting benefits. These systems already have the complexities built in, and just need to have values altered.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Ploughshares have been around for ages. They marked the ann. of Guantanamo in CHCs square earlier this year.

    In the 1/2 hour I caught up with family friends there was only one yank who did his nanna. Most were very positive towards them.

    I would have been the youngest there by a decade or two, so not sure if I know the people who broke into the base.

    This was a strike at our defense infrastructure with political motive. Funny how Helen has called their attack on the Spy base "senseless vandalism".

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Perhaps the surprise is that it took so long for the latte-sippers to get to that point too....

    Of course, you know I wasn't implying that the poor feel a disproportionate sense of entitlement, but I suppose if you're that way inclined politically...

    Anyway, I believe that the latte-sippers in the top tax bracket (I'm a card-carrying member myself) should STFU about their dumb entitlements, frankly. Learn how to cook various nutritious and cheap meals with canned beans, and zip it. There are thousands and thousands of people in this country worse off than us. Let's address their straitened circumstances before having some sort of 'but it's not FAIR' whingefest, shall we?

    (I think I might be mentally turning into a crusty old woman who lived through the Great Depression. Get off my lawn!)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    As an IT consultant, I have no problem whatever with the above issues - it'll just send our rates up and I need a new car.

    Plus, the Brits had multi-rate GST (VAT) in 1973, when computers were a lot more primitive than today.

    The main problem with removing GST on food, as somebody mentioned above, is that it is an inefficient way to help poor people.

    Taking GST off food will save somebody spending $100 a week on food $11 a week. But it will save a rich person spending $500 a week on food $55 a week.

    A $5k personal allowance would give every earner $20 a week, so helping low earners more. A Universal Basic Income would be even better.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    But I'd strongly recommend picking up a copy of the novel, and considering the splendid example of Mrs Jellyby whose "Telescopic Philanthropy" doesn't require any empathy to be extended to her own family -- or any other close than Africa.

    Oh, and Craig, I read the chapter for the first time just now (I'm afraid I can't bear Dickens and his serialising - my attention span is too short. It's a failing on my part, I know), but I have no idea what your point is. She spends so much time on her African charity that her own children are neglected. OK. But what's the relevance to this discussion, (she says thickheadedly)? We're all better off dealing with our own problems and not caring about others' problems...? Or...?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Hey Shep, wondering if you could provide more info, they're called the ploughshares, armed with sickles, are they farmers or are they pinkos?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Brash makes good points in his Herald article. As he says, it's a thin-end-of-the-wedge thing too. What is 'essential' anyway? Why stop at food? What about clothing, housing, medicine? How are they less essential?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Anyway, I believe that the latte-sippers in the top tax bracket (I'm a card-carrying member myself) should STFU about their dumb entitlements, frankly. Learn how to cook various nutritious and cheap meals with canned beans, and zip it.

    The thing is, they don't appear to be inclined to STFU anymore, and it looks like an increasing number are looking the Nats up and down as a better proposition for them.

    Being generous is feasible only when you consider you have resource to spare. An increasing number look to be of the view that charity begins at home...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    you don't starve to death without them

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Housing *is* GST-exempt. At least, rent and mortgages are.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4471 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Housing *is* GST-exempt. At least, rent and mortgages are.

    k...I'll believe you. My bad...I'm not an accountant, and I don't want to be paying him any more than I already am.

    you don't starve to death without them

    No, you could just die of pneumonia instead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8615 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    not if you've already starved to death.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    <qoute>you don't starve to death without them</quote>
    You do if you spent all your money on them and have none left for food. ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 879 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I need lunch so I can get a dictionary out and learn how to spell quote.

    Since Nov 2006 • 879 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    I need lunch so I can get a dictionary out and learn how to spell quote.

    not before sharing the secret of italics!!
    thanks

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1691 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Mark here's one I found on U-Tube.

    Very much pinkos and an older crowd. I seem to remeber Quakers & the Catholic Workers - all pasifists.

    Here's one from Pine Gap - Catholic Workers

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Lattes are clearly essential.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1664 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    ...but I have no idea what your point is. She spends so much time on her African charity that her own children are neglected. OK. But what's the relevance to this discussion, (she says thickheadedly)? We're all better off dealing with our own problems and not caring about others' problems...? Or...?

    Danielle - if you're thick, we could do with a lot more of your brand of stupid in the world. (And I'm not a big fan of Dickens either -- can't quite see anyone on a soapbox without wanting to knock them over. More of a Trollope man.:) ) My is that Mrs Jellyby is not short of empathy (which is a good thing -- clinical sociopaths make a dreadful mess) but its meaningless without effective and rational action. God knows that there's more than enough harm caused by people who have the very best of intentions, but never quite got around to thinking their wise schemes all the way through.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12046 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    From where I'm sitting, if we take the long term view, food costs are going to keep going up, and things are going to get considerably worse before they get better.

    However, from where I'm sitting, it's looking pretty good. The bottoms fallen out of the real-estate pyramid scheme. Meaning, rather than farming affluent wannabe lords of the two acer block, the farmers might resume food production as the better economic use of land. And as David, the former energy engineer and forklift driver, said in another thread, New Zealand produces food with reasonable imported energy efficiency, compared to some of our major trading partners.

    It's not so much about the cost of producing food than the amount of food we need to trade for other food goods (like latte coffee) and service (like imported Cuban doctors) that cost an awful lot.

    We are all going to have to get used to the idea that food is going to be a problem for quite a few years to come....

    It's really not that bleak, from my perspective. Make plant fruit trees at all the schools; teach children how food is part of the natural environment and how getting a broad range of it, is an important problem to solve. But more than that it's a very interesting problem with historical significance. Solving the problem of getting enough diversity of tucker could be presented to children as as being almost as exiting as learning economics...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2775 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    The main problem with removing GST on food, as somebody mentioned above, is that it is an inefficient way to help poor people.

    I am not sure how to say this more politely, but you are wrong.

    Cutting GST is a very efficient way of helping poorer folk. For one thing, you don't need arbitary measures of "poorness", you don't need gangs of Government employees to determine whether someone is poor enough to qualify and as a "poor" person you don't need to waste hours filling in forms attending interviews or getting your local charity to advocate on your behalf - just to prove to these employees that you are indeed poor enough.

    One of the great gains of the post WW2 welfare states was to remove the Dickensian stigma that was traditionally attached with receiving assistance from the state of charity. One of the great losses of the 80s and 90s has been the re-attachment of that stigma.

    As for as the long term nature of recent food price rises...I would not be too sure about that. The protectionism of Europe, the USA and Japan has very much skewed global production incentives. In many ways this is chickens coming home to roost, unfortunately it is the very poor nations that are suffering disproportionately.

    I am with Deborah though, this thread is making me grumpy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Sorry, that was Danielle. Is Deborah grumpy as well? Can we start a XV?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The Grumpiness XV? I'd probably be MVP in no time.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

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