Posts by Keith Ng

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    But this assumes we should want the media "to persuade" their audience about news stories.

    I made this point quite explicit in the post - this is what journalists already do. I think the format of news hides that, but it's always there. When a politician does something which a journalist thinks is bad, they don't go find a supporter to get a "yeah, it's not that bad" quote from; they find an opponent to get a "THEY MUST RESIGN!" quote. They know exactly what that person is going to say, and they go to that person because of that. They are simply using that subject's voice in place of their own, because that's what the format demands.

    And as I said - if they broke Dirty Politics and Key lost, of course they'd claim credit for having brought down a government.

    As I wrote in the post, I'm not saying that they *should* persuade, I'm saying they do, but they failed.

    And I'd like a bit more guidance of what it'll become instead before I sign up to that vision ... because how do I know that the campaigning, crusading, judgmental institution you're wanting to unleash is only going to do things that I like?

    Of course not! Of course they're going to be occasionally dicks about it. But we're not talking about handing everything over to the fourth estate. I'm just saying the fourth estate is entirely powerless at the moment - and we should be really bloody worried about that. Regardless of whether I have a solution or not, I'm just asking people to recognise that fact that the fourth estate is getting its ass handed to them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance,

    Why isn't it the voters or the people of New Zealand that failed?

    I don't see it as an issue of agency or responsibility in a philosophical sense. Even if it's voters who refused to be persuaded, I think the media still ought to worry that they were powerless to persuade; and if they don't have that power, then they have no leverage to hold those in power accountable - and we ought to worry about that.

    Maybe a rephrasing: Media isn't (necessarily) responsible for the failure, but they are responsible for making it work again, because it's their raison d'etre.

    maybe it's people like us and what we see as being "correct" who are ... wrong?

    But nobody is saying that dirty politics is anything but dirty. It's nearly universally decried as unethical behaviour - the only response has been "that's the way politics is". That's a fundamentally toxic and corrosive idea which we ought to fight - even if the election proved it's a popularly held opinion.

    And yeah, I accept that voters deciding Key should remain in power despite dirty politics is a totes legit outcome. But does that mean that Key should not have to answer any questions about Ede? That Collins should (almost) stay a minister? That Katherine Rich should stay on the HPA?

    And that the media should be okay with all these things, because Key is Very Popular?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Woodward and Bernstein spent two years working the story, and didn’t go to press with anything they didn’t have solidly corroborated from multiple sources and/or with documentary evidence to back them up

    NOPE. See the "grand jury" part.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to Sue,

    I could be wrong but is it that our journalists simply don;t know how to ask questions.

    There are two dimensions to this arms race. 1) Short of waterboarding, if he doesn't want to talk, there no magical way to grill it out of him, 2) Whatever magical way you find to grill it out of him, the people doing it will end up being press sec/media trainers who teach politicians to resist it.

    It's like an arms race, 'cept 5% of the media defects every year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Sunlight Resistance, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    But like Craig says, exactly why is this the media's fault? What more could they have done?

    There's an important distinction between "media has failed" and "it's the media's fault". Even if, as you suggest, people thought the government was taking NZ in the right direction therefore Dirty Politics didn't fly, it is still true that the media failed to hold Collins to account, failed to hold Katherine Rich to account, and more or less failed to hold Ede/Key to account.

    And the fact that they tried their hardest is a critical part of this. The solution isn't to "try harder" or simply be better at their jobs. I think the lesson here is that their jobs no longer fulfil the role we need them to. The idea that a mob of journos chasing politicians around sticking a mic in their face could hold them accountable needs to be reexamined.

    But of course, that's tantamount to a radical reinvention of political journalism, and I don't expect many/any to take me up on that, so I would rather just leave the failure on the table and hope that the Gallery comes up with its own solutions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Why does the top 10% paying…, in reply to WH,

    Do the IRD's figures include capital gains (such as increases in the value of investments) as income?

    Oh wait. Maybe this was what the TWG couldn't do. But anyway, yes - this is missing a huge section of income.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Why does the top 10% paying…, in reply to George Darroch,

    Nice chewy viz, and it tells us something interesting. But you're missing the GiST of the story.

    Urgh. The Tax Working Group couldn't do it either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Why does the top 10% paying…, in reply to Sacha,

    What;'s the likely regressiveness of GST including the latest increase?

    Urgh. That is a very big question which I'm not in a position to answer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Why does the top 10% paying…, in reply to Eric Crampton,

    - 2003-2012, average after-tax income is up 50% plus or minus a bit across all income cohorts. "Oh, the system's only helping the rich?" Decile 2 had higher percentage growth in after-tax income than Decile 10.

    Yeah, but Decile 2 aren't full-time workers or even beneficiaries, so I'm not sure how to interpret this. Also, I'm not actually saying the system's only helping the rich - I'm just saying it's crazy and wrong to take the top 10%'s increase in income as a sign that they're overtaxed.

    - A default start point in 2008 makes after-tax income gains for Decile 10 look disproportionately large; the top end had far less growth 2006-2008 than did the middle. Basic story is that the rich guys tanked more in the recession than did others, and consequently had a bigger upswing in the post-crash. If you want to net the tax-change effects from the recession effects, you're better looking at a 2006 or earlier start date.

    As above. Agree that some of the post-2008 growth can be attributed to rebound, just saying that it's effect on tax take should be seen in context of income rebound. As an aside - some of the pre-2008 movements are due to fiscal drag as well. Can be quite clearly seen in the tax rates.

    - Note too that some of the income gains in the higher deciles will be due to the reduction in the top marginal rate: labour supply does respond a bit here, and some income that previously was hidden in companies isn't worth hiding at a 33% rate. I doubt this means that we'd have huge income gains were top tax rates to be lowered further, but there'd be some.

    Yes yes, and it generated $1b of additional revenue for the government. Would be nice if this was testable - but it's not. Goddamn economics.

    - The share of tax paid by top earners' going up would be irrelevant, but for the very relevant fact that Labour opposed the tax shift on grounds that the rich would wind up paying less in tax.

    But they are paying less in tax, when measured in a) absolute terms, b) as % of income, c) versus the status quo at the time of the tax switch. The only measure that's pointing the other way is tax share, which is a product of income changes as well.

    The drop in top decile income tax, in percentage terms, is much smaller than the drop in other deciles' income taxes, though a full analysis here would definitely require adding in the GST effects.

    Again: Income changes! Their total income tax has not fallen as much, not because their tax rates haven't fallen as much, but because that fall in tax rate was offset by a rise in income. That was my main point!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Why does the top 10% paying…, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Are you being intentionally ironic with your graph labels leaving out the very word that Key is claimed to have left out?

    Ha, no. It got too confusing with Income vs Income Tax vs After-Tax Income.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

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