Posts by Keith Ng

  • 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 • 530 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 • 530 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 • 530 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 • 530 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 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Budget 2014: Yeah okay., in reply to nzlemming,

    Also, a number of items in the MoBIE breakdown come up as “Policy advice and outputs” without identifying what these things are for. Will the detail be forthcoming in a later iteration, Keith?

    No. If there's no further data in the description then there's no further data. There might be categories like "Departmental expenditure" vs "Capital expenditure" and stuff like that, but it's unlikely to be very illuminating.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Budget 2014: Yeah okay., in reply to Sacha,

    Russel Norman identifies large effective cuts in Health and Education budgets.

    Yes and no.. as you can see from this crazy chart projected health spending doesn't really *ever* match with actual health spending. It's pretty much just the baseline, with the expectation that more money will be spent on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Budget 2014: Yeah okay., in reply to Michael Homer,

    The visualisation's a bit off for MPI - "Border Biosecurity Risk Management" is listed as both increasing and decreasing by 100%, as is "Implementation of Policy Advice" (at least I think those are the same thing both times). LINZ has similar issues - it thinks almost everything is new.

    So sometimes items change in scope (e.g. From "policy advice" to "policy advice and support" or something). Technically, if a scope is worded differently, then it actually is a different budget item, so get its own ID, so the visualisation treats them as separate item. This isn't very helpful, but is an accurate rendering of the data.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: The Big Guns: Truecrypt and Tails, in reply to Gareth Swain,

    Should I be looking into public/private keys, Truecrypt and the like? Would I get any practical benefit out of them?

    Pretty much what Michael said. Your biggest risks are from accidental loss/opportunistic theft. Encrypting your hard drive (especially on your laptop) and USB drives is something you should definitely do.

    (c) Supports online privacy?

    Using VPN as a matter of course would be helpful - it doesn't help you much against a serious adversary, but it offers you a pretty decent level of privacy. Also, it's helpful for online privacy, because it creates more locked doors, which creates cover for everyone who actually needs it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: The Big Guns: Truecrypt and Tails, in reply to Duane Griffin,

    If you have access you can read the crypto keys out of memory (along with the decrypted data itself, of course). So installing that cool screensaver is still dangerous with Tails/TrueCrypt.

    You're right. I was trying to illustrate the point of a straight-to-ram OS, but I overstated the safety of Tails. However, being a Linux system, and with Tails making it very difficult to install anything, it should be fairly difficult to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

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