Yeah my teenage son say Peachey on TV last night "who's that redneck maroon?" was his response - he's 17 and looking forward to his upcoming ability to vote ....
(on second thoughts Ron keep it up if they get your approval the kids wont want to wear them)
Oh for heaven's sakes! does Ron Mark have no clues about teenagers? I live in Dunedin - the coldest part of winter is almost upon us - does he have any idea how hard it is to get a teenager to wear a hat on a frosty morning?
Personally I want hoodies to be a standard part of the local school uniforms
well that I agree with - it does depress reported gross incomes (but not net if the Aussie tax rates end up being slightly higher - and from my cack of the envelope analysis today I think they slightly are - and certainly will be after Labour's [or the Nat's] taxes kick in) - but these are different things - governments have direct control of tax rates - they can't legislate incomes (well Muldoon tried - we all remember how that turned out) - mind you we've had as close to full employment for a couple of years now and incomes haven't risen - mostly because the reserved bank has kept a lid on it - rising incomes and inflation go hand in hand unless you change how or what you work at
Seems to me Oz has 2 big things going for it: natural resources (a desert full of usefull stuff in a place where no one, mostly, minds if they dig it up) and a pool of money they've been forcing their citizens to save that's available to invest in their economy (we're late to that game - hopefully Kiwisaver will put us in play too - but it will take a while for that to bloom)
If we want to genuinely raise our incomes we need to change what we do - farming isn't going to become 10 times more profitable - even the current dairy boom wont last (in fact I bet we see a sheep meat/wool shortage as greed makes people go too far) - we need to be building different stuff - seems to me we make companies and send them overseas really well, but I suspect that's not really a sustainable business plan
while I agree that it's nominally a tax on the employer think of it this way - if you quit your job at employer A and are not replaced and take up a job at employer B at the same salary - employer A will pay an amount less proportional to your salary and employer B will pay an equal amount more - in that sense it works the same as normal income tax - it's just calculated BEFORE your gross income rather than after so that it looks on your pay stub like you're paying less tax
It's also a flat tax so it's regressive in that sense - but then the Aussie base rate is lower so they make it up a bit there - you end up with a higher lowest tax rate ~17.5% compared to the NZ 15% and a top tax rate of ~50% compared to the NZ 39% - I bet there's an industry somewhere there converting executive perks into stuff that isn't 'payroll'
Paul - I think that if you are going to be intellectually honest (ha! when did we start demanding that of our politicians ....) and you make a statement like "Australian taxes are lower than NZ ones" you have to compare the same things - you can't leave out the cost of funding Aussie state govt if that pays for stuff that's funded in NZ by income tax (same with health if it's done with an extra tax)
On the other hand I'm well aware that anything you do in this area is going to be an approximation because stuff doesn't always work the same - I think you do your best to get things as close as you can and explain where the differences are
At least it's relatively easy for NZ vs Oz - try doing the US where not only are there 50 different states with 50 different ways of raising funds (Alaska taxes oil, makes a profit and pays some of it a rebate to its citizens, Nevada gambling and prostitution, California its citizens etc) but there are so many different tax writeoffs you can't blindly compare tax tables (all your mortgage interest for example, your ACC payments, registering your car .....)
I agree that if your boss stopped paying state payroll tax you might not see that as a pay increase - but there's a reason that's an ongoing argument between unions and bosses in Oz whenever the state changes the rates - exactly that
Couldn't figure out how to download Keith's underlying spread sheet - but I crunched some numbers for some other ways of looking at the Aussie taxes - below 'Fed:' is the base rate, the second includes the 1.5% medicare (since our taxes also include healthcare - I'm assuming that this is a flat tax) then on top of that I've tried to factor in state taxes (assuming everyone pays it - as mentioned above that's not true) - the numbers I get are:
Fed: 12.3 30 40
With medicare 1.5%:13.8 31.5 41.5
NSW (6%): 19.1 35.8 45.2
Vic (5%): 18.2 35.1 44.6
mentally plugging the Vic numbers into Keith's graph shows higher taxes than the current scheme (Keith's blue line) at almost all points except maybe a tiny bit around $30-40k - taxes there are higher than both Labour and National's schemes
As I understand it it's a bit more like kiwisaver so I'd guess no.
On the other hand the 6% US Social Security I paid into for 20 years is basically lost to me unless some day I move back there. However if I die my (American) wife can claim it ..... let's not give her any ideas ....
how you probably ought to represent it is probably less than that simple - to compare apples and apples probably you inflate people's income by the payroll tax amount which actually reduces the percentage of Federal tax that's paid (because it's a tax on the net after payroll tax)
Also Aussie states only tax payrolls above some limit (say $500k) so very small businesses don't pay it - probably you should deflate the N% by some factor to that that into account
But I agree the "Aussie taxes are so much lower" meme is a bit of a crock because you aren't comparing the same things (when I lived in the US I paid a 33% marginal tax rate - lower than NZ's 39% you might think until you add in the California 10% state tax and 6% Social Security tax - gotta fund those wars ....)
(6% NSW, WA 5.5%, QLD 4.75%, Tas 5.25%)