OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Easy as 1, 2, 22.8 billion

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  • Sacha,

    Rob Salmond at Pundit picks up the fisking baton.

    Bill English and David Farrar spent last week telling fibs about the tax burden high-income families assume. I want to set the record straight with some details about how much the top 10% really pay

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    What a douche bag…..

    Mr. Maitland sure has quaint turn of phrase, so self descriptive.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4710 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Christopher Nimmo,

    They voted in all those other governments as well

    You're quite right. But pretty much everyone was stunned by the decision(s) to stop superannuation by those other governments. They didn't campaign on that policy and when the public realised what had been done to their future they booted the pricks out.

    That at least is the one thing that is better about this National government they at least are being open about their intent to sell off assets. Hopefully the public will decide that it's a bad idea but if not then the majority will have chosen and being able to say "I told you so" at some later time will offer no comfort.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3269 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Cunliffe's fairly blazing rebuttal of Joyce's numbers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18726 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Sacha,

    This is what English said in the house:

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/b/7/7/49HansQ_20110713_00000002-2-Tax-System-Changes-Fairness.htm

    I don't think he spent all of last week saying it - he probably did a lot of other things as well.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Hence it is welfare.

    So if it was offset against PAYE instead of paid in cash, it wouldn’t be?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4424 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I have wondered in the past, and indeed I am wondering now. Is voting an aspirational thing?. Do we vote for people we would like to be like? do we vote for Parties that represent that to which we aspire?
    If that is true then it explains a lot. If you want to be a carefree gung ho business person who cuts a swathe through the tangled red tape of Government to stand victorious on the peak of Mount Aspiring waving the blue flag of liberty then you vote for the Smiley Wavey Banker (or was that Biley Savey W...)
    If, on the other hand, you care for the sick, the elderly and those in need then you are already at that same point as those who you would rather represent you.
    So, is aspiration a good thing or should we just make the best of what we have and be grateful for life's little bonuses?.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4710 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    So, is aspiration a good thing or should we just make the best of what we have and be grateful for life’s little bonuses?.

    ‘Aspiration’ isn’t such a good thing if it only leads to Mutually Assured Default. It’s just the same as that other MAD, but instead of nukes, it’s McMansions and Hummers.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    What a load of codswallop.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to DeepRed,

    You are speaking for yourself as a person with no aspiration?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    That's because in the time the term was used, agreements were supposed to be based on decency and trust.

    I'm not so sure about that. The theory is quite old, but the laws around contracts are older, and it's always been considered foolish to base them on decency and trust alone. An ironclad document, and a court before which disputes can be settled are basic ideas in good contracting. That's why I don't like the term used, because there's no way our relationship with the state is written down in an ironclad way, at least not on the side involving the state's obligations to us. Nor do we have any real way of enforcing any of those obligations - there is no body standing over the state to twist their arm and make them pay.

    Furthermore, I don't really see how it could be, in a democracy, because the leadership changes constantly, and is vested with the power to make important decisions. They didn't sign the contract you made either. Possibly, if executive and legislature were strictly separated, and election promises could be given the form of contracts, then it might work. Or it could be a shockingly inefficient way of managing a country.

    Personally, I think making more institutions that have tight laws surrounding political interference in them is a better idea. We already have many of these, such as courts, the Reserve Bank, the Police, etc. There could be more, some of them dedicated to making sure that certain ways of managing money are followed strictly. My opinion is that this would melt away class difference faster than any other method - trainer wheels to socialism. It would be very hard for capitalists to object to it, because good money management is something they're always on about.

    The only class of people I haven't really taken into account are people who won't take on "gainful" employment. They're tricky, because it's hard to see sheer laziness as a trait worthy of encouragement. However, I'm pretty much a socialist about these people - I think they're a very important group, one of the most dynamic ones that we have in society, because they reject the social norms on value, or at least their own value. Given a comfortable life, this class produces some of the most important artists, innovators, social facilitators, caregivers, and just thinkers, that have ever been. The difficult part is that their "economic" contribution is often negative. The only idea I've really got for those people is to continue to support them, preferably in some reasonable comfort. There are several people in my life like this, and none of them are bone-idle. One is the hardest working person I know, my sister. But she works on her art, and it doesn't pay. Others do a lot of unpaid work, and work on their own pet projects in the meantime, which also don't pay. Some of the more interesting projects that I'm in contact with, actually, since they are not constrained by an immediate economic objective, and thus have the true inventiveness that you find in labours of love.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to DexterX,

    You are speaking for yourself as a person with no aspiration?

    No, I’m referring to what can happen if things get unstuck, and it's just the tip of the iceberg. People have the right to opt out of this kind of arms race without ridicule, whether they’re Sam Morgan or Blanket Man.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4162 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Aspiration and compassion are not mutually exclusive. Thankfully.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    The theory is quite old, but the laws around contracts are older, and it's always been considered foolish to base them on decency and trust alone. An ironclad document, and a court before which disputes can be settled are basic ideas in good contracting. That's why I don't like the term used, because there's no way our relationship with the state is written down in an ironclad way, at least not on the side involving the state's obligations to us.

    I believe the term *social* contract was used to differentiate it from the more literal, mechanistic interpretation you mention - not because it was identical. Though I believe there are still presumptions of good faith in both cases.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to DeepRed,

    Without wanting to comment directly on these peoples' circumstance it doesn't seem to fit with what I call aspiration or what I apsire for in my life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Though I believe there are still presumptions of good faith in both cases.

    Well you typically wouldn't agree to a contract if there was no good faith. But the good thing about them is you have protection against bad faith, so it makes good faith all the more likely.

    Not certain, though. I don't think the insurance companies in Chch are showing good faith. But at least their claimants have actual legal documents giving them some form of protection against total bad faith.

    This is probably a likely outcome of contracts in which there is a winner and a loser, that bad faith is constant. A lot of contracts aren't like that - employment contracts are meant to be for mutual benefit, so good faith on both sides generally benefits both sides.

    ACC is another institution much like what I was referring to, as is the EQC. Institutionalizing protection of citizens against disaster in the form of insurances makes really good sense to me. Compulsory 3rd party in vehicles makes sense too, mostly to protect the other people on the road from disastrous financial damage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to DexterX,

    Without wanting to comment directly on these peoples' circumstance it doesn't seem to fit with what I call aspiration or what I apsire for in my life.

    Yes, they are making quite a strange choice, IMHO. They could sell one of the businesses and keep their kids toys. It sort of points to where their priorities lie.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    The fact is that the currently retiring generation voted to end paying for superannuation beyond paying tax by installing Muldoon as PM. They were of course voting against Reds Under the Beds, for Think Big and for the inalienable right of South Africa to play rugby here as long as we picked a pakeha-only team by voting for Muldoon as well. How could they resist? The timetable to raise the age of entitlement put forward by the Retirement Commissioner is a joke and she hasn't mentioned means testing once. Neither have Labour or National. If we can handle CGT then why not means testing super. The social contract between the individual and the state is to help out those most in need. 50% of retirees are definitely in need of help. The other 50% sometimes do and sometimes don't need our help as their circumstances change. Many of them will be "in retirement" for over 30 years. About 25% of them will never need state help in reality though. At that point, without means-testing, superannuation is a bit like giving a gift to someone who doesn't actually need it. It doesn't even qualify as a benefit and seems to destroy the fabric of any social contract between generations.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, they are making quite a strange choice, IMHO. They could sell one of the businesses and keep their kids toys. It sort of points to where their priorities lie.

    Indeed. You have to wonder what the marginal benefit of selling the trampoline would be when they are already selling 6 figures worth of car and boat.

    Also, everyone knows a good upright piano is cheaper and sounds better than a baby grand.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to DexterX,

    Without wanting to comment directly on these peoples’ circumstance

    I wonder whether their daughter is really called Porsche, or that a Herald reporter can't spell Portia? An aspirational name either way.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Andre,

    The fact is that the currently retiring generation voted to end paying for superannuation beyond paying tax by installing Muldoon as PM

    Speaking for the whole "cohort" and baling them are we?

    NZ super has always been paid out of the general tax take.

    The original "Sovereign Weath Fund" (created by Labour and bought to a halt by National,) even if it continued NZuper would have continued to have been paid out of the general tax take - it would have been a top up when needed.

    The provision for National Super - when the economy is growing so is the tax take - it doesn't become the "massive problem.' when the economy is grwoting..

    Economic management with a lack of a focus on growth is the problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andre,

    the currently retiring generation voted

    They still do. And too many of the rest of us don't. But it oversimplifies to take a generational snapshot as the basis of diagnosis. We all need to be part of what comes next.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DexterX,

    Economic management with a lack of a focus on growth is the problem

    Or a lack of focus on value. Including the sustainability of returns on investment (in more than just an economic sense too).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16503 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    My sons names are Morris Oxford and Austin Cambridge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1186 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Andre,

    The fact is that the currently retiring generation voted to end paying for superannuation beyond paying tax by installing Muldoon as PM

    Funny way to see it. My folks never voted for him. Even if they had, there have been 7 other PMs in NZ since who had various mandates to do whatever they did. The decisions of Muldoon were never set in stone, and if they were I would smash the stone. I was never even old enough to vote just what I thought about him, and don't feel any ongoing need to buy into whatever was motivating 1970s NZ voters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8328 posts Report Reply

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