Polity by Rob Salmond


The Taxpayers' Union rides again!

Jordan Williams and his cronies have waded into the debate over the UBI. They have a new “study” on the topic, and it’s a doozy.

My personal favourite was the part where author Jim Rose argues a fiscally-neutral UBI will lead people to work less, leading to a massive recession.

Oh noes – massive recession!

So, how does this economic calamity come about? Well – wait for it – it’s because a study found that Swedish lottery winners tend to stop working.

Oh, of course.

Because winning millions in one day is just like $200-a-week-coupled-with-increased marginal-taxes-on-other-earnings.

Those two situations are like peas in a pod.

The audacity of trying to pass off that “argument” as something worth considering backs up my theory – advanced on Public Address yesterday – that right-leaning commentators are emboldened to print utter nonsense because some in the media will print the nonsense anyway 

This is just one more to add to the catalogue of examples why nobody should take the Taxpayer’s Union seriously. Their crime isn’t that they’re partisan. Their crime is they do crappy work.

Sadly, though – the Taxpayers’ Union does ensnare a victim now and then. This time it was Stuff. Here’s the blurb from Stuff’s politics page about the Taxpayers’ Union paper. 

I’m actually impressed at just how many conceptual head-desks Stuff managed to fit into 30 words there. Let’s count them off: 

  • The money isn’t free, because marginal tax rates go up to pay for it. That’s been literally everyone’s point!
  • There’s no mention in the headline or blurb of the dodgy source for the figures. Not even a “The Taxpayers’ Union says…”
  • The Taxpayer’s Union study is, in fact, entirely silent on how much “Labour’s plan to give everyone $211 a week” might cost. Not a squeak.
  • The only way you get to a marginal tax rate of 56% is if you ramp-up the UBI to not only be $300 per adult per week but also include $86 per child per week as well.
  • That means the statement “$211 a week means 56% taxes” is demonstrably untrue. Nobody in the story, except the blurber, said anything remotely close to that.


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