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Quote for Today, Sunday 6 November

November 6, 2011

We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

Winston Churchill

3 Comments
  1. Quintin Hogg permalink
    November 7, 2011 12:36 pm

    Winston had a way with words, that no-one has matched since.

  2. November 6, 2011 3:13 pm

    Given Churchill’s historical expertise, I can only assume the above quote has been stripped from context. For it is obviousness itself that taxing to build education, health, and provide opportunity for Oliver Twist was the base upon which the modern world rests. Inconvenient fact to those who had the most to pay and obviously didn’t care what happened to Oliver.

  3. November 6, 2011 3:02 pm

    What with National’s glamour boy seeing the mass fluttering of petticoats, and the Australian employed spin machine operating at dizzying speed it is easy to miss the simple facts. Selling state assets as proposed is not going to quit the largest government debt this country has ever seen, so where is the extra money coming from? It is not coming from the existing tax revenue take; existing levels would see the government borrowing to service the debt. It is supposed to be coming from a rejuvenated export sector earning a greater share of the world market. It is for this reason National keep harping on about restructuring the economy and returning workers to serf like status.

    The problems, however, are obvious. No matter how efficient our export sector might be, it is only part of the equation, the most important part of the equation is the world market itself. What with Greece lurching from crisis to crisis, Ireland, Italy and Spain crossing their fingers, America trashing its own trillion dollar recovery package over partisan politics, we can at best expect the world market to be more competitive than it has ever been as everybody scrambles for export revenue to cover their own debts. And given America’s stance on our Pharmac the notion that there is “free trade” is laughable, we will take it where we are told or our trade prospects diminish.

    So what is National’s contingency plan given Treasury’s forecasts about export revenue are bound to be off? The contingency plan is the ten millionth pouring over expenditure to remove the fat, which for a while now, has been looking increasingly like muscle and flesh. Meaning, the reduction of government expenditure by reducing state employment; this is only the removal of excess if it is the case that these people can be otherwise occupied in the private sector (to say nothing of the loss of diversity and quality of skills). Else it is simply a reallocation of government expenditure to bottom of the cliff government services required to wrap around (including imprison and hospitalize) otherwise contributing members of the local economy, and more importantly, society.

    As National have admitted, if the export sector does not kick in as they dream employment will not come about. But even if the export sector does kick in the New Zealand government has always been a large provider of employment; public service, education related staff, medical related staff, legal related staff, down to the late Ministry of Works, and the cheapest option of all, those employed to do nothing on a fraction of the minimum wage, the unemployed. To believe National will change this, not only bunks historic fact, but also international experience; employment uptake is one of the only OECD indicators where New Zealand sits at right end. If oligarchic democracies such as mostly describe OECD nations have state employment similar or worse than our own then National are pushing an ideological agenda against what would seem to be a property of either human nature or oligarchic democracies. Simply shoveling ain’t going fix that.

    The punt National would take with this country is the same as you borrowing upon your credit card against a possible pay rise. You can’t, and nor can National expect debt to be forgiven based upon a cry that a possible pay rise did not eventuate. Credit rating agencies agree, they gave National a downgrade even when presented with such a cry from Bill English. You either vote for this punt, or you vote for a cover defense that sees the tax take broadened to ensure this country will be able to pay its debt.

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