Friday, May 20, 2011

Sacrifice for some, but not for others

The Day After, and Bill English is trying to sell this as a sacrifice budget. Money is tight, so sacrifices have to be made. It would be a compelling argument, but for two things. Firstly, the reason money is tight can be laid directly at the government's door, thanks to conscious decisions to gut the government's revenue base and do nothing about the recession, while handing out a billion dollars a year in subsidies to polluters. Quite apart from a sense of disgruntlement at being made to pay for their fuckups, the government has other options available, options which inflict less pain on ordinary kiwis; they have made a conscious decision not to pursue those options. Which feeds into the second problem: that sacrifice is not evenly distributed. Farmers get to keep their subsidies (and get more besides). The rich get to keep their tax cuts. Ministers get to keep their BMWs and gold-plated superannuation schemes. Its only ordinary people who pay.

So, the next time Bill English talks of "sacrifice", we should stand up and ask him: what are you sacrificing, Bill? And if you're not sacrificing anything, why should we?