Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Time for redistribution

Oxfam released a report yesterday pointing out that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Its the usual story, with the twist that New Zealand's two richest men increased their wealth by only slightly less than was stolen from the poorest 50% of us. Which is exactly the sort of shit Labour was elected to put a stop to. As for how, the answer is simple: tax the fuckers.

New Zealand used to have a highly progressive tax system, with rates of up to 90% on top earners. That was during WWII, when the government needed more money than usual, but in the postwar period, the top tax rate was generally 70%. Roger Douglas and his NeoLiberal revolution ended all that, and the result was an explosion of inequality, with the rich using their untaxed income to make even more money, while public services fell apart and they created a permanent underclass - problems the government then refused to fix because (by choice) it "had no money".

Other countries, like Sweden, Norway and Denmark, have much lower rates of inequality than us, while also having much better infrastructure, social services and standards of living. And they do it by taxing the rich and the companies that do business there, and using the money to provide social services and support those on lower incomes. In short, redistribution. We can and should do that too. As for cries from the rich's mouthpieces that their masters will leave and take their money with them, firstly, that doesn't seem to happen in Scandinavia, and secondly, insofar as its a result of real economic activity, the source of that money will still remain here to be taxed (it may just be owned by someone else).

So Labour, are you going to do this? Or is your entire pitch - government for the many, not the few - a lie?