Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Wage rises, not tax cuts

NewsHub has a poll on the cost-of-living crisis, which has an interesting finding: the vast majority of kiwis prefer wage rises to tax cuts:

When asked whether income has kept up with the cost of living, 54.8 percent of people surveyed said no and according to 58.6 percent of people, groceries were the main concern.

To help with costs, 61.2 percent suggested increasing wages and just 15.9 percent wanted tax cuts.

Which makes perfect sense. Tax cuts primarily benefit the rich, delivering very little to real people (notoriously, a block of cheese a week). And they do that at the cost of gutting the public services and public infrastructure we all depend on. Even a moderate wage rise delivers far more money to those on median incomes. And if you have a union, and get the sort of wage rise collective bargaining can deliver, its even better. And it all comes directly out of rich people, without gutting public services.

So how can the government deliver this? Constantly increasing the minimum wage to ratchet up everything else is one way. Enabling unions to do their job and fight for better wages and conditions is another. And Labour's new Fair Pay Agreements are a third. If you work in a supermarket, or hospitality, or as a bus driver, cleaner, or security guard, then things are likely to get better (and hopefully other industries are lining up as well).

Note that all of these things are under threat from ACT-National: if they get elected, they'll stop increasing the minimum wage, suppress unions, and abolish fair pay agreements, effectively cancelling wage rises for hundreds of thousands of kiwis. Instead, they'll let your local roads and schools and hospitals rot, so they can give money to their rich donors as tax cuts. That gives the rich a big return on their investment, but it fucks over everyone else. But that is basicly what National is all about, isn't it?