Russel Norman thinks tax is not a burden!

September 19th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

This is incredible and should ring warning bells about the attitude of a Government with the Greens in it to taxation.

 

Its horrific that Dr Norman thinks tax is not a burden, and even worse calling it so is right wing.

When the state takes a large proportion of your income, of course it is a fucking burden.  If they didn’t do it, you’d have less more money.

If tax wasn’t a burden, then hundreds of thousands of people would pay extra tax voluntarily. Does Dr Norman wake up every morning and send a donation in to the IRD?

Plus the stupidity of Norman’s comments are highlighted by the fact that he got owned on Twitter by Gareth Richards who pointed out that Dr Norman himself had in the past used the term himself. So in fact Dr Norman was just attacking poor civil servants for using the same term as he had used. He should apologise to the Treasury officials he maligned.

Norman tried to defend his new found view that tax is not a burden on the basis the Government spends tax revenues on some good things. Eric Crampton points out:

Taxes are a bad, public services are a good. Saying the first doesn’t mean denying the second.

Again I’m horrified that we may have a senior economic minister in a future government who does not think taxation is a burden on hard working New Zealanders who fund the tax system. It reflects a neo-marxist view I guess that all income is really the property of the state’s, and we should be grateful they allow us to keep some of it.

Also Eric schools Dr Norman on some basic economics:

More importantly, economists use the word ‘burden’ in a particular way. A few useful notes about Principles-level (maybe intermediate) economics for someone who thinks himself qualified to be finance minister:

‘Burden’ measures the total cost of a tax. The ‘excess burden’ is the amount by which the cost of a tax exceeds the amount collected. Treasury tends to reckon that excess burden is around 20%: it costs us about $1.20 to raise $1.00 in tax. The $1.00 raised is a transfer from the public to the government; the $0.20 is pure loss due to distortions in economic activity consequent to increases in our current mix of taxes.

Also:

Russel Norman suggests only “right wing” economists talk about tax burden. Here is a JSTOR search on “tax burden”. There are 61 pages of search results with 100 results per page. Item number 177 on a date-sorted list is famous Right Wing Economist John Maynard Keynes discussing the Colwyn Report on Natinoal Debt and Taxation. Item 398 is rabid right-winger Nicholas Kaldor’s call for wage subsidies to reduce unemployment (1936).

Burden is just the term used by economists to describe the cost of the tax and to help sort out the difference between statutory and economic incidence. Like “While X writes the cheque to IRD, the burden of the tax falls on Y and Z.” That’s it. It’s the standard term used in the main texts to describe this thing. Richard Musgrave (centre, maybe centre-left) uses it. James Buchanan (right) uses it. Pick a random public finance text, you’ll find “tax burden” or “excess burden” somewhere in it.

Then on Twitter Dr Norman goes further rejecting both the labels burden and distortionary for taxes!

My challenge to all those who agree with Dr Norman that tax is not a burden, to write out larges voluntary cheques today to the IRD. That means it is no extra burden on you, and reduces the burden on the rest of us.

UPDATE: Russel has actually referred to the tax burden in Parliament, as has Metiria Turei. This reinforces that Dr Norman should apologise to the Treasury officials for his attack on them for using the exact same language both Green co-leaders have used in the past.

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130 Responses to “Russel Norman thinks tax is not a burden!”

  1. kowtow (8,522 comments) says:

    1.Tweeting is a teenage girl thing. Sensible politicians should avoid it.

    2.Greens are not sensiblepoliticians.
    3.Tax is a burden.

    4When’sthe New Zealand electorate going to run this commie goon and the rest of his extreme left fellow travellers out of office?

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  2. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    The people in New Zealand who say they don’t like money or greed sure like talking about it.

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  3. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Who would have thought?
    We already know that the Greens are retarded, this only confirms it.

    There will be a pretty easy way of getting rid of the Greens at the next election. A third party (ie not the Nats since they shouldn’t spend all their allowed advertising cap on this) re-running this quote and other equally retarded ones on TV every night, and on the radio every day.

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  4. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    The people in New Zealand who say money doesn’t cause happiness, sure need a lot of other peoples money to make them happy.

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  5. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    Of course Norman doesn’t pay any tax himself. He is payed from the public purse, and that purse is topped up every day with money taken from real tax payers. The producers. Not parasites like Norman.

    When Norman starts producing something, then he can be an authoritative voice on tax. Until then, he’s got no skin in the game.

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  6. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Why people vote Greens

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  7. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    I guess this moron just thinks he is tweeting to his base… his base being the sort who hardly pay a DIME in tax.

    Lets just hope with labour lurch to the left they cannibalise a heap of the green vote and get them back to 5% where they belong. Sorry Mojo & co :(

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  8. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    David,

    Quite seriously, the really disturbing thing to emerge from all of that will be, I suspect, the likelihood that Norman’s outrageous comments will be ignored by the MSM.

    That prospect is truly horrifying.

    As for Norman, a SELF DECLARED COMMUNIST, with a Ph.D (a phud, but he claims he is a “Doctor”): thesis on Anderton’s party, I suspect the media will continue to promote him because they admire his ant-Government whining.

    Just as Anne Tolley sat Peters on his arse yesterday and it took him a minute or so to realise how she had dicked him, so should the Nats throw this at Norman every day.

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  9. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  10. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  11. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    Yoza doesn’t think a power bill is part of the cost of living in a civilised society. Haha

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  12. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    A follow up….
    The MSM and Nats should be insisting that Labour disavow Norman’s position.

    That would be fun.

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  13. Wiggin (1 comment) says:

    Kowtow, if you think only teenage girls tweet, you must not watch the news or use the internet much… Twitter (though personally I dislike it) is quite a powerful social tool and its use is now incredibly widespread.

    David, you’re missing Russell’s point completely here. Tax is a burden for the average lower- or middle-class citizen, but not so much for the well-off, as these people can still afford to live comfortably while being taxed at 50% or higher.

    Right wingers such as yourself use the “tax is a burden” argument as an excuse to lower taxes to untenable levels, despite the fact that a decent level of taxation – especially at higher income levels – is necessary for a functioning government and society.

    And, of course, the rich are the people who always get their taxes lowered by right-wing governments… which also leads to a far lower tax take overall, as the government gets a lot more money from your average millionaire than your average meat packer. This is of course because Right wing parties tend to be run by the rich, for the rich. National is no exception.

    The enforced and unsustainable cuts crippling the public service – witness the chaos in Defence and MFAT over the last few years, not to mention the Health sector – are a direct result of the bullsh*t “tax is evil” mindset flogged by everyone from John Key to the US Republican party. Unfortunately, Treasury seems to have signed up to it as well, and Russell is simply calling them out on it. Talk all the mumbo jumbo you want about encouraging investment and business activity – in the state the country is in, reversing National’s tax cuts to give more money to the Government is simply a no-brainer.

    But, of course, you’ll take any opportunity you can get to demonise the Green party. Easy targets, right? Wake up and smell the roses. Your buddies’ days in power are numbered.

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  14. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    A couple of my mates were raised in East Germany. They said that by now they were promised a society with no money at all. In a way they did achieve that in many socialist states, but not in the intended way.

    Norman is an ideological zealot who puts his ideology ahead of outcomes for people. The whole right/left thing is a failure of imagination, not of choice. There are better ways without adopting either ideology.

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  15. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @Yoza, @BWAV: did you read the quotes. As Eric points out, the term “burden” is a term of the art. It’s a phrase that economists use to describe who pays. The burden of this tax falls on the employer. The burden of that tax falls on the worker. It’s part of tax incidence theory.

    Claiming that it’s a right wing term makes about as much sense as saying that the term ethernet is a right wing term. These terms have no value judgements in them other than what people attribute. It’s like when you hear something that could be interpreted to be dirty, and you accuse the person saying it of having a dirty mind, when in fact it’s you who ascribed the dirty meaning to it.

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  16. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    “Right wing political ideology runs deep in Treasury!”. Few could argue this statement is wrong, Treasury acts as a mouth piece for every piece of crazed ideology oozing out of far right lunatic asylums like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and every other foreign organisation peddling neoliberal snake oil ‘remedies’.

    You mean the sort of remedies implemented in the 90’s that proceeded the 00’s boom?

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  17. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Claiming that it’s a right wing term makes about as much sense as saying that the term ethernet is a right wing term.

    Ethernet is what is used to catch the etherbunny when the gunnut etherbunny hunters run out of bullets.

    So yea, it’s a right wing term.

    (Strangely, no one’s hired me to write the next hit comedy…)

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  18. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  19. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    It is a burden for the plain and simple reason that every tax dollar taken from the economy provides a braking force to that economy.

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  20. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Fuck me BWAV. Did you read my post. It is a fucking burden, because that’s the term of art that economists have used to describe it since the 1930s. The fact you are ascribing a connotation to that term doesn’t give you the right to attempt to change the terminology an entire branch of the sciences has used for generations. Get over yourself.

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  21. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    Yoza:”For the vast majority of people tax is not a burden, it is the cost of living in a civilised society.”
    So…those who pay no tax are….uncivilised?

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  22. leftyliberal (651 comments) says:

    @Black with a Vengeance.

    Nah, you’re wrong. The term is used fairly uniformly among economists. The point is that “burden” here doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”. It’s a tradeoff.

    Norman conflated a standard economic term with a right-wing ideology. He was wrong. In followup tweets he seems to be taking it in good humor.

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  23. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Black with a Vengeance (1,477) Says:

    “onus maybe, but burden is just nutjob spin to the right.”

    Your a fiesty one aren’t ya?? You don’t think it was a burden when Labour left the top rate cut in at the same rate for 9 years and as a result more and more middle class fell into this rate? Despite the fact house prices, electricity, food (cost of licing in general) went through the roof? Just because people are paying tax doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. These Greens seem to think that anyone paying tax is well off and an endless supply of money for their hair brained schemes. It’s not the case.

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  24. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

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  25. Black with a Vengeance (1,865 comments) says:

    I think the onus to pay more tax should fall on those best able to pay it, if we want to maintain our first world nation status.

    otherwise it’s a race to the bottom and next thing you know it’ll be favelas on the hills and shantytowns on the plains.

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  26. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Well, I’m confused. Are people supposed to pay tax so it can be given to the less fortunate, or are they paying tax because living in a civilized society is worth exactly what they pay in tax?

    Also, good to know that the science of economics has been secretly dominated by such evil people for so long. I guess that explains Clayton Weatherston.

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  27. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @BWAV. So I take it you’re describing basically every economist as a nutjob. You really are a waste of space.

    For what it’s worth:
    – Burden is a term that economists use. It means “who actually pays”. So, when you create a payroll tax, for example, many economists would argue that the bulk of the burden fall on the employee. You can sell it to the electorate as being a tax on evil employers, but actually the workers end up worse off. In that context, burden is exactly what it is – the workers are worse off

    – As a matter of opinion, I also think that taxes are a burden in the common definition of the term. That is to say, I don’t like paying them. I don’t really believe that anyone else does either. They may be a necessary evil in a first world country, that doesn’t make me like paying them any more.

    – Not everything is a matter of left v’s right. Some things actually just are. They don’t need value judgements. We can legitimately argue how much tax people should pay without arguing stupid things like “the people should thank us for the opportunity to pay taxes.” Nobody actually thinks that, so introducing that to a discussion about taxes just makes you look stupid.

    By the way, if your income wasn’t taxed so heavily, I might be able to afford to fuck you. But with GST and income tax, your productivity doesn’t match the cost….

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  28. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    How about this analogy, confused lefties? A heavy winter coat is also a burden. It’s literally a weight you have to carry around. Saying that it’s a burden does not deny the value it provides in keeping you warm. It just means that you consider the value against the burden and make smart decisions like moving to a lighter coat in warmer conditions. The use of the term “burden” in a tax context is just as value free as in my example. Irrespective of whether Norman’s comment about Treasury’s ideology was right or wrong, he was incorrect to suggest the use of the term “tax burden” has any bearing.

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  29. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I think the tax burden should fall on those best able to pay it, if we want to maintain our first world nation status.

    otherwise it’s a race to the bottom and next thing you know it’ll be favelas on the hills and shantytowns on the plains.

    Fixed that for ya.

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  30. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    PaulL (5,430) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Fuck me BWAV. Did you read my post. It is a fucking burden,…

    The point Norman is attempting to make is that Treasury is an organ of extreme right-wing economic ideology. He is using the example of tax being described as a burden to illustrate this point. That the right-wing ideologues running rampant through Treasury have been using this term regularly to describe taxes does not detract from this point.

    People here would have to dig into the deepest darkest corners of The Treasury to find anything resembling economic ideas that were not representative of the way the well heeled few would like to see society organised.

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  31. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    National absolutely has to be at the end of it’s tether for an opposition MP to declare taxes are good hinting more are to come

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  32. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    Not sure if anyone has already pointed this out:

    Tuesday, 20 Apr 2010 | Press Release

    “It’s not fair to expect income-earning New Zealanders to carry a disproportionate share of the tax burden while some of New Zealand’s wealthiest individuals pay none,” said Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman.

    https://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/time-fix-tax-system-where-millionaires-pay-less-tax-their-secretaries

    What a **** hypocrite.

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  33. Doc (91 comments) says:

    Dr. Norman is also fond of claiming that he want’s everyone to pay their “fair share of tax” and make it harder for the “rich pricks” who structure their affairs to effectively pay no tax…

    So – how about someone actually defines what a person’s “fair share” is in dollar terms? (y’know, like they did with the “living wage” calculation that’s so popular amongst opposition parties at the moment)

    With that figure established, we could simply tax every dollar that every person earns at 33% until they have paid their “fair share” and after that, they can keep whatever they make. (It would make sense to have a different “fair share” figure for companies to contribute, but you could keep the rate the same)

    There you are Dr. Norman… you tell me how much is fair. Then pitch a policy that makes sure that everyone pays their share.

    (of course, there will be some on lower incomes who won’t earn enough to cover their fair share, so you’ll need to inflate the “fair share figure” figure slightly above the tax revenues that you actually need to cater for those who don’t pay their fair share. But I’m sure the rest of us won’t mind paying a little extra to top up their shortfall.)

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  34. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    I do not care what Communists, socialists, trendy progs, liberals or others what they call tax.
    A fair rate, that is applicable to everyone at the same % rate, to meet only the core costs of the State (Health, Education, limited short term welfare, infrastructure and security) is acceptable.

    Taxation for income re-distribution is theft.

    But that is clearly what is advocated by the likes of BWAV et al.

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  35. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    “otherwise it’s a race to the bottom and next thing you know it’ll be favelas on the hills and shantytowns on the plains.”

    Which would actually be too good for communist arseholes like you, who if we end up in that condition, will be most to blame.

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  36. Albert_Ross (298 comments) says:

    The terms “price”, “pay”, and “burden” all imply the same – you have to give up something in order to get something.

    People who say they are “happy” or “willing” to pay – Are you saying that, given the choice of whether to pay for something or get exactly the same thing free, you’d choose to hand over the money?

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  37. reversespin (69 comments) says:

    It is scary that someone who aims to be Finance Minister does not have an understanding of basic economics that an undergraduate does. you would think they would have the common courtesy or professional pride to get schooled up to a reasonable level……….even if it was done in private.

    He has done the economic equivalent of walking into a cricket changing room and saying “Boy, I thought we should have been awarded more points by the referee”

    He doesn’t know the language, doesn’t understand the basic concepts and blames it on ideology. Say what you want about Labour, but Cunliffe and Parker look like safe hands compared to this Kermit (Green Muppet).

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  38. In Vino Veritas (139 comments) says:

    The other disturbing thing is that Becky Prebble and Paul Goldsmith didn’t pull Norman up immediately and tell him he’s a raving looney.
    To Black, your logic is flawed. First world services can be provided by entities other than the Government. In fact, Government owned businesses are historically the most inefficient of businesses. Tax is a burden to the payer, as it leaves the payer with less than he began with, and is levied on the individual\company\country by the collector, who did not earn the income from which the tax is paid. Therefore it is by definition, a burden on the payer. Neither right wing nor left wing, but a truism.

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  39. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Heather Simpson taught part of my stage one economics course in 1980.
    She used the term “tax burden” in her lectures.
    As did every other lecturer that taught me when I did my economics degree.
    Dr Norman really is showing that he has no understanding of things economics by these sorts of silly comments.

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  40. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    The burden is the taxpayers paying the salary for a flake like Russel Normal to proselytise the fake that is his marxist flavour of socialism,

    – Print money Norman says – Prof Robert Wade (left wing political economist) says QE concentrates more wealth in the hands of the already well off
    – Single buyer model for electricity Norman says – Prof Wolak (Greens’ poster child for their policy, or so they though) says he didn’t estimate the costs as Norman claims and that the single buyer model would be wrong for NZ
    – Norman claimed their general economic policy was aligned to Sir Paul Callaghan’s views for NZ (2011) – Sir Paul said they have it completely wrong

    Yep, Russel got it wrong – it’s not tax that’s the burden, it’s him

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  41. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    In this case BWAV and Yoza are, by todays standards, correct. A word means exactly what the “intellectual elite” (here represented by BWAV and Yoza) say they mean at this time and place.

    Therefore it is perfectly acceptable for Mr Norman to both state that tax is a burden and to claim that such use of the word “burden” is an evil right wing “nutjob” conspiracy, and all people who try to point out the supposed inconsistency are themselves “evil, rightwing, nutjobs”.

    In other news, four legs good, two legs bad.

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  42. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    Sector 7g (191) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Yoza doesn’t think a power bill is part of the cost of living in a civilised society. Haha

    If you choose random words from a statement someone has made, then rearrange those words to form a statement and you then argue with the statement you yourself have composed, you are mad.

    Steve Wrathall (147) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Yoza:”For the vast majority of people tax is not a burden, it is the cost of living in a civilised society.”
    So…those who pay no tax are….uncivilised?

    Another one, those who pay no tax do not receive any form of income. Children, for the most part, do not pay tax but may live in a civilised society.

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  43. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    So far from the Greens we have:
    1. They will print money;
    2. They want to nationalise critical parts of the economy;
    3. They will actively seek to devalue people’s houses;
    4. They don’t think that tax is a burden.

    Remember that Cunliffe has promised Russel Norman a senior economics portfolio.

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  44. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    Poor old Russell has been sidelined in the MSM by the Labour Party circus. He has to get back into the limelight no matter how stupid he looks.

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  45. reversespin (69 comments) says:

    Norman should have said “The correct use of economic terminology runs deep in Treasury” or “The ability to pass Econ 102 runs deep in Treasury”

    Some commentators in this thread (not naming names) are exposing themselves as equally naive as Norman. We are talking about a language and terminology of a field – economics – that you have obviously not been taught. I don’t speak French, nor do I know anything about molecular biology. So when those topics come up, I STFU.

    To stretch the analogy to breaking point…. Norman is doing the equivalent of me applying to be the head of Molecular Biology at Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

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  46. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    I am continually amazed how all these people using the “new social media” do not realise the speed that an error or stupid statement gets around. I would have thought credibility was one thing a politician would protect as much as anything.

    Now on the NBR we find :

    ” Dr Crampton tells NBR ONLINE that mockery of Dr Norman’s comments has now gone global, with an economist from the University of Victoria in Canada joining in the sport.”

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  47. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    Ed Snack (1,093) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    In this case BWAV and Yoza are, by todays standards, correct. A word means exactly what the “intellectual elite” (here represented by BWAV and Yoza) say they mean at this time and place.

    Therefore it is perfectly acceptable for Mr Norman to both state that tax is a burden and to claim that such use of the word “burden” is an evil right wing “nutjob” conspiracy, and all people who try to point out the supposed inconsistency are themselves “evil, rightwing, nutjobs”.

    In other news, four legs good, two legs bad.

    Heh, and I take my role as spokesperson for the intellectual elite seriously, pffft. Neoliberal economic dogma is a paradigm imposed on society to benefit the wealthy few, it is an ideology to which people must subscribe if they want to rise through the ranks of institutions such as The Treasury. No conspiracy necessary.

    greenjacket (223) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    So far from the Greens we have:
    1. They will print money;

    Every dollar you have ever used was ‘printed’ by someone.

    2. They want to nationalise critical parts of the economy;

    Hardly controversial, it is they who wish to privatise strategic assets who represent the greatest threat to democracy and economic sovereignty.

    3. They will actively seek to devalue people’s houses;

    Nobody can guarantee the price of houses will maintain their value in a market that is based on speculation value rather than investment value. Trading houses in anticipation that their price will increase and the on-selling of that house will realise a profit has created a bubble that will burst and dramatically devalue people’s houses.

    4. They don’t think that tax is a burden.

    Not in the sense that it is something with which some are unreasonably encumbered.

    Remember that Cunliffe has promised Russel Norman a senior economics portfolio.

    Did he? As I understand things, Cunliffe’s slight step to the left was partly calculated to cannibalise the green vote. I imagine Cunliffe would not be so foolish as to make such an offer until all the votes have been counted in 2014.

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  48. kowtow (8,522 comments) says:

    If you don’t pay it willingly then fuck off.

    On the strength of that I’d put BWAV in charge of the IRD. I wouldn’t pay tax and I’d fuck off to a nice beach.

    No other penalties ,great!

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  49. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    flipper (2,432) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    A fair rate, that is applicable to everyone at the same % rate, to meet only the core costs of the State (Health, Education, limited short term welfare, infrastructure and security) is acceptable.

    Taxation for income re-distribution is theft.

    This is the real debate. Arguing about the meaning of “burden” is just semantics. The complaint from the Greens is that he perceives that the right-wing do not appreciate that taxation provides any benefit or any good. The complaint from the right is that they perceive that the Greens do not think taxation tends towards any negative effects.

    Reasonable people will accept some level of taxation as part of a “social contract”. But the question is what are the terms of that “contract” and what is the proper role of taxation?

    Flipper argues that a flat percentage rate is inherently fair. Though this argument appears self defeating. Why a flat percentage? Why not an absolute flat amount? One might observe that the cost of a loaf of bread is not proportional to one’s income, so why should the cost of government be?

    Moreover, why are health, education, “short term” welfare, infrastructure and security legitimate expenses? This just appears to be an arbitrary list of the things flipper accepts without any explanation of what makes them legitimate. Further it contradicts the objection to income redistribution. Paying for someone else’s health and education is income redistribution.

    A balanced philosophy is required. In my view one of taxation’s primary objectives is the redistribution of income. Anyone who accepts that health, education, welfare etc. are legitimate expenses must also accept that reality. But what is the purpose of redistributing income? The purpose is allow everyone to participate in the economy in order to maximize their productivity.

    What some consistently fail to acknowledge is that one’s income is someone else’s spending. As such, not only does productivity depend on people being economically active, it also depends on consumers having the means to demand and therefore value that activity. Just as excessive taxation reduces profitability and therefore discourages economic activity, excessive income inequality reduces what consumers can demand which in turn discourages economic activity.

    There is a healthy balance to be achieved somewhere between the extremes of right-wing and left-wing rhetoric.

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  50. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    https://www.greens.org.nz/searchresults?search=tax%20burden

    22 results.

    I guess that’s what happens when you wake up one day and declare use of a common term to be hyperpartisanship.

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  51. corner-shop...not (16 comments) says:

    If i may quote from a wise man:

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

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  52. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (4,854) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 11:40 am

    It is a burden for the plain and simple reason that every tax dollar taken from the economy provides a braking force to that economy.

    You proffer a false premise: that every dollar taxed is “taken from the economy”. In fact government expenditure is often the basis of much economic activity. For instance, the roads everyone travels on to get to work in the morning.

    Even a welfare transfer will generally involve the recipient spending that money and therefore encouring economic activity. The relevant question then is to what degree has that transfer discouraged the productive individual from which it was taken vs the degree to which it encourages consumer demand and, by implication, economic activity.

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  53. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    You proffer a false premise: that every dollar taxed is “taken from the economy”. In fact government expenditure is often the basis of much economic activity. For instance, the roads everyone travels on to get to work in the morning.

    Sigh. It always annoys me when someone says something is “false” and then gives a fuller picture which shows that in fact it is true. The premise wasn’t false, as much as it was incomplete.

    That is, the money comes out of the economy, goes through government, then is injected back in somewhere else.

    Other than that, it was a really good comment.

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  54. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Yoza: “For the vast majority of people tax is not a burden, it is the cost of living in a civilised society.”

    Only a cretinous socialist moron with no sense of irony could say that…Taxation is under the threat of state violence for non compliance…please explain how stand over robbery is “civilised”…?

    It is perfectly moral to pay up for services you do want…its called “user pays” and is at the heart of the free market. But being compelled to fund services etc you DON”T want of value..? No validity at all.

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  55. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Paying for someone else’s health and education is income redistribution.

    No it is not. It is expense redistribution. (Other people paying for your stuff for you – call it charity even. But it is not income.)

    If it was income redistribution you would get your ‘share’ of those payments irrespective of whether or not you consumed the health or education services.

    To call it income redistribution is factually incorrect and simply an obfuscation to justify a socio-economic argument you want to make.

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  56. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Some people here need to look up “Broken window fallacy”…or “that which is seen..and not seen in Economics”. Government taking money from you makes you poorer…end of story.

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  57. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    The Scorned (676) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Yoza: “For the vast majority of people tax is not a burden, it is the cost of living in a civilised society.”

    Only a cretinous socialist moron with no sense of irony could say that…

    And where is this libertarian nirvana where no-one pays tax?

    Somalia!

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  58. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    If tax wasn’t a burden, then hundreds of thousands of people would pay extra tax voluntarily.

    Yes, nobody likes paying for things. We know.

    They like consuming them, however, and in cases of market failure have to be compelled to pay for them.

    So what? Tell me something I don’t know.

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  59. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    The complaint from the Greens is that he perceives that the right-wing do not appreciate that taxation provides any benefit or any good. The complaint from the right is that they perceive that the Greens do not think taxation tends towards any negative effects.

    [...] There is a healthy balance to be achieved somewhere between the extremes of right-wing and left-wing rhetoric.

    It’s my observation that the right understand the left fairly well, while the left do not understand the right very well at all.

    Or to put it another way, many on the left are so because they do not understand the right. Many are on the right because they understand the left only too well.

    It’s this gap which leads left-wing politicians to often put their failure to win support down to the failure to communicate. They do not seem to grasp that people actually do understand their ideas, but disagree with them. Obama’s campaign to get support for bombing Syria is a good example – the more he campaigned, the less support he got.

    Thus, to some extent I have always seen the right as the balance. What the right actually believe is quite often a middle ground between the left (whom everyone knows) and how the left portray the right (which everyone also hears ad infinitum). The current government is a good example: a government that has cut spending carefully as opposed to the Labour party who increased it massively, and the scaremongering “we’ll go back to the 90’s if National gets in” that Labour and the left in general promoted so heavily in the run-up to the changeover of power.

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  60. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Some people here need to look up “Broken window fallacy”…or “that which is seen..and not seen in Economics”. Government taking money from you makes you poorer…end of story.

    No it doesn’t. You just don’t understand basic economics.

    Markets sometimes fail. The state attempts to ameliorate the failures. Get over it.

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  61. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    i love the “fair share” argument.

    the left will never tell you what “fair share” means because they would have to admit it means – taxing as much as possible out of anyone who is slightly above average.

    Case A)

    60 year old couple. free hold house. Both working. both earning 50k a year. Between them they clear after tax 84k a year. $1600 a week. no mortgage. and they are the “ordinary hard working kiwis”.

    Case B)

    Married couple. 3 kids. 30 years old. Mortgage of $450,000. The guy works. stay at home mum. the guy has a 40k student loan. he earns 120k a year. that gives him $1450 a week in the hand. his mortgage is $650 a week.

    So, to sum up. Case A) has $1600 a week after their mortgage, Case B) has $800.

    The left think Case B is a no good motherfucker! a rich prick who needs to be TAXED!!!!!!!

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  62. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    “Markets sometimes fail.” – true that. usually after the market has been fucked with by the government.

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  63. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,697) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    That is, the money comes out of the economy, goes through government, then is injected back in somewhere else.

    The point is that government is an integral part of the economy, it is not something separate.

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  64. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Scrubone – great search. I’m guessing Clint at least makes some effort to get things technically correct, and all hell breaks loose when the MPs are left to think for themsleves

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  65. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    But what is the purpose of redistributing income? The purpose is allow everyone to participate in the economy in order to maximize their productivity.

    No. The primary purpose is to offset the effect of market failures. The provision of insurance, for example, is often subject to market failures via adverse selection, moral hazard, etc. Thus a completely free market for health insurance will be very inefficient. It’s simpler to force everyone to buy a basic health insurance policy, for example. We call that public health care.

    Even if every person in New Zealand received approximately the same income, we would still have to tax them, because markets simply aren’t very good at providing some of the things we need.

    Redistribution of income from rich to poor is part of this, but not even the main part. It has as much to do with averting social inconveniences as it does charitable feelings. After all, most people would find it pretty awful to live in a society with lots of desperately poor people.

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  66. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    “Markets sometimes fail.” – true that. usually after the market has been fucked with by the government.

    Wrong. Without government or some other central authority to enforce contracts, most markets would fail.

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  67. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,698) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    It’s this gap which leads left-wing politicians to often put their failure to win support down to the failure to communicate. They do not seem to grasp that people actually do understand their ideas, but disagree with them.

    Thus, to some extent I have always seen the right as the balance. What the right actually believe is quite often a middle ground between the left (whom everyone knows) and how the left portray the right (which everyone also hears ad infinitum). The current government is a good example: a government that has cut spending carefully as opposed to the Labour party who increased it massively, and the scaremongering “we’ll go back to the 90′s if National gets in” that Labour and the left in general promoted so heavily in the run-up to the changeover of power.

    The “massive increases” you cite have been kept by National. It seems strange that National is “careful” because they retain it, but Labour is irresponsible because they institute it. Moreover, the fact that National has retained it would seem to indicate that the public do in fact agree with ideas from the left and that retaining those policies is necessary for National to remain in government.

    I think the balance is far more delicate and cannot be claimed outright by either side. There are many on both sides who, if they could be dictator without fear of compromise or electability, would advocate far more extreme notions.

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  68. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    A quick check of Dr Norman’s twit stream reveals this gem:

    @mitchellandr Yes and without taxes you wouldn’t have public health, education, biosecurity, law, the stock exchange etc

    It’s unclear whether he means there would be no private education without government, but the assertion that we would have no stock exchange is, um, creative.

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  69. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @TJ: “Without government or some other central authority to enforce contracts, most markets would fail.”

    Completely irrelevant to the statement you are challenging. The proper role of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens including the enforcement of contracts. The improper exercise of power damaging markets in pursuit of political advantage is very frequently the cause of market failure. Ask Air NZ.

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  70. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @scrubone, someone should also point out to the redGreen that education vastly preceded state provision.

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  71. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    I know this is hard for Russell Norman to understand, given he has never worked a day in the private sector in his life, but even more importantly, has clearly never run his own business or been self employed – but tax is a burden. And an enormous one at that. Russell does not know this as he is a net taker from society, being paid by the productive members of it.

    Self employed kiwi businesses and small business owners will most definitely feel highly agitated at this comment. People out there are hurting. In your first and second year of business you can end up paying two years’ of tax at once with provisional tax. Then you are the government’s unpaid GST collector. Then you have all manner of ACC levies to pay. IRD bankrupts people and destroys their livelihood every day and this cloistered anti-progress fucktard wants to tell us tax is not a burden?

    And this isn’t even beginning to look at the enormous tax compliance costs of hiring staff.

    My own father had his business (and marriage) destroyed by the bureaucratic obstinacy of ACC and IRD after a period of depression… I wonder what Wussell would have to say about that. Probably that he deserves it given my father is not a public servant or champagne socialist Green/Labour voter.

    I know people who have taken their lives due to tax debts and the IRD’s attitude. Obviously these cases are at the extreme end of the spectrum but the point is that being in business is an extremely hard slog compared to pulling a huge parliamentary salary in plush offices with gilt plated pension schemes (whoops Russ, we will overlook your party’s rorting of the super scheme for now).

    In the immortal words of our inimitable Redbaiter, Russell Norman, you are a disgusting intolerant closed minded bigoted crawling straw chewing sister loving pig fucking pants pissing little neo-fascist. And that is on a good day.

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  72. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    i love the “fair share” argument.

    the left will never tell you what “fair share” means because they would have to admit it means – taxing as much as possible out of anyone who is slightly above average.

    This is a misdirection. Taxation has very little to do with fairness.

    When you buy a car, you have decided that you would rather have the car than the money.

    When you pay tax to support people on welfare, you think that you would rather have the money than pay it to a DPB mum. That this is a mistake is obvious if you considered what would happen if everyone did that and there was no DPB. There would be pretty awful scenes played out every day, an epidemic of prostitution, children growing up feral. In fact, all the problems people complain about now would be amplified many times over.

    You will end up paying for this one way or another. You will have to fund prisons to house the feral kids when they grow up; pay massively higher insurance bills to cover the costs of the crimes they commit; avoid downtown because it’s full of homeless people and hookers, etc.

    Look, everyone can agree it would be better if they individually paid no tax and everyone else picked up the tab, but that is fantasy land. We pay tax in order to make society liveable. Much of this occurs by bribing useless people not to be a social nuisance – unfortunately they require quite a lot of bribing. It’s worth it because the alternative is worse.

    The only argument the right ever come up with for cutting welfare is that it will make people “responsible”. Dumb argument: one of the reasons they are on welfare is that they are irresponsible. You can’t force a lot of people to be responsible. It doesn’t work.

    Don’t think of tax as money wasted. Think of it as the cheapest way to stop poor, stupid, feckless people fucking up your life and getting in your way and you will be mostly correct.

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  73. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,700) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    It’s unclear whether he means there would be no private education without government, but the assertion that we would have no stock exchange is, um, creative.

    Fill in the gap scrubone: An example of a country that has a stock exchange yet does not impose taxes is _______ .

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  74. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    The proper role of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens including the enforcement of contracts. The improper exercise of power damaging markets in pursuit of political advantage is very frequently the cause of market failure. Ask Air NZ.

    Yes, the purpose of government is to provide the market interventions you want, and not those others want, because you say so.

    You’re a tired old blowhard who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Quit wasting my time.

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  75. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    It seems strange that National is “careful” because they retain it, but Labour is irresponsible because they institute it.

    National have by and large carefully pared back Labour’s spending. That was my point – they have taken pride in being careful and instituting change without rocking the boat too much. Labour deliberately and openly spent all the accumulated surpluses before National got in. They were irresponsible, and proud of it.

    Moreover, the fact that National has retained it would seem to indicate that the public do in fact agree with ideas from the left and that retaining those policies is necessary for National to remain in government.

    Labour put in place a number of policies that were deliberately designed to blow up politically if they were removed – WFF, student loands, etc. They appealed to naked populism – I don’t consider that a responsible, balanced government.

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  76. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson (1,089) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Even if every person in New Zealand received approximately the same income, we would still have to tax them, because markets simply aren’t very good at providing some of the things we need.

    I’m not suggesting everyone should receive the same income, simply that inequality can become excessive and the marginal benefits of inequality reduce as it becomes more extreme.

    No. The primary purpose is to offset the effect of market failures.

    I agree with this. I don’t think I made my argument particularly well, but the point of enabling people to participate in the economy is that it is more efficient. Health care redistributes income to improve health without which people are unproductive. Education redistributes income to improve education without which people lack the skills to be productive. Welfare redistributes income (in theory) to help people out of the poverty trap which should, hopefully, make them more productive in the long run. Again, these are simplifications but I would agree the notion of “market failure” as being the bounds in which the government should act.

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  77. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    “Markets sometimes fail.” – true that. usually after the market has been fucked with by the government.

    Wrong.”

    So umm can you point out a recession or depression that wasnt caused by govt interference? and if you can, for double points, show me one that wasnt prolonged by govt interference?

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  78. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @TJ: “Think of it as the cheapest way to stop poor, stupid, feckless people fucking up your life and getting in your way and you will be mostly correct.”

    Unfortunately you then empower them to fuck each other even more and dump an even greater burden on the next generation.

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  79. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Fill in the gap Yoza: An example of a country that has a supermarket yet does not impose taxes is _______ .

    Yet, no one in their right mind would claim that taxes are responsible for the existence of supermarkets.

    Note I didn’t claim that taxes had no part in a regulatory environment (that a stock exchange exists in). I claimed the link was creative, meaning it stretches credulity.

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  80. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @TJ, and you are an idiot who can’t tell the difference between creating a market and intervening in it.

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  81. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    “Markets sometimes fail. The state attempts to ameliorate the failures. Get over it.”

    Markets are meant to fail sometimes. That’s how it works. And the state needs to stay the hell out of it. Get over that commie.

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  82. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    Economy grew fastest with no income tax-

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-09/us-economy-grew-fastest-no-fed-and-no-income-tax

    IOW, tax retards the economy, therefore it is a burden.

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  83. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    Weihana (3,740) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    ***********

    Your arguments require a detailed response, but this is not the place, and I do not have the time.
    Ergo, this comment has been truncated.

    Perhaps you could define when “Income Redistribution” became an accepted objective of taxation?
    When I worked for Frank Holmes’ NZ Planning Council, at a time when Don Brash was a member of the Council, income redistribution was a hotly debated issue. It was never settled.

    The case can be made for excluding all but basic health services (personal health insurance required) , and all tertiary education (why should a lowly paid , unskilled worker pay for the education of high income earners?), with personal loans replacing trhe current system. Welfare, it can be argued, should be limited to real hardship, unemployment benefits time limited, and super paid on need.

    Those would be sensible economic objectives. But they ignore the political dimension, and the desire lf those elected to govern to spend others money – and secure re-election.

    If anyone wishes to pay additional taxes for redistribution, that should be their right. But it should be voluntary.

    The argument over a flat dollar tax v flat % tax is specious on many grounds. A tax set at. for example, $2000 pa for every adult worker may not raise sufficient revenue to meet core costs. To meet core costs from a flat $ tax might impose an impossible and uncollectable, burden on those least able to pay. But a flat % is fair to everyone, be it 10, 15, 20 or 25 %. The actual % then becomes the issue……. and adjustments are made more easily.

    Oh hell…,one could go on and on…..

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  84. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    the purpose of government is to…

    And that’s the root of the disagreement.

    Asserting your position on it doesn’t disprove the other guy’s case about tax, it just shows where you build your argument from.

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  85. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    I know it’s pretty standard in politics to question the sanity of your enemies opponents…

    Some of these stories about “Dr” Norman though…; the guy does seem to be on a different planet!

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  86. Redbaiter (9,098 comments) says:

    You will end up paying for this one way or another. You will have to fund prisons to house the feral kids when they grow up; pay massively higher insurance bills to cover the costs of the crimes they commit; avoid downtown because it’s full of homeless people and hookers, etc.

    THIS IS A FUCKING LIE AND YOU NEED TO STOP REPEATING SUCH CLEARLY UNTRUE BULLSHIT.

    There are many communities across the globe much poorer than our society and with virtually non existent tax levels and this does not happen.

    GET IT TJ?

    IT DOESN’T HAPPEN.

    And the example economy referenced in my post of 1:48, where there was no tax paid, the situation you describe WAS NOT PRESENT.

    If you can’t debate an issue without deliberately repeating the same lie time after time after time then you’re just wasting every one’s time.

    You commies, all you ever have are lies and propaganda, and the belief that if you only repeat them enough, they will be accepted as truth.

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  87. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,701) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    National have by and large carefully pared back Labour’s spending. That was my point – they have taken pride in being careful and instituting change without rocking the boat too much. Labour deliberately and openly spent all the accumulated surpluses before National got in. They were irresponsible, and proud of it.

    Debt to GDP was around 33 percent when Labour came to power. It was about 17 percent when they left.

    They also instituted Kiwisaver recognizing the long term threat of an aging population.

    Not sure I see these results as indicators of irresponsibility.

    Labour put in place a number of policies that were deliberately designed to blow up politically if they were removed – WFF, student loands, etc. They appealed to naked populism – I don’t consider that a responsible, balanced government.

    Why is this social spending “naked populism” but other social spending isn’t? Appears to me to be just a matter of degree rather than any fundamental shift in values. Paying for someone’s seventh form education is legitimate but contributing to their undergraduate educaton is morally intolerable? Giving welfare assistance is legitimate but trying to improve the circumstances of “working families” and thereby increasing the incentives to get off welfare is irresponsible? Of course I could not address all the arguments around these issues with such a simplistic analysis and I don’t even think Labour’s implementation was ideal. But I just don’t see it as reckless or irresponsible.

    (Shanes Jones proposal to regulate the supermarkets. That would be irresponsible in my view.)

    Moreover, I thought the problem was that Labour couldn’t convince the public to agree with their ideas, not that the public is too stupid to know how wrong their ideas are.

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  88. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    “Debt to GDP was around 33 percent when Labour came to power. It was about 17 percent when they left.”

    They transferred public debt to the private sector via taxation and other means. They also left a bloated public service and spending commitments that burdened the future and forced immediate borrowing to cover the developing GFC.

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  89. Weihana (4,557 comments) says:

    flipper (2,433) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Your arguments require a detailed response, but this is not the place, and I do not have the time.

    Agreed, neither do I really. But I do want to comment on the what you said below.

    (why should a lowly paid , unskilled worker pay for the education of high income earners?)

    I find this argument somewhat specious because it suggests that only the poorest among us can receive government transfers since if they pay at least some tax then tax is being transferred “up” to people with more means. But in general it is the tide of taxation that counts which is, in general, from those with means to those without. While not always the case you will generally find that the lowly paid also receive transfers from the government (health, education etc. etc.)

    But more importantly I am quite convinced that the lowly paid and unskilled worker will not have any job, whatsover, in the relatively near future (2-3 decades). I think technology is bringing about a transition unlike those in the past. Unskilled labour, while simple, relies on human abilities that have been hard to replicate with automated technology. I believe that will change and is already changing. Once that happens you have a large pool of people who simply cannot participate in the economy because unskilled labour is no longer scarce.

    The only way to participate is to have skills that (I assume) can’t be automated and therefore government investment in skilled education is a worthwhile goal and at least as important as planning for the aging population that we are already thinking about.

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  90. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    @Tom – Thanks for your points. They’re always well made. And I agree with this statement you made: “most people would find it pretty awful to live in a society with lots of desperately poor people”. Since I agree with that, it seems illogical that we force money out of everyone’s hands to address poverty instead of leaving them to purchase “non-poverty of others” (commonly called charity, actually a way to purchase “feeling good” or “not feeling bad”). Then they’d get to have both the result and the pleasure of engaging in voluntary exchange *and* they’d apply all the extra attention to ensuring the purchase leads to the result that governments just don’t do.

    This exact point is one of the key areas where it’s clear to see the different approach to *people* between the left and the right. The right knows that the majority of people will spend enough on charity if left to their own devices i.e. they will get more utility out of helping someone else than spending more time and money on material goods and such after a certain reasonable point. Much of left assumes we’re all evil (except them) and must be compelled to help others (by them) or it won’t happen. Much of the rest of the left agrees with the right that charity would work, but don’t think it’s dignified to expect people to get by on charity (which is quite visible) as opposed to state welfare (which is blind). But, we’ve seen that blind welfare tends not to work. Strings have to be attached – and any short term “shame” is a valid price to pay for the long term benefit of receiving money from someone who actually actively works to stop you needing it.

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  91. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,704) Says:
    September 19th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Fill in the gap Yoza: An example of a country that has a supermarket yet does not impose taxes is _______ .

    Yet, no one in their right mind would claim that taxes are responsible for the existence of supermarkets.

    Note I didn’t claim that taxes had no part in a regulatory environment (that a stock exchange exists in). I claimed the link was creative, meaning it stretches credulity.

    The stock-exchange, like the supermarket or any form of sophisticated economic activity would not exist without a state possessing the mandate to raise the taxes responsible for creating the infrastructure within which such institutions operate.

    Without taxes there is no supermarket or stock exchange, I would argue that no one in their right mind would claim such sophisticated forms of economic activity could exist without taxation. The link is not creative or stretching credulity, it is a banal statement of fact.

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  92. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    Tax is an horrible necessity. I certainly don’t skip and whistle a happy tune each time I write a 20,000 dollar cheque to the government. Although, I wouldn’t mind so much if it were being spent wisely.

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  93. Simon (727 comments) says:

    Tax is wealth stolen from the productive by the State who trickle some of it down to the feckless.

    Wussel is simply a Statist thief.

    This isnt ideology its 5000 years of human history.

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  94. iMP (2,387 comments) says:

    OK Nat Research Unit. Please word-search “tax burden” in all Norman Hansard references for last 5 years and post to Kiwiblog. BAM!

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  95. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    The purpose of the tax system must be to transfer income. If it did not, then clearly it would be more efficient for people to directly pay for their needs.

    These transfers have different dimensions:
    – From the future you to the current you. E.g. when taxation pays for education
    – From the current you to the future you. E.g. when the government borrows instead of taxing
    – Between people at different life stages. Again, education fits this a bit – people tend to have children at a point in their life when they have less money. Taxation pays for education for your children now, but the implicit promise is that we’ll tax you later to make up for it
    – Between people with different opportunities. For example, from someone who is able bodied to someone who is disabled
    – Between people with different outcomes. For example, from someone who works to someone who does not

    Each of these have different philosophical underpinnings. Some transfers are on the basis that it’s more efficient for the government to give you money now and tax you in the future than for you to borrow. Because you couldn’t borrow, or because the government pays a lower interest rate than you would. The logic for doing this depends on this actually being true, on the government buying education at least as well as you would buy it yourself, and on the deadweight costs of government not outweighing the efficiency gain.

    Some of these transfers are based on real or perceived market failures – that people would buy less education if they had to borrow money themselves than if the government does it. Again, a serious conversation would include information on whether or not this is actually true, and if true whether it was really a problem that needed solving (are some people over educated?).

    Some of these transfers are based on some form of moral belief. So we transfer from those who are able to those who are disabled. This seems self evidently good and just, but I would note that a friend of mine recently had a Downs baby. She was tested beforehand, and for religious reasons chose not to terminate. Her baby is a delight, and I don’t disagree at all with her choice. But it was a choice – should I (and other taxpayers) pay for that choice?

    Others are based on a perception of rights. Someone who doesn’t work should have a right to a “decent life.” This may or may not be true, I’m not convinced it’s a right, but I do have a belief in a safety net. A safety net may be different than a “decent life.”

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  96. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    “The purpose of the tax system must be to transfer income. If it did not, then clearly it would be more efficient for people to directly pay for their needs.”

    Starting with a false premise is a bad look. Transferring income in the sense you assume came far down the list of tax justifications. Taxing to support the ruler and/or his armies came first. Then to support the rest of his bureaucracy, national infrastructure and monuments. More sophistication led to public good and collection efficiency justifications. None of these were based on income redistribution of the kinds you list.

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  97. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    The stock-exchange, like the supermarket or any form of sophisticated economic activity would not exist without a state possessing the mandate to raise the taxes responsible for creating the infrastructure within which such institutions operate.
    Without taxes there is no supermarket or stock exchange, I would argue that no one in their right mind would claim such sophisticated forms of economic activity could exist without taxation. The link is not creative or stretching credulity, it is a banal statement of fact.

    I said “no one in their right mind would claim that taxes are responsible for the existence of supermarkets.”

    You respond by saying that without taxes, supermarkets would not exist. Your argument is that government regulation allows the economy to thrive and governments tax. That’s an indirect link. Public health, yes, that’s tax. Private business, not really directly derived from tax.

    And you don’t even answer my point. My point is that supermarkets exist because private businesses developed the idea. If those private individuals had not done so, they would not exist. Sure, government regulation assists in the civil society which allows such businesses, but you don’t credit the canvas maker with the masterpiece because he supplied the necessary background material.

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  98. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    @scrubone: you say “no-one in their right mind would claim that taxes are responsible for the existence of supermarkets.” Yoza then, broadly speaking, asserts that taxes are responsible for the existence of supermarkets. Following your own logic, he’s not in his right mind. You then attempt to engage him in argument. Why would you engage someone who’s not in their right mind in argument?

    :-)

    (BTW: I really like your canvas analogy. Wish someone had used that with Obama’s “you didn’t build that”

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  99. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    With a vigorous Tony Abbott Government just installed in Australia, now is not the time for Russel Norman to start up a New Zealand DPRK reenactment society.

    Although the sight of Russel Norman bend over in a Rice Paddy all day planting rice plants by hand does hold some allure.

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  100. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Taxation isn’t a burden – it’s the way to stop working people from having more money to spend than a beneficiary – keep up comrade.

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  101. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    This one is addressed to DPF as I’m not going to read 100 other comments. Sure it has been voiced above but you are taking this far to literally (perhaps knowingly). Yes tax is a burden to pay. The purpose of tax is a due to society, which should not be seen as a burden. Semantics. Pot stirring of the highest order.

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  102. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @itstricky, fantasy. The purpose of tax is various – to fund Govt policies, to discourage activities deemed harmful, to pay off debts, to bribe voters. A due is not a purpose. A due can be a burden. Tax dues have been a sufficient burden to kill very many businesses and bankrupt many individuals. They are indisputably a burden. To deny this is to show extreme ignorance, quite inexcusable in a supposedly senior politician.

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  103. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    “The purpose of tax is a due to society”

    So anyone not paying tax is a burden on society. And some people get upset when we call them bludgers. Go figure.

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  104. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    Russell Norman is a communist who has never lived in the real world. What a dork.

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  105. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    After careful consideration of the totality of the outputs from the ginga whinga, his flag reclamation endeavours, his innovative money printing strategy, his bare-faced lies and, updating in real time for his assertion at the petroleum forum just concluded at which he claimed that global warming was “rampant”, I have arrived at the considered view that he is indeed an odious bullshitting little cunt to be avoided at all costs.

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  106. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    I knew that when I first noted that his beady little eyes were far too close together Leonardo! :)

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  107. RandySavage (222 comments) says:

    the only comments worth reading on Kiwiblog are the ones hidden

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  108. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    your’s certainly wasn’t worth it.

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  109. libertyscott (359 comments) says:

    The man is a burden himself. We are all forced to pay for his existence and proclamations to demand people be forced to pay for what he likes.

    What astonishes me is that his inane mutterings, such as his previous affection for QE/money printing for a small currency, don’t get utterly eviscerated by the MSM.

    Of course I’m biased, as he engaged in name calling and personal abuse against me on the Green’s blog, which is kind of the level of engagement he is good at.

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  110. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    I guess I’m the only person here who drives on public roads, was educated at a public school, and receives treatment from the public health system.

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  111. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    The purpose of tax is various – to fund Govt policies, to discourage activities deemed harmful, to pay off debts, to bribe voters.

    Err… no. As gump quite rightly points out, they *actually* fund all those things which got you where you are Alan.

    Tax dues have been a sufficient burden to kill very many businesses and bankrupt many individuals.

    A business, just like an individual has a due to society. To fund the what is seen by all citizens as the general good. If a business sees that as a burden, then they shouldn’t be in business. Arguments about how much tax to pay and whether paying to much is a burden are completely different to the purpose, which is not.

    And, if they can’t pay it, they shouldn’t have been in business in the first place. You’re not seriously trying to say bankrupts are caused by taxation? Que?

    To deny this is to show extreme ignorance, quite inexcusable in a supposedly senior politician.

    Bollocks. It’s semantics. You knows what he means, DPF is just pulling hairs.

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  112. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    So anyone not paying tax is a burden on society. And some people get upset when we call them bludgers. Go figure.

    There are just a –few– more taxes than PAYE. Go figure.

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  113. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    To deny this is to show extreme ignorance, quite inexcusable in a supposedly senior politician.

    To requote this and add more, I think the only part of any of his “proclamation” that shows ignorance is that he didn’t realise/know that the full terminology included the word “burden” to indicate a due rather than the emotive meaning of the word. Getting that sort of thing wrong off the cuff is probably why Cunliffe nipped any prospect of him being Finance Minister, that’s for sure. Social media -: preserving your f’ups for eternity.

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  114. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Tax is theft…theft is a crime. The prevention of crime (violations of individual rights) is Governments soul legitimate and non contradictory function….To commit such crimes itself invalidates that Governments moral license to exist. Here endeth the moral lesson…

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  115. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Tax is taken to fund things the people DO NOT value…..Because if they did the market would provide it without coercion being needed…

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  116. Bogusnews (474 comments) says:

    I remember when Labour was first thrown out. Sir Roger Douglas stepped up in parliament and explained that the 41 additional taxes Labour had clobbered us with meant the average family was paying an additional $1000 a month in tax.

    More importantly, there was no perceived gain. The bloated health service’s waiting list had doubled, ACC had a 2Bil deficit, we didn’t have an air force anymore etc etc.

    I can’t see any other way than seeing all this tax as a burden. If you pay much more,but get nothing from it, then what else can it be?

    I don’t believe anyone with common sense could ever be so stupid as to vote for the greens, so their entire constituency comprises of little more than some varsity students, a few bearded ladys and some silly old buggers.

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  117. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    @itstricky, do you even know what semantics means? I doubt it, since you can’t put together any kind of logic or even English sentence that makes sense. You certainly don’t know anything about business since you don’t understand what a burden tax is to it.

    Norman is an ignorant, dangerous twit and you seem to be heading in the same direction trying to defend his ideological drivel.

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  118. itstricky (1,851 comments) says:

    do you even know what semantics means

    There’s more than one meaning to ‘burden’ Alan. How you use and interpret that is ‘semantics’. Norman has used one meaning without knowing the economic context in which it was used. That is ignorant for someone who wanted to be Finance Minister.

    DPF’s initial use of the word, however, is also the emotive one. Suggesting that tax is the “weight” on the shoulders of business. Of course paying tax on the weight of everyone’s shoulders, not just business. But the purpose of tax is not a burden. Without it, we wouldn’t have law & order, schools, hospitals, roads, doctors, sewerage…

    The second half of his post, the bit about the semantics of the word ‘burden’ is an economics context is correct but laboured and pedantic. It was clear that the guy just got it wrong.

    I doubt it, since you can’t put together any kind of logic or even English sentence that makes sense

    My English is perfectly correct (apart from the fact that I’ve accidentally typed ‘to’ rather than ‘too’ in places). Just because you can’t follow it doesn’t make it illogical Alan.

    You certainly don’t know anything about business

    True, I am not an economist nor a business owner. But the perceived “burden” to business is no more than it is to any individual who has to contribute to society.

    I prefer to just get on with it, secure in the knowledge the what comes out of my pocket helps everyone together and I quit with the ‘woe is me’ and high and mighty ‘look at me, I pay so much tax you better respect my authority’ speil. So economist, no. Someone who cares, yes.

    Norman is an ignorant, dangerous twit and you seem to be heading in the same direction trying to defend his ideological drivel.

    I’m not defending the stupidity of not knowing the context of the word. I am suggesting DPF, however, is overworking something when he clearly understands what Norman meant, or implied.

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  119. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Taxes are a bad, public services are a good

    Those on the Right would complain if their arses were on fire and they’d still complain if the fire was put out!!

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  120. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Of course if DPF is correct, the $30 million handout to Rio Tinto is a huge burden on taxpayers. Strangely, I haven’t seen the Right complain about this huge burden.

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

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  121. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Again I’m horrified that we may have a senior economic minister in a future government who does not think taxation is a burden on hard working New Zealanders who fund the tax system.

    So, Team NZ would go even faster if only they didn’t have to pay tax? Too funny.

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  122. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Russel Norman used ‘tax burden’ in his own press releases. Dick.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/whoops-russel-norman-used-tax-burden-his-own-press-releases-ck-146040

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  123. jcuk (693 comments) says:

    I can see that the self employed could consider tax a burden becuase they see it going and have to work it out but for the wage earner and for a lot of my life I was above the average wage PAYE makes it painless and one knows that one it doing one’s bit to look after the less fortunate in society and building up a ‘credit’ in society for when illness or age catches up with one.

    So while I don’t hold Dr. Norman in high regard for once he has it right and DPF is completely wrong.

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  124. jcuk (693 comments) says:

    Having now taken the trouble to read DPF I have not read so much silly crap in a long time and it is the selfish claptrap of the young and unthinking even though he is not imature.

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  125. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    @ross69, you missed out the important part

    `When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’

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  126. Yoza (1,879 comments) says:

    I can’t help noticing the fixation with the first sentence in Russell Norman’s tweet – “Sitting in Finance Cttee listening to Treasury officials describe tax as a ‘burden’.” – while completely ignoring the second sentence – “Right wing political ideology runs deep in Treasury!”

    Norman seems to be saying Treasury officials use language which complements an ideologically neoliberal agenda. The second sentence provides the context for Norman’s use of the word ‘burden’ in the first sentence. It would seem perfectly reasonable to assume Treasury officials were using the word ‘burden’ to define something with which certain sectors of society are unreasonably encumbered, rather than the technical term for ‘tax’.

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  127. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Tax is seen as a burden by those who think others are the net beneficiaries. Despite this, none of them would want to be a net beneficiary of the tax system themselves (apart from those who will become so in retirement) because there is some disparity of circumstance between net tax contributors and net tax recipients.

    In actuality, tax is no more a burden on the economy than spending taxpayer money is a blessing. An economy requires a certain amount of pooling of resources (via taxation) to provide the infrastructure for economic activity. Also a society requires a sufficiency of security and opportunity to its citizens – this is also provided for by a pooling of resources via taxation.

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  128. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    A real burden on the taxpayer is someone who sells public assets for below their value – if this government was a Board of Directors they would go on trial for their failure to perform their duties to their shareholders.

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  129. lolitasbrother (702 comments) says:

    September 20th, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I am interested also in the terms progressive and regressive taxation. The words have emotional contexts.
    I noticed over at Mr Eric Crampton he said that GST was not regressive. Technically true. We all pay the same rate unless we are money traders who don’t pay GST at all
    But lets say you earn $1 million on one year and I [alas] only earn $20,000 a year.
    Lets say we eat about the same amount , our GST on food is the same but its a lot to me, and of little concern to you.
    So now we are at 15% GST this shifts the relative burden on this tax to lesser incomed people, is that not so.

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  130. SPC (5,643 comments) says:

    Given GST replaced progressive taxation (top rate 66%) and sales taxes on luxury items (no sales tax on necessities like food and power, medical bills and rates), it’s introduction here was regressive.

    Even introducing a GST in a place with only flat rate income tax (instead of increase in the income tax or to facilitate a lower flat rate tax on income) would still be regressive as those who do not spend all of their money would have a higher level of savings as a result, whereas the poor would not be able to buy as much as they did before.

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