Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

The Politically Incorrect Show - 25/10/2001

Music - Die Fledermaus

Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show for Thursday October 25, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd, the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit & excellence against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.

[Music up, music down!]

Every fifteen years the New Zealand government carries out a review of the means by which it sustains itself - coercively acquired money. Theft. Or rather, it reviews the FORM of that theft to see if other forms might be more "efficient." Today, the latest Tax Review (it's not called a committee or a commission) presented its final recommendations. Its preliminary proposals a few months ago nearly caused riots in the streets, since they included a tax on equity in private homes. That monstrous idea was not among today's recommendations, the Review acknowledging explicitly that NO government not hell-bent on political suicide would implement it. And a good thing too.

The members of the Review, it turns out, were really the Act Party in drag. They desperately wanted to advocate a single, flat rate of income tax, but, knowing this government wouldn't go down that path, put up a compromise proposal of a two-tier structure - 18% up to $29,500 & 33% thereafter - instead. They may as well have stuck to their guns - the two-tier idea was immediately rejected by Finance Minister Michael Cullen: an object lesson, I would have thought, in going with what you really believe & be damned, since there's nothing to lose anyway.

The Review also suggested abolishing the exorbitant "sin taxes" on alcohol & tobacco & making good on the lost revenue with an overall increase in GST - the Act tax - of 4 per cent. That, too, was immediately scotched by Cullen, & his reason was again an object lesson - this time, in the way the mind of a statist works. The sin taxes, declared Michael, are a very effective way of discouraging certain forms of behaviour of which the government disapproves. If people have the temerity to do something they enjoy, in other words, tax the bejesus out of them. In my day-job capacity as a parliamentary correspondent I was present when he said this. There were no sharp intakes of breath, no vigorous questions from the Fourth Estate on behalf of beleaguered smokers & drinkers - just unquestioning (literally) acquiescence & a bunch of inane queries about matters of no consequence whatsoever. The idea that governments have the right to discourage, by compulsion, behaviour of which they disapprove is accepted by journalists, of all people, as a given. So too is the idea that governments have the right to expropriate OPM (Other People's Money) & do with it as they please.

Income tax (whether "flat" or "progressive"), GST & the sin taxes are, all of them, nothing less than legalised thuggery. I would suggest different terms of reference with a different set of givens for the next review of the tax system: given that compulsory taxation is theft, given that government is funded by theft, given that government exists to PROTECT us from theft & other forms of coercion - how MIGHT government be funded non-coercively?

That would be a fitting way to spend OPM for the last time.

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