The Politically Incorrect Show - 01/12/1999
[Music - Die Fledermaus]
Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Wednesday December 1, 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!]
Talkback-hosting is very much like having an argument. You think of all the things you should have said, after the event. Yesterday's programme was a case in point. A rather voluble accountant & I got into a chaotic exchange on GST that bounced around, with a notable lack of logical sequence, from the actual nature of the Government Slavery Tax to its "efficiency." Now I have to admit that the very word "efficiency" causes me to have a violent physical reaction. It's like listening to someone scratching a blackboard with his nails. I am positively allergic to the word. And the reason for THAT is not that I am opposed to efficiency in principle - I am not - but that the pursuit of efficiency as a primary goal has blinded people to the BETRAYAL of principle that has gone on in its name.
The efficiency obsession, of course, was imposed on us by the ACT Party, in their old Labour Rogernomics incarnation, & their mentors in the Business Roundtable. And fair enough, to a point. The Muldoon regime presided over a command economy that was woefully INefficient, & only the most obdurate of left-wing die-hards such as the new Deputy-Prime Minister would refuse to acknowledge that things ought to change. Moribund state monopolies, overstaffed loss-making leeches on the taxpayer, were given a boot up their flabby bums & made to make money & provide a half-decent service for a change. But because they treated efficiency as an end in itself, the Roundtable Rogernomes never questioned the morality of anything they did. GST was the classic example. I well remember the then-Minister of Revenue, Trevor de Cleene, positively crowing to me about the huge increase in the tax-take that GST spawned - up from 30% of GDP under the ogre Muldoon to 36% under Roger Douglas. The Roundtable Rogernomes thought that was great. It was super-efficient! A 16% rise in the amount of money extracted from New Zealanders by force! And the force became more brute from precisely that time, as Douglas & de Cleene sent word round the IRD that they were to be ruthless in policing the new tax (part of its efficiency, after all, was supposed to consist in the impossibility of avoiding it). Now I maintain that the forced extraction of money from people who own it is immoral under any circumstances; to so brazenly increase the extent & brutality of the forced extraction is simply immorality compounded.
A prominent Auckland restaurant got the moral gist of GST right when it changed its menus so that there were two columns instead of one showing the prices of its dishes: one headed "What we would like to charge you," & the other headed "What the government now forces us to charge you." It doesn't do that now, of course, & neither does anyone else. We have been conditioned to think that GST was part of God's Plan, as inevitable as death, like all the other taxes we have been conditioned not to question.
I am regarded as a lunatic for saying this. I think the loonies are those who can't see it. Suppose it were suggested that robbery by private citizens of each other should be made legal, (on the grounds, perhaps that since the government does it we should all be allowed to!). Suppose that the subsequent debate focussed, not on the right or wrong of private robbery, but on the most "efficient" method of doing it. (Are your chances better in broad daylight or under cover of darkness? Is it easier to tie your victims up or immobilise them with tranquilliser darts? Etc.) Who then would be the lunatic party - the participants in that argument, arguing the toss about efficiency, or the talkback host who tried to bang their empty heads together?
Politically Incorrect Show, putting efficiency in perspective - 309 3099.
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