3 Aug 2008

Tax Cuts and the politics of selfishness

The calls for and promises of extra big tax cuts coming from the National Party Conference are the manifestation of the politics of selfishness.
They are argued with such self centred statements as:
“I want to avoid paying tax because other people gain a benefit from my tax payment. I believe that those people don’t deserve those benefits.”
“I want to avoid paying tax because I am, at heart, a charitable man and would gladly and liberally give alms to the begging poor so the State needn’t provide welfare schemes.”
“I want to avoid paying tax because I believe that the country can and should borrow against the future to fund any programmes I object my taxes being used to fund..e.g. social welfare, state education, public health services and, anyway, what are insurance companies for for but to provide these services from the investment individual insurance policies are designed for. After all individuals should take responsibility to provide for themselves by buying from private providers.”
“I want to avoid paying tax because I believe that the State, in providing socio-economic developments is providing too much and is employing too many people and thus growing too big - and, anyway, there are too many people getting assistance they don’t deserve.”
“ I believe I shouldn’t pay tax as private enterprise can provide all the services and infra-structure for the economy without the State being involved.”

In all these demands to avoid paying tax, in all the political grandstanding by the National Party the big question is avoided: “ Who pays private enterprise to build and provide all the infrastructure and services?” The answer is, of course, the non-tax paying individual who must pay a premium for the goods and services he wants at an ever increasing rate and price as our ever increasing electricity bills and the asset stripping of Air New Zealand and Rail N.Z demonstrate once private enterprise and the presumed benefits of the competitive economy were introduced under a previous National Government.

It is a pity that the present political discussion hasn’t explored or commented on the fallacies of individualism and the selfishness that underpins the tax cutting policies espoused by the National Party. New Zealand sorely needs the debate to be widened and treated with greater seriousness than we have seen and heard over recent months.

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