Following a piece in the Herald on “high-wealth individuals” who pay fuck-all tax, John Minto has declared at The Daily Blog that he’s had a gutsful of low-life bludgers. And I think he makes a bloody good point.
Wage and salary earners pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend but these layabouts hide their money in trusts, overseas bank accounts and tax havens of all kinds and leave the rest of us to keep the country running. Most of them have never done an honest day’s work in their lives. Miserable pricks.
But let’s just look back at that Herald article, shall we? At the multiple quotes given to act like people worth over $50 million paying less tax than a construction site foreman in Auckland is somehow not a problem:
“They do it because if there’s a way you can pay less tax, why wouldn’t you? I think they are a small minority though. The average person has got relatively little opportunity to avoid tax other than by reducing their liability, for example buying duty free.”
Oh, it’s okay because they’re a small minority! A small minority whose combined wealth is worth at least eight billion dollars. And note the assumption – made by a fucking academic at the University of Auckland – that everyone would pay less tax if they could, and thus it can’t be a bad thing.
Or how about Andrew Ryan – yes, it’s almost too perfect, isn’t it? – who thinks that actually rich people – people who have the resources to arrange their wealth into nearly two hundred separate legal entities – are totally paying their fair share of tax:
“These high-net-wealth individuals will most probably be paying more GST than most individuals. In order to get a true reflection of the tax paid by the wealthiest individuals, it is necessary to include the tax paid by their companies and trusts.
“Not paying personal tax on income at the top tax rate does not mean that an individual is not paying a fair share of tax, once tax paid by their associates is factored in.”
Gee. Wouldn’t it be nice if you or I could be arm-twisted into “paying more GST” because we’ve hidden our incomes and have lots of lolly to spend on super-yachts and designer clothing? What a terrible burden rich people bear.
It’s simple logic: if there were no financial benefit to fiddling with their income, rich people would’t have lawyers from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts on standby to fiddle with their income for them. Of course they’re not “paying their fair share”.
Let’s be fucking blunt here, shall we? We have an income tax to tax income. If you’re deliberately obfuscating your income in complex financial and legal arrangements so you pay less of that tax than a person on standard PAYE? You’re fucking scum. You’re a cheating, lying, dishonest, unethical shitheel. Sure, the law may draw fancy lines between “avoidance” and “evasion” and our political masters may continue to prop up a really complex tax system to help you on your way, but at the end of the day, you are profiting off New Zealand and refusing to pay your fair share.
(32 of you fucks aren’t even filing tax returns!)
You’re a dick. And please, please fuck off to somewhere where it’s “easier to do business”. You ain’t going to be missed.
And this brings me back to That Roofpainting Anecdote. Because sure, if you, as a party/leader of the left, want to try to adopt the inherently-individualistic Personal Responsibility message, go right ahead. But can’t you at least be consistent? Yeah, side with Random Guy Who Totally Exists about his evil bludging beneficiary neighbour. But then maybe you could also say something like,
Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.
He said: “see that guy over there, he’s a multi-millionaire, yet he pays less tax than I do. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”
From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t give back to the society which has provided them and their business huge amounts of support like tax breaks, investment incentives, infrastructure, and basic law and order and social welfare which may not go directly in their pockets, but is integral to being able to operate a business secure in the knowledge mobs of disaffected starving peasants aren’t burning your Auckland head office down.