Poverty, inequality and tax by Susan Grimsdell

I’m always puzzled that politicians, the ones who either run the country already or want to run it, fail to see that introducing policies that make things a bit more equal will make things better for everyone.

Who benefits from tax cuts?

For example, the National Party is campaigning on a promise of tax cuts, but their plan will benefit people who are already doing quite well, and benefit the poor hardly at all.  Those on $90,000 a year will get an extra $58/week, those on $15,000 will get $1.35.

Our Labour Party hasn’t done much better.  It talks the talk but hasn’t been walking the walk.

New Zealanders are portrayed as being kind and caring.  Doesn’t that mean we feel distressed to see people unable to afford school shoes for their kids, not to speak of living in cars and garages?  I always thought the first requirement for being considered kind and caring was to have empathy, which is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  I would not want to be in the shoes of tens of thousands of New Zealanders who struggle to survive, despite working all the hours of the day in drudgery type jobs in so many cases.

Addressing inequality

If seeing this level of inequality and poverty makes us feel uneasy and unhappy, and if most people’s goal is to be happy, why would anyone support a policy that fails to help poor people get a better standard of living and instead makes comfortably off people a bit more comfortable.  It makes no sense to me.

It also makes no sense economically.  If we are to get businesses on their feet again, we need money circulating.  We need people spending their money, not putting it aside for the future.  The future is here and now.  Poor people spend every single dollar and usually at neighbourhood shops.  Wealthier people “invest” most of their money, so they can  – guess what – make more money.  Paying off your mortgage does not help local businesses.

Every rational person should reject policies such as this tax cut.  We should stand up and say, as Jacinda Ardern did, “I don’t want a tax cut”.  We should declare that what we actually want is to stop gross inequality in our country, that we want to be able to stand up proudly and say that we are the kind of people who believe in looking after everyone.  It not only makes sense but it’s the decent thing to do.

Remember – we all do better when we all do better.

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