Goldsmith loves poverty | The Jackal

29 Jun 2020

Goldsmith loves poverty

Paul Goldsmith
You can often tell just how effective a progressive policy proposal will be by how much the right wing criticise it. The more socially beneficial, the more vitriolic and unhinged they seem to become.

That was the case when the Green Party announced their Poverty Action Plan yesterday. The response on Twitter was quite astounding; with many right-wingers claiming it would be the end of the world. The actual policy itself (PDF) is well worth a read, even if it’s just to get some perspective on how unhinged the right wing have become.

Unable to find any real fault with the Green Party’s economic policy initiative, the right wing has resorted to a desperate kind of disinformation, the type of propaganda that only their deluded core supporters could believe.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

David Seymour, Paul Goldsmith condemn Green Party's wealth tax plans 

Released on Sunday in the lead-up to the election, its Poverty Action Plan would introduce wealth taxes and new high-income tax brackets to pay for a guaranteed minimum income of at least $325 a week. 
But ACT Party leader Seymour warns this will send New Zealand in the wrong direction.
"At a time when we need to get New Zealanders back to work, the Greens want to suck the life out of the economy by taxing successful people harder and creating even more welfare dependency," Seymour told Newshub. 
"This kind of European socialism will only prolong the economic pain."

Actually, people on low-incomes having more money to spend is a great way to invigorate the economy. It's also a good way to ensure that they get the basic necessities their families require to survive with some dignity.

And National's Finance spokesperson Goldsmith says we need our small businesses to invest and create more jobs - not tax them more. 
"Rather than celebrating Kiwis doing well, the Greens seem to want to punish them," he says in a statement.

Paul Goldsmith then hastily wrote an ill-advised press release.

Higher Taxes Inevitable If Labour-Greens Win 

The Greens have proposed higher income tax rates, up to 42 cents in the dollar, and a wealth tax on people with more than $1 million in assets. 
The wealth tax would be particularly severe. A successful small business person, owning a $1 million house and a business worth $1 million would have to pay $40,000 a year for the 2 per cent wealth tax. 
The very real fear many New Zealanders have is that this current government, which has $20 billion available for election spending, will spend whatever it takes to try to keep its poll numbers up until the 19 September election. 
Then on the 20th, if they win, the smiles will drop and New Zealanders will be presented with the bill – higher taxes.

Today, RNZ reported:

Paul Goldsmith admits to blunder in criticism of Green Party's pledge 

National Party finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith has admitted to getting his facts wrong in a media release critical of the Green Party's pledge to transform the welfare system. 
Goldsmith subsequently put out a release stating that a wealth tax would be "particularly severe". In it, he used the example of a business owner who had a house worth $1 million and a business worth $1m paying "$40,000 a year for the 2 percent wealth tax". 
However, the policy outlined that taxing would only occur on wealth that was over the $1m threshold, and would also take into consideration mortgages as well as shared ownership. 
Goldsmith defended himself on Morning Report, saying the policy was vague on the thresholds. 
"Right at the very bottom [of the documents], there was a table that made the point that what they're talking about is a tax of over $1 million. 
"I quite frankly admit I got it wrong ... but when you look at the details in the press statement and all the policy documents it's not clear as to where the threshold came through. 
"I was moving in a fast-paced environment, trying to respond." 

You’ve got to wonder if the National Party chose Goldsmith as their financial spokesperson solely because of his name? I mean honestly...what a complete goober!

After being caught out wrongly claiming that the Labour led Government was spending more than any other country on its COVID-19 response, you would think that Goldsmith would keep a pretty low profile about now. Instead he went out on another limb and again lied about what the Green Party's Poverty Action Plan truly represents. Not only has Goldsmith displayed a lack of understanding about how marginal tax rates actually work, he’s completely misread the room in terms of the publics reaction to what is a balanced and transformational policy.

There is no question that if we want to do something substantial about inequality in New Zealand, a way to redistribute more wealth to those who need it the most is required. It should also be mentioned that in comparison to other countries, we actually have reasonably low tax rates in New Zealand. The problem is the cost of living in comparison to our low-waged economy and unfair taxes like GST disproportionately impacting poorer families. Obviously the only way we’re going to fix our high rate of inequality is by a progressive tax system like the one proposed by the Greens.

In fact this is a well thought out policy initiative, both in a political sense and in terms of its benefit towards social progress. Not only does it mark a clear line in the sand between the Greens and other political factions, it also targets the upper class, many of whom have chosen to sit on their wealth with a wait and see what happens policy during COVID-19.

Clearly the policy won’t have any negative effects for the vast majority of voters or cause the wealthy to flee the safety of New Zealand, so National’s cries of economic doom and gloom not only confirm exactly whom they represent; they will also fail to gain much if any traction with the general voting public.

So provided the Greens can strong-arm the Labour Party into negotiating on this well thought out policy post election, we could finally see an end to the grinding poverty that causes untold economic and social harm in New Zealand. I'm sure people like Paul Goldsmith will be livid!