Corporate Welfare: Interview with Jamie Whyte on The Nation

New Zealand could save billions by ending corporate welfare. Jamie Whyte appeared on The Nation this weekend to talk about why taxpayers shouldn't be forced to invest in businesses via government subsidies.

Click here to watch the video.

ACT releases its messages for the election campaign

“The ACT Party executive has today determined the four issues the party is going to campaign on,” said ACT Leader Jamie Whyte.

“The party will be issuing a comprehensive manifesto, but it is necessary to prioritise the policies. ACT has selected the issues that our polling has determined are of greatest concern to New Zealanders.

“Voters are concerned that property crime is out of control. ACT will be the only party campaigning to be ‘tough on crime’. ACT will also be the only party campaigning for ‘low flat tax’. Every other party is promising to use taxes to redistribute wealth. ACT says taxes should be low to encourage growth and jobs.

“Only ACT is going into the electorate with a promise to cut regulation. ACT believes the growth in local body council regulations symbolise the growth in government and ACT will campaign to ‘cut green tape’.

“ACT believes thinking New Zealanders are concerned at the divisive effect of race-based laws. ACT is going to campaign on the slogan of ‘One country, One law’.

“The party believes a significant number of voters agree with ACT and after the election we will have a block of ACT voters big enough to implement these policies’ ends.

“The country can re-elect a centre-right government and send Wellington a strong message by party voting ACT. Except in Epsom, where ACT’s David Seymour is going to win, the ACT party will not seek the constituency vote. The party will stand constituency MPs with a message to party vote ACT.”

A Tale of Two Parties

A Tale of Two Parties
Blog: Dr Jamie Whyte

18/06/2014

David Cunliffe has proposed many bad policies already during this campaign. First it was a return “industrial policy”, which would force taxpayers to invest in companies that had successfully lobbied the government; then it was restrictions on who can own companies; then their wonky new inflation-management policy; now making Kiwi saver compulsory.

The scary thing about this authoritarian economic nonsense is not only that Labour might sneak into government (along with the Greens, Internet-Mana and NZ First) but that, even if they don’t, a National government will probably find the ideas irresistible. The history of New Zealand politics has an unmistakable pattern: Labour comes up with the ideas and National runs with them.

The Resource Management Act was concocted by the Labour Party, then enacted by National in 1991. Helen Clark’s Labour government gave us a grotesquely enlarged state bureaucracy, Working for Families and interest free student loans, and we still have all of them under National. The Ministry of Economic Development – a government department devoted to crony capitalism, created by Labour in 1999 as a gift to the Alliance – has been quietly kept going within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Bill English actually boasts that he has made income tax even more progressive than it was under Labour. Even the vestiges of economic liberalism in New Zealand are due to Labour: specifically, to the heretical, free-market Labour government of 1984-1990.

So be warned. When you hear David Cunliffe’s foolish ideas, you are learning about your future under a National government. Unless, of course, ACT has enough Members of Parliament to remind National that it is not the administrative branch of the Labour Party.

How Voluntary is KiwiSaver?

How Voluntary is KiwiSaver?
Blog: Dr Jamie Whyte

18/06/2014

The reactions to Labour’s proposals for KiwiSaver have been generally negative. National, NZ First and even the Greens have said that KiwiSaver should be kept voluntary. People should still be able to opt out.

But the idea that KiwiSaver is now voluntary is misleading. Of course, employees can opt out, but employers cannot. The politicians who object to Labour’s proposal are concerned about the liberty of employees but not, apparently, about the liberty of employers. Why not?

Why do these politicians think that allowing employees to make choices will lead to better outcomes but leaving employers with choices will not? I cannot understand their ethics or their economic thinking.

It would be nice if one of them could explain their reasoning – especially someone senior from the National Party, since they like to present themselves as pro-liberty and pro-enterprise.

Cunliffe's Compulsory Opportunity

Cunliffe’s Compulsory Opportunity
Blog: Dr Jamie Whyte

18/06/2014

The Green’s have described their carbon tax proposal as a “green tax cut”. They justify this on the ground that the funds raised from this tax will be used to reduce other taxes. They are being tricky. There is no net tax cut in the proposal. And the new tax they plan to add is the green tax, not the taxes they would reduce.

Now Cunliffe is playing similar tricks in the way he describes his proposal to make employees’ contributions to Kiwi Saver compulsory. In the Herald this morning he is quoted as saying that Labour’s “aim is to … offer [retirees] the opportunity to have a little more than the basic standard of living”.

The opportunity? People already have the opportunity to save through Kiwi Saver or in other ways if they want to. Cunliffe’s policy adds no opportunities that people do not already have. Rather, it removes opportunities. You lose the opportunity to do anything else with the money that Cunliffe will force you to put into Kiwi Saver.

Describing a compulsion as the provision of an opportunity is a standard Orwellian trick of authoritarians. Cunliffe should be ashamed of himself.

Labour Engages in Schoolyard Behaviour

Labour Engages in Schoolyard Behaviour
Blog: Dr Jamie Whyte
18/06/2014

David Cunliffe and his Labour Party colleagues remind me of some of the bullies at my old high school. They would grab the forearms of weaker children and then force them to slap themselves in the face with their own hands. That is the effect of Labour’s policy of making Kiwi Saver compulsory, which they announced today.

Suppose you are an employed 35-year-old with a mortgage charging 6% interest. You would be well advised to use any money you can save to repay your mortgage. That is a better way of saving for your old age than investing in a pension fund, such as KiwiSaver. No pension fund can produce an annual risk-free return of 6%.

But Mr Cunliffe won’t let you. He will force you instead to invest in KiwiSaver, despite the fact that such investments can provide a risk-free return of only 3% or thereabouts.  He will use his superior strength – that is, the government’s power to confiscate your money – to force you to slap yourself in the face (financially speaking).

Or suppose you are 25-years-old and starting out on a career in which your pay will rise sharply over the coming years. It would be foolish to save $2,000 this year. That would materially damage your standard of living while you are earning only $35,000. In 15 years’ time, when you are earning maybe $150,000, you will be able to save much more at less cost to your quality of life. Any sensible person would delay saving until their income was higher, especially since consumption can be so much more enjoyable when you are young.

But no, if Mr Cunliffe becomes Prime Minister, he will stop you making this sensible choice. He will force you to save that $2,000 right now, whether you want to or not.

This is typical Labour Party policy. First, they wrongly assume themselves to know what is best for others; then they declare that people who disagree with them will be deprived of their liberty to follow their own judgements.

Ignorance and thuggery naturally go together, not only in school bullies but in politicians. With wisdom comes an appreciation of the uncertainties and complexities of your subject. A skilled financial adviser knows that how much people should save, when they should save and in what ways they should save are complex matters, and that the right answers vary from person to person.  A skilled financial adviser wouldn’t dream of commanding everyone to save the same percentage of their incomes in the same way at all times, even if he had the power.

To do such a thing you need to be unusually ignorant and even more arrogant.

The Letter - 19 May 2014

19 May 2014

 

20 cent Company Tax Rate

Last week Jamie Whyte, using Treasury’s figures, issued a fully-costed Alternative Budget showing how by removing $4 billion of corporate and middle class welfare the top personal and company rate could be reduced to 24 cents.  Jamie Whyte has used last week’s budget figures to update his alternative budget.  It shows the National government could have reduced company tax to 20 cents.

 

It would double growth                     

Using widely accepted economic models a top personal tax rate of 24 cents and a company tax rate of 20 cents would double New Zealand’s standard of living in just 15 years.  Not even the government claims that its new election year spending will lift growth.  As Jamie Whyte said at a campaign meeting on Sunday, reducing the company tax rate is good economics but not good politics because companies do not vote.  National’s budget just transfers money from one group to another.  Electorally it works because the groups that receive money, families, are popular and numerous and those who pay, higher income individuals, and business are not popular. 

 

Entitlement politics

The idea that people are entitled to other people’s money is now so widely believed, that when ACT questions the morality of entitlement neither voters nor politicians nor commentators can imagine any other way.

 

Voters

Jamie Whyte says he meets people who ask, “What are you going to do for me?”.  Students want him to take money from others whose circumstances they cannot know about to pay for their degree.  People who “believe that living in a democracy was something akin to being born into a mafia family. You get a say in who is going to be extorted and you can get your hands on a share of the proceeds”. 

 

Our politicians are communists

To quote Jamie, “On The Nation it became clear that all my opponents, with the possible exception of Peter Dunne, did not believe in private property. On the topic of Auckland house prices, Winston Peters claimed that “we are selling our houses to foreigners”. When I pointed out that houses are not collectively owned and that individual New Zealanders were selling their houses to whomever they chose, he insisted that I was wrong about this. And, as you can imagine, Russell Norman and John Minto agreed that the government should decide who you may sell your house to – or, in other words, they agreed that it is not really your house.”

 

The media thinks entitlement is just common sense

The Letter does not care if Linda Clark gives media training to David Cunliffe. (It does not seem to be working).  What worries us is Jamie Whyte’s observation about Linda Clark’s The Nation commentary: “Without any argument or evidence, she dismissed my detailed plans for cutting corporate and middle-class welfare and reducing tax rates as “mad”. It was just obvious to her that low government spending and low taxes is a mad idea.”   

 

State Radio

Guyon Espiner interviewed Jamie Whyte on Radio New Zealand and claimed that ACT by lowering the top rate of tax from 33% to 24% was making a “gift” to people earning over $70,000 a year.  He went further and suggested Jamie Whyte was trying to enrich himself.   As Jamie says, “Of course, the government could tax all the money you earn. But it does not follow that your post-tax income is a gift from the government. You might as well argue that your TV is a gift from your local burglar because he has chosen not to steal it.”  Jamie’s speech is on www.act.org.nz    

 

The politics of hate

In an earlier issue, The Letter predicted that Labour would come to regret joining in with Winston Peters in promoting policies that are thinly veiled attacks on the Chinese.  In a multi-racial country racism is a genie that is very hard to rebottle.  When our friend Michael Hirschfeld was Labour Party President, no Young Labour supporter would have thought it smart to blog as he did last week that Jamie Whyte is Jewish and that Jews care about nothing but money.  But then Michael would not have approved of today’s xenophobia

 

The only victim of the Judith Collins Affair is…?

The only victim of the Judith Collin’s affair is Shane Taurima, the TV presenter who David Cunliffe has ruled out of standing for Labour.  The TVNZ Inquiry found Mr Taurima had used his position at TVNZ to promote his Labour candidacy. To do this he used his TVNZ email account and held meetings after hours at TVNZ.  The Inquiry could not put a monetary value on the use Mr Taurima made of the state broadcaster’s resources. (There is an airfare that is disputed and Mr. Taurima has repaid).  In contrast, the Auditor General found that the Parliamentary Labour Party used hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to illegally fund their election campaigns.  No Labour MP was “ruled out” on those occasions.  Shane is a victim of Labour’s new standard.  Now it is just perception of wrong doing and you are guilty.  If that is the standard there are going to be a lot more Shane Taurimas being ruled out from standing.

The Letter - 19 May 2014

19 May 2014

 

20 cent Company Tax Rate

Last week Jamie Whyte, using Treasury’s figures, issued a fully-costed Alternative Budget showing how by removing $4 billion of corporate and middle class welfare the top personal and company rate could be reduced to 24 cents.  Jamie Whyte has used last week’s budget figures to update his alternative budget.  It shows the National government could have reduced company tax to 20 cents.

 

It would double growth                     

Using widely accepted economic models a top personal tax rate of 24 cents and a company tax rate of 20 cents would double New Zealand’s standard of living in just 15 years.  Not even the government claims that its new election year spending will lift growth.  As Jamie Whyte said at a campaign meeting on Sunday, reducing the company tax rate is good economics but not good politics because companies do not vote.  National’s budget just transfers money from one group to another.  Electorally it works because the groups that receive money, families, are popular and numerous and those who pay, higher income individuals, and business are not popular. 

 

Entitlement politics

The idea that people are entitled to other people’s money is now so widely believed, that when ACT questions the morality of entitlement neither voters nor politicians nor commentators can imagine any other way.

 

Voters

Jamie Whyte says he meets people who ask, “What are you going to do for me?”.  Students want him to take money from others whose circumstances they cannot know about to pay for their degree.  People who “believe that living in a democracy was something akin to being born into a mafia family. You get a say in who is going to be extorted and you can get your hands on a share of the proceeds”. 

 

Our politicians are communists

To quote Jamie, “On The Nation it became clear that all my opponents, with the possible exception of Peter Dunne, did not believe in private property. On the topic of Auckland house prices, Winston Peters claimed that “we are selling our houses to foreigners”. When I pointed out that houses are not collectively owned and that individual New Zealanders were selling their houses to whomever they chose, he insisted that I was wrong about this. And, as you can imagine, Russell Norman and John Minto agreed that the government should decide who you may sell your house to – or, in other words, they agreed that it is not really your house.”

 

The media thinks entitlement is just common sense

The Letter does not care if Linda Clark gives media training to David Cunliffe. (It does not seem to be working).  What worries us is Jamie Whyte’s observation about Linda Clark’s The Nation commentary: “Without any argument or evidence, she dismissed my detailed plans for cutting corporate and middle-class welfare and reducing tax rates as “mad”. It was just obvious to her that low government spending and low taxes is a mad idea.”   

 

State Radio

Guyon Espiner interviewed Jamie Whyte on Radio New Zealand and claimed that ACT by lowering the top rate of tax from 33% to 24% was making a “gift” to people earning over $70,000 a year.  He went further and suggested Jamie Whyte was trying to enrich himself.   As Jamie says, “Of course, the government could tax all the money you earn. But it does not follow that your post-tax income is a gift from the government. You might as well argue that your TV is a gift from your local burglar because he has chosen not to steal it.”  Jamie’s speech is on www.act.org.nz    

 

The politics of hate

In an earlier issue, The Letter predicted that Labour would come to regret joining in with Winston Peters in promoting policies that are thinly veiled attacks on the Chinese.  In a multi-racial country racism is a genie that is very hard to rebottle.  When our friend Michael Hirschfeld was Labour Party President, no Young Labour supporter would have thought it smart to blog as he did last week that Jamie Whyte is Jewish and that Jews care about nothing but money.  But then Michael would not have approved of today’s xenophobia

 

The only victim of the Judith Collins Affair is…?

The only victim of the Judith Collin’s affair is Shane Taurima, the TV presenter who David Cunliffe has ruled out of standing for Labour.  The TVNZ Inquiry found Mr Taurima had used his position at TVNZ to promote his Labour candidacy. To do this he used his TVNZ email account and held meetings after hours at TVNZ.  The Inquiry could not put a monetary value on the use Mr Taurima made of the state broadcaster’s resources. (There is an airfare that is disputed and Mr. Taurima has repaid).  In contrast, the Auditor General found that the Parliamentary Labour Party used hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to illegally fund their election campaigns.  No Labour MP was “ruled out” on those occasions.  Shane is a victim of Labour’s new standard.  Now it is just perception of wrong doing and you are guilty.  If that is the standard there are going to be a lot more Shane Taurimas being ruled out from standing.

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