Preventing the success that we celebrate

datePosted on 13:41, August 25th, 2009 by Anita

On the 1st of April this year I got a nice cheery tax cut because, according to our National ACT government, people like me on the top tax bracket are the hardest working and most deserving. As a private sector worker earning a good wage, paying my mortgage with some to spare, and barely noticing the recession I suspect they’d say I was exactly what success looks like to them.

Oddly, though, under the current policies of this government I’d probably still be on the sickness benefit able to work only 5-10 hours in a good week.

Not so long ago, due to health and crime circumstances beyond my control, that’s exactly where I was. Getting me back on my, “successful”, feet was a combined effort of systems, organisations and people; a genuine welfare system. I was fortunate to receive good welfare support from the benefit system, counselling through ACC’s sensitive claims, awesome care from the public health system, support from a state sector with a commitment to equity and workplace reintegration for people with chronic illness and disability, an open accessible education system, and a first class public transport system. Not to mention the variety of public servants in a wide range of organisations with the time and mandate to help me through.

How many of those systems will survive the current policies? How many face cuts that make the services useless or impractical? How many of those good people have been made redundant by the state sector cuts? Or overloaded by work from their departed colleagues? Or operating under new “guidelines”?

National and ACT may laud people like me who succeed in their eyes, but they’re taking away the small pieces of  support that make our success possible.

So the next time you see the politics of envy rhetoric, think of me: given a tax cut I didn’t need and wishing that every cent had been put into the services that we all rely on when things go wrong.

5 Responses to “Preventing the success that we celebrate”

  1. StephenR on August 25th, 2009 at 13:54

    How many of those systems will survive the current policies?

    Do you ever wonder how many would have survived the LAST lot of ‘spending good, cutting bad’ policies?

    On the 1st of April this year I got a nice cheery tax cut because, according to our National ACT government, people like me on the top tax bracket are the hardest working and most deserving.

    You really think that’s the main or only reason they like tax cuts? Nothing else comes to mind?

    So the next time you see the politics of envy rhetoric, think of me: given a tax cut I didn’t need and wishing that every cent had been put into the services that we all rely on when things go wrong.

    Do you ever get the ‘if you think you aren’t paying enough tax, write a cheque to Treasury’ question? :-D

  2. Anita on August 25th, 2009 at 14:01

    Do you ever wonder how many would have survived the LAST lot of ’spending good, cutting bad’ policies?

    Yep, all of them would have survived anything other than a change of government. Don’t you agree?

    You really think that’s the main or only reason they like tax cuts? Nothing else comes to mind?

    Well I have cynical moments where I think it’s unenlightened self interest :)

    Do you ever get the ‘if you think you aren’t paying enough tax, write a cheque to Treasury’ question? :-D

    Yep :) My normal answer is to say that putting the money back into the consolidated fund doesn’t alter the spending priorities. Direct donations right now, lobbying hard and voting for a party whose priorities are better aligned to me are the best solution I can see.

  3. StephenR on August 25th, 2009 at 20:31

    Yep, all of them would have survived anything other than a change of government. Don’t you agree?

    I do, but I also tend to think Labour and co were pretty good at finding ways to spend money, but not so good at finding ways to to make it. Unsustainable.

    Well I have cynical moments where I think it’s unenlightened self interest :)

    I think self interest is inherent to most politicians, right or left but applies to what closely affects them than policies for the wider country. Anyhoo re: tax I’m more open to the proposition that it’s not a simple issue.

    A LOT of money put back into the consolidated fund would change spending priorities, but one might have trouble attaining a critical mass for a movement dedicated to such an issue ;-)

  4. terence on August 27th, 2009 at 18:57

    Thanks Anita,

    Nice post.

    Terence

  5. Ari on August 30th, 2009 at 12:47

    I do, but I also tend to think Labour and co were pretty good at finding ways to spend money, but not so good at finding ways to to make it. Unsustainable.

    Better than being terrible at both. I should point out as well that good spending saves you money in the long-term anyway, so you don’t necessarily have to be great at making money.

    Part of that was probably also that they got spoiled by their surpluses and could have been a bit more efficient. Not that this government is giving us efficiency: they’re just cutting everything they don’t like.

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