Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cullen shows how dirty politics is

Well there must be something in it if John Key denies he would let Roger Douglas implement a "radical right wing agenda", although methinks he is partly posturing cleverly to say "go on take some votes on the right and be my preferred coalition partner".

According to the NZ Herald, Michael Cullen, who was in Cabinet with Roger Douglas and voted to privatise Telecom, among other things, is bleating that Douglas would "flog off the schools, hospitals and cut benefits". Hell, if only! Cullen shows who he wants to appeal to - those who live off the state, not those who pay for it, as if wasting billions of taxpayers' money on growing the state is a great success.

What Douglas DID say was far from radical:
- Get rid of the 39% tax rate, which National voted against in 2000 but hasn't the balls to get rid of today;
- Inflation adjust all tax brackets since 1999, which was Dr. Cullen's policy writ large, but isn't exactly flat tax or abolishing income tax which was ACT policy before;
- $40,000 p.a. income tax free threshold, which IS rather radical, but does mean that perhaps as much as a half of taxpayers would no longer be so - except for GST. That isn't a bad thing, except those people will still vote to get money spent on them;
- Abolishing Working for Families, which National voted against but hasn't the balls to get rid of;
- Introducing education vouchers, which National had as policy in 1987, but hasn't the balls to introduce;
- Rental out spare hospital ward capacity to be used privately - which should hardly be an issue if public funding isn't available to use them;
- Cutting state spending by $3-$5 billion per annum, which is laudable - except little detail about where and how.
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The sad thing is, in their heart of hearts both Key AND Cullen know that what Douglas did in the 1980s (and Cullen voted for it all in the House of Representatives and was in Cabinet for half of that government) was necessary and positive, and notwithstanding that the New Zealand economy is the better for it. Neither man is half that of Douglas, who faced down trade unions, farmers, manufacturers and countless interest groups suckling off the starving state tit and said "no more", as they were all suckling the productive sector and consumers dry.
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Douglas has proposed a moderate agenda, positive yes, but hardly major leaps forward of the Unfinished Business kind, although it IS a winding back of the state. A high tax free threshold is a major tax cut.
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However, nothing exemplifies the filthy lucre that is politics more than both men willing to take out the knives to Douglas to pander to the lowest common denominator, the Muldoonists, the Alliance retards and the second handers who constantly call for the "Guv'mint" to "do something", usually involving giving them some money or giving their favourite cause some money, taking it from someone else and telling people what to do. Key and Cullen know there are far more economically illiterate socialist types than productive types, so will sell out principle for politics.
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Pragmatic? Perhaps yes. Revoltingly insincere and hypocritical? I hardly need to say so.

1 comment:

john-ston said...

The problem is that in the eyes of the electorate, Sir Roger Douglas is bad news. I absolutely agree that what he did benefitted New Zealand, however, everyone remembers the pain that people went through during the 1980s & 1990s (with Ruthanasia). Key is trying to separate himself from that legacy of the National party so as to prevent voters from being driven away, and also prevent Labour from getting any ammunition to use against him like they brilliantly used against Don Brash.

I do support some of his ideas though, especially scrapping Working for Families and introducing a zero tax bracket.