Monday, April 28, 2008

Now we are sixed

Trev called himself a socialist, because he believed that everyone should have the opportunity to buy a Mercedes Benz. This is not to say that Mercs should have been made compulsory, nor that the state would provide one for those who couldn't afford them (or had pranged their last one). In that, Trev differed from both current Green and Labour policies respectively. The old man was a realist, an equality of access socialist.

It's worth bearing in mind with the current fad to dick around with GST. It was known at the time as God Save Trevor. I say, Good Shithouse, Trev. If there's one thing that the old man did well, it was GST. GST was a beauty. They don't build things like that any more.

The Goods and Services Tax was beautiful because of its simplicity. Anyone could work it out. If you sold something to a consumer, tax was ten percent of the price. To work out GST from the gross price, divide by 11. You don't need Excel for this kind of stuff, therefore saving anyone from having to buy useless crap for overheads. Make GST 12.5 percent? OK, divide by 8. To work out tax from gross, divide by nine. Slightly more complicated, but still within the grasp of many NCEA achievers.

While dime suggests increasing GST to 15 percent, and pascal suggests 17.5 percent because their software can do this thing, they are ignoring the beauty. It may be well and good for the geeks who have these tools at their disposal. For the Otara market street vendor haggling with a punter over some score, you'd need at least an abacus. There's the rub.

OK, how about we just take GST off food? What food? All food? Seafood? No GST on raw crayfish, but GST on mince pies? GST on street vendor nuts if they fry them, none if they're sold raw? GST on sushi, yes or no? GST off petrol? All petroleum based products? Motor oil?

These are questions only lawyers can answer. Lawyers are unproductive. Lawyers are the overheads from hell. Lawyers are gatekeepers for those with the scales of economy to employ them, as one blogger found out recently. Lawyers favour the rich.

Therefore, any attempt to meddle with GST will worsen whatever such a measure was designed to prevent. Organised money will absorb the change however they may, and there's one more barrier for the little man to do their own thing.

Colin Espiner ponders how the government can dig themselves out of this mess. It's rather simple and it's not new. NZ has to up its game. As a country, we have to earn our keep and not just rely on all that internet money that Canada wants. NZ must increase its productivity. While Labour can move pieces of paper about with the best of them, it's selling our stuff abroad that pays the bills.

That requires flexibility and lowering the risk barriers. It means cutting all the crap that is slowing this country down. It means that if the state invests in something, it expects a public dividend and is not just playing statistical silly buggers, focus group gropes and sectorial pay-offs.

Damnit, Alan Gibbs isn't on Facebook and I want to be his friend right now.