Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Milk the rich

As any newbie sharemilker can tell you, cows like getting milked. Titillated, in the parlance of our times. That's their motive to walk down the shed twice a day without much effort from the dog. Dilbert guy has thrown a googlie in the Wall St Journal aimed squarely at taxing the only people who have any money these days; the super-rich:
I can think of five benefits that the country could offer to the rich in return for higher taxes: time, gratitude, incentives, shared pain and power. 

HT Bernard Hickey. The Top 10 is on fire today.

I have been pondering this type of thing for some time. Take the Goff policy of a tax-free threshold for everyone at a cost of roughly a billion and a half dollars a year in real terms. A $10,000 tax minimum would at least have been a third of a Big Kahuna. Alas, Labour would then compound the other problem with the policy, in that there's no funding for it. Tightening compliance will not net a percent of the estimated swag required.

OK, so take that $1.5 billion a year and instead give every NZ born citizen who turns 25 years old the equivalent of the annual average wage in a lump sum.* That should do a number of things, least of all reduce our fucking awful youth suicide stats. Give them a tomorrow to aim for, the maturity and network of friends to do it with, and let them go.

* This money is not for export, and it's to be used for black and red purposes only. Red, in the case of early debt problems with credit cards, student or car loans. Black, in that it is for capital expenditure, setting up a home, business, research project, whatever.

Even just looking at this side of the equation, you can see all sorts of things that could go wrong with that half of it. A black market in repeat claimants, hyper-marketing to self-destructive youth by bankers. Maybe scratch the debt part and make it optional bankruptcy at 25 too. That'll scare the suits and brown out the loan sharks' pants.

Oh, and apart from serious violence offences, their criminal records should be wiped. Everyone deserves a second chance eh.

OK, so you've given every new 'dult a fresh start they've been aiming for during the first bit of growing up in NZ. $40,000 in plain Bill English. Add a multiplier of, say, five high school buddies starting a company, there's $200,000 starting capital right there. Lend against THAT, bankers.

37,500 people give and take year turn 25 every year, and I'm proposing another 37,500 or so people pay for it. Maybe less, depending on how philantropic NZ's super rich really are. I'm sure even Cactus Kate or other ex-pats would be keen on adopting more than one Fresh Starter. I'm sure there's enough snobbery in those circles to make it self-policing too, but there's always insurance in the form of publicly published names and estimated wealth, IRD and all sorts of rotten fruit to throw at avoiders.

Of course, charity without anonymity is slavery. You can't have the super-wealthy owning these young ones. It corrupts both. That's where Central Services aka The Gummint comes in and launders the investment. Maybe both sides have the right to request who their tagged benefactor/ee was after 5 years.

Yes, this clay needs some work but I reckon I'm working good stuff if the same materiel is recognised by Scott Adams.