Red Alert

Archive for the ‘Wealth’ Category

My new hero

Posted by on August 17th, 2011

I would never have imagined that my new hero would be a mega-rich American investor. But when Warren Buffett called for rich Americans like himself to pay higher taxes, I started to think that perhaps we are entering a new phase in humanity – where greed is not necessarily seen as good, where some of the wealthy are prepared to share and where the contributions of the not so well off are considered as important as those who have “made it”. Warren Buffet says :

“While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places……….

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.”

It reminds me of Sam Morgan who said last year

“The amount of tax people pay in different areas is not fair. The people that pay the most tax are working people.”

Back in the US of A Manhatten Millionaire Lawrence Benenson has joined the call saying :

“How much money do you really need? Give it back to the government, pave some roads.”

Scores of New York’s millionaires have signed on to campaigns encouraging “tax equality,”such as the group Responsible Wealth, that includes Edith Everett, a retired Wall Street stockbroker who says :

“People who are just scrimping and saving to pay their rent, they shouldn’t pay one penny more.  Rich people make their money on the backs of the workers.”

This is refreshing.  May we hear more like it in New Zealand.

No problem with people doing well.  Big problem with not paying fair share.

The Poor List

Posted by on July 29th, 2011

The wealth of New Zealand’s 150 richest people have grown by almost 20% in one year with the combined wealth of New Zealand’s richest burgeoning from $38.2 billion to $45.2 billion – the highest total ever.

But it seems enough is never enough. Having made their fortune, some of the Rich Listers are still demanding the  “freedom” to make even more money.  They want reduction in costs for business and excessive regulation addressed. I take that to mean the usual : cut workers’ rights, privatise ACC, reduce taxes. This is despite New Zealand consistently ranking as having the highest levels of business “freedoms” in the world.

They talk about “wealth creation” as if they have done it all on their own, without the help of governments, taxpayers, workers and the generations gone before.

The NBR editor-in-chief Nevil Gibson even called the Rich Listers “national treasures” in the headline of his editorial about the Rich List.

For goodness sake. What have we come to?

I want to know where the poor list is.

Yes, we talk about the poor, (occasionally) but they are faceless individuals.  If their stories are told, they are often blamed by the likes of John Key for having a “poor attitude”.

Being poor is nothing to celebrate, but we have to talk about it and face facts.

The question is how we better share wealth in New Zealand today.

Could the Rich Listers tell us their ideas for that – just for a change, rather than the continuing demand for more of the same that has led us to being one of the most unequal societies in the world.