I was browsing the Herald to keep abreast of national events when I ran into this new set of policies from Labour.
I saw they wanted to gradually increase the retirement age, and I was thinking “this is good stuff”.
Then I saw that they have absolutely no moral fibre and have decided to package a tax-savings change for Kiwisaver members as money for nothing. The moment I read this:
Employee contributions remain at 2 per cent, “because we know families are finding it hard to make ends meet right now, let alone save”.
However, employer contributions would increase by 0.5 per cent a year from 3 per cent in 2014 to 7 per cent by 2022.
I stood up and started swearing loudly at my workmates. Calming myself to the point where I was only enraged, I explained to people at work what they already knew – it doesn’t matter who pays the contribution/tax in name, as over time wages will adjust so that the incidence of the tax is different.
This isn’t a complicated idea, I remember racing through it in test while I was in secondary school and thinking it was one of the easiest things we have to cover. However, it is only taught in economics – and as a result, politicians can just blatantly lie about the impact of policy without the public realising. And f**k, people in the party have studied enough to know this – they KNOW they are lying to the public, but they are happy to do it because they want to get elected.
Lets look at this case. If as Labour says things are really a struggle for households, labour supply is likely to be very inelastic. This would suggest that a significant amount of the “burden of tax” would in fact fall on them. In essence, they are just increasing the minimum amount you have to put into the scheme to get your “sweeteners” back … which you are being taxed to provide in the first place.
This sort of rubbish makes me feel ill – it is deception, it is lying, and its straight out immoral. This is why I dislike politicians.
Update: Via Kiwiblog I see that they did sneak in an admission that it will impact on wages – look this is fine, but when you make your main selling point that you are increasing employer and not employee contributions, you make it sound like they have a different impact. Which they don’t.
How about, instead of packaging your policy in a way to trick people you are just honest about it – and then you will see if people actually want it. Its this thing called democracy.