“There’s not enough money” is a refrain the social services, education, and health sectors have heard for far too long to justify chronic underfunding. It’s simply not true.
Our politicians say they can’t afford to give essential services the funding they need to provide the necessities of life for the people of New Zealand. What they are really doing is choosing to direct funds elsewhere.
They have decided that taxpayers’ money is better spent on other options, and the less tax collected the better, especially from high-earning individuals and corporations. Sadly, some still appear to believe the fairy story that trickle-down economics and tourists will fund our schools and hospitals and house the homeless
New Zealanders coped with a top tax rate of 68% up until the 1980s, and our schools and hospitals were the better for it. Thanks to low interest government loans and a large portfolio of state houses, homelessness was unheard of.
Why then in 2018 does the very idea of progressive taxation give governments of any stripes palpitations? Is it that they are still hanging out with the wrong crowd? Big business and the very wealthy, while happy to take as much government money as they can get, don’t like progressive taxation and don’t hesitate to make their feelings known.
Governments, however, are all about the common good. They need to provide the same standard of services for everyone, rich or not so rich. They can’t just listen to the already wealthy, who know a lot about how to make money for themselves but a lot less about how ensure everyone enjoys a decent standard of living.
And there are other options. Bryan Gould pointed out recently that Michael Joseph Savage authorized the issuing of interest free credit to be used in stimulating new production. He suggests the government use this method of financing the provincial growth fund to invest in improving infrastructure, thus freeing up money to be used fix the problems of the funding-deprived social services, health, and education sectors.
“There is no money” is not an acceptable excuse for underfunding essential services. It never has been. Think outside the square, and the advice of The Business Roundtable. Find the money.