Jared Phillips reviews some aspects of the 2008 budget and the response to it from a Marxist perspective
The qualification threshold for the top tax bracket has changed from $60,000 to $80,000, which provides some relief for the middle class,which is where Labour draws its support from. The media has seized on the fact that this might help prevent middle-New Zealand’s political migration to National. Those earning an annual $80,000 will have a weekly after-tax increase of $28 in Ocotber. For working people the tax cuts provide little relief. For those earning an annual $20,000- $30,000, after-tax weekly income will increase by $12 in October. Social Issues reporter Simon Collins has noted that in terms of percentage changes, lower income earners are in fact receiving bigger cuts with a 5.7 percent cut at 20,000, a 3.3 percent cut at 50,000, and a 3.6 percent at $80,000. While this percentaging won’t provide any comfort for those living on the hardest incomes and receiving lower dollar-amount tax cuts, it does help illustrate that increased incomes and wages, not tax cuts, have more relevance for the restoration of real incomes, and that this budget has done nothing to lift the abysmal income of beneficiaries.