Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Minister McClay Announces Formation of Oceania to Govern Western World #GATCA




 … [This post is not about FATCA, but Minister McClay states the pan-OECD information sharing mechanism of his press release is designed on a FATCA which] wasn't designed only to kill corporates, it’s about capturing the lives of individuals: it’s sharing information at the level of individual citizens, no matter where they live in the world, and on every financial asset they hold, including, therefore, transactions through them. If you’re married to an American, living in New Zealand, every detail of every transaction you transact through a joint account with your spouse, is likely being screened by IRD to be reported to IRS, or straight handed over; that’s all your details, with your names on it, not just some mere anonymous aggregate metadata which Progressives – surprisingly unsurprisingly invisible in this debate - are so concerned about: what do you think about that? Because if I were to legislate for myself access to your every financial transaction, I could describe your life down to its intimate details, indeed down to what’s happening in the bedroom.



… coercive Western welfare states are destroying our economic lives, after having first frog marched our private lives at gunpoint into the digital garrisons of state officials.


Civilisation is a movement toward privacy, an Orwellian surveillance state the opposite, and tax legislation, especially tax administration, has become the legislation and administration of surveillance and authoritarian rule, in contravention of the rule of law, and common decency. I




If only this post was satire. I’m taking a short respite from writing my critique of modern English literature – it’s a big task, after all - to broadcast this ‘breaking news’ – at least that’s how it should have been treated.

On this day of infamy, Wednesday, 29 October, 2014, New Zealand’s Minister of Revenue-Taking has announced, by way press release, the timetable for the roll out of a Pan-Western Police Surveillance State. Yet as far as I can (quickly) see, not one MSM outlet thought it newsworthy to report this formation of the foundation of mankind’s greatest nemesis, the totalitarian state; this particularly surprising given the size of the endeavour is not on a national scale, but a grand one dwarfing the old Soviet Bloc, and - because the Godwin is relevant – while not covering a land area as big as Hitler dreamed, bigger than what he achieved, as well as bigger, if I remember rightly, than Orwell’s Oceania in 1984. As I said in my last post, reciting a philosopher who understood A is A, the difference between welfare states and totalitarian states is was only time.

Here’s Minister McClay’s declaration in its totalitarian totality; let your mind stop on the notions I’ve highlighted:


Hon Todd McClay
Minister of Revenue

Media statement

29 October 2014

NZ to join global crackdown on tax evasion

Revenue Minister Todd McClay today announced New Zealand’s timetable for participation in a global automatic exchange of information aimed at cracking down on tax evasion.

G20 leaders announced the initiative in September 2013 - and in May 2014, New Zealand, along with all OECD countries, joined in the general declaration of support for the move. Australia, holding the G20 Presidency this year, announced their implementation timetable last month.

“Multinational companies that use base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) measures to avoid tax is a global problem – and we are committing to joining other OECD countries in finding a global solution.

“New Zealand intends to align its timetable with Australia’s and begin exchanging information on a voluntary basis from 2018, aiming for mandatory reporting in 2019. This will give New Zealand’s financial industry enough time to comply with the initiative”, says Mr McClay

The automatic exchange of information initiative will set a global standard for sharing information. It will operate much like the recently introduced US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act [FATCA] where financial institutions will provide information on account holders’ financial assets to their local tax authority.”

Mr McClay says New Zealand is firmly supportive of this global move to counter evasion.

“Tax evasion respects no borders so global co-operation is the way to combat it. Sharing information is a powerful weapon in that fight”.


Forget the considerable costs of this on the private sector - that is, on you and me - this central mechanism of the police state, the tax take, so large it is funding government activities which constitute up to half the spend in Western economies, here justifies the passing of a ‘global standard for information sharing’ putatively to be known as the Global Account Tax Compliance Act (GATCA). Noted by Mr McClay was the final brick in the wall leading to this near-global police surveillance prison, namely, that extraordinary piece of US imperialism known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA; I’ve written previously on why that Act is evil, and that post has become the sixth most read post on this blog, albeit two thirds read out of America even though it affects all of us with Minister McClay’s declaration today - I hope even one person on reading here will choose to become informed by reading that earlier post: FATCA - The New Zealand Officials' Report: A Crime That Deserves a Revolution

This blogger, and some few others who resist a big brother statism that gathers pace year on year, are lone voices in the wilderness anymore, and I know the score. Most people reading this, including every hypocritical progressive who was out on the street protesting the NSA and GCSB, will be celebrating this crushing of those scapegoat firms the Googles and the Amazons, even as with taxes fired into them, the cost of their goods and services will have to skyrocket, adversely affecting the standard of living of all of us. Noting that politicians won’t stop the rise and rise of the tax take, they can’t afford to in the short term and will never find an excuse to in the long term, until they destroy every public and private good created by free market capitalism. And don’t console yourself with the thought that via this declaration of a GATCA they’re only after the big boys or the fat cats: FATCA, which this information sharing is based on, wasn't designed to kill corporates, it’s about capturing the lives of individuals: it’s sharing information at the level of individual citizens, no matter where they live in the world, and on every financial asset they hold, including, therefore, transactions through them. If you’re married to an American, living in New Zealand, every detail of every transaction you transact through a joint account with your spouse, is likely being screened by IRD to be reported to IRS, or straight handed over; that’s all your details, with your names on it, not just some mere anonymous aggregate metadata which Progressives – surprisingly unsurprisingly invisible in this debate - are so concerned about: what do you think about that? Because if I were to legislate for myself access to your every financial transaction, I could describe your life down to its intimate details, indeed down to what’s happening in the bedroom. And soon it's not just Americans caught, under GATCA we're all in the global surveillance net.

While the economic disintegration of the West under its hubris of debt and welfare is a given, the reason Big Brother McClay’s press release hurts this writer is that in it resides the official sanction of New Zealand’s political party that once stood for small government, that the right of citizens to be left alone if doing no harm, and to be allowed lives private from the state, is long gone. And with that must have gone hope. Given the frightening powers of our taxing authority, operating above the purview of our Privacy Act, a government whose bureaucrats can routinely demand, search and analyse the financial transactions of any individual, has the private lives of every citizen open to it, with this information to be shared by massive bureaucracies around the world. ‘Automatic, autocratic information sharing’. I ask Minister McClay to watch one movie during his coming Christmas vacation - The Lives of Others: the movie which showed how the East Berlin surveillance state dehumanised and oppressed its population until it hurt so much they rebelled and struck down their Berlin Wall to reclaim their private lives from tyrants.

I will end by pointing out there is the odd redoubt of a freedom ethic making a valiant stand against the darkness, but in the end – and this is the middle of the end – they don’t have a chance. Companies whom – not ‘which’, companies are people - have awoken to their plight in the US are using a process called inversion to get out of the US tax state to lower tax jurisdictions, the latest attempt to escape being Pfizer. Also individuals incredibly are renouncing their US citizenship to avoid being spied on by all world governments, their lives reported back to the IRS – did you think you’d live to see the day Americans had to burn their passports to be free? And, of course, there are the tax havens.

In my last post I indicated how thanks to Panama we all get to enjoy the benefits of cheap shipping of product to New Zealand which increases the standard of living of all of us, and now I find amidst the predictable unseemly FATCA envy of Western politicians, such as Minister McClay, there is one tiny, unsurprisingly prosperous principality, holding out: Panama – again, note the highlighted sentence:

The South American nation of Colombia does not have its own version of FATCA, but its government wishes it did. That’s evident from its current tussle with neighbor Panama. The root of the problem between the two nations is FATCA-style reporting of bank data, or the lack thereof. Colombia wants it badly; Panama wants nothing to do with it.

Here’s a brief background:

Panama City boasts a thriving financial center, one of the largest in Latin America. Together with the Canal Zone it accounts for most of the country’s GDP. One reason for the Panamanian banking sector’s success is ring-fencing. This policy attracts capital flow from wealthy foreign investors all over the world. Banks in Panama don’t collect information on accounts held by nonresident depositors, so there is no information to share with tax collectors in other countries.[FATCA alters that policy, but only for U.S. accountholders.]

[Snip.]

Recently, Colombian officials asked their Panamanian counterparts to sign a bilateral tax information exchange agreement, known as a TIEA. The TIEA would have been reciprocal in nature, meaning it would oblige each signatory nation to collect and share bank information about the other nation’s residents. Panama said “no, thanks.”

A bouquet goes to Panama.

If a politician’s actions were governed by the best interests of those who voted them in, the pursuit of prosperity and the continuation of the highest standards of living any humans have achieved throughout history thanks to capitalism, they wouldn’t be seeking to destroy tax havens, but to become one. They would not be legislating taxes that were driving their most prosperous companies beyond their borders, but ensuring through prudent spending a low tax environment which compelled those companies to stay. But the corporations will be destroyed, slowly, Panama’s days are numbered; you’ll note from the above that just as Obama’s FATCA has – in a feat Hitler was never capable of - cracked Swiss banking secrecy (read freedom), so FATCA has been too strong even for this principled little principality; they're having to grass up their dual US citizens also.

And we’re all the losers. Not just cheap shipping, that money finding a tax-free home in tax havens is working voluntarily in the capitalist system to seed innovation, and to better the quality of all our lives around the world in a way coercive Western welfare states are only destroying our economic lives, after having first frog marched our private lives at gunpoint into the digital garrisons of state officials. 

Remember this day when our Revenue Minister announced the year the Western Surveillance State will become mandatory: 2019. And remember that in the meantime our political masters are happy to share our private information, voluntarily – there’s the final inversion for you, of language itself into doublespeak.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Diets, Dieting, Tax Havens, Space Craft, Elon Musk v. Steven Joyce.



… there is inevitably that mistaken value arithmetic they apply of a long low-calorie life being better than a happy one.

* * *

$1.5 billion invested in a tax haven will ultimately benefit all of us; $1.5 billion into the black hole of upgrading IRD’s computer system is part of the system destroying us.

* * *


I don’t diet ... directly. I love food, I love booze, I’m carrying more weight than I should - 6 foot 3, 104.4 kgs, bodyfat index 29% - but I’m fit enough to enjoy life by dint of walking Daisy dog twice a day and kayaking. Though I walk and kayak because I enjoy walking and kayaking: there’s nothing better for uncluttering the mind than a ramble, and regardless, if you have a dog you have to, that’s the deal with dogs.


However.

Mrs H sometimes hears the little voices of the advertisers in her ear saying diet - if I think about it, there’s a pattern around springtime - meaning stints of dieting, and worse, because alcohol contains the main source of sugar we ingest, sobriety.

Because Mrs H diets from time to time, unfortunately, I diet by proxy.


Tiresome caveats. 

Don’t jump to subtweeting I diet by proxy because my wife is a slave waiting on me hand and foot and I can’t cook my own meals; we are equal partners in the kitchen, as we are in business. But Mrs H controls that room during the dieting stints, because I refuse to be the cause of my own unhappiness, I can’t be trusted near the fridge or the pantry at trying times like this, and I don’t know the liturgy of each new diet ‘attempt’. Mrs H’s odd foray into dieting further has nothing to do with any comment I have ever made on weight or appearance, because I never have (never will); Mrs H is as much dieting for perceived health benefits as for self-image, and regarding the latter, to me she’s gorgeous - merely a personal body shape preference, (not a value judgement), I like zaftig figures and find catwalk stick skinny unattractive.

No, my dieting is strictly for what is called in the Income Tax Act 2007, natural love and affection, a spousal support function, (well, truth be told, I don’t get a lot of choice, I’m simply told ‘we’re dieting’, but play along with this I’m getting to a point).

Anyway.

Thinking back over the last two weeks, there have been patches of diet-centric conversation leading up to the three saveloys that appeared on my plate for lunch this Friday, rather than the normal four. The trouble is talking about dieting is like talking about death: my survival instinct quarantines it to a hypothetical level and I never think it’s actually going to happen to me. And that in spite of the fact diets have come and gone before: I suspect I've blanked those dark periods out, (other than the lemon detox of ‘09; some life experiences are so bad they become hardwired; I won’t tell you how I know every pattern in the tiles on our toilet floor.)

So, we have entered diet and sobriety, nth iteration, from Sunday through Thursday; I’ve negotiated by treaty, sorry entreaty – I’m not proud of myself – Friday wine night, and Saturday night martinis (albeit I reckon Mrs H was wanting to lose those so she could remain pure of mind, while imbibing all the same.)

Still.

At least dieting under one of Mrs H’s regimes is nominally, in theory, hah-bloody-hah, voluntary. Unlike dealing with the tax state which brooks no choice, and no negotiation. I’ve been reading yet another Arrogance of The Healthy in England wanting the fat tax, the sugar tax, the life-sucking tax, because when these wowsers get the ear of politicians there is inevitably that mistaken value arithmetic they apply of a long low-calorie life being better than a happy one.

Well bugger off with that.

No official, certainly not the state, has the right to make that judgement on my life. I choose happiness. I try to be Zen and not hate, but these academic authoritarian food-denier types are bloody hateful.

I’ve written on the wowsers plenty of times, including the French judiciary which is trying to destroy the French wine industry, though for this post understand that if my happy self happens to die one year earlier than otherwise, it will be irrelevant, because the happy self will be dead; if the second lifers have it right I’ll be flapping around in white light, or as most probably the case, insentient worm fodder, (if the Christians are right, I’m screwed). Better, the happy self is statistically more likely to die quickly through a heart complaint, than the long lingering death quite possibly awaiting the life-denying dreary long lived sod, denying himself those things that would’ve made his life happy.

Update.

Look, the wowser Big Brother Wairarapa District Health Board bullied this pub over taking down their 'Beer Up Masterton' sign, and unfortunately the pub has succumbed. Even if this health board had any business here, and it doesn't, there is nothing wrong with that sign. Local council, local  bureaucrats of all hues, wowsers who've worked themselves into every public position, along with central government, are out of control, staffed by busy-bodies who want to control your life on the micro-level. Don't let them. Tell them to go to hell.

This alcohol hobbyist can't wait for driverless cars - not far away at all - when country pubs can again become the great meeting places and community they once were, and the wowsers have one less excuse to force their dreary lives on mine.

While talking happiness, unless something comes along first, let me use this post to advertise how my next full post will be a fourth literary ramble in the form of a classical liberal critique of our literature, taking its lead from the current curmudgeony around the New Zealand Book Awards. I’ll apologise for its content beforehand, here.

And so, Tax Havens.

Much of this blog concerns how our free Western democracies carried from the get-go the seed of their destruction: the ability of politicians to tax.

Forget GCSB and NSA, the tax state cannot allow a private life outside the surveillance of bureaucrats, so there being no freedom without privacy, the tax state was the end of a free society before it began: that’s indisputable.

With our freedoms and right to be left alone long gone, the tax take of the tax states have become so huge our economies are disintegrating. The evidence is everything you read about a cot-case Eurozone which is rotting to the core, and this just in from one of the many US based investment rags I receive via email:

Dear Concerned American,

The walls may feel like they are closing in on American business owners and taxpayers. A tax system that is both maddeningly complex and punitively steep has forced some of our most iconic brands to incorporate overseas and has convinced some Americans to renounce their citizenship. As political hostility toward the successful increaseswe now must contend with new laws designed to keep us from finding relief, either at home or abroad. The persistence of enormous budget deficits, the shrinking pool of actual taxpayers, and the growing ranks of those receiving support from the Federal government means that the vice will likely continue to squeeze harder on those who write the checks.

But just when it looks like there may be no escape, a window has opened that presents a unique opportunity. Successful Americans need to know about the island of Puerto Rico, which some are calling "America's Tax Free Zone." The tax advantages offered to American businesses that incorporate in Puerto Rico, and to private citizens who live there at least half the year, may seem too good to be true, but they are very, very, real.


Let those who worship at the Church of Dependency have few fears; IRS will be doing everything in their God-like powers to ensure the open window of Puerto Rico is closed, those viewing through it hassled, harried and cajoled.

I don’t use tax havens, and wouldn’t even if I had the money (read my disclaimer at bottom of page please): diets aside, life is short, I don’t want to spend any of mine fighting a hapless war against our ruthless tax state with its punitive penalty system that kills - currently incidences of self-harm up alarmingly - and is impossible to beat because it makes the rules. But hats off to those individuals who foolishly do, because tax havens are the last havens of a freedom ethic from which the Free West, founded on the peace and prosperity brought and bought by capitalism, was born, and by helping to starve our tax states of funding, are hastening their destruction under the hubris of the rampant statism that has won the day, again.

Although.


One point about tax havens. They’re little written up in the business press, and remain almost solely the purview of an airhead sensationalist editorialising in the Green-Left-Liberal MSM – with full literary irony, such an editorial view is called Progressive: here's an example, the editor of The Dominion Post. The complaint of such writers is there’s ‘all this money sitting in tax havens doing nothing.’ That's doublespeak for this money is inaccessible to governments for growing welfare states, and thus is doing society no good. Rot. Is it to be believed these rich pricks are letting their capital earn no return? That money is doing more to keep our cost of living down, is seeding more start-up ventures, more innovation that will better all our lives, than Steven Joyce and his commissars ever could.
 
Why is Steven Joyce forcibly extracting tax from successful firms, stultifying their progress by stealing their most accessible investment capital, retained earnings, to shield from tax (subsidise) those firms he - total amateur - picks in the lottery of his head as future winners? (And no matter how he spins it, he's using the tax take to play crony favourites.) He's doing so because he knows taxes destroy innovation and drive business to lower tax jurisdictions, but thinks himself too important - he's a politician - to admit the Truth: the innovative economy is best fostered by lower tax to all and him keeping his grubby hands off it. He’s Nero fiddling the country’s books as Western economies burn.

Why is almost every container ship in a New Zealand port, freighting us the products we require for survival, and our high standard of living, registered in Cayman Islands or Panama? Because they are tax havens: look at Panama:

The Republic of Panama is a presidential independent, sovereign state. It is well known as one of the most developed international business centers. Panama has the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita income in Central America.

And:

No income, dividend and capital gains tax for income received outside of Panama. Therefore, Panamanian corporations (Sociedad Anonima) are widely used for doing business and holding assets outside of Panama.

Look around your home, in your fridge, your pantry, the car in your garage, the stuff in the fuel tank, the productive assets at your place of work including that tractor: now add world taxes onto the cost of those for freighting them in ships outside registration of Cayman Islands or Panama and see what that does to your household budget and your job prospects.

As Sam Morgan has wisely argued on Twitter, Joyce and his cronies can’t pick winners, only the market can. The market is the best intelligence and allocation system we have unless and until politicians like Joyce come bullying in with their thumping oafish mitts and destroy it. In a free market bad ideas are liquidated quickly, their losses not socialised by governments  scared of the next election result. In a free market good ideas, innovation that raises the standard of living of all of us, are funded by money voluntarily invested (including from tax havens), and winners are rewarded by consumers choosing to buy their products or services. That's the voluntary, prosperous society.

I reckon the tax takes and the welfare states are now so massive even tax haven money cannot stop the economic collapse (currently) occurring, but perhaps it also seeds hope that when Western states undergo the final economic collapse, minarchy and a free market system will arise from the brutalised societies, rather than outright tyrannies.

$1.5 billion invested in a tax haven will ultimately benefit all of us; $1.5 billion into the black hole of upgrading IRD’s computer system is part of the system destroying us.

This.

The above is in the same manner that space is finally starting to be commercially open to us, via the rockets of private enterprise, now the tax take of the US police state is required to merely feed itself, and tend to the millions of dependents it has created within itself.

Elon Musk is doing more to progress mankind in the Space Age than any Progressive who would tax business, enterprise, entrepreneurship, our living standards, back to the Stone Age.

Whatever.

Did you ever think you’d live to see the day that American citizens felt to be free they had to renounce their citizenship? Americans?! The difference between a welfare state and a totalitarian state, as a great philosopher once said, is time. The West is well past halfway down its road to our serfdom. In fact we’re so far progressed, our taxes pay academics to advise the Fortress of Legislation in Wellington, of what we can and, mainly, can’t eat; and don’t assume that advice is not about to be taken. Stock up on food and booze.

If you think some of this excessive, possibly, but judgement is a hard thing at the moment, you see … I’m starving, possibly hallucinating. In the novel I’m writing, now progressed to 115,000 words, I’ve just had Karl Marx run over by a Fulton Hogan truck in Christchurch. Imagine what a great place the world would’ve been had that happened; it would certainly be more populated.

Truth.

The only diet that’s ever worked for me was the cigarettes and coffee diet I did full time through all of my twenties. In every way this diet, and the lifestyle with it, was perfect.

Wind clock forward thirty years.

Unfortunately along with the diet - awful timing - comes hard work. As usual, I've been too slack enjoying life the first half of this financial year, so posts will be slowing down as I catch up with the day job. But watch out for my next post, there's something amiss with our literature, its state funded body of work having lost its subversive gene ... Literary Ramble IV, coming soon.