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On the water: Chasing chickens beats paying tax

03 March 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Neels Blom
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Author: Neels Blom (BDlive)

Some people, the member (of the Upper Jukskei Flyfishing Collective) for instance, know that chasing a chicken around the yard to pluck a feather from its saddle is hard work. Okay, perhaps not hard work, since your biggest decision is whether you need rubión to tie an imitation of the adult caddis, or negrisco for the legs on a dark nymph.

But it is work all the same and for work there is reward. In the member’s case a bit of huffing and puffing (and then getting one of the neighbour’s children to do it) results in a wispy spark that will raise a trout. For most of SA’s just more than 5-million assessed taxpayers, however, it means rising at the crack of dawn for a day of wage slavery and open-plan office odours and an alcohol-induced stupor in front of the telly at the day’s end. For their reward, the 5-million receive just enough cash to keep them going back to a job they hate in the vain hope that one day they will escape a lifetime of debt, if only through an untimely life insurance payout brought on by stress or criminal home invasion.

And if you’ve survived, it is worse. Your tax rate is set to increase. As it is, you’re paying more than the Russians, whose top marginal rate is 13%. SA’s top rate will increase to 41% this year.

Still, it is not all bad. Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said last week that for those who can afford it, medical aid rebates will increase. That will definitely help to extend your sick provision, the useful portion of which lasts all the way to the middle of January each year, February if you let the children perish from triple pneumonia.

And that, too, is just as well since state education which sucks up a lot of your tax money will do nothing for the next generation except relegate them to a life of crime or, if they are unlucky, a lifetime of backbreaking labour fuelled by the delusion of a "better life for all" at some point this century.

Of course that is to be expected. You cannot be blamed for becoming inured to the annual parade of failures, for which successions of po-faced finance ministers present budgets to Parliament, because what our government does best is to put extra effort into its failed policies and then lie about everything.

Of course that is to be expected. You cannot be blamed for becoming inured to the annual parade of failures, for which successions of po-faced finance ministers present budgets to Parliament, because what our government does best is to put extra effort into its failed policies and then lie about everything.

A nasty surprise though is that so many commentators on Nene’s maiden budget review support the redistributive mechanism implicit in a progressive income tax system. What rubbish. It is a disincentive to increase your income. Just as daft is the reminder, in this newspaper of all places, of how much good our taxes do.

Hello, which country is that? In SA our taxes do not provide the basic services explicit in the social contract: security, public education and public health. That makes it obscene to argue for gratitude on behalf of the poor when the poor suffer the worst of crime. And it is cruel to expect people who cannot afford private healthcare to seek help from state hospitals. And if you cannot afford a paternity test to refute the charges, your offspring will be as ignorant as you are and as poor and beget children the same way you do.

Instead, the government does everything with your tax except the bare minimum. Instead it has created an overclass of state employees who, at R445bn this year, now consume 35.8% of state spending. Gratitude does not come to mind, nor does praise for Nene for not burdening the poor with closing the deficit created by government maladministration, official corruption and state-backed theft.

For the member the road is clear. If he never buys another feather to make flies, he won’t have to work for the cash. It might be burdensome, but it is infinitely more gratifying than paying tax.

This article first appeared on bdlive.co.za.


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