Not for the first time, the genius of Jacky Fleming shows how skewed our world becomes when we focus on the wrong end of power and oppression:
Since coming into power, this National government has been near obsessed with blaming beneficiaries and the poor in general for all manner of wrong-doing. Apparently cutting benefits is the “kick in the pants” some need to take responsibility for other taxpayers (my emphasis). Paula Bennett has been quick to tell people claiming benefits – even ones she previously accessed herself – that “the dream is over.” If you have to visit a food bank to have enough to feed yourself and your family, it’s because you’ve made “poor choices.”
And step out of line if you dare, because Paula Bennett will release your personal details to the media as “a bit of a lesson for what happens if you go out there and put your story,” even if that does breach Privacy Commission ideas of fair practise to the tune of $15,000. Nope, it’s beneficiary bashing all the way, thanks.
You could be forgiven for assuming beneficiaries and the poor are sucking up resources unfairly, completely to blame for our economy stalling and many New Zealanders feeling frightened and even so hungry they eat pig scraps.
But what happens if we focus on the wealthy?
Firstly, they are doing pretty well under National, as this handy graphic from the Green Party shows:
And they are doing pretty well at the expense of everyone else. Just 9% of New Zealanders are in the top tax bracket, so those tax cuts really were just for a few of us. And while our median income is falling, our average income is increasing, which is just maths geekery for saying rich people are getting richer even in these belt-tightening times.
We don’t spend enough time talking about greed in this country, because National has us bashing people with very little. It is greedy to make sure those with lots of resources have the chance to create more and more and more, without thinking of other taxpayers (my emphasis).
If we focussed more on stopping those determined to create unnecessary wealth at the expense of everyone and everything else – the greedy 1% – and less on judging and punishing those with very little, our world would be a very different place.
Now I just need Jacky Fleming to write a cartoon about it. Oh look, she has.