Monday, December 28, 2009

Douglas and ACT

This post wouldn't have happened without prompting. As it stands ACT doesn't interest me but a comment today made me mentally reflect on why.

Chuck Bird has twice made reference to ACT's constitution on this blog. As I am no longer a member I am not sure why. The constitutional excerpt;

“...maintain social and economic support for those unable to help themselves and who are in genuine need of assistance”

defines out what Chuck thinks welfare should be, which includes retaining a welfare state. He was therefore unhappy with a repetitive commentor who harps on monotonously about how we should ZERO ALL BENEFITS.

Chuck thinks he will put off ACT voters. I am flattered Chuck thinks that many people read my blog.

However, getting rid of all benefits is closer to what Douglas proposes than what is in the ACT constitution. Douglas has always wanted all New Zealanders to fund their own social security needs through individualised accounts.

From the NZ Herald;

"Sir Roger's Budget would cut Government expenditure by more than a quarter within one year.

People would be expected to pay for their children's primary and secondary education directly; tax credits would be available for those whose tax cuts were insufficient to cover those costs directly.

They would also be expected to take out catastrophic health insurance and meet more minor health costs like GP visits, out of pocket. Accident, sickness and unemployment insurance would also be a matter of individual responsibility."


Now, I am not averse to Douglas' thinking BUT its not going to happen any time soon. He hasn't managed to build any movement for it here or in the UK in 20 years.

Which is why I have always channelled my efforts into realistic (most would call it radical) reform of the current system. There was a period when state social security did what it was supposed to do. Can we ever return to that? Quite possibly not. But the prospect is more palatable to voters than what Douglas wants.

My approach is also what Muriel Newman pushed for a long time. When Muriel was welfare spokesperson EVERYONE knew what ACT policy was. Since Roger assumed that portfolio nobody knows what ACT policy is because he promotes ideas with the rider that "the views expressed are Sir Roger's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Act, but it features prominently on the party's website."

The situation is just mickey mouse. And it was mickey mouse going into the election. If ACT had had concrete policy based on the US reforms it could have negotiated welfare reform as part of its agreement with National. Instead it chose a platform of getting tough on crime. Well, I hate to say this, but crime is only going to increase until welfare is reformed, because welfare is breeding tomorrow's criminals as I write.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

tax credits would be available for those whose tax cuts were insufficient to cover those costs directly.

I wonder if these tax credits would also be available for people who get more in WFF than they pay in tax?

Lindsay said...

Tax credit is an vague term anyway. Is it a credit on tax you have paid or tax someone else has paid? If it is the second it is still a form of redistributive welfare. In the US they have Earned Income Tax credits which are redistributive welfare you have to earn. All part of market competition not working effectively to pay workers enough to live on. Markets don't work properly when there is state intervention. It's catch 22 stuff.

Having said that, an earned income tax credit has to be better than an unearned hand-out.

Chuck Bird said...

Good post Lindsay. I do not think Sir Roger is advocating getting rid of benefits without some form of safety net in its place.

I agree with you that ACT should have a clear welfare policy. All policy should be agreed on. ACT MPs or party officials should not state their private view on what policy should be even if they put the rider that it is their private view.

As an active ACT member maybe I should not be stating my views publicly what I think ACT should do but I will use the same rider that they are my private views.

Unless ACT’s policy is different than its constitution ACT should make clear they support the constitution. People with no family should not be allowed to starve even if they have contributed to their own predicament. That should apply to even to those who have drug and alcohol dependency problems. However, with welfare should come accountability. That could mean those with the addictions have to show up at a certain time for drug testing, random drug testing or alcoholics to show up and take Antabuse which will discourage drinking.

If ACT seriously wants any its policy adopted by National the policy should be reasonable. By reasonable I mean policy that would be accepted by a sufficient number of voters not just the 1176 who voted Libertarianz.

While there needs to be a safety net for those genuinely unable to work or those who need help temporarily there are must be an incentive for those able to work to actively look for work and or up skill.

One alternative to welfare is compulsory insurance. In Canada and I believe in Britain there was compulsory unemployment insurance. I do not know if it still exists. Workers and employers contributed equally and if need be the government topped it up. It had a time limit depending on how long one contributed and the amount one received depended on their earning as well as if they had dependants. There was a requirement that one accepted a job that was offered. They were conditions to that with some discretion. One also had to look for work.

There was not too much social stigma attached to collecting the unemployment benefit but there was to welfare which was what one had to apply for if their unemployment entitlement ran out. People made considerable effort to find work before that happened.

I am not trying to write welfare policy. It is a very difficult job. It is impossible to devise a system where those in genuine are looked after but cannot be exploited by those happy to bludge off others. However, one thing is certain and that is that the welfare system we have where someone addicted to illegal drugs can bludge off the taxpayer needs fixing.

Redbaiter said...

The "welfare causes crime" argument is not strictly correct.

Crime is caused by immorality, and imorality is the result of Progressive political ideas.

One could argue that accepting government welfare is immoral, because the money received is stolen from the providers by political abuse of the democratic system.

There is a case to support the claim that the only morally acceptable source of "welfare" is voluntary charity.

Progressive political ideas target the destruction of the nuclear family, the Christian religion and of course, traditional ideas that to the leftist, provide an unwanted focus on morality.

The destruction of traditional morality is a key strategy of the left, and that is why, as Progressive ideas gain acceptance, crime rises, and the general population's readiness to accept government welfare increases.

If you want to defeat crime, welfarism and the other socially destructive outcomes of Progressivism, then you have to resist their efforts to break down morality.

This means supporting Christianity (even if you're not a believer) and other traditional ideas relating to family and morality.

Unfortunately, many of those who oppose welfare also embrace Progressive ideas that attack traditional morality.

They cannot see that with such a blurred approach, their efforts cannot succeeed, and the proof of this is in the pudding, for with everyone's professed concern to want a decline in welfare and a drop in crime, neither of these occurs.

Rather it just keeps getting worse.

You cannot combine a professed concern with welfarism with an enthusiasm for Progressive ideas. In the long run, you're fighting yourself.

Lindsay said...

Values and welfare - the two are inextricably tied up. Values changed but welfare enabled the change and accelerated the rate of change.

Christianity does not have a monopoly on constructive and positive values such as honesty and commitment.

"Traditional morality" cannot be recaptured because women in particular have rejected it. And I can understand why.

I prefer a morality based on a philosophy of tolerance and freedom from force, as trite as these may sound.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to write welfare policy. It is a very difficult job

No - it is a very easy job!

. It is impossible to devise a system where those in genuine are looked after

Precisely. To write welfare policy once simply has to accept that fact. Then the welfare policy writes itself: zero welfare, zero benefits, zero ACC, zero super. Because it is pointless for the socialist state to do something impossible!

Values changed but welfare enabled the change and accelerated the rate of change.

Right. Only zeroing welfare will enforce another, much more rapid, value change. As part of that change, the unproductive, the beneficiary, the criminal, the unionist, the socialist, the greenie, the progressive, and the labourist - must be eliminated from political influence

Then the change will be lasting.


The Roman State lasted for over 2100 years.
The current American Empire has lasted for barely 100. One had welfare. One did not. No prizes for guessing which.

A citizen of Rome any time back then - was far freer than a citizen of the US, UK, or NZ today!

Chuck Bird said...

Anonymous

There is one problem with you theory and that is democracy. The only party which advocates a policy like you suggest is the Libertarian Partly. Last election they got 0.05% of the vote.

There is little or no welfare in very poor families. All developed countries have some form of welfare.

You are not going to make much progress lobby on blogs anonymously.

Peter said...

The Roman State lasted for over 2100 years.
The current American Empire has lasted for barely 100. One had welfare. One did not. No prizes for guessing which.


Actually the Roman state did have welfare in the form of free grain, and sometimes pork and wine, as well as gladatorial games which were also free. This is where the phrase "bread and circuses" comes from.

Some would say we have the same situation today: welfare and television.

Perhaps the reason the Roman state lasted so long was because they had a large empire which could be taxed with impunity.

Redbaiter said...

" Christianity does not have a monopoly on constructive and positive values such as honesty and commitment."

Man, what a waste ot time it is trying to reason with Libertarians. You obviously do not have the faintest idea what I was talking about, and I did not ever suggest that Christians had any kind of monopoly. They are merely an integral part of the structure the left wants to destroy.

""Traditional morality" cannot be recaptured because women in particular have rejected it. "

A false claim. "women" per se have not rejected it. Some women have embraced Progressive ideas, perhaps even a majority, but not all women. Not by any means.

There are women fighting for freedom in the US who are the most effective to appear for some time, and all of them hold to traditional morality and values.

In terms of taking the fight to the left, they run rings around wimpy Libertarian types shackled by their confused and self defeating adherence to selected facets of Progressive ideology.

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah redbaiter! Libz are really fucking lefties in drag

Let's see: atheism - lefty idea.
equality - lefty idea.
drug legalization - lefty idea.
"all people are equal" - lefty idea.

Every fucking party in NZ - including the "Libz" wankers - are far to the left of Barak Obama and the US democrats