Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Shearer hints at harder-line welfare policy"

Shearer hints at harder-line welfare policy

There's an ambiguity about the headline from the NZ Herald relating to David Shearer's breakfast speech.

Harder-line than previous or than National? And does this mean that Labour will be supporting the welfare reform legislation soon to pass through the House? Or will they call for tougher legislation? The Welfare Working Group had some recommendations rejected that Labour could pick up and promote.

Or is he simply indicating that Labour is dropping the ill-informed pre-election policy to extend the In Work Credit to beneficiary parents? Whatever this means, I'll tell you what I take from it.

Labour realises that the public are now behind welfare reform. They either have to support National and look for votes on another platform, or go further than National is currently prepared to.


Mark Hubbard said...

Yeah, but much, much more tax. A 39% top personal tax rate a certainty, with a capital gains tax, that via doublespeak he calls a 'pro-growth' tax. The only thing taxes grow are the welfare state, the Big Brother State to invade your privacy in a manner that makes the English Tabloids look 'gentle' and considerate, all the while sucking th money from productive sector and closing down economies.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

Yeah, and it's funny how the only thing National has grown with its mammoth tax cuts is a doubling of government debt...

Mark Hubbard said...

Yes, so? The task to scale the public sector must gather pace. Or do you want to repeat the mistakes Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, et al have made?

Nothing sanctions the violent theft, and destruction of privacy and civil liberty, that is taxation. I want to move to the free, civilised society, and leave this coercive, brute State to the dark history is should be consinged to.

But if you want to debate this reasonable, then uncloak and use your name. Have the courage of your convictions.

Mark Hubbard said...

I just wish there weren't so many typos in that, but you get my point. Those that would sanction my taxes to pay for their living, or the growth of the Welfare State, never seem to have the courage to say so openly.


Feeling a little guilty? Can't defend your position?

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

Um Mark the Greek government was already in over 100% of GDP before the financial crisis hit. Its previous centre right government made loans look like currency exchanges so that it could keep its debts hidden from the public and the EU overseers.

We on the other hand went into this financial crisis with public debt of 17% of GDP which is now around 30%.

That's called cutting taxes and borrowing to fill the gap. A sure way to end up like Greece. This mild Welfare reform is just a smoke screen to keep you distracted from the fact that this government is borrowing hand over fist right now. In surplus by 2014 yeah right! Wake up!

And what about the private debt? 100% of GDP and counting! Welfare reform: One big neon distraction to keep you all occupied. Learn to swim!

At least Labour was being honest about the debt they'd get us into.

Anonymous said...

Welfare reform? There's been no welfare reform and no spending cuts.

Key is borrowing A BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK - which just coincidentally happens to be the entire cost of NZ "welfare system".

Overall, NZ's Nett position is worse than Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, or Spain. Whose going to bail us out when the shit his the fan? Canberra? Beijing?

The only solution is actual welfare reform: stopping welfare (including but not limited to the Dole, DPB, Sicko, Invo, but also ACC, WFF, Housing, and above all health & education "spending).

Long past time to finish the job Ruth started!

anything else is just pissing around the edges.

Mark Hubbard said...

Look, I'm a libertarian, I don't vote for the National Socialists, the State is still borrowing irresponsibly, yes, but the solution is never more taxation: I'm philosophically opposed to that. The solution is a classical liberal limited government. Slash the obese size of State right back to this: the only proper role of government is to protect man's rights. Incidentally, only on that basis will you then have a prosperous laissez faire economic system.

And I don't care about private debt: no one who controls law-making has a gun at my head making me pay for another's private debt. Unlike the government which can spend insanely, in a manner no reasoned individual would run their own life, knowing they have the cast iron guarantee of IRD strong arm tactics, able to invade the basic rights of every free man to extort money.

That is my point. That is the Big Brother State: a state defined by you have no privacy from it. It’s a brute State, not a civilised one.

Finally, I go back to my original point: I'm sick and tied of debating with anonymous people who don't have enough courage behind their own convictions to debate from behind their own identities. More and more, I'm refusing to participate on that basis.

Anonymous said...

And I don't care about private debt

Well sooner or later the finance markets well.

And when they do NZ is really, truly, fucked.
At that point, borrowing a BILLION a week - borrowing anything, public or private, in NZ will stop overnight

That's why it is so important and so urgent to stop borrowing, stop welfare, stop flushing money down the toilet.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

Well it looks like there isn't much point in debating with you anyway.

It always amazes me how fanatical you libertarians are! At least you have your faith.

Mark Hubbard said...

So which Mr Anonymous said what then?

9.46am: that debt is part of the fiat money, central banking system, no part of lassiez faire. You will not fix it by State involvement: countries are currently going broke precisely because they tried to do so via bail outs from August 2008. Malinvestments must and will be liquidated: that's the correcting solution.

I have no disagreement whatsoever with your last paragraph.

11.52: I assume you've not the wherewithal to run a reasoned debate as you've now moved from hiding behind your keyboard to pointless, childish, ad hominem. A libertarian/Objectivist view is a sane view of society and the role of the State: argue otherwise in the context of Lindsay's header post?

Peter Pumpkinhead said...

Goal: Power
Means: Any
Morals: Optional

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

I'm the original Mr Anonymous.

So you are saying we need a global meltdown with runs on banks until they collapse to get things back to the way they should be?

The financial crisis is a product of too much bad private debt. You should be worried about it because if we get too much here our government will end up bailing out the banks in New Zealand!

Governments have actually been following Milton Friedman's prescription for avoiding another Great Depression by printing money to expand the money supply by buying bonds on the open market (including bailouts). The Federal Reserve had about $900 million on its books before the crisis. Since then they have printed about another $2 trillion in monthly instalments to push down long term interest rates and expand the money supply. The UK has done much the same thing.

If you were a true libertarian you would know about Friedman's model for dealing with an economic crisis.

Anonymous said...

Correction= that's $900 billion NOT million

Mark Hubbard said...

3.23pm: You've got it twisted. The problem is Keynesian socialist economics (combined with central banking, fiat money, et al): ie, crony capitalism which is to capitalism what sea horses are to horses.

Printing money is not part of a sound money economy (thus laissez faire capitalism). Especially when the money printing is controlled by governments, which in the West have moved beyond limited governments to Big Brother States. If anything, and if pushed, I'm probably an advocate of free banking.

My point is in a sound money system, there wouldn't have been a global financial crisis to the extent we see now. Ree market malinvestments would have been routinely liquidated and not bailed out by witless, well intentioned politicians to accumulate into destroyers of national economies. That's why I call our current Big Brother State a Gulag of Good Intentions.

The private debt would not be to the levels it is. More importantly, deficit spending Big Brother governments wouldn't have been chasing the illusion that was always the Welfare State, building up debt that future taxpayers simply could never afford, although they are enslaved to trying to pay for it through the increasing brutality of the tax system.

You say 'I want it to all fall over'. Actually, I'm just facing reality: unsound monied crony capitalism will always fall over, just as all centrally planned economies will, and because of the size of the problem grown at the hands of governments, it will be a mess.

And there is no way out now. Crony capitalism meets reality, and it isn't, nor will be, nice.

Forget Friedman ... Hayek, von Mises, and even the anarchist Rothbard. Try reading the Austrian school. That's were I deal with reality.

And tell me: what's a 'true libertarian' then? (Hint, libertarians are so disparate, no 'true libertarian' could tell you. The only unifying matter is the non-initiation force principle. I am economically a capitalist, per above references, and philosophically an Objectivist. By that route you will know me. But don't keep assuming a bunch of nonsense onto me.)

Mark Hubbard said...

By the way:

I'm the original Mr Anonymous.

Snort. It must be awful having no identity.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

Um Mark would a "sound money system" require more regulation by government agencies or less? (snort)

You can't blame the public debt on Keynesianism. Governments have not been following Keynesianism since the 1980s.

By the way the US bailouts (TARP) amounted to a planned $700 billion (not all of this has been spent yet). Now last time I looked at the US public debt clock, US public debt was around $15 trillion. It's difficult to blame huge public debt on the bailouts then isn't it?

Could we actually have a financial system without government bonds?

Quote from Hayek's interview with Diego Pizano (1979)=

"I agree with Milton Friedman that once the Crash had occurred, the Federal Reserve System pursued a silly deflationary policy. I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation. So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression."

Mark Hubbard said...

Governments have not been following Keynesianism since the 1980s.

Explain that please? Citing examples of governments that haven't been spending up large, including deficit spending, since the 1980's. And you'll need to explain why the State Sector is now so historically huge, with complex taxation systems pervading every transaction we make, in most Western countries given your position (whatever that is ... see further in this post).

Where did I blame govt debt exclusively on the bail outs? I said it was mainly due to the illusion of the Welfare State: running huge States, where the State spend in many Western States is coming close to 50% of GDP. Public health, education, welfare systems ... all of that. I was using bailouts as a specific point only within a specific argument.

And in the US, running a massive war machine, etc, etc.

Don't drop context like that: it is fundamentally dishonest.

Regarding government bonds, you tell me then: why do we need government bonds (and some European ones may not be worth much soon) to run a financial system? You've set everything on the assumption of the State involved through every activity: I want the opposite.

Yeah, and everything Hayek said boils down to a single quotation.

The 1929 Crash was in big part caused by Hoover's unprecedented State intrusions into the economy. Every measure of Roosevelt's New Deal, which extended to the deleterious affects of the crash by upwards of a decade, were evident already in Hoover's policies. Google and read the Mises bailout reader at

Also, there are contradictions between your second, third, and fourth paragraphs: what actually are you arguing? I can't make it out. More State involvement in a planned economy (based on planned lives), or less? You are not making your viewpoint plain and clear please.

I argue first from a philosophical position; I want a free life back from the Big Brother State in which I have no privacy, and precious few property rights left that can't be taken by arbitrary government. That position is consistent only with a capitalist system and limited government, per my link way above, whose proper role is protection of my rights as a free man only, and the limited apparatus of state that entails.

So, in your next post, as well as answering to my questions in this post, start with the philosophical premise that you are writing from. Only then will your posts start making sense.

And why won't you name yourself?

Mark Hubbard said...

... oh, addendum to my last post, to answer your first question: no, a sound money system does not require regulation. It only requires a state to provide the rule of law, and a civil law system where contract can be enforced.

I'm thinking you are advocating a planned economy: care to cite where that has worked, ever?

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

First, you obviously don't understand what Keynesianism is if you think governments have been continuing to follow it for the past 35 years. Most Western states have been more or less following the Chicago school of economics with floating exchange rates and independent central banks who try and keep inflation under control not to mention neo-liberal ideology through the assumption that deregulation is always a good thing.

Second, you said the following above:

"countries are currently going broke precisely because they tried to do so via bail outs from August 2008"

I am just pointing out that this is not simply why they are going broke. Now you've conveniently changed your tune when realising that you are wrong. By the way, if you haven't noticed, Western capitalism is pretty dependent on the American War Machine.

Third, I now see that you associate yourself with the old fuddy duddy Austrian school of thought. Hell even Hayek could see that the Chicago school (Freidman) had a point. You know why the likes of von Mises and Rothbard didn't want to accept the Chicago school's thesis? Because that would mean that he was right about the constraints of the gold standard on the Fed during the Depression and they want a return to the gold standard. Back to money that you can bite with your teeth. Very old school.

The only way to not have government institutions in charge of money creation would be to revert to all of the gold and silver we can find on the planet. What would happen when we've mined it all? A contraction in the money supply maybe? It's a finite resource you know?

Fourth, I'm less trying to make an argument, more trying to figure out the basis on which your views come from and I've discovered that now thank you. You're an old school Austrian philosopher.

Fifth, yes you do argue firstly from a philosophical (ideological) position. I on the other hand prefer economics and the lessons we have learnt from historical precedent.

Sixth, so when the private financial sector came up with CDOs, was that the private sector's fault or the governments? When considering CDOs, is the law of contract always enough to maintain the integrity of the financial system?

If you answer yes, you are saying that for the system to work it has to also fail. How's that for philosophy?

Mark Hubbard said...

Fifth, yes you do argue firstly from a philosophical (ideological) position. I on the other hand prefer economics and the lessons we have learnt from historical precedent.

No. You have evaded my central tenet.

What is the role of the State, according to you? What of an individual's freedom? Economics cannot be separated from philosophy, or to do so, is to invite slavery in one form or another.

Grow a backbone. How do you classify yourself politically? (I'm classical liberal/libertarian, with the predefined boundaries between limited state and the individual that implies. Tie yourself down to a concrete position (as you're too cowardly to debate under your own name), and we go from there.

Mark Hubbard said...

Oh, and as you know, CDO's were a product of crony capitalism, to mop up the tidal wave of fiat money circulating the globe, created by governments, not capitalism. You are one slippery character, creating a straw man to debate against. I won't let you do that.

Per my last post: state your philosophical position vis a vis the individual to the state, the role of the state, and we go from there. Nothing else.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

Pragmatism NOT ideology.

Mark Hubbard said...

To whomever the anon is now:

I on the other hand prefer economics and the lessons we have learnt from historical precedent.

Without philosophy how to you measure economic success? What does that mean?

Say that the economy of a fascist state proved to be successful by your measures, then do you introduce morality via philosophy then? You can't do economics in a vacuum; it can't be separated from philosophy and politics. Though because you think you can it is not surprising that you - well, is it you, or another anon(?) - come up with your final piece of evil:

Pragmatism NOT ideology.

Nothing will enslave an individual quicker than a pragmatist.

Some reading:

The menace of pragmatism.

Peter Cresswell at NotPC has always been good at explaining the evil of the pragmatist:

Pragmatism - Quotes of the Day


Pragmatism and Mr Key.

Once you take away absolutes the result is arbitrary government and the destruction of private property rights.

And by the way, you, or some anon said:

Most Western states have been more or less following the Chicago school of economics with floating exchange rates and independent central banks who try and keep inflation under control not to mention neo-liberal ideology through the assumption that deregulation is always a good thing.

Right and mainly wrong. The supposed de-regulation of the banking sector prior to August 2008 was a myth. Peter Schiff has put paid to that belief. Over-regulation and complex, pervasive taxation are the bane of the West that are killing economies (and freedoms). If there are central banks, then there is the mixed (planned) economy, not laissez faire. But economics is secondary to philosophy: my previous questions first.

Anonymous said...

@ Mark Hubbard

"He's talking 'bout a revolution, yeah, well, you know..."

You're like listening to a socialist rave about their utopia on earth, except you are at the other end of the political spectrum.

I guess, like a socialist, you are unperturbed by the fact that your utopian vision has never existed or is likely to exist.

Pragmatism and empirical research is the only way forward.

Anonymous said...

correction = or is [never] likely to exist.

Anon2 said...

You're like listening to a socialist rave about their utopia on earth, except you are at the other end of the political spectrum.

Naa. Leftertarians and socialist are all basically the same, all children of the left in the French revolution. Both of 'em care about "Freedom", "Justice", about everyone prospering in society, about force being reserved to the state (so the Libz, Labour & Greens agree about not privatizing prisons; Libz & Greens agree on drug reform).

Mark Hubbard said...

To all the new anons', when you leave ad hominen out, and debate on facts, we can carry on.

And ... you know, no facts, no names, you case is as insubstantial as yourselves.