Saturday, March 10, 2007

We need lower taxes

Rodney Hide has predicted that ACT will be the only party promoting tax cuts in 2008.

Consider the following from Iceland which has become, according to the NCPA, the "nordic tiger";

In fact, the benefits of low taxes are already on full display in Iceland, which provides an almost perfect demonstration of the Laffer Curve, says the Journal:

* From 1991 to 2001, as the corporate-tax rate fell gradually to 18 percent from 45 percent, tax revenues tripled to 9.1 billion kronas (U.S. $135 million in today's exchange rate) from just above 3 billion kronas (U.S. $44.5. million).

* Since 2001, revenues more than tripled again to an estimated 33 billion kronas (U.S. $490 million) last year.

* Personal income-tax rates were cut gradually as well, to a flat rate of 22.75 percent this year from 33 percent in 1995; meanwhile, the economy averaged annual growth rates of about 4 percent over the past decade.

But Iceland's tax competition isn't sleeping, says the (Wall St) Journal:

* In addition to Eastern Europe's flat-tax movement, there is healthy rivalry from Switzerland, where individual cantons (territorial districts) can set their rates independently.

* Even Germany, once critical of tax-cutting, recently announced that it will cut its corporate-tax rate to just below 30 percent next year from the current rate of about 38 percent.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trotter inflames the situation

In today's DomPost column Trotter describes an ugly incident from the anti-Springbok tour protests which involves a young man using his physical and psychological power to wrest a placard from an intimidated young women. The description is heavily laced with emotive language and is analogous to rape.

"(The scene) managed to pack into a few intense seconds, a whole manifesto about the Kiwi male's contempt for; rage at; and fear of women."

So because Trotter is a man he knows this. As a woman I wouldn't. I've been a woman for three decades and hadn't noticed it. All I can say is you Kiwi men are very good at hiding your feelings.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Rodney Hide's Speech: Forward Thinking

I like Rodney's speech. When you think about it, it is even more important that government delivers than private business. After all you can use your feet in the private sector. Not with government.

If they can't deliver on the quality and quantity of services they promise then we have a right to be told. I'm not big on 'rights' but this one is indisputable.

Feed the birds...

...tuppence a bag, tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.

Not any more. Not in NY City anyway. 60 year-old Yvette Bavier copped a hefty fine for "littering" after some snitch complained about her feeding rice to the local pigeons.

New York must truly be crime free (except for bird-feeding) when cops have this much time on their hands.

(Hat-tip Reason)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Inconsiderate idiots

The stupidity of those who created the anti-police poster is worse than I thought. When I heard about the posters yesterday, with their 0800 BAD COPS phone number, I immediately wondered whether that number would be an allocated number. Whether someone had thought to try it before plastering it on the poster. Turns out it is. It belongs to a Rotorua motorcamp, the owner of which says he will sue the idiots (my word) if he can find them. He's had to disconnect the line and will have incurred losses.

UK Labour will give greenlight to NZ Labour

Don Brash set a goal of getting 100,000 people off welfare in the three years following the election of a National government. Assuming that policy is retained, compare it to what the UK Labour government is proposing; to move 1.3 million beneficiaries (including 300,000 single parents) into work. They have set themselves a target of 80% employment. The plan is supported by Blair and Brown.

This gives the NZ Labour government impetus to match National's goal. They know that there is far more support for policies produced and practiced in the UK. The US is too tough, too capitalist so they propagate, very successfully, anti-Americanism.

Watch out for National and Labour squabbling next year over who can do a better job of cutting beneficiary numbers.

The pathetic thing is, this new report makes NO mention of prevention. Shutting the gate. Deterring newcomers. That is central to the problem.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Minister's blog

Get a load of this. UK Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, Jim Murphy, has a blog. It's reasonably personal. Here's an example;

Had an early start this morning to get to Manchester for our seminar on faith-based groups and their role in the welfare state. This is something I feel really strongly about. There’s a whole network of people out there with strong links to their communities who could be helping people get the benefits or skills they need to find work. I believe Government can do more to bring them on board and utilise their expertise.

Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t about providing welfare on the cheap or Government handing off stuff it doesn’t want to do to outside organisations. It’s about recognising these groups are often the first port of call for those who often don’t know where to turn. These groups know their community instinctively. And they know what works best for certain people and areas. Why shouldn’t we seek to make the most of this?

In my constituency there’s a strong network of Jewish organisations in the South Side of Glasgow who provide a range of support for people to access skills programmes or help lone parents into work. More importantly, they want to do it. So why not bring them on board and see what more we can do?

Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who for a variety of reasons find the idea of coming to the Government difficult either because of embarrassment or lack of knowledge. That doesn’t mean we should ignore them. If these people are happy to engage their local faith-based group, let’s make the most of it. Do you agree? Let me know what you think…

Very few comments though. (Perhaps most are unpublishable). I've left one at his most recent post just so as he doesn't feel ignored.

Can you imagine a David Benson-Pope blog .....


Media Release
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A report just released by the United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions, Welfare in the Future, reveals that New Zealand has the highest rate of working-age people relying on a single parent benefit.

Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell says, "The report compares sixteen developed countries and shows New Zealand heads the table with 4.2 percent of its working-age population reliant on the Domestic Purposes Benefit. Second is Ireland with 3.4 percent, followed by Australia at 3.2 percent."

"With New Zealand almost doubling the average percentage of 2.2 it is clear that while we compare better in terms of unemployment and even incapacity benefits, we continue to have a problem with too many single parents and their children being dependent on welfare."

"The report shows that other countries have far more stringent conditions on receipt of a single parent benefit. For instance, the US has time-limits and work requirements, Germany requires lone parents to be available for work when the youngest child turns three and in Denmark, single parents go on the unemployment benefit."

"In contrast NZ single parents can stay on the DPB until their youngest is 19, they get extra assistance for additional children and there are no work requirements."

"The resulting statistics speak for themselves."

(Hat tip to Gavin for alerting me to report)

Eight year-old allegedly indecently assaulted

There I was, reading this story, thinking, poor little girl, how awful, what a creep, what a b.....d, when an unbidden and not entirely welcome thought popped into my head; what if she made it up? She's obviously a child with some behavioural problems. If she did, what an utter nightmare for the man living next to the school. He is being regarded as guilty until proven otherwise.

In the past I would have taken this story at face value but now....well, such is the moral climate in which we live.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Growth of the welfare state

The following chart is from a Newsweek article, The Stubborn Welfare State;

It might help if Americans called welfare programs—current benefits for select populations, paid for by current taxes—by their proper name, rather than by the soothing (and misleading) labels of "entitlements" and "social insurance." That way, we might ask ourselves who deserves welfare and why. We could consider all of federal spending and not just small bits of it. But most Americans don't want to admit that they're current or prospective welfare recipients. They prefer to think that they automatically deserve whatever they've been promised simply because they've been promised. They do not want to pose the basic questions, and their political leaders mirror that reluctance. This makes the welfare state immovable and the budget situation intractable.

Naturally I want to compare New Zealand. Forget Defence which has only been a miniscule item of government spending in the past forty years. And the closest figures I could get my hands on were from 1966-67;

Welfare state spending went from 58% to 76%. (Apologies for the basic piecharts which were only possible with the help of my eight year-old)

Almost a third more spending with what to show for it? Of course. We are all healthier, happier and wiser.

Reproductive rights

This business of fathering children from prison raises a number of questions;

In the absence of the father, is the taxpayer expected to support the child on welfare?

Can the father afford to pay child support out of his prison income?

If not, will he be granted an exemption despite having actively created a child knowing he couldn't contribute financially to its upbringing?

Does today's call from civil libertarians for conjugal rights for all prisoners extend to women in prison?

Do conjugal rights apply only to married people?

Does the granting of rights have a good track record of aiding rehabilitation?

Have we completely abandoned the notion that rights command responsibilities?

Would adhering to that principle sort out these ethical dilemmas?

Have we gone completely nuts?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

In praise of anger

Its seems to me that in NZ society there is pressure to be easy-going, chill-out, don't take things too seriously. All of these actions may be good for other's blood pressure, they aren't for mine.

Anger is good as long as you can channel it constructively. And here is what Thomas Aquinas had to say on the subject;

"He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust."

Are you a "sinner"?

This piece, Sins ain't what they used to be, was reproduced in the Sunday Star Times today.

It lists a variety of modern day sins like eco-apathy (driving a SUV) and having a fat kid and then dated sins like infidelity and swearing. The first are an absolute no-no while the second...well, no-one cares anymore.

I'm guilty of (or have been at some time) quite a few of these "sins". 4 out of 8 in the absolute no-nos, and 6 out of 8 (now down to 2 in my defence) in the no-one cares anymore category.

I have one chubby child (whatever happened to 'puppy fat' which I had lots of at the same age?), am sometimes apathetic about the environment (I biffed a plastic bottle in the rubbish instead of the recycling yesterday) and haven't had botox injections; I swear too much ('any' is too much when other words would do) and drink too much fizzy wine (I'm counting on tippling being the secret to longevity).

A good Sunday question. A penny for your sins?