Friday, September 11, 2015

"Drinkers subsidise non-drinkers"

Doug Sellman, look the other way now.

A study from IEA finds

"... estimates suggest that the net cost of alcohol to the state is minus £6.5 billion pounds, which is to say that drinkers subsidise non-drinkers to the order of £6.5 billion pounds a year. The government could halve all forms of alcohol duty and still receive more in tax than it spends dealing with alcohol-related problems."

I immediately noticed that the study does not consider the economic contribution alcohol makes in terms of job creation for instance (eg NZ's wine industry is purported worth in excess of $1 billion) but the paper later explains why:

We have also ignored all financial benefits except those that go directly to government, i.e. alcohol taxes. In line with Leontaridi’s methodology, we do not include benefits provided by the alcohol industry, such as job creation, corporation tax and income tax, on the basis that replacement goods, services and jobs would fill the void if alcohol did not exist. Since it is unclear whether substitute industries would lead to the government receiving more, less, or the same amount of revenue (aside from the loss
of alcohol taxes), we have ignored the economic contribution of the alcohol industry altogether.

Fair enough.

But with the public-cost arguments against drinking (and smoking) removed, hectoring academics are exposed for what they are. Well-paid agents of Nanny State hellbent on micro-managing your life because they know best.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

'Victimhood' contextualised

Here's a plausible hypothesis;

"U.S. society is in the midst of a large-scale moral change in which we are experiencing the emergence of a victimhood culture that is distinct from the honor cultures and dignity cultures of the past. If true, this bodes really bad for future social and political peace."

The concept of victimhood has been talked about for some time but this is a new attempt at context and definition.

(For mine, feminists long postulated that a world ruled by women would be free from war. They failed to add that it wouldn't be free from conflict.)

Original paper noted at Reason

Poor reporting and poor thinking

A couple of items that caught my attention from the NZ Herald: economist Dr Brian Easton says with certain rehabilitative and preventive methods, that figure could reduce over time as more young women learn about the harmful effects of drinking while pregnant.
Dr Easton is one of two keynote speakers at today's annual Research and Policy Forum to highlight World Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day.
He has based his estimate on research that showed 1 per cent of the population was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) each year.
"Each year about 6000 babies are born with FASD and 600 have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome."

So his estimate for FASD is 10 percent - not 1 percent.

Then this:

Auckland Women's Centre manager Leonie Morris agreed that society under-valued unpaid parenting work, as shown by the "stigma" imposed on beneficiaries who stayed home with children.
When beneficiaries stay home they are paid to look after their children. So society must put some value on parenting work. The "stigma" attaches to using scarce public money, in many instances, quite deliberately and quite ineffectively.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Parkin Prize: Is it art? Who cares

I'd forgotten all about the Parkin Prize until reading this morning on the DomPost front page that the $20,000 prize winner had entered a rubbing of her apartment floor.

Good for her. Is it art? Who cares. She spent hours and hours on her hands and knees, which is more than I did.

It had been literally decades since I'd drawn with a pencil but I had a first-time shot anyway. Left it till the very last minute - in fact I thought the deadline was midnight, not 4 pm. And I didn't get home till after five. But the on-line submission was auto-accepted at 6 pm. Wasn't surprised when it didn't make the cut. 443 submissions. Put up some decent prize money and everyone has a crack. This is the sketch; the finished painting is here.

Actually, as I have pondered over this whilst hanging out the washing, making breakfast etc it occurs that there is a lovely irony inherent in her work. Most artists making any money from their work are earning the minimum wage or less. But in this case repetitive grafting on  hands and knees, day after day reaped a much better hourly rate . Even if she took 300 hours to rub every floor in her apartment it's paid her $66.66 per. Getting up there with plumbers....

Monday, September 07, 2015

"Feminism damages children"

Muriel Newman's latest column at NZCPR, Feminism damages children

Child abuse has again been in the headlines over the last few weeks, most recently following the release of the Children’s Commissioner’s State of Care report into the treatment of children in the care of Child, Youth and Family (CYF). The report contained a number of recommendations, which the Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley has said will be taken into account in the major overhaul of the agency that is presently underway.
 Leading the review is Paula Rebstock, an economist and the former Chair of the Commerce Commission, who has already directed far-reaching reforms for the government into Social Welfare and the Department of Corrections. It is understood that a ‘social investment’ approach is being promoted for CYF, which will put children’s needs at its centre – as well as focussing on what works and how to get best value for money. The report is said to be with Cabinet and is expected to be released in its final form by the end of the year.
 However, no matter what structural changes to the child protection agency are introduced, nor what new processes are brought in, the problems of abused and damaged children will continue until the government stops paying women who are not in loving and stable relationships to have babies. 


 Twinned with mine, Violence made viable

 Lots of people survive courtesy of a benefit. They do so because they are too sick to work, can’t find a job, have children who need feeding with no other source of income, and so on. There are a myriad of reasons why people receive welfare. Most of these people – 300,000 or thereabouts – are not violent. The same can be said of the general population. Yet the odds that violence will occur within the beneficiary population are much higher.
 That’s what the statistical evidence says. Violence – or more particularly – family violence, is relatively common in New Zealand. There are 100,000 family violence reports to police annually, yet the government thinks this represents only 20% of the actual level. The thought that half a million reports would better represent the actual state of affairs in Aoteoroa is chilling. And, frankly, hard to believe. (Perhaps a flag with a fist on it would best portray New Zealand?)