Friday, March 25, 2016

The higher the voter turn-out, the stronger the preference for change

I was looking at the voter turn-out and noticed that the higher turn-out electorates had a stronger preference for change. David made a graph for me.

The correlation is pretty strong.

(Left-click to enlarge)

A third of people couldn't be bothered

Even when voting is made as easy as a tick and a trip to the postbox, a third of people can't be bothered.

Probably the same people who don't vote in general elections.

People don't have to vote and I am utterly opposed to compulsory voting. For selfish reasons, I don't want someone who doesn't give a fig cancelling out the vote of someone who is engaged and voting with purpose and reason. Me:-)

But for all our vaunting and celebration of democracy, a segment much bigger than it should be, just doesn't give a f--k.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A profoundly stupid idea

Breaking with normal practice, I am blogging on the same subject in successive posts.

Giving every teenager $200 a week when they turn 18 is a profoundly stupid idea.

The most meaningful reform National has made is scrapping the old cash benefit available to youth and young parents. Instead their income from the state is managed and there are tight strings attached. They get a tiny sum of cash and can only increase it by meeting certain challenges. They are heavily mentored, parented in a way they have probably never been before. The idea is to get educational qualifications, work skills and self esteem into them before it is too late.

An unconditional $200 a week would reverse this whole approach. It would be madness.

It would replicate the mindset of generational dependency seen in families that encourage - even expect - their kids to go on the dole or DPB as soon as possible to boost the family's income.

Its a truly frightening prospect.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Labour's $40 billion policy (updated)

The universal basic income.

$40 billion. Yes. That's roughly what it will cost to give every New Zealander aged 18 or over $11,000 annually.

Putting aside questions of affordability, who will vote for this?


It's well under what Super pays so I don't think so - not en masse anyway.

Beneficiaries? There's mention of supplementary transfers for the most disadvantaged. Vague. I doubt it.

Students? Possibly. But they'll have to be convinced to pay the substantially higher tax such a policy demands. After all they expect to form the most highly-taxed bracket ultimately.

Self-employed and business owners? They won't be keen on higher taxes either. And they aren't silly. They understand the senselessness of pay without productivity.

You would think there was some sort of massive employment crisis yet the unemployment rate is 5.3%.

Not 15.3% or even 10.3%

Time and again there have been points in history when technology has been tipped to make man redundant. Yet jobs keep inventing themselves.

And what would the effect on other services be? Education, Health, Law and Order?

Credit to Bill English for calling it without equivocation:

National's Finance Minister Bill English said a universal basic income "would be very expensive and likely discourage work".
Well, perhaps he could have been a tad more dismissive.

But nobody could put it past Labour, with their mid-2000s record of bribery, to craft this craziness into policy in time for the next election.

Update; I had forgotten Treasury's work in this area. The following is a comment I just posted at Kiwiblog 

At the request of the Welfare Working Group Treasury did some modelling on Guaranteed Minimum Incomes in 2010:

“An income of $300 per week is just over the average (mean) benefit income – therefore a plausible minimum income. However, paying a guaranteed income of $300 per week to every New Zealander aged 16 years and over, excluding superannuitants, comes at considerable fiscal cost. The fiscal cost
of the GMI proposed in the first model (Model 1) is $44.5 billion (including the cost of all social transfers – in particular, New Zealand Superannuation payments, would cost $55.5 billion), requiring
a flat personal tax rate of approximately 45.4%. Note that this tax rate and the others considered below are cost-neutral – not fiscally neutral – as personal taxes currently raise approximately $6
billion in excess of current social assistance costs.
However, a consequence of Model 1 is that the higher personal taxes rates lower post-tax New Zealand Superannuation payments by approximately 44% on average. Therefore, a second model
(Model 2) was developed that removed New Zealand Superannuation and extended the GMI payment to superannuitants. As expected, the fiscal cost of the GMI increased to $52.6 billion ($55.6 billion including all social transfers) requiring a higher flat personal tax rate of 48.6%. However, it did  improve the outcomes for superannuitants, evident by declining poverty levels.”

Treasury concluded:

“The GMI scheme proposed by the Welfare Working Group is a significant policy change with large
economic consequences. The scheme is fiscally very costly and would not necessarily achieve its  main goal of reducing poverty. The high personal tax rates required to fund the scheme are highly
distortionary to the labour market and to savings and investment decisions, and would be likely to
induce a significant behavioural response. This has damaging effects on the tax system and economic
growth. “

On-line bullying the new fall guy

Social media has become the new fall guy for everything wrong with teenagers. Older generations are always looking for new evils to explain the behaviours and characteristics of teenagers. It's like blaming rock and roll in the fifties, and other nasty American influences on young people.

Here's today's silly headline

Children are more resilient at 10 years old than 15, study finds 

"Research shows children are at their most resilient at age 10... Ten-year-olds are at the top of their game, it's the time in their lives they are most likely to feel happy, confident and ready to take on the world. But by age 15, that resilience has plummeted. So what happens on the way to those mid-teen years?" 

Puberty, you egg.

 At 10 life is uncomplicated.

I can't believe anyone would think that the difference between 10 and 15 is a mystery waiting to be solved. Surely I will read on and get to it.

 The 15-year-olds, usually in year 9, are far less likely to feel encouraged at school, to feel safe at school, to have an adult who listens to them or to feel "very hopeful". And in one clue to why there is such a marked difference between the older and younger children, 15-year-olds were more than twice as likely to have been bullied online in the past year.
Oh, on-line bullying. Of course.

Except, on-line bullying is a symptom, not a cause.

Keep going.

As to why there is such a drop in confidence towards the mid-teen years, Fuller says parents often feel less close to their kids during adolescence and involvement in community activities and groups typically drops off around this age.
Having parents less involved and peers more involved is again an effect of how the individual is adjusting to the changes his or her body and brain is going through.

Having read the whole article, 'puberty' didn't get a look in. Must have gone out of fashion.

Here's some sense from Psychology Today:

 For most young people, puberty catches them at a bad time - during the early adolescent years (around ages 9 - 13) when they are separating from the shelter of childhood and begin striving for social belonging and place among their society of peers. Already feeling adrift from family and at sea in this brave new world of more social independence, puberty demonstrates how they are also out of control of their body. Developmental insecurity and early adolescence go hand in hand.For most young people, puberty is the enemy of self-esteem.