Saturday, February 11, 2017


The following is extracted from a report by  the World Socialist Website so be warned of bias. Putting that aside, what famous quotation comes to mind when you read the article?

Up to 34,000 workers at the Australian government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) are scheduled to hold rolling strikes over the next two weeks. They include staff at Centrelink, the agency that oversees welfare payments, along with Medicare and Child Services employees.
The limited industrial action has been called by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in the face of protracted opposition by public sector workers to the government’s demands for cuts to wages and conditions. There is also immense popular anger over the government’s draconian “debt recovery” scheme targeting current and former welfare recipients, which Centrelink workers are being forced to implement.


(Clue: The quote has been falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Asking the right questions

A sane letter from the DomPost today. Makes a change.

(Left click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Mystery no more

Yesterday the Sallies published their State of the Nation report. It was covered in the NZ Herald:

"...the report notes that welfare numbers have declined faster than unemployment in recent years, suggesting that not all those pushed off benefits have found jobs.
"Just what has happened to these people, and whether they are better or worse off, is a mystery." "

Not quite. SuperU (ex Families Commission) released some research today which followed 140,000 people who left benefits in the year to June 30, 2011:

About the 'unknowns' the report makes this observation:
 "18 percent of people who moved off a benefit but did not return, their main activity two years later was unknown. It is possible that some of these people were being supported by their partner."
I suspect quite a large proportion as movements in and out of sole parenthood are common, and the rate of sole parent dependency has fallen the fastest.

This is significant because the left have been complaining for some time that the heartless government was pushing people off benefits and had no idea what happened to them.

It does now.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Some history

Here's a quotation from today's Future of Freedom newsletter:

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
– Grover Cleveland, " Letter to the House of Representatives" [1887]
As per usual I am struck by how the western world debated and developed laws fairly simultaneously and continues to do so. At this time there was much clamouring for governments to get involved in redistributing wealth.

Dr Duncan McGregor, New Zealand's Inspector of Hospitals and Charitable Institutions late 19th century was radical in his opposition to state  assistance understanding the difficulty of raising funds privately once it was known government was putting up taxpayer money. He said:

"Poor Law dries up the springs of private charity."

Scottish-born New Zealand MP Donald Reid, also resisted saying in 1877:

"...and the class requiring assistance would begin to consider that they had a right to demand the money which was collected by means of the poor rate, whereas they ought rather to feel that any assistance they obtained was given as a charity".

According to historian David Thompson, Reid and his colleagues were anxious that a "vagrant class" did not latch on to the earnings of others.

The idea of state assistance provided through a compulsory levy was an anathema to the early Liberals, though some favoured a mix of subsidy from the Consolidated Fund (raised mainly through duties as opposed to income tax) and privately-raised monies. About granting a right to monetary support by others, Prime Minister, Robert Stout said:

"I consider that to be a most dangerous principle for any State to confirm."