Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All ANZACed out

Generally I read Colin James' ODT columns without exception. As I subscribe, they appear in my e-mail box weekly. But today I read the headline (Mateship, sacrifice, a fair go and all that) and first line and abandoned it. Immediately I felt a surge of guilt. But I have to say it. I am all ANZACed out. It's been going on for weeks, at every turn, and it'll just get worse. Though last night's TV3 news provided a slight deviation. They led with rugby and followed with ANZAC. I am so bored with both but accept I am probably in a tiny sacrilegious minority. Berate me if you like. In  fact that would lift the ennui.

"Don't like feminism or gay marriage? Blame capitalism"

Stephen Horowitz argues that capitalism is responsible for same-sex marriage and feminism. He mentions the welfare state but in the context of "positive" transformation. The Left would agree that welfare has provided more choice for women but  I would argue that it left many women (and men) trapped in relative poverty with fewer choices than if marriage had held up. This article however mainly focuses on same-sex marriage, the emergence of which probably does have more to do with capitalism than the welfare state. In fact, in recent times, in NZ, social security worked against same-sex relationships when benefits for gay couples came under the same legislation as benefits for heterosexual couples in 'marriage-like' relationships. The groups who opposed that development argued it would split up gay couples - especially where one relied on the DPB and the other worked - as their income levels dropped significantly.

While the right resists same-sex marriage and the left thinks that cultural paradigm shifts are responsible for the transformation of today’s family, the fact is the creative powers of the market are largely responsible for the face of the family in the early 21st century.
Certainly, government regulation, including the welfare state, have influenced family life in the last four decades, but the long-run positive fundamental transformations are due to economic growth fueled by the market.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Painting

This is currently on show at the Eastbourne Art Expo, last day today. For sale.

The painting, The Blue Blanket, is based on a black and white photo. The colours are probably unrealistic for the times (c late 1800s) but that's the mood I was in when I painted it. What strongly appealed to me was the joyous interaction between mother and child.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Benefit numbers continue to fall

Proportion of working-age population receiving main benefits

Benefit numbers chart

I am always interesting in the underlying numbers, for instance, is it long-term dependants that are coming off welfare?

Part of the answer lies in the data tables. 5 years ago 69.5 percent of current beneficiaries had been continuously on welfare for a year or more. Today the percentage is 74. However, the total number reliant for a year or more has also fallen from 225,957 in 2010 to 210,482 today.

The official reason for reducing numbers?

"Changes in benefit numbers over this period largely reflect changes in economic conditions."

Nathan Guy wasting money

Racing Minister Nathan Guy happily boasts that the NZ TAB has a monopoly on betting in NZ, and then announces the establishment of a working group to investigate (stop) people betting with overseas book makers on-line. Competition has reared its ugly head.

What a waste of taxpayer money.

Here is the answer Mr Guy. (No, I am not going to suggest privatisation because that's not going to happen any time soon.) Just make the TAB a provider of services that overseas bettors want to use! Simple. For instance, allow the withdrawal of betting account funds on-line, which I understand is possible in Australia. Punters have suggested this to the TAB repeatedly but they continue to resist.

NZ is happy to compete in the international market when breeding and selling horseflesh, exporting our best jockeys, importing apprentices, exporting technologies, importing semen, etc.

Get smart about making the TAB internationally competitive. The potential from a vast global market  is far greater than loss from the domestic.

Stop wasting taxpayer's money on futile investigations.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

US: Black females better educated than white males

Brookings has an interesting 'Long Memo' on the marriage problem faced by educated black females. Intermarriage rates are apparently low, and educated black men are far less numerous than educated black women, So the opportunity for 'assortive' mating is low. (I don't know this is particularly a problem beyond couple's future earning potential. On paper my husband is significantly better educated than I am. But the university of life can be a better teacher than some left-wing, indoctrinating, cloistering institution - depending on subject studied.)

Anyway, it was this graph that intrigued me. It shows the significant progress of black females in relation to, not only black males, but white males (I use Brooking's labels for simplicity.) 57 percent of black women have 'some college' or 'bachelor's degree or more' versus 54 percent of white men (within the age group studied).

Quote of the Day

The mounting burden of taxation not only undermines individual incentives to increased work and earnings, but in a score of ways discourages capital accumulation and distorts, unbalances, and shrinks production. Total real wealth and income is made smaller than it otherwise would be. On net balance there is more poverty rather than less.
- Henry Hazlitt, The Conquest of Poverty [1973]

(Hat-tip Future of Freedom Foundation)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Immunisation rates by decile

Decile 10 in the health system is the poorest (it's opposite in the education system). A number of people have been heard expressing the view that it's either poor people neglecting their children who aren't immunising, or that its "middle / upper class arty farty luvvies mummies who spend far too much time doing Yoga and eating Tofu" as a commentor on WhaleOil posted.

The latest breakdown I can find shows that non-immunisation occurs almost evenly across deciles.

ACT Leader David Seymour has come out in favour of the "no jab, no pay" policy citing obligations on parents being assisted by the state to raise their children. Also Dr Lance O'Sullivan from Northland  says he is prepared to make a "call on it" having seen the results of non-immunisation in hospitals all too often.

The PM is sticking with the parental choice argument, citing Bill of Rights. (If only the Bill of Rights was upheld universally but it generally only makes an appearance when governments want to observe it - not when they want to ignore it.)

I'm still seeing the benefit aspect as a side issue.

But here is where we are in a different boat to Australia. Immunisation rates have been improving quite dramatically due to DHBs efficient and successful pursuance of targets. Beneficiary parents already have the obligation to get their child enrolled with Well Health. That leads on to immunisation.

In Australia, according to media reports, the non-immunisers are increasing.

Beneficiaries who are claiming to be "conscientious objectors" to resist immunising their children are probably not neglectful parents. Same with non-beneficiary parents. They may be misguided and pissing off the majority but if social security law is going to be used to stop them behaving in this way,  should we also find a law to stop non-beneficiary parents behaving similarly?

Then again ... the other part of my brain says people who want to live off the rest of society have sacrificed some rights and choices. If they don't like the paternalistic state they should keep themselves as free from it as they can.