Monday, June 19, 2017

Assisted dying polls

From ACT's Free Press:
"The End-of-Life Choice Society have released a Horizon Poll showing 75 per cent of New Zealanders want assisted dying legalised. Taking out don’t-knows, only 11 per cent are opposed. This is extraordinary support, and is consistent with previous polls from Reid Research (71-24) Colmar Brunton (75-20) and Curia (66-20). It is time for opponents to concede that, whatever other arguments they may have, public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of change."
As previously stated, I'll not try and persuade or argue with detractors. Each is entitled to their view and they can express it here. Just don't tell me that there is some 'greater good' reason for ceding autonomy over my ending (within the context of this bill).

Friday, June 09, 2017

Do you own my life?

This is the question to be put to all of the anti voluntary euthanasia  stalwarts who will emerge over the coming months.

Thank goodness David Seymour's bill has been pulled from the ballot.

That's all from me.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Trump's food stamp plan

Food stamps - more benignly known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) - make up a huge share of the US government's welfare bill. It only ever seems to grow (though has steadied in recent years.) The Daily Signal explains why and what Trump is proposing:

The food stamp program is 92 percent funded by Washington. Washington sends blank checks to state capitals—the more people a state enrolls in food stamps, the more money Washington hands out.
A dirty secret in American politics is that many governors, both Republican and Democrat, regard this type of “free money” poured from Washington as a benign Keynesian stimulus to their local economies. The more spending, the better.
The Trump budget recognizes that the food stamp program will become more efficient if the state governments that operate the program have “skin in the game.” Therefore, it raises the required state contribution to food stamps incrementally from 8 percent to 25 percent.

Friday, June 02, 2017

"...none of the state's business."

When a sole parent refuses to name the father of her children a penalty is incurred. This is because the state is unable to recoup any of her benefit from the liable parent. But Green MP Jan Logie says:

"Is it appropriate to deprive women of essential income when the reasons people don't name a father are personal, private and, frankly, none of the state's business?"
So if the reason a mother isn't naming the father is because she has come to a private arrangement with him to  receive a sum greater than $28 (but less than his otherwise calculated child support liability)  it's none of the state's business?

It is people like Jan Logie, who believe everyone should have unconditional eligibility for state support in all its guises, that have encouraged the state to grow so big. Big states rob individuals of freedom and privacy. So I have little sympathy for her when she turns around and says some personal decision is none of the state's business.

For statists of all ilks: you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Old school"?

The treatment of those who questioned the behaviour of the now infamous Ministry of Transport fraudster was atrocious. Two have spoken to Radio New Zealand anonymously. This caught my eye though:

"When we raised issues sometimes we were told 'you're only here to pay the invoices and if they're signed and approved that's all you have to worry about'.
"But we were old school - and we were loyal and we were conscious of it being taxpayer money."

Which infers they were loyal to the taxpayer. Good for them.

But if they are old school, what is new school??

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

"1,300,000 fewer years on main benefits"

That's the prognosis since benefit reforms were implemented in 2012.

It's good that the ministry is actually measuring dependency in year terms. Mere numbers dependent hid too much. Reliance on the dole is, on average, much shorter-lived than reliance on the DPB (now Sole Parent Support).

From the Minister, this is hugely important:

“Almost half of children who grow up in a benefit dependent household end up on a benefit before the age of 23, which is why we’ve invested millions in providing intensive support and training as well as help with study and childcare so sole parents can go into work.

“With the number of sole parents on a benefit decreasing 32 per cent since 2012 and nearly 60,000 fewer children living in benefit dependent households than in 2011, it’s clear this investment is helping break the cycle of intergenerational welfare dependence.

In their last incumbency Labour never got close to addressing or moving on this central problem.

“Those who have been on a benefit before the age of 20 make up about 75 per cent of current liability, with teen parents having some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare.

This is what I was banging on about 13-14 years ago when addressing select committees and Labour sneered, holding that the average single parent was only ever dependent for 3 and a half  years. That was factually wrong. But worse, Labour used images that would conjure up public sympathy to divert from the chronic inter-generational problem, while their supporters painted me as a beneficiary-bashing pariah.

I confess I haven't the energy or inclination to trawl through the detail of the latest actuarial report. It might exaggerate or be overly optimistic. But the crux is that the government (or THIS government) now understands the problem.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Just another manifestation of the war on drugs

Why can't the government 1/ understand the ramifications of the war on drugs, and 2/ extrapolate them to the war on tobacco?

Simple behavioural and economic rules apply.

Criticism of Oxfam's approach to wealth inequality

The following brief article from the Acton blog is reproduced in full due to its substantial merit:

"If people of faith want to reduce global poverty, they must begin by accurately measuring the problem. But a well-publicized report on international poverty distorts the problem and promotes solutions that would leave the world’s poorest people worse off, according to two free market experts.

Every year, Oxfam releases a report on global wealth inequality to further the agenda of the World Economic Forum. This year’s entry, titled “An economy for the 99 percent,” was released with the headline: “Just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world.”

The group’s executive director, Winnie Byanyima, said, “It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when one-in-10 people survive on less than $2 a day.” But Philip Booth and Ben Southwood of the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), based in London, point out that there are significant problems with the report.

First, its method of measuring wealth (not income) is misleading. “Those at the bottom of the net wealth distribution include, for example, recent Harvard graduates with high levels of student debt and yet huge earning potential: they are supposed to be amongst the poorest people in the world,” Booth and Southwood write. Not that long ago, that would have included the Obamas, no one’s idea of the dispossessed and powerless.

Second, the report does not take into account life’s natural fluctuations. “A lot of people in the world have little or no net wealth,” Booth and Southwood note.

People accumulate wealth over the course of their life cycle, and even the better-off in this country do not tend to accumulate significant net wealth before their 30s. So if you consider that the global median age is about 28 years, it is hardly surprising that a huge proportion of the world’s population does not own any wealth.

Their conclusions reiterate the findings of a recent report from Canada’s Fraser Institute, which details how different stages of life bring different average earnings. Assets usually increase throughout one’s working years, until they are drawn down during retirement.

Oxfam recommends that Davos attendees pursue the global redistribution of wealth. Byanyima encourages politicians to “stop obsessing with GDP” growth, and the report recommends governments “increase the amount of progressive tax.”

But crushing poverty has fallen, thanks in large part to the free market, Booth and Southwood write. “Globally, extreme poverty has fallen from 44 percent in 1980 to around 10 percent today.” One could call as the first witness Oxfam itself, which stated recently, “The growth generated by private actors has contributed to an unprecedented reduction in poverty around the world in recent decades.”

The IEA cites examples from South Korea and Kenya to India and China. In Vietnam, income per capita rose from $100 a year to $2,000 after the country took measures to liberalize its economy 31 years ago. China saw the same measure increase from $193 in 1980 to $6,807 in 2014. “This is not due to redistribution,” the authors write; “it is due to trade and the liberalisation of some markets.”

Growing global wealth produces innovative products and services that serve the world’s poorest. For instance, Frank McCoster notes at The Conservative Online that internet connectivity is transforming the way Africans access vital services like electricity.

And as French President-elect Emmanuel Macron, the former economy minister of a socialist administration, said, “We must first produce in order to be able to distribute.” The richest 0.003 percent of the world’s population, those with a net worth of at least $240 million, donates $25 million to charity during his life.

People of faith who care about feeding the world should embrace policies that stimulate the growth of wealth, the structures that allow flourishing in the developing world, and the religious and philanthropic worldviews that encourage us to become our brother’s keeper.

You can read Booth and Southwood’s article in the Spring 2017 issue of the IEA’s Economic Affairs."


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A flat white each day?

Bracket creep amounts to the equivalent of "a flat white each day". This trivialises the fact that the government is taking more tax from individuals in the latest financial year than the previous.

David Seymour expresses it better when saying that New Zealanders have just lost another week's work to the government.

But the increase also tends to overshadow that you are working for the government until May 8. MAY 8. Not March or April. MAY.

Mainstream coverage in Wellington amounts to a small snippet in the business pages. No wonder National gives the issue of over-taxation no priority.