@berniesanders How America’s middle class is disappearing
34 minutes ago
Hide - Vaulting Matilda March 4
Friday, 4 March 2011, 7:53 pm
Press Release: ACT New Zealand
ISSUE 15, March 4 2011
These are grim times for Canterbury, and indeed for New Zealand. Our second largest city is devastated and the people of Christchurch are enduring the hardest of times.
We are now forced to make hard choices, to focus intensely on only the highest priorities – we need to face reality.
Our starting point is not good. Our government has been borrowing a massive $300 million per week simply to keep afloat. That’s almost $200 per week for each and every Kiwi household.
And now we have Christchurch to rebuild.
However it’s not just government that overspends – as a nation we have built up overseas debt of $162 billion, 85% of GDP.
We have seen the economic and social turmoil in the most highly indebted European countries. The future has arrived for them. Those in deep trouble were the countries with the highest current account deficits, the highest levels of overseas debt and the highest levels of government debt. If you need to know what the future holds on our present track, just look at the so-called PIIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.
The reason we have so much wasteful, pointless and counterproductive government spending is that politicians have every incentive to spend more, and promise too much. As voters we encourage them.
The middle class want free childcare. Students want interest-free loans. Pensioners want pensions and gold cards. On and on it goes. Every interest group wants their own government department or agency. Helen Clark’s Labour government perfected the art of spending money on key interest groups to hold on to power at all cost.
We couldn’t afford that before the earthquakes and we absolutely cannot now. Government capital spending is going to increase as we rebuild Christchurch.
We must ensure now that the general good prevails over narrower self-interest. Government must live within a budget as tight as the budgets that ordinary households face.
Leader, ACT Party
Washington has become the latest state to see a push for a so-called whiskey-plate law to combat drunk driving, a move defense lawyers and civil libertarians say can unfairly stigmatize offenders, and sometimes their families as well, reports the Wall Street Journal.
* The law would require first-time drunk drivers to replace their license plates with easy-to-spot tags that end with the uppercase letter "Z," a signal to police to pay close attention to the car.
* Minnesota, an early adopter of such a law, uses the letter "W" -- hence the term "whiskey plate" -- on a plain white background.
* Offenders in Washington would be required to display the special plates for three years after their driving privileges are restored.
Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said whiskey plates were part of a "trend of overcriminalization" in the United States. "These sorts of laws just create obstacles to offenders getting fresh starts and moving forward with their lives," she said.
A handful of other states have adopted similar laws.
* In Minnesota, certain drunk-driving offenders are required to attach special plates to their car for a year after their driving privileges are restored.
* An earlier version of the Minnesota law was enacted in 1988.
* Drunk-driving-related fatalities have fallen steadily since.
THE number of people on welfare benefits for more than a year has hit its highest since early 2002, with long-term recipients swelling by nearly 40 per cent since the global financial crisis.
Despite claims of skills and labour shortages, 349,806 people have been on Newstart Allowance for more than a year, according to Centrelink data for January, published by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Friday 22 February 2011
Celebrate Beneficiaries - The Heroes of the Recession
It is the government who is making bad life choices, not beneficiaries! In fact, Trevor McGlinchey from the NZ Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) says beneficiaries are the heroes who are carrying the country through the recession.
NZCCSS Executive officer McGlinchey was speaking in response to today’s release of the third and final report from the government Welfare Working Group Report.
...“Last year’s Budget offered millions in tax assistance to those on mid to high incomes, many of whom pay relatively minimal tax because they know how to work the system. That leaves low income earners and beneficiaries to pay off the nation’s debts!”
"...Displaying alcohol in supermarkets should be treated in the same way as dirty movies are displayed in a video store, the Alcohol Reform Bill select committee was told yesterday.
Alcohol Action said the proposals adapted by the Government from a Law Commission report into alcohol reform did not go far enough.
Alcohol should not be easily accessible and should not be displayed at the front of stores or with other products such as fruit and vegetables, the group said yesterday.
"Supermarkets are treating alcohol like it's a commodity rather than a drug," spokeswoman Professor Jennie Connor said.
"It should be treated like dirty movies, they should be in one corner of the supermarket at the back..."