Friday, December 05, 2014

On tithing and the Tamaki's

Not that I watch it , but I understand John Campbell has been running a witch hunt against Brian Tamaki for his ostentatious lifestyle. RadioLive have picked it up via Ali Mau though her co-host Willie Jackson is in support of the Tamakis and the good work they do in South Auckland. Ali Mau believes people can be unduly pressured into tithing and is quite strident in her opposition.

Why isn't she strident in her opposition to paying taxes or rates? She is legally compelled to fork out for these and there is every bit as much ostentation in the form of high salaries, flash cars and all manner of pomp and ceremony in central and local government. Try refusing to tithe to those bodies and see what happens.

People can always walk away from Bishop Brian.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"Generation Unbound" - review

Thanks to a reader for drawing my attention to the following. I was going to cut and paste the entire highly readable  review of a new book by Isabel V Sawhill, Generation Unbound, by libertarian economist Arnold Kling,  but it got unwieldy. Worth 5 minutes of your time. Some of her 'solutions' are most interesting, though I am inclined to the reviewer perspective.

"... by 2012, the teen birth rate had reached the lowest level reported in over six decades. In the meantime, the problem has moved up the age scale. It is now primarily women and men in their twenties who are having children outside of marriage, many of them unplanned... Once a young single woman has had an unplanned pregnancy, followed by a baby out of wedlock, she is less likely to marry and more likely to have additional children outside of marriage... Perhaps the solution is not to bring back early marriage but instead to encourage young adults to delay childbearing until they are ready to marry.1"
Isabel V. Sawhill's latest book, Generation Unbound, describes a significant social challenge in the United States: the increasing incidence of children born into adverse circumstances. The common pattern that Sawhill describes is a woman at the lower end of the income scale who becomes pregnant unintentionally, gives birth, and raises the child as a single mother. The arrangement is likely to involve poverty both for the mother and for her child or children.
Sawhill points out: Indeed, the average woman now has her first baby before she marries. This reversal of the normal sequence first occurred in the late 1980s. One report calls it "the great crossover"—the point at which, for the first time, the average age at marriage exceeded the average age at first birth among American women.
She writes,
"... the youngest generation seems to have decoupled marriage and childbearing. They place more emphasis on the importance of children and less emphasis on marriage".

Freedom = prosperity

From NCPA today:

Which American States are the Most Free?

December 3, 2014
Which American states are the most free? Texas, South Dakota and North Dakota, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute on economic freedom. In fourth place was Virginia, followed by New Hampshire, Louisiana and Nebraska in fifth place, Tennessee in the ninth spot and Indiana, Georgia and Utah tied for tenth.
The least free state was Maine, with Vermont and Mississippi not far behind.
To calculate freedom, researchers Dean Stansel, Jose Torra and Fred McMahon analyzed a number of different components, including the size of government, takings and discriminatory taxation, regulation, property rights and the state's legal system.
What does economic freedom translate into? Higher incomes for state residents. As Stansel wrote in the Washington Examiner, Texas, South Dakota and North Dakota had average incomes 20 percent higher than Maine, Vermont and Mississippi. Similarly, the top 10 most free states saw a 3.5 percent growth in employment and 8 percent economic growth, while the 10 least free states saw hardly any employment growth and only 2 percent economic growth.
Source: Dean Stansel, Jose Torra and Fred McMahon, "Economic Freedom of North America 2014," Fraser Institute, December 2, 2014.
Though a counter argument might go that NZ ranks high in the freedom tables yet does less well on GDP per capita.  However, with the exception of housing (a regional, regulatory problem) the cost of living here is pretty good so income is relative. And, by OECD standards, we are doing well employment-wise (for what the official measure is worth).

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Universalising to prevent stigma - dumb idea

The Left's favoured method for describing a social problem is:  name neither offenders nor cause.

That then carries through to their policy solution: apply the balm universally and no group will be stigmatised.

In the parliamentary exchange below we see how school's practical application of non-stigmatisation results first in unnecessary outlay, then ends with a group that could probably have been identified from the outset and is still potentially subject to stigmatisation.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes. There are approximately 2,550 schools in New Zealand. In the time that I have been the Prime Minister, I have been a prolific visitor to schools, and for the last at least 3 or 4 years, from memory, I have asked this particular question to pretty much every principal I have seen. The feedback that I constantly get from them is that the extension of breakfast in schools under a National-led Government has been a good project. The extension of fruit in schools has been a good project, and while they offer breakfast in schools to—
Hon Annette King: It wasn’t an extension; it was a continuation. You just continued it.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, it was extended. Keep up; it was an extension. If you look—
Hon Annette King: No it wasn’t. You were going to get rid of it. You were going to dump it. You’re on your high horse.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: You go off and be Mayor of Wellington and Phil can be Mayor of Auckland.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] If the Hon Annette King wishes to remain in the Chamber, please cease when I rise to my feet. Would both the Prime Minister and the Hon Annette (uncorrected transcript—subject to correction and further editing) King stop the interaction and exchange across the House. If the Prime Minister wishes to complete his answer, would he do so.
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In discussions with those principals, what is clear is that, because they do not want to stigmatise children who might go on a breakfast in schools programme, they offer it, generally speaking, to every child in the school. On average the feedback that they give me is that about half the children go on the breakfast in schools programme as a starting point, and over time that number reduces, more often than not, to a core group of about 10 or 15. They then make sure there is also food for them at lunch if they want it. The advice of the principals that I have spoken to—and I have been to a huge range of schools—is that very few do.

Explaining the rise in child poverty

1/ Currently almost two thirds of the children in poverty are reliant on a benefit. Those children tend to be in chronic poverty. Children in households with income from work tend to move out of poverty.

2/ Of the children dependent on welfare almost three quarters rely on a sole parent benefit.

3/ Ex-nuptial births account for almost a half of all births today.

The graph below shows the rapid rise in ex-nuptial births with no resident father, from approximately 2,500 in 1973 to 14,000 by 1996 - a quarter of all births that year.

The pattern has persisted. These births produce the children that dominate the child poverty statistics.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

What government looks like

This "working scale" model of the US government arrived in my inbox.

In its working state it is highly recognisable because we have similar apparatus operating locally.

Poverty is no excuse for child abuse

Simon Collins has a piece in the NZ Herald today,
Asian youngsters are now more likely to suffer overcrowding and poverty-related illnesses than European children, a report has found.
The second annual Child Poverty Monitor, published by Children's Commissioner Dr Russell Wills today, shows the rate of poverty-related illnesses for Asian children has kept rising through and beyond the recent recession - in contrast to all other ethnic groups, which saw increased poverty-related illness rise in the recession but fall back since 2012.
Pacific and Maori young still have by far the highest rates of poverty-related illness, but the Maori rate dropped steeply from 58 hospital admissions for poverty-linked conditions for every 1000 kids in 2012 to 52 for every 1000 people last year. The Asian rate has almost doubled from 21 hospital admissions for every 1000 Asian children in 2000, and 29 in 2007 before the recession started, to 40 admissions for every 1000 children last year.
Yet their admission for injuries from assault or neglect and their mortality rates are still well below Maori and Pacific and trending down.So perhaps Asian/Indian families are simply accessing medical services better. Poverty certainly doesn't make them abuse or neglect their children.