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.