The Dim-Post

September 8, 2012

The Big Lie

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:03 pm
Karl du Fresne revists David Shearer’s rooftop dole bludger, so I will too. du Frense:
TWO RECENT events show how entrenched the welfarist mindset has become.

Labour leader David Shearer was pilloried in the left-wing blogosphere for making a speech in which he made it clear he disapproved of people claiming a benefit when they were fit to work. Yet his attitude is entirely in line with the views of the Labour politicians who created the social welfare system in the 1930s.

They were harshly intolerant of welfare “loafers”. The colourful public works minister Bob Semple, a former union leader, is said to have once thundered in biblical tones: “He who shall not work, neither shall he eat.”

That Mr Shearer was condemned within his own party shows how the entitlement mindset has distorted attitudes to the point where dependency on the taxpayer is viewed as a valid lifestyle choice.

More recently, the government’s proposal to drug-test beneficiaries has been condemned, predictably, as beneficiary-bashing. But if the state is going to pay people the unemployment benefit, it’s only fair that the recipients demonstrate good faith by being ready and available for work. In many industries, that requires them to be drug-free.

There’s a moral dimension here too. Why should law-abiding taxpayers subsidise the illegal drug habits of the unemployed?

The government’s advisers did their best to find reasons why drug-testing shouldn’t be mandatory, but the public is capable of cutting through all the equivocation. When a poll on TVNZ’s CloseUp asked whether beneficiaries who refuse a drug test should have their benefit cut, 90 per cent of the 16,000 respondents voted yes.

People who are able to work shouldn’t be sitting around on welfare not-working – and in properly run economies they don’t! Look back to 2007, when ‘entitlement mindset’ Labour ran things: the number of unemployed was ~54,000 (just over 3%) in the June Quarter. The unemployment rate went up when the economy crashed in 2008, which happened to be just before National entered government.

Like I said before, having a fairly large proportion of your workforce doing nothing and consuming other peoples’ wealth is really bad, so governments work hard to prevent it. And that was National’s first order of business when they came into power. Remember the Job Summit? The cycle-way? Classic Keynesian economics: the government borrows at low rates and soaks up workers during a downturn, providing jobs while the economy re-balances and the private sector recovers.

Unfortunately National decided not to do any of that stuff. They decided to grow the economy in ways that were more . . . ideologically palatable, like cutting taxes for high income earners and increasing GST, and building shit-loads of roads. Even more unfortunately, none of their ideas worked. The economy remained stagnant and benefit numbers stayed high, incurring a massive cost to the taxpayer.

And that’s where Paula Bennett and her war on beneficiaries comes in. When the economy is tanking and benefit numbers are high, the public is going to blame someone, and that someone is going to be the government – unless the government can blame someone else first. And those someone are the people who are still on benefits because National has failed to create jobs for them to transition to. Thus the endless cycle of ‘tough on welfare’ policies, most of which are aimed at temporarily moving people off benefits so the labour force statistics for the next quarter are less embarrassing to the government.

That’s great politics. Unemployment is a terrible thing: people lose their houses, families break up, it’s linked to physical and mental illness, drug abuse, crime, child poverty – but it’s also concentrated amongst sections of the population who don’t vote very much. Economically and socially the status quo is a disaster, but politically there’s no downside!

National doesn’t want to intervene in the economy and create jobs – for a variety of reasons, some ideological, some related to their own hubris: they’ve been convinced for four years now that the economy is about to experience ‘robust growth’, due to the sheer awesomeness of John Key being in power. Bennett’s welfare reform is an interim response; a very successful propaganda campaign designed to distract the public from National’s jaw-dropping policy failures by pretending that the people most affected by the economic downturn are actually its causes.

Which brings us back to David Shearer and his roof-painting sickness beneficiary: it would be nice if the leader of the opposition didn’t help the government out when they’re waging a dishonest scaremongering campaign to try and conceal their own impotence. If National – or Labour, or whoever – can get unemployment back down to 3% then they can crack down on benefit fraud and drug test beneficiaries and suspend payments to dole-bludgers with outstanding arrest warrants as much as they like  (although they probably won’t bother because all those measures will cost far more money than they ever save.) Until then, the only welfare reform I want to hear about is job creation.

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43 Comments »

  1. Let’s have it then.
    What is the top 3 job creation ideas?
    Apart from unlocking our mineral wealth of course. I would not want you to end up sleeping on the couch for a week.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — September 8, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  2. Until then, the only welfare reform I want to hear about is job creation.

    FUCK YEAH.

    Comment by petronious — September 8, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  3. What is the top 3 job creation ideas?

    My top 1:

    Open a couple of factories (1 near Chch, 1 somewhere like Tokoroa) which produce pre-fabricated timber framing for a series of affordable eco-homes designed by architects to be warm and efficient. Couple this factory with a school which trains builders first in assembling the framing in the factory followed by an apprenticeship building the houses on site.

    This simultaneously prepares us for the hard work of rebuilding Christchurch, helping to create the infrastructure to reduce our abysmal housing shortage and help add some value to our forestry industry which is mostly shipping raw unprocessed timber to China at the moment.

    If governmentcould then find a way to help young people, poor people and old people (or anyone who would like to own a house) to afford them they could solve a several problems in 1 go and help avoid some of the really long-term problems that we’ll be facing if we don’t do something decisive about them very soon.

    ‘Course no one currently owning a house wants the priceto drop, though, eh? Least of all politicians who have an average of about 3 houses each or the people who can afford to donate to political parties.

    Oh, well… it’s 1 idea…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 8, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  4. When a poll on TVNZ’s CloseUp asked whether beneficiaries who refuse a drug test should have their benefit cut, 90 per cent of the 16,000 respondents voted yes.

    90% of the non-beneficiary respondents said yes, huh? Well, duh. Just like raising the alcohol age to 20 was overwhelmingly supported by people over 20. Authoritarian bullshit that will only affect those people you don’t like is always popular with fuckwits.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 8, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  5. by the way, that idea’s not copyright. that’s free to anyone with the wherewithal to make it go… Hullo? Governmess?

    Comment by nommopilot — September 8, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

  6. “90% of the non-beneficiary respondents said yes, huh? “

    I bet they were the real well-informed 90% and had read extensively on the sociology, law and economics involved.

    Comment by nommopilot — September 8, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

  7. National doesn’t need to do anything because New Zealand is a tiger economy thanks to Labour’s “Knowledge Wave”.

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — September 8, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  8. [...] discusses this and disagrees with the government approach to reduce job avoidance in The Big Lie: National doesn’t want to intervene in the economy and create jobs – for a variety of reasons, [...]

    Pingback by Dealing with dud beneficiaries « Your NZ — September 8, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  9. National doesn’t want to intervene in the economy and create jobs…

    National are intervening, they’re borrowing huge amounts of money which helps keep jobs.

    If you’re arguing that they should borrow more then there’s a number of issues I can think of that would need addressing.

    Borrowing more oney would forc eup interest rates making it more dificult for businesses to grow and create jobs. And who would decide which jobs get govt security. Nommopolit above suggests the building industry but why not coal mining, why not forestry, why not carpet manufacturing, why not unversity academcs etc etc.

    Everyone will want to have their own job secure – for the good of the country no doubt. Would we want any of the political parties playing favourites?

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  10. “Would we want any of the political parties playing favourites?”

    The government is already picking winners: Roads, Oil Gas Coal, Farmers of course. Trouble is none of these industries employ many people and most of them deplete and despoil our natural resources while enriching relatively few people.

    And that is the government’s job: creating policies to help guide the country toward prosperity. They’re doing it wrong though.

    Comment by nommopilot — September 8, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  11. * Of course the dairy industry employs quite a few, but doesn’t have a lot of room to increase jobs…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 8, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  12. Obama declares 30 continuous months of job growth in the USA is “not good enough.” John Key watches 600 jobs disappear in a week in NZ and says “Oh well..” Could there be a more stark contrast?

    Comment by Neil — September 8, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  13. The government is already picking winners: Roads, Oil Gas Coal, Farmers…

    building roads creates jobs and creates infrustructure used to grow the economy, we have to get out export products from the farm gate to the port somehow. Oil, coal, gas provide export dollars, oil being our fourth largest export earner, and relatively cheap energy for other sectors eg steel manufacturing. Farmers pay most of our bills.

    Yes it is picking winners but at least they are winners of a sort. And the govt will be injecting a lot of money into the reconstruction of ChCh which will boast the building industry.

    But I suppose the govt could put more money in that direction but then other industry sectors will just say “why them and not us”. Perhaps we would be better off in the long run putting that money into high tech industries. Everyone will argue they deserve equal govt assistance.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

  14. Obama declares 30 continuous months of job growth in the USA…

    Maybe he spoke too soon, the latest figures show miniscule improvement and the unemployment rate drop such that is is only due to people giving up looking for work. His administration has been printing huge amounts of money to stimulate the economy (they do because they can and won’t suffer the consequnces that we would) but with little effect.

    One could argue that things would be even worse otherwise but that could be argued the same here, we could have higher uneomployment if the govt stopped borrowing and spending.

    Comment by NeilM — September 8, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  15. NeilM: but who benefits exactly? Everyone, or just the One Percenters? That’s the big difference between New Deal-esque regional development, and socialism-for-the-rich pork-barrel politics. You only have to look at Japan’s Roads to Nowhere, and the proposed Gravina Island Bridge in Alaska. And the usual suspects in the Beehive are fucking hypocrites when they shift the goalposts in regards to debt. One moment it’s “a growth problem, not a debt problem”, the next moment it’s “borrowing $200m a week”, the moment after that it’s “OK for the NZTA to borrow”. It’s easy to see what the real agenda is – disaster capitalism as described by Naomi Klein.

    And while the pork barrels get rolling, “weightless economy” contributors are being effectively driven away. Layton Duncan, the founder of Polar Bear Software, is packing his bags for Melbourne. I hate to say it, but David Harris – of Pegasus Mail fame – is in danger of being proven right.

    Comment by DeepRed — September 9, 2012 @ 1:21 am

  16. Shorter Karl du Fresne:

    “What Shearer was actually doing – and the different but related thing that Bennett is doing – has now been examined in great detail, and lucidly, comprehensively exposed for the fraud (sic) that it is.

    However, I don’t want to engage at all with that argument, because then I’ll be challenged and I’ll lose, so I shall just stick with my self-created straw blogosphere. Just like we could do in print before this bloody internet thing let people demolish my half-baked recycled received non-wisdom, the bastards.”

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 9, 2012 @ 1:38 am

  17. I just spent the morning at a seminar by someone who genuinely does have some new ideas about the economic woes of this country, and every other country in the depressed world. Steve Keen.

    He didn’t address job creation directly, because his theory links unemployment more tightly to debt acceleration than any other factor. Positive acceleration means dropping unemployment, and vice versa. By acceleration, he essentially means the second derivative of the debt with respect to time. The first derivative is the rate of change of debt, ie how fast it’s growing or shrinking, the velocity of debt. Acceleration is the rate of change of the rate of change. He showed some pretty compelling links between unemployment rates and this essential figure, which he claims almost all economists ignore as completely irrelevant to the understanding of economics. The correlation was very high.

    An obvious result of this is that unless the acceleration is zero, unemployment will go up and down in a cyclic way, since we’re always trying to go for low unemployment and the main way to achieve this is through accelerating debt, which can’t be sustained – it goes up, and it has to come down – continuous acceleration is as impossible with debt as it is with a car. You will hit the point where people won’t take any more debt, the acceleration drops, goes negative, unemployment starts coming back. He showed it pretty clearly on the two great depressions that he had data for, the 1930s and one in the late 19th century, which was actually substantially bigger. The current one is a lot bigger again.

    The depressing thing about both of these depressions is just how long the de-leveraging took. It was proportional to how high the debt levels had got, so the 19th century one took a lot longer then the 1930s one, and that took over a decade. So he believes that without a change in the way we deal with debt, we’re looking at 20 more years of this. And that’s looking at it positively, ignoring the tremendous political instability that was occurring at both of those times, as a result of the social devastation caused by sustained economic downturn.

    It was a bloody interesting seminar. He models economics with dynamic models, so you get all the cool pictures from chaos theory, with strange attractors, bifurcations, etc. I thought all economists did this stuff, when I first heard of chaos theory in the 1980s. To hear that only fringe people use it to attempt to model the world economy was … bizarre. It certainly lends credence to the idea of a profession with it’s head up its arse if it really wants to consider itself scientific. It’s not availing itself of modern tools of thought, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s hopeless at predicting the future of something that clearly has complex dynamics.

    He had ideas about what could be done to short circuit 20 years of recession. They’re not entirely new ideas, nor does he claim they are. They’ve been around since the dawn of history. This isn’t really surprising, since debt has been around at least that long, so ancient empires have encountered these problems before. The first is to put much stricter controls on the amount of debt people can have. The second is to have a ‘modern debt jubilee’, which basically brings debt rapidly down to levels which are not so economically injurious. This is done (so far as I could understand), by the reserve banks giving out money, with the strict proviso that it is used to pay down debt if there is any to be paid. Essentially no one loses, people without debt are given credit. Except the finance sector, which loses a lot – all those debts are their earnings. They’re getting the debts paid back, so they’re not losing capital, but they lose the income. Income which is crippling enterprise of every kind. We do not need such a large finance sector, having one is a sign of a sick economy. People will have money to spend again, which, when spent, will employ people.

    He did not think it likely these ideas would be followed, so tight is the stranglehold of the idea that austerity is good, and actually solving problems is somehow bad. It’s a dark view of human nature to think that we’re doomed to capitalism being basically screwed for 20 years. Could be true, though

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 9, 2012 @ 2:30 am

  18. ” when ‘entitlement mindset’ Labour ran things: the number of unemployed was ~54,000 (just over 3%) in the June Quarter”

    “Like I said before, having a fairly large proportion of your workforce doing nothing and consuming other peoples’ wealth is really bad,”

    Labor didnt lower taxes. Labor got off on pissing away other peoples wealth. Thats why people vote National.

    “Classic Keynesian economics” Hell yeah every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.

    Have worked where? Europe? China? US?

    Comment by Simon — September 9, 2012 @ 8:59 am

  19. I have to say it. Most people think that they work, they pay taxes from their income, and some people live off of that money (eg, the unemployed). The fact is that income taxes are one of a number of ways the government generates taxes which goes towards paying benefits. Another example is GST. Everyone pays GST, even beneficiaries. In fact, one could argue that some beneficiaries pay more GST, in relation to their income, than some workers.

    Then there is the fact that GST has been increased from 12.5% to 15% under National, which was a decision they made because they reduced income taxes, mostly for the rich, and they reduced the top rate of company taxation. So in all actuality, while there are a lot more beneficiaries now than in 2007, these beneficiaries are actually contributing, on average, more towards their own benefits than they did in 2007.

    Comment by Dan — September 9, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  20. Well, at least exposing the self-styled curmudgeon as a purveyor of bricks without straw enabled NeilM to come out of the closet.

    Comment by paritutu — September 9, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  21. NeilM points out the stupidity of a govt doing more than what most consider its normal job (health, education, welfare, transport (yeah, including roads)).
    I’d love nommo to point out how coal is being treated as a winner? If those mining job losses are the result, let my industry NOT be picked a winner please. And Oil and Gas? Really? You sound like an ideologue my friend.
    Great idea about pre-fabrication and architecture. But aren’t we finding that the PROBLEM is not construction but the delays in get land classified, delays in insurance pay outs? The failure to understand the pinch points (which are forever changing) is why central planning tends to fail.
    “Classic Keynesian economics: the government borrows at low rates and soaks up workers during a downturn, providing jobs while the economy re-balances and the private sector recovers.”
    Except that this style of economics has been proven to not work. What the heck do you think Japan and the US are doing at the mo’ (you did read your mate’s essay, right, especially the bit about homelessness in Japan?)? By waving you magic Keynesian wand, you might in fact see a dent in unemployment, but an economy cannot “rebalance” unless assets and labour in unproductive enterprises are freed-up and made available for the industries ready to grow. For a scientist who rallies against the social “sciences” your ideology can’t help but reach for the magic Keynesian “government-can-fix-it” solution can empirically doesn’t exist.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 9, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  22. paritutu, I feel inclined to call you a fuckwit because you raised no argument in rebuttal of NeilM’s words. Instead, I will simply point out that most bricks are produced without straw and yet manage to perform a sterling job.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 9, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  23. Karl Du fresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

    Comment by Rich — September 9, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  24. +1 to Dan – most people seem to gloss over the fact that PAYE (ie NZ income tax) may be the single biggest revenue source for the NZ govt, but it is just over a third (roughly $24bn) out of a $70bn annual govt spend. GST and got ‘investments’ (SOEs etc) make up the other big earners, with company tax a paltry $7.2bn. Which means questions really need to be asked about why companies are paying so little tax; are they tax dodging or just really bad at running profitable (and hence taxable) businesses?

    Which really just begs the question even more – why are Shearer and Labour stuffing round with inconsequential *potential* benefit fraud, while refusing to address the failures of free market capitalism? Oh right, because Labour still are a bunch of Rogernomics true believers…

    @ nommo – not bad with the prefab buildings, but I would suggest govt should guarantee a job to anyone who wants one, at minimum wage or better (ie NOT work for dole). Keep the dole. That is, unemployed people can go on the dole for less money while applying for jobs full time, or get a higher (minimum wage or better) level of pay for some form of 40 hour a week work. That puts the incentive on govt to create economic settings that give private sector job growth, or have to create the jobs themselves …. or explain to the public why there are a bunch of people being paid to sit round doing nothing ;)

    Comment by bob — September 9, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  25. CF, I chose not to ‘rebut’ because those views have consistently been attacked by those with more ability than me. I merely offered to label them because I perceived an undeclared neolib sympathy on NeilM’s part, a contributor whom till now I’d seen as relatively neutral. I regret your not naming me a fuckwit,despite its sterling value as aporia, as it’s an appellation rather to be treasured when dispensed by you. Continue to be a brick. In hard times like these the many frustrated and disillusioned amongst us are already shitting them.

    Comment by paritutu — September 9, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

  26. @CF
    “I’d love nommo to point out how coal is being treated as a winner? If those mining job losses are the result, let my industry NOT be picked a winner please. And Oil and Gas? Really? You sound like an ideologue my friend.”

    The government hasn’t picked these winners, they’ve been bought by them have a look at the exploration permits that have been granted since National took office and the government’s fawning overtures to the big mining and oil companies. I am an ideologue, unapologetically.

    My ideals are a happy and free life with a lot of time to spend with those I love. a fair amount of useful, meaningful work, a minimum of consumption & waste. growing my own food and sourcing stuff as locally as possible. burning as little 100-million-year-old biologically-captured energy as possibly. and a planet that is living, diverse (bio and socio) and healthy.

    The degradation I have seen in the ecology of the entire planet during my brief 3 and a half decades on the planet is mind-boggling. If you can look at extinction rates, arctic sea-ice levels, pollution figures, the fucking U.S-sized vortex of plastic floating in the pacific and still say humans are “making progress” then quite frankly you’re insane.

    I don’t think we can continue to try and run the economy the old way for very much longer but those doing well out of the old ways will literally rip their fingernails out before they’ll be prised away from their lucrative places of power. looking forward to that.

    Comment by nommopilot — September 9, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  27. @ plenty of permits got issued by labour. Shell and Exxon managed to grab some. It’s all very well being an ideologue but a blind one….?

    Comment by insider — September 9, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  28. NeilM: but who benefits exactly? Everyone, or just the One Percenters? That’s the big difference between New Deal-esque regional development, and socialism-for-the-rich pork-barrel politics

    I think middle and upper class capture would be an issue no matter who was picking the winners and what projects the govt subsidized.

    perceived an undeclared neolib sympathy on NeilM’s part

    I wasn’t arguing against govt intervention but rather that st soon point borrow and spend to stimulate runs into trouble. Just where that point is I don’t know.

    Obama’s main message was its going to take time to get the recovery going and there’s no quick fixes. I think that’s true even more so in nz where any govt would be more constrained.

    I saw david carter musing on how well the French banks were doing making people have big deposits for home loans. Maybe that’s really great for the french economy but it means if you don’t come from a wealthy background you’ll most likely never own your own home.

    There’s no easy way.

    Comment by NeilM — September 9, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  29. Hopefully I’ll get the hang of italics one day

    Comment by NeilM — September 9, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  30. That’s should be David Parker, not Carter

    Comment by NeilM — September 9, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  31. “There’s no easy way.”

    Maybe there is but it is not in the interests of those in power to provide an easy way.

    NeilM : not italics (i) italics (/i) not italics

    :substitute < for (

    Comment by nommopilot — September 9, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  32. I think maybe it’s broken

    Comment by nommopilot — September 9, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  33. @insider #27

    I am not a Labour supporter and am fully aware that the fossil industries have a great deal of political power regardlessof which dinosaur political party gets elected.

    Labour is marginally less shit than National but it’s a neck and neck race to the bottom. still waiting for that brighter future…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 9, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  34. Nommo @ 26 “My ideals are a happy and free life with a lot of time to spend with those I love.”
    What the…? Those are MY ideals too! But perhaps the difference is that I recognise that we have to have economic activity with which to pay for it.
    Granting of mining/exploration permits, granting of building consents, all these result in quite well paid jobs. Those nasal-pierced tattooed hipsters who serve your organic fair-trade coffee in trendy Cuba Street cafes don’t earn much more than minimum wage.
    Sure the govt could “solve” the housing crisis, but they need tax revenue with which to do it. And where does tax revenue come from? Bingo: the privarte sector.
    It’s not only classical economists and baby-eating Randian businessmen who want to see real GDP growth; it is big-government bleeding heart liberals who have projects and causes to fund.
    “I am not a Labour supporter and am fully aware that the fossil industries have a great deal of political power”
    Nommo, how do you fund your lifestyle? In general terms: are you in the public sector, or are you in the private sector?
    How exactly do you think an economy will run without oil? Even if you don’t use plastic (and you’re using a computer so of course you use plastics in your everyday life) those glass bottles are made in furnaces which require affordable energy sources. The raw material has to be collected.it has to be transported. The produce has to be transported (in the jars) to a market or shop near you. The recycled glass has to be melted down, etc.
    Or are you self-sufficient (including the electricty your computer runs on)?

    “The degradation I have seen in the ecology of the entire planet during my brief 3 and a half decades on the planet is mind-boggling.”
    Sure, but in the FIRST world, what is it like? Quite nice really. If only the third world was a rich as us (with first world birth rates!) and thus had the wherewithal to choose, in the manner that we presently enjoy, the cleanliness of their environment over a bit of extra wealth, because they are comfortably over the poverty line and can afford the choice.
    At the moment, we kid ourselves a bit. We regulate to make it difficult to manufacture in the first world, so industry says “sod this” and take off to China, where hooman rites (and concern for the environment) are pretty piss poor. So manufacturing jobs are lost to the less-well educated in the first world, leaving them with fewer choices: mining, forestry (both far more dangerous than manufacturing) cleaning. (Oops, but not mining: too dirty for those who feel guilty for not toiling all day in the mud like our ancestors, hunting species to extinction due to our inability to transfer food surpluses from one part of the world to those in need in another)

    “arctic sea-ice levels” rather than simply parrot left-wing blinkered green bullshit, have a play with these interactive graphs and see if you can find the disaster in the ice:

    http://www.natice.noaa.gov/products/ice_extent_graphs/arctic_daily_ice_extent.html

    We prosecute farmers who spill effluent. Is that not progress? I can no longer settle a score with a duel at dawn, nor beat (give syphilis to) my slaves. And if I can’t pay my debts, I am no longer imprisoned (unless those are tax debts or speeding fines of course!). Sure, I can still run over the legs of a non-pink immigrant, but at least I get fucked over like the piece of shit I am in the press.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 10, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  35. I’m so tired of politicians pandering to those who want everything without having to contribute anything, but only for themselves and people like them, no one else.

    Welfare is to support those who unable to support themselves for whatever reason.

    It’s a social contract people!! You pay tax so the government can look after everyone, so there’s infrastructure, emergency services, public health care and schooling, and welfare. It’s like a form of insurance really.

    I, for one, wouldn’t have any issue with paying more tax for the betterment of society as a whole.

    Comment by Fae — September 10, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  36. @ nommo- “I am not a Labour supporter and am fully aware that the fossil industries have a great deal of political power”

    It’s overstated IME. Mostly that power is in the minds of the fearful. If the fossil fuel industry were truly that powerful, the West Coast would be like the surface of the moon and Taranaki like Ogoniland, and there would be no tax on petrol, no emission standard and fuel economy targets. Voters are much more powerful, and they tend not to like big oil, big coal, and big gas, even though they rely on their products. If there is a political scrap between consumers/voters and big oilgascoal, the former usually wins.

    @ Fae – feel free. The IRD happily accept donations :-) .

    Comment by insider — September 10, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  37. @insider

    “Mostly that power is in the minds of the fearful.”

    nope, mostly it’s in the thousands of dollars they have to throw at politicians.

    Comment by nommopilot — September 10, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  38. CF I did reply to you but wordpress ate it and I can’t be bothered retyping

    I’ll just agree to disagree

    Comment by nommopilot — September 10, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  39. @nommo -how much did they throw at them? Only Todd Corp gave anything recordable. The unions gave far more to labour, as did some individuals to act and the greens. Gallagher group gave a whack to national. Should we fear the power of the electric fence industry?

    Comment by insider — September 10, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  40. I’m wondering if David Shearer is John Kerry of NZ politics. Supposedly an alternative…..but not really…..and the reason he was engineered into the job was actually to prevent Labour from tipping National out. It may sound incredible…..but it accounts for what we’re seeing just as well as the idea that Shearer was chosen by the Labour caucus to do…..what. Help National by aping their policies in a dumb way?

    In a way, I don’t care. More and more Labour activists will throw their hands in the air and support the Greens….who are rapidly becoming the real opposition anyway.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — September 10, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  41. “10.CF I did reply to you but wordpress ate it and I can’t be bothered retyping ”
    Yes, I usually type in wordpad and then cut n paste for this reason.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 11, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  42. @ steve

    could happen. I mean, if a skyscraper can fall in in its own footprint at greater than freefall speeds…

    Comment by insider — September 11, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  43. @insider (#36) some how I don’t think that’d work the way I intend ;)

    Comment by Fae — September 12, 2012 @ 1:54 pm


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