Saturday, November 5, 2011

Show me the Money??


Show me the Money??

Easy. The wealthy stole it!

One of the No-Liberal memes is if you allow more of the wealth produced by workers to be retained by the wealthy they will invest more and everyone will benefit. The trickle down theory.

This graph from the New York Times NYT gives the lie to this theory.

Given more money the wealthy simply spend of gamble it in more and more dysfunctional ways.
The effect of policy on inequality

 We can see the same effects in Britain and New Zealand. The effects of Britains belief in voodoo economics.

In New Zealand we have an even stronger correlation.

NZ Governments economic records.
From the Nationalisation of banks and a socialist Labour Government which ended the 1930's depression ahead of most of the rest of the world. To the great recession caused by the adoption of Neo-Liberal dogma from 1984. The rise in incomes and prosperity generally when the Neo-Liberal prescription was relaxed a bit in 2000.

The detrimental effects on a country, by all measures, even their own ones.

of the Neo-Liberal, cut wages, cut taxes, sell everything, deregulate give to the wealthy are conclusively proven.

Looks like even the ratings agencies prefer more left leaning administrations.

What Our Financial Masters Really Think of Democracy.


On the axed Referendum.

"In Athens, several ministers and governing party MPs called for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to step down in favour of a coalition national unity government that would approve Greece's bailout package without a referendum,"".

The so called representatives of the people. Do not want the people to decide on how to respond to a package.
To bail out even more bankers who made bad lending decisions and pushed prices up to increase their income..

It is becoming very obvious who the real rulers of the world are.

Revealed the capitalist network that runs the world

Despite the lip service to "Representative Democracy".

It is not the citizens of each country.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good and bad Dictators.


This Dictator of an oil rich country.

Overthrew a democratically elected Government.
Murdered between 700 thousand and a million of his own citizens to get into power.
Brutally squashed two independence movements. Now engaged in squashing a third.
Keeps about 2/3 of his country in poverty.
Allows foreign companies to repatriate almost 100% of their profits. Especially Western oil companies.
Has the worst environmental record in the Pacific..
Allows abuse of workers in virtual slave labour.
Sends troops in to kill unionists.
Country has unsustainable debt.
Streets of beggars and homeless.

This Dictator of an oil rich country.

Left his country with no external debt.
Gave interest free loans to citizens.
Had Western standards of living.
Increased literacy from 25% to 83%.
Had the Highest Standard of living in Africa.
A proportion of all oil sales was credited to every citizens bank account.
No beggars in the streets and no homeless.

Guess which one was helped into place by the US Government and is supported by other Western Governments, including ours.

Guess which one is considered so bad that we should support his overthrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy Wall Street.


The response from the Neo-Liberal establishment to OWS, shows they know how effective  bottom up changes can be.

Why we should protest.

Management 101. Effective change management.
1. Establish a consensus that there is a need for change.
2. Figure out what needs to be changed. Again by consensus.
3. Invite ideas and positive changes from the shop floor.
4. Managers should act as facilitators and supporters of change agents.

Lasting and effective changes, need to have the active support of the majority of the workforce, at all levels.
Authoritarian managers are rarely effective at making lasting changes. People always find a way to derail changes they do not support.

Despite some of the best research on Management and Leadership coming from the USA. Places like the USA, NZ and UK ignore it. Leaving effective implementation to Germany, Japan and Scandinavia.

It is strange that despite all the research that says they are less effective, the cult of the Authoritarian Manager/National Leader still remains. Maybe the answer lies in the research about Authoritarian followers. Those who like certainty, even if it is leading them into a country like Somalia.

OWS is at stage 1 at present.

The first stage.

What is frightening politicians, who dream of absolute power, is they know OWS will grow.

We will soon see the solution is democracy. Very scary for those who have been ripping us of while accepting a Parliamentary salary from us.

Why should we leave our future up to a power hungry, greedy minority.

We are the 99%.

In the meantime. We can do our part in supporting stage one. Worldwide. 
Occupy Wall Street.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"We had to wait 5 days to pump the oil out of the Rena"


The contradictory statements and outright spin coming from Maritime New Zealand and National are excuses for delay, not reasons.

I know,, that given the resources, pumps, tugs, helicopters, barges, hoses and other equipment available in Marsden point, Tauranga and Auckland, oil could have been pumping off the vessel within 24 hours of the grounding.

We know the ship had power and heating to the bunker tanks for the first few days.

It was obvious to mariners that with damage forward and the depths below the ship she would be aground for many weeks, if she could be refloated at all.

Given that,  power and fuel oil heating would be lost if the ship was more damaged, bad weather was forecast within a week and the ship was only supported along half her length, making breaking up in bad weather almost certain, getting the oil off should have been top priority.

MNZ's on scene commander has the legal powers to commandeer equipment, vessels and personnel to avoid oil pollution.

Ships piping can be adapted to pump overside to a barge within a lot less than 4 days.

Heating would have been on for at least the tanks in use. Takes less than a day to heat further tanks.

If the pipework was too damaged to use, which was highly unlikely for the after bunkers, portable pumps and generators could have been choppered to the vessel within hours.

While the oil was hot almost any pumps could have been used at rates of hundreds of ton an hour. Instead of a specialised displacement pump, required, after it had cooled.

Any barge or vessel capable of holding oil, which there were several around, could have been used to pump into, initially.

Awanuia does not take 4 days to go to Marsden point, empty, and return to Tauranga. More like 8 hours to Marsden point. About 7 to discharge and no more than 12 hours to Tauranga.
Bunker piping is available on the wharf in all three ports.

We have Mates, Masters and engineers in NZ that have years of experience on pumping fuel between ships and making things work in adverse conditions.

When we have a valve failure in a tanker we do not leave it sitting around for 5 days at 60k plus a day while we wait for an overseas expert or for negotiations with insurance companies.  . We open a manhole and pump it out using a salvage pump.
If fuel pipes or anything else fails at sea. We fix it

The whole thing is an in indictment on the lack of preparedness of MNZ, helped by lack of funding and lack of experienced and qualified seafarers in the top ranks.

It has become obvious that MNZ had no idea of the personnel and equipment, already on hand, that could be used.

Strange, considering that some of the skilled personnel work for MNZ.

This episode has also exposed the lack of preparedness and equipment for a serious spill. Due to lack of funding.  To keep the costs of oil pollution levies, and hence shipping costs down.

Successive Governments have been told many times  the race for the cheapest shipping costs makes more of this sort of accident inevitable. They all failed in their duty to prepare for it.

Appointing chair polishing ignoramus as bosses in MNZ, allowing substandard FOC ships, many of which which would not be allowed on the EC coasts, to  starving emergency response planning and equipping of funding, is at the door of all our Neo-Liberal Governments since 1984.

The ineptitude and lack of preparedness does not make me confident of their ability to monitor deep sea drilling.

The Rena. A Neo-Liberal failure.


Nearly two weeks ago now a container vessel grounded on Astrolobe  reef near Tauranga, New Zealand.

Shipping accidents like the Rena are entirely at the door of Neo-Liberal economics.

The foreseeable results   of Globalisation, de-regulation, the endless search for the cheapest, the socialisation of risks and the privatisation of benefits..

Tired, overstressed, low paid  crews,  cheaply built and maintained ships, inadequate or ignored regulation and excessive workloads are the norm at sea.

Flags of convenience exist entirely so that shipping companies, and shippers, can reduce the costs: of corporate and income taxes, safety  standards, operating standards, crew conditions and wages and build standards of shipping.

They allow a competitive race to the bottom to see who can become the cheapest.

There is no reason whatsoever to use a flag of convenience if you intend to operate a vessel to a high standard. There would not be any cost savings.

The constant struggle to maintain cheaply built ships, designed and built for a 15 year life. Is bad enough when they are new.  5 or 10 years  beyound their design life , keeping them going is a 24 hour a day job.

Low wages, mean that high quality well trained crew find other work ashore or in higher paid work like the oil industry.

Masters and Chief engineers are often the only properly trained and skilled members of the crew, with the numbers made up of cheap labour with dodgy qualifications.

It is common for crew to be on board working shifts with less tha 8 hours off a day for more than 9 months.

Training standards are variable, with a noticeable drop in the standard of training, even from first world countries.  At the same time crew numbers have been dropped so there are not the personnel available to babysit and train.

Seafarers are expected to rest in ships with levels of noise and vibration that would have been totally unacceptable thirty years ago.  Ashore in NZ it is illegal to get people to work, let alone sleep, in those conditions

In New Zealand, Masters who refuse to sail because of broken equipment or rough weather and crew members who refuse to falsify rest hour,  maintenance, safety  and leave records are protected by our employment laws.
A sacking for those reasons, in New Zealand,  would be a legitimate case for unjustified dismissal..
 On FOC ships  they are sacked or their contracts are simply not renewed.

The worst of it, since the 1980's and Governments cave in to the farming lobby on Cabotage, in NZ, even local shipping companies, whatever their intentions , are also cutting standards to compete with cheap overseas shipping.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


A reminder of why we have to change our economic paradigm.

Our present one is not sustainable, even short term.

“Memo To The #Occupied Movement (A Post-Growth Economy)
By Richard Heinberg
06 October, 2011
Post Carbon Institute
Here’s a fact that’s hard for most Americans to swallow: economic growth is over. Given the finite nature of our planet and its resources, the recent trend of global economic expansion was destined to end. No stimulus package or slashing of social programs is going to flip the economy back to an expansionary trajectory. We’ve hit the proverbial wall, and this will be the defining reality of our lives from now on.
The growth-seeking political-economic system has failed us. Today that system is dominated by Wall Street. “Goldman Sachs rules the world,” trader Alessio Rastani told us in a now-viral BBC interview. I met people like Rastani in researching my book, The End of Growth.
At one lavish conference, 800 global investors packed a hotel ballroom to consider climate change. There was no talk of how to avert or mitigate floods and droughts. Instead, the discussion focused on profiting from warming with — no joke — weather derivatives. These folks were just doing their job, despite any private feelings of concern, remorse, or dread. And each was getting paid enough to single-handedly fund a midsize school district.
Both Wall Street and Washington are trying to do something impossible: grow human consumption forever in a world of limited energy, minerals, water, topsoil, and biodiversity, all while protecting and expanding the riches of the top one percent. If economic growth is over, that means we can no longer count on a rising tide to lift all boats. Under these conditions, extreme income inequality is not just unfair, it is socially unsustainable.
It’s strategic to bring protest to Wall Street rather than Washington. We must go directly to the crime scene — not with a request for reforms, but with an arrest warrant from the people.
You courageous people in the #occupy movement are absolutely right in saying the system is broken, greedy, and unfair. But when our discussion turns to replacing the current system, we’ve got to embrace a bigger view of reality than the one held by stock traders and politicians. It’s not just our wealth they want to control, it’s our vision for what is both possible and necessary. We need a post-growth economy that works both for people (all of them) and for the rest of nature: a localized economy based on renewable resources harvested at nature’s rates of replenishment, not a fossil-fueled global economy driven by the imperative of ever-higher returns on investment."""

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Zealands credit downgrade. Or the Story of more Neo-Liberal economic "successes".


It would be funny if it was not so serious.

NACT (New Zealand,s,  Right wing, Neo-Liberal Government) cannot even meet performance targets from, the totally discredited, "credit rating" agencies.
Agencies which are on the side of the same economic dogma as NACT.

This could have been avoided simply by legislating that no private finance companies would be bailed out.

The New Zealand Government, like, the other failing States, Ireland, UK, Greece and the US etc, has made it obvious that private finance debt is a taxpayer liability.

Look to Argentina and Iceland to see the benefits of telling the banks to get stuffed. Argentina, one of the worlds fastest growth economies since 2002, when they told the banks to take a bath.

Noting that most lenders to Governments have taken no notice of States credit rating downgrades recently.
Government bonds are still considered much safer than private lending.

One of the reasons for the continuing recession in the USA.  The cashed up  prefer to lend to the Government instead of industry and development. Government lending at 0% intended as a stimulus is being invested in 3% yeald Government bonds.

Meanwhile the Media have had almost no coverage of Nationals failure to succeed, even under their own terms. If we had a credit downgrade under Labour it would have been frontline news.

A rugby players nuts are more important!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Democracy Repris'


""You’re oversimplifying. MPs in Labour, National and the Greens view the majority of NZ – correctly – as people who have not read hundreds of policy analysis documents, sat on select committees and arrived at informed decisions on issues that affect large numbers of people.
Adults are quite capable of making decisions about their own lives; it’s when they start making decisions that affect everybody else’s lives purely based on their own preferences that it becomes difficult. That is why we have a representative democracy.""

Are you serious. Do you mean these people?

You mean the largely self appointed old boys club of the marginally competent. Who examine all the papers and evidence and then do the opposite because of an irrational faith in free markets and other religions.
The ones who totally ignore expert research, empirical evidence, overseas experiences and advice and follow the failed footsteps of the UK, Ireland, Greece and USA.

There are very few politicians who could even survive in a job where you have to take real responsibility. Hows Brownlee doing in Christchurch. McCully in Auckland.
Couldn’t run a p–up in a brothel.

Since 1984 we havn’t even had the choice to get rid of an economic dogma, which is heading NZ for the third world.

Presently, National/ACT/Maori party, while accepting an income from us, are actively working against the best interests of the majority of New Zealanders.

The last round of privatisations costs more than 14 billion a year. not to mention the costs of buying back essential infrastructure when the, so efficient, private sector have run it into the ground.

How could democracy possibly make worse decisions than politicians have.

The evidence from the few places that have democracy, Switzerland etc, shows that better decisions result. Their politicians know that poorly researched and explained legislation will be overturned by referenda.

That is why we should have democracy. Why should the fate of 4 million be totally in the hands of whichever 61 incompetents won the beauty contest last election.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Search and surveillance


We are a passive lot. Our rights to privacy, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, have been slowly frittered away by various Governments over the years. while rights to freedom from surveillance without cause have been taken away.
The media have mostly been silent. When they haven’t been actively supporting it, using, mostly, specious excuses about cutting crime.
The skynet bill and the new search and surveillance bill are unacceptable infringements on our rights to freedom from search and seizure.
Already existing laws about surveillance and airport and port security also exceed the rights of search, of ordinary citizens, that authorities should have.

In the interests of corporates and "supposedly" fighting crime, or terrorism, our rights to privacy, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and right to protest are being steadily reduced.

The potential for Government and police, to misuse these laws has already become apparent, with over 50 cases where the police exceeded their legal powers. Instead of charging the police responsible, with breaking the law. The Government proposes to make these acts retrospectively legal.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For Those Who Still Think Man Made Global Warming is a Beat Up.


Those who went on forever about a mistake in the IPCC report ignored the real story.

The fact is, the glaciers are disappearing!
Watching a glacier die.

And the polar ice. Arctic Ice Shipping Routes.

Not that you could tell from the response of the New Zealand Government.
Even Labour, lets us down.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On internet Surveillance and Interception.


Years ago, when you applied for a marine radio operators licence, you had to sign a statement that you would maintain "secrecy of correspondence".

"Secrecy of correspondence" was the legal principle that, "Under no circumstances would you divulge the contents of any radio message to a third party".

In other words privacy of communication was sacrosanct.  All radio operators hearing a message,  including Government radio operators , were only allowed to divulge the existence or the contents of a radio message to "the proper recipient".

I am sure this was often honoured in the breach by intelligence agencies.  But the principle that an individuals right to privacy overrode any other interests ,for any reason, was there.

Similarly it has been a legal principle,  in most "democratic" States, that phone calls can only be intercepted on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.
Usually by a judicial or court order. Police are not allowed to listen to private phone calls at random.

WHY THEN! Are we allowing the State, and even worse, private ISP companies and copyright holders to breach a our privacy IN CASE WE ARE BREAKING THE LAW.


Sure they have all sort of laudable reasons. Protecting copyright holders, attempting to limit paedophilia and catching organised criminals. But anyone, who wants to intercept other forms of communication to prevent these crimes, has to see a judge.

Of course reasonable people support intercepting paedophiles and terrorists on the internet. Who wouldn't.

However, those people can easily find ways and means to bypass internet scrutiny.

While the rest of us have our rights to privacy and free and open communication with our friends trampled on.

Once a Government starts internet scrutiny do you think they will stop with intercepting illegal traffic. How long before they intercept Wikileaks, The New Zealand Socialist Party. The Labour party!  Anything which embarrasses them!

How long before the SIS and police start making lists.

Of people who are not comfortable with the present Government.

They have done it before.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Zealand at the Crossroads


 The NYT on the "success" of Neo-Liberalism.

As "No Right Turn" says this graphic is "an appalling indictment of Neo-Liberalism".

In New Zealand we have seen the effects just this year. Over 17% increase in wealth for the top few percent while 200 000 children live in relative poverty.

The pattern in New Zealand, since our great Neo-Liberal experiment, following the USA, Ireland and UK, has been the same.

 Coddling the rich is destroying the American dream.

"No matter how many times it's said, lowering tax rates for the highest income Americans does not create jobs or stimulate the economy. In fact, a detailed look reveals that the overall economy does slightly better when taxes at the top are significantly higher. This also holds true on the state level, as states with higher top personal tax rates have growth rates and median incomes that average greater than those with low (or even no) taxes. No matter how many times the experiment is repeated, or how long you extend the results, cutting taxes for the wealthy does not stimulate growth."

Most of the wealth earned by Americans went to corporates.
"Corporate profits captured 88% of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1% of the growth in real national income".

In New Zealand cutting taxes for the wealthy was supposed to stimulate the economy. Since the first round of high end tax cuts,  investment in the productive economy, wages and manufacturing, in New Zealand, stagnated, and capital flew to gambles on offshore markets.

Decimation of Union and employee rights, and cuts in Government spending  has resulted in huge drops in real income, for all but a few New Zealanders.

New Zealand is at the crossroads.
We can vote for National and ACT, and join the list of failed States like the USA and UK.

Another three years of failed Neo-Liberal policies will destroy the country we know.

Do we want third generation unemployment and riots in the streets like the UK. Or the repressive, unequal, surveillance society the USA has become.

For the first time since 1984 we have a clear choice. Continue down a failed Neo-Liberal road, or Own our Future.

We can vote for the Greens   and Labour. For  sensible policies, which were middle of the road, before Neo- Liberal religious hysteria took over.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Climate Change Is Here. Now!


Kassie Siegel: Climate Change Is Here Now

"Climate change is happening now, we are causing it, and the costs of inaction -- to us, to plants and animals, to the physical world that we depend on -- are too steep to ignore and pass to the coming generations".

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It Is NOT! their money.



The wealth was earned by the efforts and contribution of workers and tax payers.

I have already said that the skilled and entrepreneurs earn their wealth. It is their money.
A good Doctor, Teacher, builder, scientist, entrepreneur, (Your decent business with well paid employees) The person who produces and markets a more efficient windmill, deserve all we can pay them.
But as we all know it is State supplied infrastructure, education, stability and rule of law that enables them to prosper, as well as their own efforts.
How many successful businesses does Somalia produce. The locals have to resort to piracy!

For most of the wealthy though IT IS NOT THEIR MONEY! It is basically stolen money.
Do you really believe it is right that 50% of the richest people in NZ pay little or no tax despite being the biggest beneficiaries of the society we have created over decades.
Do you thing financiers should still be getting bonuses when they f–ked up so badly it cost trillions in tax payer funds worldwide to fix it.
What do the Koch brothers do to have such a large share of the worlds wealth? They have used their money to make the USA a failed State.
What actually did Key do that is such benefit to society that he earned 50 million. In fact he cost the NZ economy many times that to make it.
It would be more than fair to tax him 50% of his unearned dollars to mitigate the damage he did.
Fayrich stole millions when they acquired rail at mates rates, knowing they could asset strip all they liked. Some future Government would always have to build it up again as a vital piece of infrastructure for exporters. Should claw a proportion of that back also.
The property developer in Christchurch who went to court to overturn a council decision about building on dodgy land. Who is now sitting on his millions in Australia while we all pay for the damage.
Farmers who are sitting on millions in capital gains when they retire who pay $1700 a year in tax while paying starvation wages, and, still demanding all the benefits paid for by other peoples taxes.

Why should our elderly, sick and young people be living in poverty in one of the richest countries in history, just so the very rich can avoid a few% contribution to the society they benefit from.

We tried letting the wealthy keep more. It has proven to be a disaster.
1/3 decrease in investment, manufacturing almost gone, a relentless slide down the economic rankings, increasing inequality, massive hemorrhage of capital to financial gambling.

The way to get new money in the system and keep what is there is to bring back workers bargaining power (so money they have earned stays here a wages instead of disappearing offshore), tax capital flows, tax speculation, tax the wealthy more and use that money to invest in New Zealand (Including research and development as well as the health and education of New Zealanders), stop paying overseas banks to add zeros to their electronic ledgers and lend capital to ourselves. (Gaddafi’s big crime). As that arch lefty Adam Smith said. Tax the owners of capital and leave the producers alone.

Waiting for the private sector to re-allocate capital to benefit society has not worked, and never will!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pambazuka News.


"Through the voices of the peoples of Africa and the global South, Pambazuka Press and Pambazuka News disseminate analysis and debate on the struggle for freedom and justice."

Pambazuka News.

The wealthy deserve their wealth??


One of the recurring memes is that the rich earned their wealth because of some innate superiority, extra effort or extra talent,  and it is churlish to take some back off them..

Those at the top, got there, mostly, because of A) inherited wealth, B) the old boy network. (The real advantage of private schooling). C)total psychopathic self interest and disregard for others. (Called theft when done by those at the bottom).
They would have us believe that they have some special talent or superiority that justifies their wealth.

Anyone who watches the Kardashians can see that inheriting wealth is no guarantee of superiority.

Ridding them of some of their money makes for a more efficient economy and a fairer and more decent society.

Why do they have more right to the wealth produced by the workers in society than anyone else whether they work or not.

Jobs and livelihoods exist because there is a demand and need for them. Not because of money capital.

Also! Not because of the owners of capital. Recent events have shown, that, given free rein, the owners of capital hoard it and gamble it. AND expect taxpayers to bail them out when they lose.

The owners of capital are sitting on trillions at the moment. Extra 20% more wealth went to them in NZ this year. Where are the jobs??

Do you really think that if the owners of, say, supermarkets, in NZ withdrew their capital some entrepreneurs would not arise to fill the gap.

Democratic Socialists do not say we take all the money back off them.

Though as it is undeserved and unearned the communists may be right.

Taking capital of these people who tend to mispend, and gamble it, to enable more to those who spend and use it wisely, is economically and socially effective.

A very few get to the top because of effort, learning skills, entrepreneurship, producing something that a great many people value or by talent.

This is so rare however that these individuals are celebrated in the news.

Those deserve their money.

It is interesting though, that most of these people recognise that the social benefits from society, such as State education, helped them on their way and they are happy to give back in some way.

Don’t usually see them demanding less taxes.

Many more who could or would be entrepreneurs are constrained because A,B and C above take the wealth earned by us and waste it. Or use wealth to limit competition from below. Opposing all attempts at upward mobility. E.g. Dumbing down public education to the 3 r’s only to avoid the children of the “lower classes” from competing with their pampered darlings.

Don’t forget those who really produce the wealth. The wealthy would not survive without all of the workers. Even entrepreneurs need staff.

On Riots.


Right wing politicians are quick to distance themselves from rioting, and public revolt, in many countries around the world.

"The responsibility lies with criminal elements".

Well! It does, but mostly with the unpunished criminals who have destroyed cohesive society for their own gain.

Is it surprising that after decades of selfishness, meanness, unpunished theft and blatant tax dodging from the top, that those at the bottom follow the example.

You ruin, destroy and steal everything from people, including any hope for a better future. Then you are surprised they turn as mean and self centred as you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

In search of a justification.


Many laughable statements come from the Neo-Liberal right, but the ones that seek a moral or economic justification for greed and meanness are the most comical. (If the effects were not so serious).

Like the one from a bailed out US bank manager. "God thinks I should have a bonus". :-)

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
– John Kenneth Galbraith 

 The Standard.
 Debunks the idea that taxing the rich more cuts total tax take. In fact the opposite has happened. As taxes to the rich have been cut in Western countries, Government revenues have decreased in most cases.
As I have said before. In the time of its greatest prosperity the US top tax rate was 90%.
Recent top rate tax cuts in New Zealand have resulted in decreased revenue each time.

Decreasing taxes on business and high incomes means more capital  is free for more investment.
Did not work. Capital investment by private investors in NZ, the UK and the USA has decreased while they hid the money offshore, to dodge even more of the tax they should pay, or spend it on holidays in Hawaii. AND financial gambling. (Where we will have to bail them out next time they lose).

What's worse.
Cutting tax rates, and therefore revenues, cuts Government investment in the local economy in favour of those who take the money offshore. Never to be seen again.
In New Zealand the Government is borrowing offshore to pay for tax cuts to the rich. A double blow to the national deficit.

Similarly. Cutting wages is supposed to be an incentive for business to invest.
Trouble is cutting the wages of the businesses customers is even more of a disincentive. Low wage workers do not buy much.
Since the 1984 attacks on Unions and steadily dropping wages in New Zealand, direct investment in New Zealand production has dropped to 1/3 of what it was in the 70's.

Make the rich richer and they will give people jobs.
Jobs are not something the rich gives. Jobs are workers supplying their labour.
The rich are awash in money at present. 20% increase in the wealth of the richest in New Zealand. In the USA the rich are sitting on trillions. Where are the jobs??

In recent history job growth has come from State initiatives. It was not the private sector that pulled the USA out of the 30's depression, it was massive State spending, on the new deal, then WW2.

Lastly. The idea that the rich earn their money and we have no right to take it from them.
Who earns millions?
Most have millions because their family had millions. They contribute nothing and consume much more than poorer people.

Some entrepreneurs  have started new business, produced services and ideas of great benefit to many people. It can be said that they earned their money. 

It is notable that most of these people are philanthropists.

The rich benefit so much from our society it is only fair that they give back.

 Better to take some if this money back and reinvest in infrastructure and the necessary green technology to ensure humanities future survival.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Campaign for MMP in New Zealand.


Campaign for MMP

MMP has shown its worth as an electoral system, in keeping some rein on extremist politicians.

Just recently by slowing or stopping the path of a Government bill, to take away some of an individuals rights when before the courts.

MMP saves right to trial by jury

Monday, August 8, 2011

Signs of Hope.


Signs that some of our Government have learnt from their mistakes.

The plan so far. NZ Labour Party.

""Labour will introduce a capital gains tax. It’s predicted the tax will raise $26 billion over 15 years that can be used to pay off
debt, cut taxes for most New Zealanders, save our assets and prepare for the mounting cost of our aging population.
Labour will also put the top tax rate back up to 39 cents for income earned over $150,000.
That’s likely to affect around 2% of the country’s top earners.
A CGT is already in use in nearly all developed countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom and United States"".

I wonder if the money people will allow so big a departure from Neo-Liberal dogma.

They are already trying to smear the leaders of Labour.

"Good' and bad Dictators.


A good Dictator is one who lets the US corporate world burgle his country.
A bad Dictator is one who does not!

Democracy is fine. So long as it meets the objectives of the USA
""Washington and its allies keep to the well-established principle that democracy is acceptable only insofar as it conforms to strategic and economic objectives: fine in enemy territory (up to a point), but not in our backyard, please, unless properly tamed"".

Washington is happy to support radical Islamic Government in Saudi Arabia, repressive dictatorships in Columbia, Indonesia,Tunisia and UAE and governments with scant regard for human rights in other countries.

As Chile, Honduras, Iran, Venezuala, Indonesia and, recently, Libya (and  the citizens of the USA) have found the one thing you cannot do is keep some of the local wealth from exploitation by US corporates.
That is the trigger for the USA to replace the Government by one more pliable.
It does not matter that, in most cases, the new Government is a repressive and cruel dictatorship, so long as US interests are served and the Neo-Liberal gravy train for the worlds rich continues.

Gaddafi is no saint, but he was not as bad as many regimes the USA continues to support.

George Monbiot – How the Billionaires Broke the System


 George Monbiot – How the Billionaires Broke the System

"There are two ways of cutting a deficit: raising taxes or reducing spending. Raising taxes means taking money from the rich. Cutting spending means taking money from the poor. Not in all cases of course: some taxation is regressive; some state spending takes money from ordinary citizens and gives it to banks, arms companies, oil barons and farmers. But in most cases the state transfers wealth from rich to poor, while tax cuts shift it from poor to rich.
So the rich, in a nominal democracy, have a struggle on their hands. Somehow they must persuade the other 99% to vote against their own interests: to shrink the state, supporting spending cuts rather than tax rises. In the US they appear to be succeeding".

Sound like New Zealand.
18% rise in the wealth of the top 0.5 % this year. the rest officially minus 5.4 to 2.4 %. (Depending on if you got the 2% wage rise that some strongly unionised workers had or not).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity”


Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg: “The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity” 

Some world leaders get it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some glimmerings of hope.


At last Labour (NZ's, until now, slightly left  Neo-Liberal party) are showing some signs of offering real visionary alternatives.
Comment from Labour.

Good on them.

Some thoughts.

The reaction shows that sensible people have been waiting for alternatives from the present voodoo economics.

CGT should be universal on any appreciating asset.
Without a CGT PAYE payers are subsidising speculators .

It expands the tax base in a way that also discourages unproductive speculation and borrowing.

Capital gains income should be treated the same as any other personal income for tax purposes.
Why should you pay up to 33% on your work income and a speculator or someone who does up a house for sale pay only 15%.

It has to be retrospective to have any real affect.

The family home will probably have to be exempt to make the policy politically palatable, but I see no real reason to complicate CGT by doing so.
Like GST, I believe tax systems are much harder to rort if they are kept simple.
I can see a lot of single children of wealthy people suddenly acquiring a family home.

If it is, there are several ways to make it less distortionate (Suggestions only. There are more).
1 The family home could be exempt up to say, twice the mean price.
2 First homes only could be exempt from CGT.
3 More State housing both to rent or buy keeps prices within reach of ordinary people and puts a further downward pressure on house prices.
4 Only charge CGT on the gap between selling a house and buying the next one.
5 Allow for inflation and normal maintenance.

Now we need to look at the bonanza for banks and speculators and nightmare for manufacturers and workers. The reserve bank act.

We wait with anticipation, the official announcement.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Democracy Recap.


I find myself on the Standard again defending the principle of Democracy against the same old arguments.

My answers in italics.

Arguing for democracy.

“On top of that is the very real threat of Tyranny of the Majority.”

That is a joke! At the moment we have a tyranny of a very small, wealthy minority.
What is worse is Government by minority in the USA, UK and NZ keeps voting for less taxes for the wealthy putting the economy in deficit and shutting our society down.
Looking at two BCIR decisions in California is cherry picking unless you look at how it has worked fine elsewhere.

“Transfer that scenario to NZ and I wonder if the Homosexual Law Reform Bill (1986) would have been passed had it gone to referenda?”

Judging by the polling at the time the majority in NZ supported the bill. It was parliament who held it up. I suspect a majority are also happy about gay marriage.
It is a minority of religious people, supported by Government who are too scared of them to revisit the issue, who are holding up a sensible abortion reform law.

“Or the Prostitution Law Reform Bill of 2003?”

Maybe, maybe not. I suspect the majority could have been persuaded by sensible argument. But it is not a consideration against democracy that some people do not like the decisions. Many more do not like most of the decisions of our present Government.

“Heck, women didn’t get the vote in Switzerland until 1971!! Until then, numerous referenda on the issue had been voted down.”

Again in NZ it was Parliament that held this up. Indications were that the majority view was women should have equal rights. The decision in Switzerland reflected their society not their political system. The same thing would have happened no matter what form of Government they had.

“I have a very real fear of lawmaking-by-referenda – especially law that is complex. For example, who can forget Norm Withers’ referendum held in 1999, which asked, “Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?”?”

The Government censored the senior judge who argued against more severe sentencing.
Again this needed a more informed level of public discussion, instead of point scoring politicians.
You mean the majority may not agree with you! If you think you have a better way it is up to you to prove it will work.
Who are you to say you can understand complex issues but the public cannot.
The majority did oppose section 59. Not I suspect because they wanted to go out and beat their kids, but as I did, because the police already have more powers than the level of maturity and skills of the average police-person can handle.
Given more discussion and less of the disgusting name calling and BS from both extremes we may have got a better law.
Similarly with the FS and SB law a lot more discussion and time was required to make a durable solution which was OK for the majority of both ethnicity.

“Lawmaking by referenda, to me, is a lazy way to make law. It involves little thinking; very little participation by the public; and only superficual knowledge of issues – usually by media. Complex issues devolved to a simple “Yes” or “No” tick.”

Doesn’t work that way in Switzerland. Politicians have to work hard at getting views across, making legislation work or it will be voted out.
Research shows that on the whole BCIR makes better decisions than politicians.
New Zealanders have shown over time that, contrary to your belief, the majority believe in fairness and equality for minorities. How many really oppose fair treaty settlements for example.

“It would be like handing over the justice system to internet messageboards/Fora, for a verdict. It would be the ultimate ‘McDonaldisation’ of our political system.”

And handing it over to the prettiest politician on TV is not!

““Would you like fries with that “No” vote to adequately fund criminal rehabilitation programmes?””

I suspect given the evidence of increased crime figures, if they are abandoned, the public would quickly vote them back.

When people know that they will actually make a difference they will take more interest and demand they are properly informed.

Why would anyone fully consider how they vote in a referendum when they know it will ignored.
Like most people your objections are really. “We cannot have democracy because the decisions may not reflect the ones I would make”.

Well. I am happy to test my ideas against the collective intelligence of the public. Are you?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Politics of Envy.


Thanks to Art Uncut for this one.

""If an individual realises that those in the socio-economic group they were born into die a decade younger on average, or that their children's life chances are significantly less than the children of those who can afford private education, or that the wages of those in 'higher' socio-economic groups have risen many, many times faster in the last thirty years than the wages of those in their own, and as a result of this realisation gets a bit angry, I think that we should call this 'legitimate grievance' rather than 'petty jealousy'. The phrase 'politics of envy' is very ugly indeed. I hope in the future this phrase is deemed unacceptable in the way that racist or homophobic terms are now deemed unacceptable"". 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't cry for Argentina!


What happens if a country decides the Neo-Liberal dogma is a load of crap and tell the banks to get fucked.

Argentina Followed the same line as NZ, Greece, the USA and Ireland until 2002.

Watch what happened to their economy after they defaulted and made the banks wear their own greed.

What Happened to Argentina?  

Acknowledgements to Paul Krugman.