Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beneficiary Bashing. New Zealand.


Social welfare recipients are commonly demonized by right wing Governments.

Usually for the same reasons the Nazis used Jews.
To distract from the failure of Neo-liberal Government.

Most of the memes they use are demonstrably false.

Ten myths about welfare
"Looking across all forms of benefits, 61.4 % of recipients are benefit dependent for four years or less. Only 14.3 % are on benefits for more than ten years – and since those figures include people with chronic physical and mental disabilities, the ratio of those staying on benefits because it is a “lifetime, lifestyle choice’ is lower again."

Note that over 35 years ago in New Zealand when social welfare payments were proportionately a lot higher than they are now, but there was near full employment, there were so few unemployed the Prime Minister, famously, stated he knew them all by name.

The Canadian mincome, minimum income experiment. 
Mincome "She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. In addition, Forget finds that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent, with fewer incidences of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse."

"We cannot afford social welfare"

Well. It seems we cannot afford social welfare for the rich and corporates.

Welfare fraud 0.1% of welfare payments. About 16 million.
Tax fraud 7 billion.
Tax avoidance by the rich. Half of the wealthiest people in NZ do not pay tax!
7 billion plus.
Profits and interest paid overseas 14 billion plus.

It is not social insurance that we cannot afford.

It is Neo-Liberal right wing Governments.

Sunday, August 19, 2012



A Challenge.


A challenge
“And, out of interest, does anyone know of any research into privatization that shows it to be generally effective at improving a service, increasing efficiency and leaving its lowest level workers with a living wage? All I read currently is that the investors get richer, the management can pay itself what it likes, the customers pay more and more for worse service and the lowest level workers are told they need to find a second job just to survive because they are a valueless kind of replaceable resource.”

I have not found a single case where this can be answered in favour of privatisation. Can You?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Education.


 Anthony Robins in The Standard.
“Claiming that poverty is no excuse for student failure trivializes the damage caused by years of actions and inactions that have widened the gaps between rich and poor communities. Good schools aren’t molded through harsh sanctions, private takeovers, or even soaring rhetoric. They emerge from healthy, stable communities. That is, they emerge from a commitment to justice.”

Teachers can only do so much. A society that does not value and encourage all their children will fail

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The "Wealth Creator" myth. Stealing the commons. Part two.


One of the memes the wealthy and their sycophants prefer to repeat is that, "the wealthy create wealth".

Lies the Rich Perpetuate.

That is demonstrably wrong.

"The wealthy got their wealth by entrepreneurship and starting new business" ?.
Well! no. Most are wealthy because they are born with it. The majority of the rest because they gamed our system to make money from existing assets and public utilities. Morally, no different from robbing someones house.

How Allan Gibb's made a Mint out of a Former Public Utility.
""Gibbs spotted his opportunity early in 1990 when he did his hallmark one-page analysis of what Telecom might be worth. "It was a lovely, fat company, with huge margins and a lazy balance sheet. It was obvious if you could keep the margins it would be a fantastic business." Like an alpha predator, he went for the throat"".

"The wealthy  became wealthy through start-ups and entrepreneurship. Selling people products they want".?

Less than 1% of the wealth held by wealthy households in the USA is invested as so called "angel capital". In reality the wealthy avoid risky start-ups, like the plague. They prefer privatizations of State utilities and financial products where there return is assured by tax payer funding. Those that are too big or too essential for the State to allow them to fail.
Affluent Survey.

In New Zealand many people bought into the myth that "if they wealthy were allowed to keep more of their wealth they would invest more in the productive economy and we would all be better off".
New Zealand went so far and fast with this Neo-liberal piece of B-s that, like Ireland, we were held out as a poster child for other countries.

The infamous "trickle down effect".

After 35 years of tax cuts for the wealthy, asset sales, anti-union legislation, deregulation of banking/finance and wage and welfare cuts.

We have;
 Huge capital losses to offshore bankers and profit takers.
Growth well behind the OECD average.
Increasing child poverty.
Steeply rising prices. Especially for privatised utilities.
Median wages are dropping while the wealthy get 17% annual increases.
Billion dollar bailouts for financiers.
Millions of dollars to reinstate previously privatised essential infrastructure.

Anyone who still believes that giving the already wealthy more of our wealth is the answer is either seriously deluded, or venal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Charter Schools. Or More Privatisation of the Commons.


New Zealand's National Government has legislated yesterday to follow the USA with the failed Charter School experiment.

Charter schools are simply a means to break the last vestige of trade union rights and to give the private sector  access to  tax dollars spent on education.

The private sector that is so good at education that most private schools had to be bailed out by tax payers.

Note; that despite all the tax payer dollars and effort  poured into charter schools in the USA,  83% do not do any better than State schools. The majority do worse. Given the poor performance of State schooling in the USA generally that is not a recommendation. (Stanford University Study)

Why follow the disaster that is schooling and health in the USA.

We will see a few initial Potemkin charter schools do well, then the poor results of others will be buried.

They will not have any better results than resourcing State schools properly, to use already proven programs to reduce the tail. Successful programs such as remedial reading and Teacher aids in every classroom are being starved of funds so the Government can fund ideological nightmares such as charter schools.

If NACT was serious about bringing up educational achievement they would be working on reducing child poverty and funding extra help at early primary level for those falling behind, instead of gifting the private sector  money out of  education funding.

If the private sector are so good at education why don't they start their own schools. Wait! they did. We are paying to bail them out right now!