Monday, June 18, 2012

On New Zealand's Retirement Income. Pension.


The finance industry have been creaming their pants, for a return to the halcyon days, before the tax rebates were removed from superannuation savings. When they got to play with our money for free, and the negative returns and high charges were ignored, because of tax payer subsidies.

Egged on by the neo-liberals who prefer the elderly, the unemployed and the sick to starve in the streets, as an incentive to scare working people into accepting starvation wages, while they continue to get 17% increases in wealth, the finance industry is dreaming of getting more of their sticky hands on our wealth,  with private super funds.

Since the 70's they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry.

Unfortunately, it is true, that if you repeat bullshit often enough, even those who should know better come to believe it.

We cannot afford super is code for, "we should leave our elderly to beg on the streets". So that wealthy people can pay less tax and the finance industry can again lose our savings for us.

In fact the idea that State super is unaffordable is crap from the same people that cry TINA and reckon that all social insurance is unaffordable.

If they win with super, they will just start on other social wages.

In reality it is much more affordable than the finance company bailouts, which would be necessary with private super.
"So, in 2050, we're projected to be paying only 1% of GDP more in superannuation than we were paying in 1990. Quelle horreur! This is not a difference to be terrified of, and it is easily manageable with a modest increase in taxation, either now or in the future (though that perhaps is exactly what those pushing for change are frightened of: higher taxes)".

Intergenerational theft is another piece of oft repeated stupidity.

"Do we really want to return to the days when most elderly people were totally impoverished when their working lives ended".

Super has always been paid for by current production. However you finingle it financially, whether through current taxation or savings, it still comes from the production of the current generation.

If we want to keep super affordable we should tax the current generation to invest in a sustainable future. Invest in energy, housing, education  and other  infrastructure so that we can keep all our people. Not in financial ponzi schemes which will fall over in the next GFC.

""Because our kids can’t afford to buy houses, we bought houses for them to live in using the equity from our house, and now all our money is tied up in mortgages. At the same time, we’re supporting our parents in their old age.
That’s how life is and always has been, for most of us. Our parents worked to give us a decent start in life, and we worked hard so our kids could have a fair go. We’re looking after our parents in their old age. We hope we’ll be looked after in our old age.

What about this is “intergenerational theft”?""

But. We can avoid the whole concept of retirement, intergenerational fairness and all the other sticking points by accepting that everyone in our society is entitled to a liveable share  in the society they and their ancestors have built up.

Whether you call it a Universal income,  Guaranteed minimum income (GMI) or a personal shareholder payment it is the same thing.

Replace all welfare, social insurance and pensions with a GMI.

We also get to solve many other problems such as child poverty, the unfairness of a present welfare system, and making our society more sustainable,   at the same time.

""Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.
It turns out they did.
Only two segments of Dauphin's labour force worked less as a result of Mincome - new mothers and teenagers. 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.
The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did"".  The best way to deal with any problem is to eliminate it at root. The best way to deal with ‘retirement’ as a problem is to eliminate the entire concept. No I’m not being extreme.
The simple answer is a Universal Income""

""In fact super has been so effective in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. There is no excuse for having people with inadequate food and housing in a country which is capable of supplying an excess of both internally"".

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

National 's Neo-Liberal trashing of New Zealand.


I am mindful of the quote.
“Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte

Generally I have a somewhat optimistic view of humanity. I gave New Zealand's National Government the benefit of doubt, by ascribing their sheer lunacy to incompetence.

However, even politicians cannot be that incompetent.

Trashing a top class education system, trashing WINZ, trashing ACC. Not to mention trashing NZ as an egalitarian society and causing a recession to deepen with idiot policy like public service layoffs and tax cuts for Hawaii holidays.

It is malice.
“wage theft nets employers at least $100 billion a year and possibly twice that. As for the profits extracted by the lending industry, Gary Rivlin, who wrote Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. — How the Working Poor Became Big Business, says the poor pay an effective surcharge of about $30 billion a year for the financial products they consume and more than twice that if you include subprime credit cards, subprime auto loans, and subprime mortgages.”

“They want to dismantle public education altogether and run schools as businesses, judged as “successes” or “failures” based on abstract data taken from high-stakes standardized test scores.”

“The right are so envious of the poor, they want to take what little the poor have left”.

Our neo-liberals see how much wealth has been stolen by their counterparts in the USA and they want to repeat the process here.

They see tax payer dollars going into schools, Social insurance and infrastructure.

Even though they do not pay taxes themselves, their money is in trusts, untaxed capital gains or offshore shelters, they are trying to find a way of increasing their cut, of taxes WE PAY.

We forget, at our peril, why neo-liberalism is so popular among the wealth stealers.

Because it works for them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Money and Debt. Explained by a 12 year old.


A 12 year old Girl explains what economists will not.

Funny how a 12 year old can have a much better and clearer idea than all those university educated economists.

Or maybe they do, but know they will not be paid for questioning the current paradigm.

Note; New Zealand's Government, in the 30's, extracted New Zealand from the great depression, well before most others, by issuing Government money for public works and stimulus.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Poverty in New Zealand.


One of the biggest indictments of our current economic dogma is the number of people, in the worlds richest nations, living in poverty.

What comes first is POVERTY.

Poverty is what makes “breeding” for a living seem like a good option.
Poverty is what causes all the poor outcomes to the children of teenage mums.
Poverty is what causes people to be caught in a trap of continuing poverty.

We are never going to solve problems caused by poverty by making people poorer.

Social security and minimum wages that are so low, there is almost no chance of climbing out of the poverty trap, causes  the problems.

Abatement rates for those earning a bit of money while on social security are higher than those for millionaires.
A two tier education system is going to make escape from poverty even harder.

Low wages are not even good capitalism. “Businesses that cannot meet the costs of the resources they use should be allowed to fail, so others can make better use of the resources/labour”.
Every business paying low wages means there is little demand. Hurting all business.
“You should pay your workers fairly because they are the source of your wealth” Adam Smith.

Three decades of Neo-Liberal meanness is coming back to bite us. And the right want to make the victims lives harder.

A guaranteed minimum income, national super, has succeeded in practically eliminating poverty in the over 65′s. Less than 3% live in poverty, and that most likely is self inflicted.

If we are serious in eliminating poverty amongst children, 20% living in poverty, we would extend the GMI idea, that has been so successful with the elderly, to young people.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Police Assault Protesters in New Zealand.

Kia Ora

Recent protests, against Government policy, by Students in Auckland were greeted by an overwhelming and aggressive police presence.

New Zealand Police have just made it clear they consider there is no right to protest, if it “inconveniences” anyone.
In fact the students were going about their lawful business. PROTESTING IS STILL LEGAL IN NZ.
The police obstructed members of the public and assaulted them. WHILE THEY WERE GOING ABOUT LAWFUL BUSINESS.

Just like police in the UK.

Of course knowing you are likely to be violently assaulted by police, if you protest, has rather a dampening effect on free speech.

No doubt that is what is intended by the police overreaction.

Practicing for when the population finally realises, like the Greeks,  how much they have been lied to and exploited.

How long before we see the other repressive actions of an authoritarian dictatorship, to legitimate dissent,  here. Like the "kettling" in the UK.

Friday, June 1, 2012

On Austerity


NZ, and much of the rest of the world,  has a whole generation of managers, cannot call them leaders, who have no vision apart from cutting staff, costs and services.

It was an accountant who told me once, "do not put an accountant in charge, they know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing".

Then they act surprised when their skilled staff head for Australia, their customers head elsewhere and their business tanks.

The same logic has now been applied to the whole country.