Days to the General Election: 19
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.

Larry Kotlikoff talks to about The Clash of Generations, a six-decade generational Ponzi scheme, and why John Key should take notice

Larry Kotlikoff talks to about The Clash of Generations, a six-decade generational Ponzi scheme, and why John Key should take notice

By Alex Tarrant

Prime Minister John Key needs to take notice of the looming costs facing future generations as New Zealand's population ages, costs which are not included in official debt measures, American Economist Larry Kotlikoff says.

The Boston University Professor, who was brought to New Zealand on a Professorial Fellowship in Monetary and Fiscal Economics by Victoria University and the Reserve Bank, spoke to about the claims in his recent book, The Clash of Generations, which he wrote with Scott Burns.

Watch Kotlikoff's public lecture delivered on Thursday evening at Victoria University here.

Kotlikoff also spoke on Radio NZ's Nine to Noon programme on Friday morning.

Kotlikoff says the US government has been running the equivalent of a generational Ponzi scheme for six-decades as younger generations are saddled with the ever-increasing social security and healthcare costs the generations before them voted themselves.

These costs are merely passed on to the generation below, and Kotlikoff warns taxes will have to begin increasing substantially in order to keep meeting these costs. This is a generational timebomb, Kotlikoff says.

A set of fixes - Kotlikoff calls them purple plans, as they should attract both Democrats and Republicans - are offered by Kotlikoff to turn the Ponzi nature of paying for the growing costs back into a sustainable model.

Kotlikoff's work focuses on 'fiscal gaps' - essentially the gap between a country's future spending commitments and its future revenue track over an infinite timeframe. He says the fiscal gap in America is about US$211 trillion - 14 times the nation's GDP: "What is the bill if we paid it off today, how big would it be?"

While New Zealand's Treasury has looked at our fiscal gap in the past - for example here in 2002 - Kotlikoff says this should become a regular publication from Treasury.

Most recently, the OECD calculated members' fiscal gaps if they were to have gross debt at 50% of GDP in 2050. New Zealand was right up there with the US, Japan, and the UK:

“The Treasury has to do fiscal gap accounting here because it hasn’t been done of late," Kotlikoff told

“It needs to be done so we can see whether the Prime Minister – Prime Minister Key – is right that there’s no need to immediately raise taxes, or change [government] spending, or raise the retirement age," he said.

“[Because] what if he’s wrong? If he’s wrong, then what he’s saying is, that we’re going to make the next generation pay a bigger price, we’re going to take all the burden of that hit and leave it to the kids. That’s not something that he can [do], if he’s wrong. And the only way we can find out is to look at the numbers. That requires putting together this fiscal gap analysis."

While Kotlikoff said his sense from talking to officials at Treasury was smaller than that of the US, it needed to be deal with.

“But we need to understand that the longer we wait, the more of a burden we leave to our kids. This is not a free-be. This is a zero-sum game, generationally speaking. If there is a fiscal gap – if it’s one-times GDP, rather than 14-times GDP, and my guess is it’s about one-two times GDP in New Zealand, is my sense – then that’s actually not such a small number," he said.

It would be very easy for Treasury to calculate New Zealand's fiscal gap, Kotlikoff said. He told after filming that following discussions Treasury officials, the country's fiscal gap appeared to be bigger than he had initially presumed in the video above.

"So are we going to make New Zealand’s five-year-olds pay a year’s GDP? The new-borns? Which one of Mr Key’s kids and grandkids does he want to pay much more than he pays? That’s the question that he needs to answer. That’s the question that every politician needs to answer," Kotlikoff said.

"This is not a joke - this is very serious business. This is not a political football – this is, are we going to leave a bigger burden to our kids? If we’re adults, if we’re running a country, the first thing we have to answer if we’re thinking fiscal policy, is, are we being responsible with respect to our kids?

"It’s not about getting re-elected, or the next election, it’s about the next generation," Kotlikoff said.

"And then the Prime Minister needs to take a careful look at [the projections] and see what is the proper thing to do, because he's the chief adult in the country. He's not just the Prime Minister, he's the prime grown-up of the country, and he needs to remember that."

Here is an excerpt from Chapter one of The Clash of Generations:

Our most disastrous success has been turning retirement into a wellpaid, long-term occupation. We’ve done this by trying to do right by our elders by expending ever-larger sums each year to keep them healthy and financially secure. These sums are now huge, amounting to more than $30,000 per retiree per year. That’s three-fourths of annual U.S. per capita income.

In the process, we’ve done terrible wrong by our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We’ve saddled them with massive government bills to pay for this largess. These bills stretch from here to eternity. They are far beyond our childrens’ capacity to pay, just as they are far beyond our own capacity—and will—to pay.

When individuals can’t pay their bills, they are bankrupt. When companies can’t pay their bills, they are bankrupt. And when countries, even those that print their own money and can still get foreigners to accept it, can’t pay their bills, they are bankrupt.

Thanks to six decades of incredibly profligate and irresponsible generational policy, we can declare, The United States is bankrupt. And the United States isn’t bankrupt ten, thirty, or fifty years from  now. It’s bankrupt right now. Indeed, the United States may be in worse fiscal shape than Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, or Spain (referred to as PIIGS), which are generally viewed as the developed world’s worst fiscal basket cases.

You won’t learn this by looking at our nation’s official debt. Our 70 percent debt (held by the public) to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is lower than that of any of the PIIGS. Actually, it’s less than half of Greece’s ratio—the PIIG that’s supposedly in the hottest water.

Unfortunately, our $11 trillion official debt is but a small fraction of our nation’s true $211 trillion indebtedness, known as the fiscal gap. Yes, you read that number right. Our fiscal gap—the value in the present (the present value) of all our future spending obligations (including servicing the official debt), net of all our future tax receipts, is enormous. 

It is fourteen times our nation’s GDP,  its total output. It is twenty-two times the official debt that now has everyone’s attention.Since the fiscal gap equals $211 trillion and the official debt equals $11 trillion, it’s clear that our unofficial IOUs (unofficial spending commitments) overwhelm our official ones. Worse, they are growing rapidly. Yet these unofficial liabilities have been carefully kept off the government’s books in a system of duplicitous accounting that goes far beyond Enron’s and Bernie Madoff’s wildest dreams. That’s why most people know little or nothing about the true size of our problem.

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


He still makes the mistake of thinking a shortage of energy and resources is fixable.

Don't you know cold fusion is real??? Haha

Lol. The point that most miss when talking about alternatives, is the trend has been in place for 50 years but none has yet been found.
To concentrate on energy alone would also be a mistake, a lot of key minerals have 20-40 years left at current rates of production.

and the demand for those is say 2% per annum thats a doubling in 35 years...
conclusion, aint gonna happen.

..... whilst you end-of-the-world hickeystericals are shivering in your mud-huts ...... the rest of us will be engaged in the world of science , medicine & industry ...... watching , assisting & investing , as  the frontiers of mankinds skills and knowledge push ever further forward .....
Anyone see that medical op. in Melbourne , where an 86 y.o. lady had a " lotus valve " inserted into her heart , opening a sclerotic artery ? ..
 .. no open heart surgery required !..  The gizmo was inserted via a long tube , from a small incision near her groin  ...... giving her more years of quality life . Patients with her heart condition have only a 50/50 chance of living 2 years , 33 % peg out within the first year of diagnosis ....
For Gummie's money , the world keeps throwing up amazing new technologies , and heart operations without invasive surgery are just one amazing step forward amongst so many  ...
...  recession or depression be damned , the scientific & entrepreneural spirit is alive & well ..

Oh Gummy, you are too funny!

Funny he may be, Amanda - but is he correct?

love it GBH...! Captain Kirk could not have said it better, although I'm not sure he didn't.
Saw that piece on the old dear....i'm batting for 140 / it was encouraging....

Nothing wrong with technology Gummy and no one is disputing that. Trouble is most of the great inventions have been machines that convert energy to work, existing energy supplies that have been identified that is. Now we are trying to invent the energy supply.
Tell me if you had a long term investment in a company that had returned every increasing yields for most of the time you held shares but in the last couple of years dividends had started dropping off each year and the price had similarly started to flatten out, would you hold your position until it started falling in value or sell out? Take action based on the technical warning that the company is past its best, or invent reasons why it is all going to be okay? That is where the population statistics are at. 

No need to raise the age for super though ay? I mean they paid their taxes...

excellent, an investment for GBH and davidB then....

...... go and frack yourself , steven ! ..... Yes , that's where the abundant  energy supplies of the planet lie , in shale oil & gas deposits ..... fraccing is the key , my boy !!!
The USA will emerge as the richest energy exporting nation bar none . Sheik Yer Bouti , eatcha heart out ....... the Yankee Doodle dandies will be rolling in energy dosh long after your middle-eastern  oil-wells have run dry ......
...... of course , Europe has massive quantities of untapped oil & gas too , but given the idiocy of their " leaders " , subsidising of costly " green energies " is the go ........ and the screeds of red-tape also preclude companies from more earnest fossil energy recoveries .... basket case , the Europeans ...

You're on the money, gummy. One just laughs at these clowns.
You’re right of course about innovation and technological developments, gummy, we have only just began to scratch the surface. But not here in New Zealand though, the Green party doesn’t allow that.
The Green’s Malthusian Luddites are but the world’s bewildered and confused minnows. Simple, backward, peasant folk, who choose the reassurance of mysticism and superstition, and the acquisition of knowledge through feelings to comfort themselves in a changing and scary world, that they have little to no control over. And to compensate for that they want to control you.
I know you have an interest in solar power, gummy.  The Malthusian loser would no doubt tell you that solar panels cannot be improved upon but here’s a little something to think about in this technological space. Vascular land-based plants have being using solar power to do their thing for about 155,125,000,000 days. You ever seen a flat panel tree? Ever thought about why that is? Or a leaf that transmits light through only one surface? I know you can do the math, gummy. So can a lot of other people. Let’s watch as the intellectual minnows from the Green party cannot. 

I know of someone here in NZ who is working on designing improved solar panels (photo-voltaic panels).  I believe one of the current problems with solar panels is the amount of energy it takes to manufacture them.  When it takes more energy to manufacture than you get out of your panel over its lifetime, they don't make sense for everyday electricity generation. 
This particular person is working on reducing the energy required during manufacturing in order that the result panel has a useful Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI).  This would be a significant breakthrough, and well worth investing in.  I suspect however that if the prototypes work then manufacturing will move off shore <sigh>.

Looking into some of the records
of environmental pollution, including major catastrophes oil and coal production caused over the years, the world seriously has to consider alternatives.
The “Green movement” all over the world has certainly contributed high value for the trend of renewable energy sources..
David B, your article hasn’t got any value, but is just another example of your “political propaganda BS”

Here you go, Kunst,  Greens hard at work.

DavidB - an intellectual minniw exposed.
All the photosynthesis on the planet, is already existing. Which bit are you considering displacing?

Hahahah!  You've totally missed the point.
Some of us do our homework, and have the advantage of not being paid spindoctors.
Interesting to note your fear of the Greens, though. Folk like me are not Greens. You might want to think about that. I come at it from physics, and first principles, as do others here. Readers will be smart enough to spot the difference between the name-callers and the info-providers,

So you've got nothing original to say on the matter then? All you can do is to toss around other people's web sites - sites that you clearly do not fully understand.
Typical! Come back when you've got something original of your own to say, would ya?

I totally agree with this guy. Sorry baby boomers but theres no way I or anyone in my generation will be paying for your retirement, not after the greed I see on an almost daily basis from your generation. You've made buying a home for your children much harder than it was for you at our age.

I agree with you but the problem is there's more of them than us, so who do you think the politicians will appease? There were two parties that campaigned agaisnt them last time and they both got nailed (Labour and Act)

Fair enough...Muppet King, but please show some balance in your thinking, Foreign Capital injection into the property market has played a not insignificant role here too , and not just over the recent period, but back to the early eighties when we had a lot of Korean money sloshing around in Auckland bidding up prices in desireable areas with casual indifference.
 Why may I ask is the Crafar farm not in N.Z. hands .....? It is because we could not match the numbers foreign capital were prepared to pay...!
What is the roll on effect of the price paid for Crafar land...? in theory  it drives the value up...,
I for myself would be content to remain a productive member of society for as long as I possibly can... but I dont want to over occupy a space that could give some young person  an opportunity to earn.
I for myself would be happy to see the superanuation legislation reviewed with more practical though given to the burden it places on future generations.
You cannot tar brush the issues here  with a single wipe as being born in a certain era is not ( to my knowledge ) a crime, though through a number of your posts it ought to have been.
It needs to be addressed nothing surer..! but it needs to have balanced thought not kneejerk solutions as there are a large percentage of boomers not prepared financially for their retirement........
We my wife and I took care of  our own as in( lived with us) her Father 10 years prior to his death, her Mother 18 years prior to her death.....and I've got to say looking back (even though it was tough at times physically) I'm glad we did....they were never a burden to the State in healthcare or other such impositions the elderly will need.
How we can engender that kind of extended family  responsibility is an important part to a resolution in this matter.

I totally agree with you

Why may I ask is the Crafar farm not in N.Z. hands .....? It is because we could not match the numbers foreign capital were prepared to pay...!
And the locals ran into bankruptcy.

It is also a mistake to think that the baby boomer bubble is a temporary aberration that will come right for the generation after, or to level blame at the baby boomers. It is the fault of every generation for the last 250 years, they all assumed the rape of the earth would last indefinitely. Well the news is it can't and the growth game is over, it has been since the turning point in 1961. That year marked the end of endless growth, the start of a peaking trend in the population.

i love it when i hear baby boomers nearing retirerment complain about the lack of jobs  and the cost of housing  affecting their grand kids.
pay back time is upon them you greedy so and so's

With a vengence I think......
Their house looks to drop 50% plus....maybe 75%...if they have ivestment properties, ditto.....shares are a BB bubble as well, commercial property, yep BB bubble based on BB spending....hence pensions which reply on these......

oh great another right whinger....
Ignoring peak oil for a moment....if Pollies had put money aside aka the Cullen fund to cope with the buldge they knew was coming fed in by a few % of tax the BBs paid as they go then we wouldnt have had an issue with financing the base needs of the BBs....gets complex of course when you look at the limits to growth...
Didnt Bush empty the US retirement fund btw?
Its really a failure to be responsible and mostly that lies with the right wing parties who spent decades complaining the lefties were awful....LOL......yeah right.

It's not a left right thing Steven's about a looming crisis for those that follow us and what we can now to mittigate the burden potentially on their shoulders.
 Yes, just die..! would be handy but it isn't likely now is it .?.....and so a rationalisation of the problem at hand is the prime objective.
As a family, we accept the responsibility to assist , facillitate,extend the security we have.. toward those that follow us....we are one family, but the responsibility to help when needed starts and remains with us for as long as we are able physically and financially.
 Because your kids grow up and may even travel the globe never stop being a parent, you never break the bond of's latent.

Didnt Bush empty the US retirement fund btw?
All administrations took the opportunity, when pressed, to replace a decent proportion of previous payroll tax contributions with US Treasury IOUs - hence it is now only totally funded up to about 2017 - I forget the exact date.
Even then ongoing contributions keep it viable much longer.

This is not the first time the problem of fiscal deficit fof the future has been talked about. There has been countless articles noting the unsustainibility of the whole scheme.
Unforunately in a democracy, its votes that counts. The BB generation is however well organised and vocal (just think of Winston Peters) and if politics is the art of keeping your jobs, their demands usually gets accepted. (Why do you think John Key refuses to discuss the super issue?) .
However this issue will solve itself by our younger generation moving (or voting?) with their feet. Why do you think that 50000 leave every year never to return ??
In the end BB will reap their own whirlwind when they suffer from less medical, security, and other social cost when there is just not enough money to go around anymore.
At Greek like scenerio of elderly committing suicide is not exactly a remote possibility.

Unforunately in a democracy, its votes that counts....
Kin on the money with that one......but that is just my point , instead of just having the fear  and loathing being fed to G reypower by Peters or the silent "I don't want to talk about it as it might upset the voters" of John key....or "this is all somebody elses fault " by David Shearer, we need to talk about it....and talk about it openly and objectively without polarising Boomers to the point where we are not receptive to logical incoming data.
I believe, there is a  receptive ear out there amongst Boomers just waiting to hear the message in accessable format ..rather than sensationalising the matter for media sales sake. 
To appeal to the parent in all of us to think this through with an open mind , rather than cling to that old cliche " I worked hard and paid taxes all my life"  = therefore I wish to propagate the entitlement mentality further even though I'm against other people having an entitlement mentality....ridiculous is it not...?
There will always be those who blindly refuse to relinquish a part of something they feel they have earned....but let's face it , if it came to trimming up some of the fat in our lives so our kids could enjoy a  dignified level of security..... .... it's a no brainer.
P.S. I do realize this would not be  desirable for a good percentage of boomers who are not prepared financially for retirement, but as I posted above, there need be questions asked socially about why families disconnect along the way.

I think his best idea is to have "limited purpose banking", where you "get rid of leverage".
Still not sure if this would mean the end of credit growth though. Would this stop a housing bubble or stock market bubble? Would it fix an Asset rich/cashflow poor economy?
If the economy was working properly house prices would be lower and incomes higher, and retirement would be more affordable.
Without sorting out a broken financial system other good ideas may not amount to so much at the end of the day/life.

Unfunded liabilities are so incredibly huge, so stupidly massive it is extremely hard to say how on earth they could ever be paid in real terms.
For that very reason we can moot they will, in fact, never be paid.
So don't worry too much about them.

...... exactly the policy of successive governments around the western world ...... keep putting off the day of reckoning ...... it will be someone else's problem , and we'll be well away , snuggled up with our government pensions & knighthoods ......
Wakey wakey Sheeples : They're leading you to the cliff's edge ...... stop believing their vote bribing junk policies ........
....... we are living beyond our means .

with millions of solar panels going on roofs every day you wont be able to give away power soon. so stop raving on about energy crisis& peak oil its not going to happen

As much as I would love that to be true vavau the price of panels has quite some way to fall before they have any effect on grid power price. Nice thought though, and let's all contribute in any way we can to it's manifestation.

So why isn't this surplus of energy permitting the population growth rate to increase again? Look at the indicators not the rhetoric. Also pop over to USGS and do a bit of digging to find that minerals are depleting faster than oil. Water is probably the greatest issue as Steven points out above.

...... dearie me , we are a little gloomy guss this morning , aren't we Mr scarfie .... I'll have to grab a bottle of my extra special strength Anti-Hickeystamine tablets for you ......
Unfortunately , Bernard's good wife bought up most of the last batch .......
...... well ,...  mango is a very popular flavour !

Yes I need to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise, that might cheer me up. Oh and put a beer in the fridge for when I get back :-)  We do have to remember Mr KotsiktiSmirnoff is an economist and they have a wonderful reputation of late don't they?

Sure thing Mr scarfie .... Coopers Sparkling Ale !
....  and I'll pop some prune juice in the fridge for Mr Katlickoff  , ..  . some of these academics look like they havn't had a decent bowel movement in the past  decade ..

GBH you're an absolute crack up, love your humour. You're also very right in your top post, technology etc is going to take the world forward.
I am actually quite disgusted in what this man has to say. For a kick off the next generation gets a pretty good deal out of the infrastructure that has been built across the country. Mainly paid for by the BB's. The young ones are not starting at zero, NZ is not  a great big untamed paddock.  We have every modern convenience at our disposal and the list of conveniences grows daily.  People just need to look back over the last 100 years and see how far we have come.
I challenge some of you to go and visit Canberra's war memorial museum and see what the circumstances were like for those fighting in WW1 and then you can see what it was like WW2. Follow the advances man has made through to now.  The wheels are turning faster all the time.
Each generation leverages of the previous generation just the same as banks and house price use leveraging!!!!!  I am grateful for the roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, sewerage, water, phones, electricity, cars, rail, hospitals, schools, universities etc that we all get to use. This is my first ever time at living in a city and actually getting to use what most people take for granted. Even the mail at the gate is a thrill along with putting your wheelie bins out on the street for rubbish collection.  Water running out of the tap everytime you turn it on, stable power supply, even with all the disruptions of the earthquakes things have been pretty good because your alive.
I am a 1963 model so technically not a BB or some might say it is on the cusp or a tail-ender. My age group hasn't had it easy and neither does any age group get it easy and people need to remember that each generation has to solve the problems before it as this is just evolution taking place.  I worked 3 jobs when unemployment was off the charts in NZ in the 80's and my husband worked 2. interest rates went to 21% on our mortgage.  I have fully planned for my retirement and I'm not in any Govt organised scheme.  So it can be done.
One thing - if the younger generations don't want to pay for the national super to those over 65, that group of retired people might just demand the young ones pay rent on all the infrastructure they will be using.....nothing like a cat amongs the pigieons on a Friday afternoon.
There are some incredible new technologies which are going to transform the energy industry. Honestly solar power panels will be old technology in no time.  All these people whining that the end is nigh need to get a second job so they don't have so much time to worry.  You can make money or you can make excuses but you can't do both at the same time.

Stupid comment. It's not just an economist you're not, it's a realist you're not too.
Finite planet, finite resources.
Limits to growth, right there.
Time is the only variable.

1.  Abuse isn't an argument.
2.  Finite sun but it won't matter in your lifetime or affect it in any material way.  Your statement lacks any perspective.
3.  Discovery is a variable you give no value to or account for.  Neither do you account for any change to any other variable at any point in the future.  A future you have no knowledge of.
Limits to thinking, right there.

No - what I pointed out was that every kilowatt that lands on the planet, does something now. It's absorbed, reflected, refracted, radiated, photosynthesised. The current biosphere depends on it. I'm a solar-power advocate (there's no more sustainable source of energy) but I've done my homework.
You comment lasks the relativity, with respect. Have you totalled the mobile kilowattage used currently in agriculture? Added up the sheer storage/transmission requirements - given that most alternatives including solar, only produce electricity? Worked out what fiscal system we'll have to run? (this one's dead, just in case you hadn't worked that out).
Discovery?  Another planet, perhaps? This is a physics problem. Physical. Cranial effort only contributes to efficiencies, energy-wise.
Hope to see you at the Energy Management lectures.

I suggested things were not absolute in the way you suggested.  You stated that all variables were absolutes (finite) aside from one - time.
Obviously I am relative and you are absolute.
You discount even those variables you have no knowledge of.  Your closed arguments continue the tradition of the flat earth society who stated no other possibilities could ever exist - even though they didn't know what those possibilities might be.

Mr notaneconomist makes a good point , that the Katlickoff guy ignores , that we have paid for and laid an infrastructure ( medicine / research / education / roads etc. ) that future generations can benefit from , and can build on ...... they are not starting from zero , there is an enormous amount in place for them to hit-the-ground-running with ....
...... but where we have gone horrendously wrong , is allowing the " creeping socialism " of governments to continually intrude into our personal lives , and into business ....
.... . it shows no sign of abating , as governments spend more , tax more , bail out bondholders & banks who ought to be left to perish from their own greed & foolishness ....
... . and big brother stands resolute to pillory any Kim Dotcom or Julian Assange who dares to cock a middle finger up to the establishment ....

It is correct that the taxpayer paid for infrastructure.
Let's take Auckland Airport as an example. Initiated, developed & paid for by tax / rate payers.
Then hocked off as a monopoly, so now the shiny suit guys can charge an ever increasing eye watering fee, just to park your car.
There is no alternative for flying in or out of Auckland.
Take it or leave it, the owners of Auckland Airport say, but you can't leave it, it's a monopoly.
That's where i differ with your view , Mr Bear.
Public services , paid for by BB taxpayers should remain for the benefit of all generations.
Ditto, the Power Generation assets, currently on the auction block.

Argue that your finite planet can support exponential growth sustainably - as Bill English was reported saying (unchallenged) byNat Radio - and you're on the wrong end of fact.

displayed ignorance.
Not a belief, that the planet is finite and that the carving into it is exponential.
Youre welcome to my talk next weekend, re energy. It's over-full, but I'll squeeze you in. I don't charge - ever. I don't think we have the time left to be so precious, it needed mass-education about 30 years ago to prepare for what we in for.
Fully self-sufficient passive-solar (some air active) house, built for 50,000. Energy demand ex heat, 4 amps @12 volts evenings, 2 amps daytime.
I'll show them the home-build LED arrays, the home-built mini-hydro, even the bike with the 230-degree power stroke (180 is sooooo old hat). The automatic dehumidification, the fridge that doesn't even need to activate it's compressor over winter......
You want to check up who you're dealing with before making assumptions.

mr grimm @7.50pm
Your exposition of your house included the rider --excluding heat---I assuming that you have a log fire/stove for this purpose and cooking/heating water. Could you not be vulnerable to clean air policy,s being implemented by your local council and ditto regarding resource consents for your hydro set up and there for possibly have the rug pull out from underneath you regarding selfsustainability ?

Good questions.
Yes, a log-burner and we grow the wood (better than carbon neutral by several orders of magnitude.
Yes, they could tighten the regs, but I sense that rules are in trouble now, as are the Councils who would create/enforce them. That moment in out rural setting, probably won't arrive.The mini-hydro only extracts potential/kinetic energy from the drop in height, of a drainage ditch. Same water gores off the boundary as came in, and it was never a natural watercourse.
Hydro can be done with an elevated site - just use wind in the old-fashioned way to pump water uphill to storage. Run it down through a pelton wheel, store and re-pump.
There is a possibility that those who would make money from supplying services will lobby for legislation/rules to make their product varying degrees of mandatory, the price of freedom being eternal appearing in front of tribunals, panels, select committees.

So PDK - just how much land do you use for your sustainable lifestyle and power sources??

we own 60 acres, 35 of which are 'used'. Trees being the main one, but 1/4 acre of garden, two acres of orchard, etc.
You have to note two things: 
1. I don't claim - even at this level - to be 'sustainable'. But we're closer to it than most.
2. Folk like me have (obviously) thought about how many people the planet can support long-term - and our experience here is sobering testimony. 2 billion people is the best guess; at subsistence level. Perhaps 1 billion at our current level. I've seen figures of half that, but it's academic. At those levels, our technology doesn't actually continue.
Years ago I pointed out here, that even 2 people to 60 acres, probably wasn't long-term sustainable. Most folk don't want to know that........

Ministry for the Environment states that NZ total land area is 26.9 million hectares.
dol.govt .nz states that on the 17th November 2011 the NZ population stood at 4.4million.
If you divide the population into the hectares you will get 6.11 hectares per person.
As you state you are not sustainable on your 60 acres (24.2811 hectares)of land.
As you are concerned about the (what you have termed) finite resources of the planet I think it would be remiss of me not to point out that you appear to be over using some of those resources and that you may not be effectively managing them to their full and potential capacity.

I must also remind you PDK that nearly half of the land is in native land cover - so that means that your sustainability efforts are poorer than you realise. Perhaps you are using the finite resources faster than you realise and other people will have to make up that wastage.

May be some consideration for  commentators who are so absolute certain about their findings:
"Absolute certainty is a privilege of uneducated minds - and fanatics.
It is, for scientific folc, an unattainable ideal."
Cassius J. Keyser

some of these academics look like they havn't had a decent bowel movement in the past  decade ..
Believe you me, gummy, having worked with them that's not all some of these academics have been missing out on! ;-)

What makes you think that population growth rates increase in response to increased wealth?

 Why did population increase dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution? 

Do you think people were deliberately restricting their family size before then?

No and that is exactly the point, like any animal we will breed as fast as our resources permit. Before coal they couldn't grow enought food, just like post oil we won't be able to either. What the inflextion point tells you is that the easy stuff ran out in 1961 and it is a downhill ride from there. Doesn't matter what nonsense anyone drags up about endless alternative energy being just over the horizon, the simple fact is the numbers say they haven't done so yet. Are you one of those that gamble on how far you can travel on the fuel light? Or do you like to keep your petrol tank half full?

Because the Chinese are wealthier than their less populous cousins in the US.

So why isn't this surplus of energy permitting the population growth rate to increase again?
Peak sperm?

Remember in reading this guy's comments that his main expertise is in the US.  He does not appear to know much about NZ.  For example, he does not seem to know that the Treasury regularly publishes a Long Term Fiscal Statement showing the match, or lack of it, between future revenue and future spending.

Totally agree, I wouldn't consider his or any foreigners view. Cringing to ill informed foreigners, believeing they might know best is tosh at best.
Equally, it's time we stopped failed foreign bureaucrats from taking top positions in our civil service. It's not our problem and there are plenty of well qualified NZers to take up these positions.

Completely agree that foreigners shouldn't take jobs in the civil service, or anywhere else in our economy, when equally well qualified NZers are ready, willing and able to do the jobs.  But don't particularly see why "we" need to do anything to "stop" them. If they're not the best candidate, they won't get the job anyway

I believe there have been dubious decisions to employ English candidates with a caveat that we will have to pay their English salaries in NZD @ the exchange rate. Well, at one time that equated to three times the UK emolument, but served as a standard to pay local NZ incumbents and candidates alike. Unfortunately taxpayers foot the bill for such self-serving nonsense.

Sorry, don't quite understand.  If they are being paid the equivalent of their English salaries, how can that equate to three times their English salaries? 
In any case it's always going to be the case that the going rate for a job in a market B will influence the  going rate for that job in market A.  Even if foreign candidates weren't allowed to compete for NZ jobs, foreign employers can and do compete for NZ candidates.

Damn where does an 'E' like me fit into this plan :-( 
"So they hire other "B"'s who will compliment the short fall.  Which does cause a bit of friction, because "B"s generally don't like to to think they're defective," ROFLMAO Great post.

I totally agree with you Ms M. It's one of the most frustrating things I find in these types of debates. While it is very interesting and sometimes informative about what is happening in the US, at the end of the day we are not Americans and this is not the United States. Having had the happy pleasure of living in the US (Boston) I'm very aware that there are significant differences between our two countries, so much so that what holds in one does not necessarily hold in the other. But it’s very frustrating, particularly when the news media here just shuffles the two countries together in a mix and match as though they are both freely interchangeable. They are not. What we should be doing in instances like these is to use US data and findings as a starting point to see what the situation on the ground here in New Zealand is, and being willing and able to identify and establish the differences. 

You know the people who argue for infinite growth and the people who argue for limited resources aren't *precisely* at odds against each other. It's the lens of GDP which makes it look that way. Ever increasing value for humans, quality/length of life are in no way forbidden by limited resources ... as long as our number stop growing. But GDP is so heavily biased towards consumption of limited resources. There may be other measures for quality of human life which wouldn't be. I often wish we had one that worked, I think it would help us out a lot. 

Herman Daly and his 'Steady State Economy' gets as close as anyone.
But there are too many people on the planet, and the 'poor' can't ever raise themselves to our level of comfort, and we can't maintain what we have. Both will deplete the physical resources regardless of how we monitor things. Firewood for the next meal, coal for the australian light-bulb. We won't stop until we crash - and the sooner the better; there will be more left intact.

VERY interesting piece on the supposed housing shortage in Aus in Macrobusiness today:
The so-called housing shortage, which has been used by the property industry as an excuse for Australia’s overpriced housing, has been exposed by the 2011 Census figures. The Census revealed that the number of households in Australia is some 1 million less than assumed by the National Housing Supply Council (NHSC) in its estimates of Australia’s housing shortage. From Bloomberg:
Australia has almost 1 million fewer households than assumed in government forecasts of a housing shortage, raising doubts about a supply shortfall cited as the main reason the nation will avoid a U.S.-style crash.
The Pacific nation had 7.8 million households, data released yesterday from the 2011 Census showed. That compared with estimates of 8.7 million as of June 2010, according to the latest figures used by the National Housing Supply Council, a group created by the government in May 2008 to monitor housing demand, supply and affordability. Australia’s population also grew by 300,000 less than previously estimated, to 21.5 million…
“There’s been a bit of a disconnect between the estimates between the census points and the actual census data,” said David Cannington, Melbourne-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) “My feeling is that some of the underlying housing demand numbers will be revised down.”
Australia faces a shortage of about 369,000 homes by 2016, under a medium household growth scenario, which assumes the nation will have 9.7 million households by that time, the council said in a report released last week…
The council’s figures are based on the last census, conducted in 2006, with adjustments for additions and reductions of homes, said Owen Donald, Sydney-based chairman of the National Housing Supply Council, in a telephone interview.
“On the face of it, 900,000 is a gigantic difference,” he said. “We need to get to the bottom of what’s in the statistics bureau numbers.”

Very interesting talk.  It would have been good if Alex had brought up the one shilling and six pence in the pound that all New Zealand taxpayers paid and which was used to fund social welfare.  Perhaps Alex is too young to know about it. This money paid for health care, benefits, and superannuation.  Unfortunately Muldoon diverted this into the Consilidated Fund which meant it was no longer ring fenced for Social Welfare.  Perhaps it should be reintroduced.

Patricia - please take your cloth-cap mantra and offer it to a museum somewhere.
We are beyond the point where the physical planet can underwrite the expectation. Sure, altruism and community spirit are the way to go from here on - free-market individualism just gives you Mad Max - but stop thinking in terms of tax. It's on profit. and beyond the point where the planet can support exponential growth, what are you going to tax? Or charge rates on? Or pay your mortgage with?
Labour is history, I say that not because I back any other (Nats are on behalf of minority vested-interest and clinging to a dead ideology, the Greens are about where J.T.Paul was in '46). Labour are simply obsolete, their window gone.

There is so much food in the world today and it has been that way for so long that the price of it is so low that it costs more to store the food that is given to the third world than it does to give it.

And what produces it?   Oil.  10 calories of oil to one of vegies, 27 of oil to one of meat.
You're eating oil. But that's OK, because you will displace some existing biota and divert that sunlight into powering the tractors and the trucks and......
Have you dont the numbers? Acres needed to displace fossil oil, either via solar or bio? How much farmland you got left over? What's your fertiliser source? From where again?

It's rain on your parade but oil doesn't create food.  It's unbelievable to your closed paradym but food actually existed before we even discovered oil *shock horror*.
I am not a farmer.  I just pointed out that the resource you think of as finite is - in fact - coming out our metaphorical ears.

Didn't suggest there are no challenges - but;
I don't like it when people abuse others on this blog.  It's mean and arrogant.
I don't like it when they use pseudo intellectual argument to put people down with statements which are obviously flawed.  Socrates said "All I know is that I know nothing".
What is being stated is presented as closed case, no way out, end of story fact.  You would think these people know what will transpire in the next hundred years.
Some of the statements made are simply stupid.  Even if everything you say is absolutly true and nothing changes and all variables in your thinking turn out to be true and unchanging - even then - no oil does not equal no food.
You are trapped in your absolutist mental trench and you can't see over the top.  At the very least it is narrow minded.

Not even highly scarce, the effects we see around us are the result of the oil price >$80US
Oil price is whats know as highly in-elastic it seems, ie it takes a huge jump in price to reduce demand a small amount.....So we we'd like to see is 2.5% more oil per year and what we have been seeing since 2006 is effectively 0% increase...hence the price has gone so high....
Sure there is speculation in there, but that only occurs when there is something to push against.

Yes oil does create food in the QUALTITY and QUANTITY we need.
Not a farmer, no or engineer, no maths and no science it seems.  Otherwise then you'd realise the deisel and fertilizer used to produce it....all oil and gas based all finite and [shortly] in decline.
I'd say your ignorance was astounding, but then all your posts are baseless.

So when challenged the truth starts to bleed out.  No oil does not mean no food.  But then maybe in your world the means justifies the ends - you knows.
But very quickly it all runs aground back to abuse.  Don't you wonder why you always end up so often at abuse and so rarely at rational argument?

..... I've often wondered that too , Ralph , about steven & PDK  ...... being a leftie Malthusian greenie sure turns some folks nasty ..... unless these guys were that way to begin with .....

" I'd say your ignorance was astounding , but then all your posts are baseless. "
...... a prime case of the " pot calling the kettle black "  , steven !

Ralhp and GBH:
So you lost that one: oil does create food!

I never said that it didn't .. ..
.... a little extra virgin olive oil on freshly roasted bruschetta , a garlic rub , some sea salt & pepper
 Luvvly jubbly .... the oil really " makes " the food ......

Ralph - do a math refresher, and a physics one while you're at it.
Food pre fossil oil - in what quantities, for how many folk?

They are not rats.  They are people and there, but for the grace of God, go you.  And do not ask for whom the bells tolls, for it tolls for thee.

Good luck to you - but all the more reason to find mercy for others.

I think its Etheopia but their popualtion at one stage was 40million and they were starving, in came teh do-gooders and taught them how to farm.....the reusly was 80million and they are starving again.....
rats not OK, well rabbits then....really all animals show signs of re-producing in the same pattern including we overshoot and the population collapses when they starve.
Save my the god squaddy rubbish...its a moral crutch to allow immoral behavior to be washed away....

I think its Etheopia but their population at one stage was 40million and they were starving, in came the "do-gooders" and taught them how to farm, didnt teach them about popualtion control though.....the result was 80million and they are starving again.....
So, rats not OK, well rabbits then....really all animals show signs of re-producing in the same pattern including we overshoot and the population collapses when they starve.
Save my the god squaddy rubbish...its a moral crutch to allow immoral behavior to be washed away....

"Save my the god squaddy rubbish..."
That's why there are two quotes so even the arrogant can get it.

You know, if we had the moral gumption we would get an army together and depose the top 10 dictator butchers in this world and protect and teach the local populace how to run a country without endenmic corruption, oppression of the poor and violence at every level.
If we were fortunate we might half the child mortality rate and double lcoal llife expectancy like the British Empire did.  Except that's frowned upon now and called Imperialism.

Oh absolutely, that's why the British removed the local despots and enforced change.  The longer they were there and the more western the colony became he more successful the resulting nation state has been (measure in a material way).

Mostly all we need to do, or rather needed to do 50 years ago is go in and educate women, no diposing. When you do that they take control of their reproduction and quality of life greatly improves.....
The British via the "British empire" was one the world's most (if not the) effective pillaging machines...

And still - and yet.  The historical fact remains they halved child mortality and doubled life expectancy.  The despots that came before and after can make no such claim.

If you take grain and corn stocks they are starting to get low, in fact its pretty much at the point that annual production == annual consumption.......
Maybe you recall the great concern when Russia said it wasnt exporting during or becasue of its heat wave?
If there was so much food, why would anyone care?
Further we have so food because we use fossil fuels to plant it, fertilize it, water it, harvest it, tranport it and process it...
I'd say your ignorance was astounding, but then all your posts are baseless.

Abuse does not an argument make.  No matter how often it is repeated.

ignorance and spouting rubbish does not an argument make.

Yes , so why do you keep doing it !

Steven was that comment directed at Ralph or the IPCC ?
Kindest regards

Glad you're so worried about it pdk . Means I don't have to ....

The idea of ring fencing or linking particular taxation to particular expenditure is always attractive in many ways but in the end they all do somehow get sucked into that consolidated fund.

In the UK there is NI which is health care and I think its ring fenced but its still pay as you go.
ie You are a worker today pay for the OAPs today and your children as eventual workers pay for your OAP.
So Muldoon didnt really change much just how it is accounted.

Oil price looks trend like the 2008 drop...longest drop since 2008 and steeply down.....
Wonder if we will see $25USD....

While not impossible I can't imagine that the price will drop that low as the marginal cost of producing a barrel has now risen to ~ $70-80 per barrel. A steep decline in oil price would therefore lead to reduced production which would act as a price-floor.
The only chance of $25 oil would be if all economies go belly up, then all bets are off!

It isnt $70~80 a barrel, its $90 for the marginal new fields from what I can read.
In 2008 the price dropped to $35, that was almost certianly below the marginal production cost, but yes didnt stay there, got back to $85 fairly quickly....
Reduced production, yes though with a depression demand also declines and yes I expect no new fields that cost $90+ would be developed but that impact is 5+ years away.....not sure what happens with fields already producing as shutting the valves takes away all income...instead of a bit of a loss....
I think we are going to see an "all economies go belly up, the only Q is, is it 5 weeks away or 5 years away.....the latest event that could do it will be when oil production drops off its present plateau..and that will be interesting to see ie the decline rate....4~8% which will kill the global economy....
Right now its looking like we will be in a clear depression by year end.......

Yes....I wonder how North Dakota is doing, the in-rush of drillers caused a huge housing shortage that the municiples had to put in lots of infrasturtcure to try and meet....if this lot leaves (probably have), how will they re-pay the bonds I wonder.....wont i bet or ordianry ppl will be lumbered, maybe choose to leave.....
This is one of the downsided to Hugh P's rant that bonds are fairer...absolute crap IMHO....

Exactly, that's why Newt promising the yanks $2 gasoline again was a bit of a laugh. Drill baby drill indeed!

Promise anything to get into power is the the (far) rights motto.......
There is not way that could ever happen.....not for long....sure if the present trajectory takes us to $35 which is quite probable.....but the Depression we'd be in...........

Clark & Cullen were far right ? Well I never
Warmest regards

Like Larry I have a view...and it is also ...not pretty.
I have found that the despots sell off the infrastructure to benefit themselves, they even think big, when diminutive in stature, never were so few taxed by so many of low standing to pay the vast debts of those left standing, waiting for the cows to come home.
I have found that they steal from the wise and buy their votes with the proceeds of the sale, of the infrastucture that they already own, but were too uneducated to realise.
I have found that despots like the trappings of power so much, they hob-nob around the world in ever decreasing golden circles exhorting others to save, so they can be plundered again.
I have found that a jubillee clip, will go viral as the natives fawn over their peers.
I have found that despots favour banks and the indiginous relatives, relative to their own party. The 10% will then on sell orf anything, not tied down, foresure and even the seabed. Golden profits are expected and tithes to the fuedal lords will be munificant.
I have found collusion at the highest levels is needed to maintain their currencies, beyond the realms of all possible boundaries and the currents will be made to flow, back to the excheuquer, verily. though some wires will not be able to be pulled, heard, nor pinged, wrung, nor rung.
I have found that a despot will even give favouritism to those he can be bought off buy, they even give free pokies to sum, but do not congregate in sky high places for fear of a sudden drop in popularity, but will allow some to congregate and desecrate at wild gatherings, if money changes hands. Films of sweat  and strange monsters will be given favourable rates, not open to others. It has even become a hobbit, sorry ...habit.
I have found that despots pick fools to run their countries and inflate costs, so their citizens cannot replace damaged rude huts and plundered vast areas of their remote islands and  churches and holy places and other valued infrastructure are torn down at government backed decree. Some are favoured beyond the norm, beyond the pale and into the red.
I have found that despots will insure those shaken, but not stirred, over those under rated and over exposed. They will even hold off payments, though insured to ensure those under rated, are over rated, so bankrupt.
I have found that despots have a hidden agenda in supporting vast property enterprises over a poor mans savings. They will steal those poor mens savings and public trust to bend the will of the people.
I have found that a despot favours a lower rate for some, but a higher rate for others, misguided enough to have bought at a higher rate, than the other rates, deemed sensible.
I have found that all despots congregate in bunches, talk a secret language, lend money they do not have to buy the confidence of the other indebted nations they favour fractionally.
I have found fraud in high places, ponzis in tent, in debentures, in derivatives, in every despots banks and fraudulently lent at fractional securities.
I have found this to be a world-wide problem, all here, all hailed from here, all hail the chief.
and not a bleedin capital out of place, except boot.
Pretty on a nice day, but not from the beehive, where people get stung ...every day.

"spoke to about the claims in his recent book, The Clash of Generations, which he wrote with Scott Burns."
Are we promoting the sale of the book?

.... available on Kindle for $US 12.82 ..... the book was published in March of this year . Katlickoff has a number of books in print .....
And lest we forget , he put himself up as a candidate in the 2012 presidential election ..... the " Reform United States " party ...
.... one thing I agree with him , he wants a third political party to emerge , and to be dominant over the existing Democratic & Republician parties in the USA .... a blending of the red & the blue , to form a " purple party " he says ....

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE  1920's, 30's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !! 

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos. 

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer. 

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. 

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks some of us took hitchhiking. 

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. 

Riding in the back of a Ute on a warm day was always a special treat. 

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle. 

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Red Rooster. 

Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death! 

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. 

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Fruit Tingles and some fire crackers to blow up frogs and lizards with. 

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......  WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!! 

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. 

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.         

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and cubby houses and played in creek beds with matchbox cars. 

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no videogames at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape or DVD movies, no  surround sound,  no mobile  phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them! 

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no Lawsuits from these accidents. 

Only girls had pierced ears! 

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever. 

You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross buns at Easter really! 

We were given BB guns and sling shots for our 10th birthdays, 

We drank milk laced with Strontium 90 from cows that had eaten grass covered in nuclear fallout from the atomic testing at Maralinga in 1956. 

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them! 

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet! 

Footy had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! 

Our teachers used to belt us with big sticks and leather straps and bully's  always  ruled the playground at school. 

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.  They actually sided with the law! 

Our parents got married  before  they had children and didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade'.... 

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! 

The past 70 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. 

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned 


And YOU are one of them! 


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.. 

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were. 


Thanks for that,
John Key born 1961
Bill English born 1961
Jenny Shipley born 1952
Helen Clarke born 1950
John Banks born 1946
Michael Cullen born 1945
Winston Peters born 1945
David Lange born 1942
Don Brash born 1940
Roger Douglas born 1937
Jim Boldger born 1935
Robert Muldoon born 1921
Average age of NZ parliament after 2011 election, 49.8 years ~ born around 1962.
I think you will find that these generations were in fact the main architechts of New Zealands present state, and the individuals who were not in office most influenced the governments of the previous 70 years.
Some how your comment fails to claim responsibility for this, but I guess this just shows how adeptly you have learned to deal with it all.
While you are at it I don't need to hear the one about walking 10 miles to school, in the freezing snow, with no shoes, again....

Prof Katlickoff : born January 1951 ......
..... he had to walk 10 miles in the freezing winter snows of Pennsylvania  , ( even in summer ..... the faculty kept snow on ice , especially for his daily trek to the university ) to obtain his BA in Economics ..... and when he arrived , the lecturers would prance around  singing Barry Manilow tunes at terrified little Larry  , and then they'd beat him to death with their G-strings ..... by the time he escaped from each of his own funerals , and had crawled across " no-mans land " , a windswept mine field , .... he'd be three days late to hand in his dissertation , which was written in his own blood on fragments of his skin which had peeled off from ice burn  ...
You tell the Gen X & Gen Y's of that , how hard we had it , and they don't bloody well believe you !

i am not susprised when BBs come out and defend themselves as it is human nature to do so. The mid 2000s were perfect. Cheap assets,cheap interest rates and the BBs had the collateral to borrow against. Did they go for it and worldwide? Did they ever.Probably best summed up by people like the elderly lady who had at least 50 rentals in Hamilton who moaned about her rising interest bill for the 10 million she borrowed in effect to rent them off the bank and sublet them to her tenants. Did she  need so many rentals? she is one of so many and far from the biggest. Did people like her help X and Y generations into home ownership? I do not think so.

 The mid 2000s were perfect. Cheap assets,cheap interest rates and the BBs had the collateral to borrow against.
Let's not go overboard on re-writing history.

Ex Agent the old lady in Hamilton is not a summation, she at best represents a fractional percentage of what you attempting to tar Boomer generations with.....and no we don't all come out swinging in defence of what was " the normal" for our times.....the rules under which we had the opportunity to flourish.
 It may surprise you to know that( Wall St and Fractional Banking )aside, there was no conspiracy on the part  of the developed world population to disinherit their childen of  opportunities they rightly deserve.
 I'm only guessing here , but I'd say we mostly love our children and care more for their security than our own, and on that basis for the most part I hope we will rally to their aid if push come to shove.
 I won't blather on , you feel free to read my post early in the piece for what I hope is a balanced opinion, but keep in mind the generation you accuse of theft, have not had it all their own way along the trail, it's easy to air pick random items to conjure a blame scenario, but it simply not stand scrutiny.
 That said I support a review of superannuation going forward to reduce the burden of debt on Gen Y / X ..........right along with a meaningful review of the social welfare system ,and the laws that  have allowed successive Administrations to socialise the debts of others on a whim without full transparency , disclosure..........or public consultation.
Good luck to you.

Aaaaaah ... the art of deception .. you've done it again EX .. you're good at that .. the lady in question is not a BB .. she is now 75 years old .. what is your agenda

Sorry I should have said  BB's and their parents who had the collateral took advantage of the perfect mid 2000's conditions. Remember I was in the industry and I saw them in action. The greed was amazing. They have made it hard for their children and grandchildren.

The greed was amazing.
"The industry" excepted of course.
Your story is changing. First it was all baby Boomers.
Now it is no longer all Baby Boomers but Baby Boomers who had the collateral, and their parents .
Why not make the next revision towards reality: Many wealthy (those who had the collateral) of all adult generations were amazingly greedy.

Key is a politician keen on keeping power...if the Nats lose in 014 he will resign and walk the meantime he will not meddle with the NSS because the old coots vote while the young hoons don't.

Thanks for posting that , AJ ..... a damn fine read ...... the question is , how do we get the Parliamentary Oafs and the voters they bribe , to read that , & to understand the gravity of the situation ? .......
...... we are living beyond our means !

GBH, here's another good one - Michael Burry from the big short

Lots of we need social contracts between generations and nothing of the same between the top 1% and the 99% thats left.....but then he supports the Paul Ryan plan which is poor voodoo so hardly suprising.

American Public debt?  Clinton was fixing it, since then its been un-done by the extremists who now run the GOP.
The thing to worry about more is the private debt....thats more of a drag than Govn debt...Consider that everything we buy on average has 35% of it as interest payments.

American Public debt?  Clinton was fixing it
Nonsense - Clinton allowed US Treasury Secretary Rubin to dissolve the Glass-Steagall Act banking restrictions - the subsequent explosion of taxable debt financed asset purchases gave a short term reprieve to the long established fact of US government deficit spending - Helen Clark enjoyed similar benefits during her 9 year reign here- as we now know they were illusionary and short lived.

Hey Steven what do you mean 35% as interest? Are you saying that every potato, washer, and t-shirt manufacturer is so leveraged that 35% is interest?
If so, then wow.

"It would be very easy for Treasury to calculate New Zealand's fiscal gap, Kotlikoff said."
We have had heated discussions on why Treasaury are a bunch of Neo-liberal r*****s (see DavidC im being nice).
This is just one more nail...its head in sand stuff....because if you start to look at it the only moral answer is raise taxes and/or limit spending.
Oh and you didnt realise it was so bad?  that impression from Treasury? leo-liberal la la land again.
So our major policy definers are wearing blinkers the size of billboards and are adding more nails to keep them there.
Therefore the voters wont have such information put in front of them....all is well just move along folks.
10 year olds of course cant vote....

Days to the General Election: 19
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.