Tuesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Grim Reaper of overdue debt; German taxpayers bail out private bond holders; The stigma of monolithic cladding; Dilbert

Tuesday's Top 10 with NZ Mint: Grim Reaper of overdue debt; German taxpayers bail out private bond holders; The stigma of monolithic cladding; Dilbert

Here's my Top 10 links from around the Internet at 7.30 pm in association with NZ Mint.

I welcome your additions in the comments below or via email tobernard.hickey@interest.co.nz.

I'll pop the extras into the comment stream. See all previous Top 10s here.

Jon Stewart is spectacularly good at #10. I laughed hard and it hurt.

1. Death debt collectors - Ryan Chittum at Columbia Journalism Review points to an excellent piece at The Wall St Journal on a particular brand of debt collectors who approach widows/spouses of those who have died with credit card debt to pressure them into coughing up the money, even though they are under no obligation to do so.

What is it with the American banks?

It's painful to watch from a distance.

Why are they so deeply uncaring about their customers or their reputations?

Do they have no idea this sort of thing will lead to riots?

Are they so sure their lobbyists will fend off any sort of reforms or they can always cut a friendly deal with a useless regulator?

Here's Chittum:  

Jessica Silver-Greenberg reports that big banks outsource debts of dead customers to companies that use psychological techniques to push grieving family members to give them money they don’t owe.

These companies are reputation laundries for banks, which can put the screws to their grieving customers without having their names attached to it. The Journal reports that these firms charge a premium for the service: Twice what other debt-collection sectors charge.

The Phillips & Cohen memo tells its employees to “Start Soft — Go Hard,” how to react to “crying as a defense” (threaten that you will continue to hound them with calls), to employ good cop/bad cop, and “don’t take No for an answer if there are assets.” Also: “plant seeds of doubt,” “be intentionally vague,” and information on the five stages of grief. Tucked in there, believe it or not, is the Golden Rule. But the money lies in harassing people grieving about their loved ones, to the point that they’ll pay to make it go away.

2. Ratings bombshell - Standard and Poor's may downgrade all the Euro zone sovereign credit ratings, including Germany. Astoundingly, it may cut France, Spain and Italy's ratings by two notches.

The action was "prompted by our belief that systemic stresses in the eurozone have risen in recent weeks to the extent that they now put downward pressure on the credit standing of the eurozone as a whole," the ratings agency said in a statement.

Of the 17 countries forming the euro zone, Cyprus' rating was already put on credit watch negative by S&P and Greece is rated CC, which already denotes high possibility of default in the near term.

3. It really is free money - It seems France and Germany want to include clauses in the new treaty which mean that the private holders of Eurozone debt will never have to take a haircut ever again.

Really.

It means effectively that the risk of losses on sovereign debt are transferred to German taxpayers. This is a bailout of bondholders by taxpayers.

Cue voter voter revolt eventually, but hey...if it stops a financial crisis now...

Here's Robert Peston at the BBC:

So what is it that has cheered up investors? First, they like Italy's emergency 30bn euro package of tax increases, spending cuts and pension reforms - which raises hopes that the government of technocrats under Mario Monti may start to whittle away the Italian public sector's massive debt burden.

Second, the agreement between President Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany to demand tougher sanctions on eurozone governments that borrow more than 3% of GDP may at last persuade the European Central Bank that it's safe for it make heavier purchases of - for example - Italian government bonds, as and when Italy is being shunned by investors.

More than anything else, investors want to see the ECB behaving as the bond-buyer of last resort.

Finally, and perhaps most important of all, Germany has dropped its demand that in any future bailouts of governments with excessive debts, there should be losses imposed on private-sector creditors - which more than anything else explains why holders of Italian bonds are feeling a little less anxious this evening.

4. Yet more austerity - Ireland's new Prime Minister said overnight the nation is in crisis and yet more austerity is required.

I still can't work out where the growth is going to come from.

5. Smaller, safer banks and more government lending - Mohamed El Irian, the CEO of Pimco, has written a thoughtful piece at Reuters about how the role of banks and governments will change.

Look for western banks to be less complex, less global, somewhat less inter-connected and, therefore, less systemic. With some banks teetering on the edge, certain European governments (e.g., Greece) will have no choice but to nationalize part of their financial system.

Also, with the western banking system shrinking in scope and scale, look for new credit pipes to be built around those that are now clogged. With the aim of supporting growth and jobs, particularly in longer-term investments such as infrastructure, some of these pipes will be directed or enabled by governments.


6. Who is he kidding? - Bloomberg reports
Barack Obama will paint himself as a defender of the Middle Class in the coming election campaign.

Obama lied about being a leader for change in the last election campaign and then was fool enough to be captured by Wall Street's backers. There I said it again. He is a liar and a fool.

Less than a year before Election Day 2012, with his approval rating at 44 percent in a Dec. 1-3 Gallup Poll, Obama is making a “very important and fundamental strategic shift from 2010,” when Republicans won by framing the election in terms of spending and deficit reduction, said Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who is advising an independent campaign group raising money for the president’s re-election bid.

“He is advancing the Democratic message that we’re for the middle class and Republicans are for the rich,” said Begala, who was a political aide to former president Bill Clinton.

7. We're outta here - Michael Lewis writes at Bloomberg about the 1% and the 99%. He pretends to advise the 1% to cut their connections to the 99% to avoid having the 99% eventually take their money off them.

It comes across as slightly bitter, but has a ring of ugly truth to it.

There is a movement among some, including Peter Thiel, to create government free areas on the high seas. It's called seasteading.

Here's Lewis:

Ordinary Greeks seldom harass their rich, for the simple reason that they have no idea where to find them. To a member of the Greek Lower 99 a Greek Upper One is as good as invisible.

He pays no taxes, lives no place and bears no relationship to his fellow citizens. As the public expects nothing of him, he always meets, and sometimes even exceeds, their expectations. As a result, the chief concern of the ordinary Greek about the rich Greek is that he will cease to pay the occasional visit.

That is the sort of relationship with the Lower 99 we must cultivate if we are to survive. We must inculcate, in ourselves as much as in them, the understanding that our relationship to each other is provisional, almost accidental and their claims on us nonexistent.

As a first, small step we propose to bestow, annually, an award to the Upper One who has best exhibited to the wider population his willingness and ability to have nothing at all to do with them. As the recipient of the first Incline Award -- so named for the residents of Incline Village, Nevada, many of whom have bravely fled California state taxes -- we propose Jeff Bezos.

His private rocket ship may have exploded before it reached outer space. But before it did, it sent back to Earth the message we hope to convey:

We’re outta here!

8. The problem with fund managers - FTAlphaville points to this entertaining rant by Absolute Return Partners, a UK hedge fund, about the poor performance of fund managers in a recent letter to investors.

According to an unpublished report conducted by IBM, our industry destroys $1,300 billion of value annually – a staggering 2% of global GDP (see here for details). This includes about $300 billion in fees on actively managed long-only funds which fail to outperform their benchmarks, $250 billion spent on wealth management fees for services which do not meet their benchmarks and $50 billion in fees on hedge funds which underperform.

9. The stigma of monolithic cladding - Marnie Hallahan writes at the North Shore Times about Ray and Robyn Bush's attempts to sell their 1980s vintage plasterclad home, even though it has been given a green light for not being leaky.

The three bedroom Bayswater house has been on the market for two months without any serious interest despite being offered at a selling price of $790,000, well down on its $900,000 valuation.

Ray Bush has been told he may need to reclad his home which could cost up to $200,000 in order for it to sell. He says that's outrageous considering he has certification that it's not a leaky home.

Bush is frustrated that potential buyers are lumping his house with real leaky homes, but admits he wouldn't jump at the offer of buying another plaster house himself. 

''I would have to say that I would be wary.''

10. Totally Jon Stewart on why no bankers have been jailed for causing America's massive bank bailouts. He uses Star Wars to illustrate how big a number US$7.7 trillion is.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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.

69 Comments

Just to reinforce the problems in China.

Australia cut rates today.

http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2011/12/banks-on-rate-effects/

Our China economist Paul Cavey expects further weakness in Chinese manufacturing in coming months and thinks the risk of Chinese growth temporarily slipping below 8% has increased.  And, indeed, the RBA does imply that it is the slower global growth outlook and the impact on commodity prices — and hence inflation — that was one of the key reasons for easing policy again.   The RBA cites slowing growth in China, the impact of weaker European growth on Asian trade, as well as the impact of financial market volatility stemming from the European debt crisis as the key reasons to think that global growth will be much weaker.

One for you Bernard. This guy is worth a listen also:

Daniel Hannan MEP

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J52BQFdPLJ4

Nice one. cheers.

I like his lines about central banks trying to reinflate the bubble with low interest rates and how he compares such 'extend and pretend' to a drunk trying to avoid a hangover by staying drunk.

 

cheers

Bernard

What normally follows  "austerity" after an economic depression? Starts with "w" i believe.

I hope to be wrong of course

3 letters. Ending in R?

Nope , that is too obvious ....... that fact is , after every recession , depression or period of austerity there has followed a Waitangi Day ....... not many people know that ........

........ go look in the book , if you don't believe me . London-to-a-brick it will happen again . It was foretold by the French man with a big nose for sniffing out the future , Nostrildamus .

Waitangi Day !

Wai Gummy...?

40 years in the Education Department and you still don't know Wai ! .....

... we'd better enrol you in one of Banksie's Charter Schools me laddo , lickety splick !

Inevitable, WW2 was about economic resources (but I dont think it will be a co-ordinated world war, there isnt the resources to share)....Peak oil is here so it will be about ecnomic resources again.   The difference is in the 1930s the US had its own oil in abundance and it powered ww2 by itself....the Japanese and Germans did not....

This time no one with the military might has oil under their own ground....and the supply lines are long, known and fat....ie you cant protect a 250,000 tonne tanker that does about 16knots and takes several  miles to turn....ie it cant zig zag and its huge....a blind man could shoot at it and hit and these days and even iran has guided missles........So like the japanese in WW2 i expect there will be some initial fighting (and actually a lot of rioting and civil dis-order, border scirmishes) over oil fields. South china sea with india v china comes to mind.....a few small  nukes as even 3rd world banana republic nations like pakistan have them now.......you can see the build up to this happening now....disputes happening more and more, [some] Govns i think see peak oil even if they dont admit it IMHO.  So ours is either lieing or stupid....or both.

regards

 

Your natural and abundant talent is totally wasted here , steven .......

...... you should be in Hollywood , USA ...... writing doomsday scripts for movie moguls to pore over .....

regards

BH - not sure if you've spotted this but it's a fun read on Germany and its continental ambitions....

Achtung eurozone...

cheers

Bernard

$200,000 to re clad a three bedroom house? You could build a new three bedder for that. I know Auckland is a rip off merchants paradise but that's ridiculous. Even a large/complex/multi level home shouldn't run to more than $100k for a re clad. Perhaps Ray should get a few quotes.

leaky home? maybe there is rot in the wall, so rip off outer and inner linings, force dry it, replace wood reclad inner and outer, there isnt much left....oh and live elsewhere while its done..........I assume it also needs a proper roof.....

regards

Fair enough Steven but this is not a leaky home, the owner just wants to improve the saleability. My home is the same, sound, no leaks, H3 treated framing, good eaves all round but with monolithic cladding. I was looking to sell and the advice I received was around $100k reduction in sale price. I can have a reclad done - Linea or timber weatherboard for fifty grand so well worth it. That's for a 240 m2 four bedder, single level home. So how do they get $200k? Think of a number and double it?

 "A Tennessee couple has lost everything after their home burned to the ground as firefighters watched and did nothing."

 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10771480

That there's Hillbilly land boy...you don't wanna go piss people off in dem hills with this sort of crap...wonder which of the firefighters or better yet the dopes what made this dumb rule up are gonna smell smoke in their homes...cos once you start summit like this it aint got no end....

Hope they have enuff water...

There was a story about a similar event just a few months ago.  But in that case, the fire department just stood there and watched it burn until the fire had reached and damaged the home of a subscriber, at which point they could spring into action and put out a fire twice the size and far more damaging and dangerous than they one they'd arrived at.  Seems like an all-round lose-lose system.

These stories are excellent examples of User-Pays Capitalism at its very finest.

The alternative is bloody socialism, where taxpayer-funded emergency services aid all and sundry, rich and poor, haves and have nots...and we simply can't have that. 

Eventually, only the wealthy few will possess any form of property, therefore all the rest will have nothing to fear and nothing to lose.

Yep...they will have nuffin....cept a crate full of mollytoff cocktails and lotsa targets....

Absolutely right.

I can't work out where the growth is going to come from either.  The only source I can see is Hopium, and Rumors.

Apparently the French govt forecasts a 1% growth in 2012. Less than NZ forecast but still a growth. Although a director of economic studies says that more than 0.3% is impossible but less is not excluded (link to Google translated article http://translate.google.co.nz/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lemonde.fr%2Fcrise-financiere%2Farticle%2F2011%2F12%2F06%2Fune-spirale-declinante-menace-la-france_1613865_1581613.html%23ens_id%3D1268560 ).

It's also interesting to see that today the main stories on lemonde.fr are about the economic crisis. Until a few days ago, I had to search to find anything about it (it was more about soccer results). Seems the risks of downgrade has shocked of few people (not that I find it surprising myself).

FYI from Tim Hunter at Stuff on the Vital Healthcare mess. Has anyone ever made money out of listed property trusts, apart from the managers?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6096520/ANZ-diluted-value-of-units-in-Vi...

The interests of mum and dad investors were trampled on by ANZ Bank as it sought to extract maximum value from its management contract for a listed property trust, says fund manager ACC.

Speaking at the annual meeting for Vital Healthcare Property Trust,  ACC investment manager Ian Purdy said Vital's management company had clearly not acted in the best interests of unitholders.

And this is astonishing from Martin van Beynen at stuff on how EQC employs its kids at NZ$180,000 a year plus expenses. I want that job.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/rebuilding-christchurch/6096870/EQC-accu...

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) has been accused of "jobs for the boys and girls" after employing the daughter of its claims manager at $75 an hour.

Nikki Kettle, who works as an assessor, for which she earns $180,000 a year ($75 an hour), plus allowances of up to $24,000, has also landed one of the sought-after assessing jobs next year.

These jobs will then return a slightly lower hourly rate of $55. Her mother, Gail Kettle, is the EQC claims manager.

The appointment comes after revelations the EQC also employs Zac Stiven, the 19-year-old son of the commission's Canterbury events manager, Reid Stiven. Zac is employed as an assessor.

Matt Searle, the son of Barry Searle, also a senior manager, is employed as an estimator. It is not known whether Matt Searle and Zac Stiven have secured EQC positions for next year.

The commission has previously said Matt Searle and Zac Stiven won their positions on their own merits.

A former EQC staff member, who is now looking for a job and asked not to be named, said staff had no confidence in the way the new jobs were allocated. "It looks very much like jobs for the boys and girls," he said.

It all make sense now, the money is flowing out of the the productive timber mill, into the FIRE sector, no wonder the government is expecting a surplus soon. 

The productive sector will be fine without the govt or the FIRE sector, but neither will survive long without the productive sector.

And this is painful. Another timber mill closes down because of the housing slump. Here's James Weir via Stuff.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6096869/Ranex-closes-down-Upper-Hutt-mill

The Eurocell timber mill in Upper Hutt is closing down, with the loss of up to 40 jobs, one of dozens of mills to shut in recent years.

The plunge in the house-building market is hammering the timber sector, with no sign of a lift in demand.

It's unfortunate for the mill's poorly paid wage slaves, but the owners can't blame anyone but themselves and their industry cronies.

For years they've all colluded to drive up the cost to "ordinary" people - their customers - of owning a property and now during tough economic times those people are saying "No thanks, too expensive".

Havn't heard of any super rich timber mill owners.  You'll know when these guys are extorting the market when you see them idolised on TV for making millions of dollars a year.  No I believe these guys are struggling along with the rest of the productive sector.  50% of GDP comes from govt, another big chunk is in the FIRE sector.  When your economy is overweight friction, it's no suprise there is no money left in the productive sector.

So the timber industry is in the doldrums , Bernard ......

....... now what would Warren Buffett do when there's " blood in the streets " , or in this case , sap on the mill floor ......

Buy timberland !

Exactly right.  You could buy it for less then intrinsic value, bargain.

No bailout?  No rebuild?  No export market for sawn timber?  Owch!

And Southern Cross calls for government subsidies for health insurance. Here's Anne Gibson.

Your view?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=1077...

Ian McPherson, group chief executive, told almost 500 society members in Auckland yesterday that state handouts might be needed to avoid a crisis.

"For private healthcare to remain accessible to a wide range of New Zealanders, we strongly believe that some form of Government intervention will very likely be necessary.

"This might come in the form of tax incentives to take up health insurance or by regulating the industry in order to change how your premiums are calculated.

"Another option might be a KiwiSaver style health savings fund where the Government makes contributions," he told the annual meeting where many older policy holders spoke out against unaffordable premiums.

Instead of 'tax incentives' which mean further tax distortions of market signals and bigger government and more wealth destroying bureaucracy to administer them,  the same is achieved by overall tax deductions, leaving people's own money in their own hands, and whittling back the State from our lives.

and leaving then far higher bills for education and health....makes no sense on an average individual level or a National level to allow a double hit on GDP and wallets from private health providers at all.

and thats just health.

Tax reductions? the US did that under Bush, it got no where.....and actually instead if you looked at the research on taxing the highest incomes it suggests a 70% rate is acceptable.....quite to whom is another matter of course....

;]

Interesting that we are still in the doldrums yet the very rich who live via capital gains pay no tax....by that metric we should be booming......since we are not......obvioulsy a crock of doo doo.

regards

Mm. In a privatised system I pay $1 direct to the educator to teach my child. (And the educator will be giving my child a better education than the State system, which has failed).

How can I be better off by the governent taking that $1, and spending something up to 30 to 50 cents of it just to pay the bureacrats to duck shove my money - including all the policing to make sure I've coughed up my $1- between all the bureacracies? There is far less money overall being spent on actual education in the Nanny State, and I have lost my privacy and my freedom to boot.

In a free society, 100% of my money goes to educating my child. In the Nanny State perhaps only 50% of my money is actually making it to educate my child, or, if my child goes to private schooling, then none of my $1 makes it to my child, I'm paying twice, once to educate the child that is my responsibility, the balance to fund a bureaucracy that is stifling the West, and educate the children of complete strangers whom I have no control over.

Where's the 'fairness' in that?

Capitalist swine ! ...... where's the fairness to mediocre teachers within a privatised education  system ?

Imagine being paid based upon performance ..... only teachers with good results ( pupils actually able to read , write , and do a spot of maths ) will get a liveable wage ......

..... we can't have that .... don't the useless teachers deserve their " fair share " too .... hmmmm ?

How much would it cost to teach someone to read, write and add?  Anything more is a waste of effort for most people.

Gosh Gummy...you know so much about teaching....why are you not game enough to front 150 teenagers in say a South Auckland high school...5 classes of 30...pretty common...you would have so much to contribute...give it a go Gummy....!

I'd give teachers in Sth. Akld. schools a " danger money " bonus , on top of their salaries ...

.. . no bonuses for those teachers in the soft leafy green suburban schools  where the " dress circle " crowd live ......

Awww come on Gummy...that's a cop out.....I think every person who wants to have a say on what good teaching means should have to do at least one term with a full workload....why not Gummy....?

Because then there would be no teachers left?

LOL

.... based upon that logic , Wolly , you'd better spend one 3 year term in parliament before you slag off against politicians again ......

Bags the Speaker's seat Gummy...so I can biff the sods out....

.... if I can cross the floor , and share a seat with Jacinda , you're on ....

I haven't had much contact with the public education system yet seeing that our oldest has just finished Year 2 and her sister Year 1 but I only have praise for their teachers.

Out of 4 teachers they have had, all have been fantastic and we couldn't have hoped for a better introduction to school. The girls absolutely love going to class and are well ahead in the 3 national standards areas - we sure encourage them but I reckon their teachers also have much to do with their appetite for learning. School breaks tomorrow and I am yet to break the news to them of how long this holiday will be. I mean, last year the oldest burst in tears when told she wouldn't see her teacher for 7 weeks, and her sister begs me everyday to give her some "pluses and takeaways" tests and counts down the nights to the next Monday every Friday night .

So anyway, I am sure there are not-so-good teachers, just like there are people who are not so good at their job regardless of the industry, but so far I am rather impressed with the NZ education system and the obvious dedication of the few teachers I know.

Nice to hear Elley. Yes, NZ is lucky in having so many good teachers.

Unless they teach at  Massey Recon Internediate or Armourguard Mt Eden High School -.probably get free bodyguards

But I hear the bahavour is pretty bad at Roskill Jim Beam College and  Glen Eden Tui Primary

In effect a subsidy for Southern Cross would be a  subsidy for Health Professional's incomes.

How about Southern Cross investigate discounts for people who get their surgery done offshore?  Then they might have a product people could afford and put some zing into the monopoly type situation health care providers have here in NZ

FFS......this is wrong on so many levels, pork barrel politics at its finest.....in effect at its least offensive its make the poor who cant afford private healthcare pay for those who can...

Is he really that stupid.......that he thinks that will fly.......wait we just did this for schools didnt we? 

regards

5 Problems with merkozy's plan.  (note still nothing about reducing debt, just decreasing the exponential function to 3%)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2011/dec/06/five-problems-merkel-sarkozy-plan-euro?newsfeed=true 

 

This will be the next level of idiot policy from Banks..count on it...if you can count..otherwise blame the teacher...haha

 "A national qualification for would-be heads will be overhauled to give school leaders better preparation for the “rigours of the job”, ministers said.

Under new plans, senior staff will be taught how to identify and re-train teachers who struggle the most in lessons and use legal powers to sack the worst-performing staff.

Courses will also focus on strategies designed to promote good behaviour across schools, including the importance of proper uniform policies and a clear system of rewards and sanctions."

 

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8938853/New-heads-told-to-crack-down-on-bad-behaviour-and-failing-teachers-in-training-overhaul.html

Following on we will have level 3 idiot policy...special training for would be Ministers of Education to make them better prepared for the "rigours of the Cabinet farce"  where they will be taught to identify and re-train Cabinet colleagues who struggle the most in meetings and they will be given powers to sack the worst ministers.....courses will focus on strategies designed by year one teachers to promote good behaviour in Cabinet, including the importance of proper wearing of the tie and the jacket and the pants..don't forget the pants...with a clear system of fatter pay and  a fast track out the nearest beehive 9th floor window.....oops...sorry bout that...none of the windows open...it'sa safety measure to prevent ministers jumping...

"BONK....BONK...BONK"...( sound of Bank's head hitting window)

 

Bernard, re (4) and the austerity packages, the main aspect of which is tax increases (not less government spending - their welfare systems and public sectors are so huge there is no will to deconstruct them), you say:

I still can't work out where the growth is going to come from.

I agree. Growth and prosperity for European (at least) companies over next decade (at least) is going to be stalled, if not destroyed, by the much increased tax liabilities they are going to have to face thanks to overspending, irresponsible (to say the least) politicians and bureaucrats. So you agree, taxing the wealth creators, the producers, is antithetical to growth and prosperity?

I don't get that from most of your other postings?

"taxing the wealth creators, the producers, is antithetical to growth and prosperity?"

Few would argue, Tribeless.

Here's a thought: is it any better, for economic growth, to borrow and spend or tax and spend. The Japanese experience suggests there is similar negative effects on the economy from either. The problem is first in the spending then the crowding out or confiscation of private capital.

I expect things to get very messy in Japan in the very near future. With outrageous levels of Government spending and debt, a declining AND aging population, poor commodities resources and massive competition for their manufacturers you can expect a currency/bond collapse sooner or later.

Oh yeah, outside the philosophical (freedom) issues, the solution is to stop government spending. The Banksie negotiated spending cap is a window dressing fraud: it still allows spending increases with population and inflation (which govt. control) and if they want to go over the cap, then all they need do is explain to Parliament. Dunne certainly doesn't support any sort of cap, and Labour will ultimately rescind it.

There is a new freedom alliance coming, hopefully, for 2014, which shall have one commonality, the reduction of government spending.

Personally, I think a responsible government would look at halving current government spending over next nine years, and heading for a nil corporate tax rate, with personal rates down to 10%. We'd be the wonder of the world, prosperous, and 'almost' free.

Cool we'll have a "freedom" coalition prepared to precipitate an economic holocaust. Nice one. Really look forward to it. They're sure to be reelected come 2018, or whenver the farcial horsetrading circus comes around again.

Including it's ongoing borrowing , the government spending currently equates to 50 % of the nation's GDP .

..... the betting on iPredict is that a David Shearer led Labour Party will win the 2014 election ...

Will Labour crank it up further , with their election bribes , and push government spending above 50 % of GDP ? ...... WFF for families , beneficiaries , and even those without families . WFF for everone !

Change that name Anarchist - you're one of the biggest Statist collectivists on these boards.  You can't be an anarchist, and want your free lunch from the State.

I don't need nor ask for a free lunch for from the State Tribeless, but I'm not self-centred enough to presume that others aren't in the same position. We live in a Capitalist society after all. I'm just heartily sick of utterly sick of naive folks such as yourself completely misrepresenting the true nature of Capitalism. They're would never have been nor never will be Capitalism without the State and thats a fact. Just look at history and don't talk to many about the mindless twaddle written by that arch reactionary Ludwing von Mises. After all he's the nutcase who celebrated the success of the Italian Fascists, whom he praised for saving European civilization. I have more respect for Murray Rothbard, and Wilhelm Roepke, but what value they saw in von Mises is beyond me.

"It cannot be denied that fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that fascism has thereby won for itself will live eternally in history."  

"It cannot be denied that fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that fascism has thereby won for itself will live eternally in history."  

http://classicliberal.tripod.com/misc/libs02.html 

Statist Anarchist said here:

I'm still young and relatively healthy, so I don't have to be worried about having an illness that under a Minarchist State or Anarchist Utopia, would be unaffordable to treat. Sometimes a free lunch isn't so bad after all.

And then contradicts himself here:

I don't need nor ask for a free lunch for from the State Tribeless

You know that libertarians are based on the non-initiation of force principle, and that fascism, as with communism, are the antithesis of the freedom they wish. Libertarians do not advocate no state, they advocate a minarchy andthe rule of law: again, you deliberately misrepresent Libertarianism. We just want to put individual property rights and freedoms beyond the vote.

As an Objectivist I have scant regard for Hayek, other than the premise of his Road to Serfdom. Rothbard, whom you like, was a true anarchist against the State which you constantly seem to support. Libertarianism, I, am more complicated than you would like to boil it or me down to. The main form of agreement between disparate libertarians are: non intiation of force, limited government, and the overriding premise being that individuals have rights and responsibilities and the role of the small state is to protect those rights and not assume those responsibilities.

You are contradictory. Your philosophy is ill-formed because you never clearly state it. You support the State as master over every individual because you have a cyncial view of man from looking in the mirror. You are evil. You are a Statist. You are far closer to the fascism we both despise than you would like to think. Drop the handle.

 

And note my original reply to you on the other thread:

Why do you believe you couldn't afford decent medical care: a laissez faire system would be more prosperous than the failing centrally planned economies we have now: for a start you'd have all your tax money, imagine the health insurance policy you could afford with that. Plus there would be a far better medical system.

Clive James, one of my humanist heroes, has a great phrase: in the Soviet Union they thought they had free health care, but it ended up costing them everything they had.

Direct your worthy anger at the enemy Anarchist: and that's not me, it's Statists like Bernard.

Tribeless,

Man, where you libertarians go wrong is when you only account for your own interests and fail to recognize others aren't in the priviledged position you are. I don't need a free lunch from the State, but I realize that many, many others do and under capitalism they never will be in your priviledged position.

Who would write the laws under the Minarchist State? The wealhy and powerful would, just like they do today. But thats redundant, because we're never going to have a Minarchist State, because the wealthy and powerful are quite happy with how the world works now. Its was the Conservative capitalists who were faced with the existential threat of communism and anarchism, back in the 1890s, 1920s and 1930s introduced the Welfare State in an effort to forestall demands for more fundamental reforms. Otto von Bismark in Germany, William Massey in New Zealand, Wiliam MacKenzie King in Canada, Gerald Swope in the United States etc,

Now that the Soviet Union fell apart they're free to piece by piece dismantle the social protections that were then put in place. You "Objectivists" are useful idiots in that you provide intellectual and philosophical rationalization for their actions, but when they precipitate the economic collapse and the breakdown in social order that I predict that is imminent should the elites continue in their current trajectory, you will be the fall guys who will be he held to account. Not them, whilst they will be showing their true natures by imposing a neofascist political regime in the interests of social order and stability. Just like they did in the 1930s and not just in Italy, Japan, and Germany. Make no mistake, there was only a superficial difference in political regimes between the Allies and Axis during the World War II periods in terms of their poliical machinery.

I argue for anarchism on philosophical grounds and attempts by libertarians to defend their philosophy on material and economic grounds to be both baseless and morally bankrupt. One just has to look at the historical record to see that periods where strong, interventionist governments ruled, historically high growth rates and economics/social stability were the order of the day. What you "Objectivists" fail to realize is our world is ruled by elites both in the private, corporate sector and the State, public sector who regard us all as cattle, to be milked for all we are worth and until recently they recognized that healthy, well fed, secure cattle are more biddable, obedient, and productive cattle. Perhaps a bit more costly, but in the end more profitable.

I'm not angry at you Tribeless. I'm just cynic. I shouldn't have engaged you in debate in the first instance.. While we share many similarities philosophically, it appears we live in completely different worlds. The reality you see, is far different to the one I do. Let us just agree to disagree.

 

Whose talking about privilege?

Have a look at the Libz party sometime: you won't find many 'rich' or 'privileged' people there.

It's not about money. It's about freedom. It's about laissez faire in everything. In fact if anything the Libz have a direct line back to the 'real' hippy peaceniks of the 60's in some major ways (vis a vis, no State bullying, self sufficiency, and non-initiation of force).

Okay we agree to disagree. That said, you're the only anarchist I've come across whose scared of your philosophy ever coming home ...

Tribeless,

Make no mistake, I don't think you're a stupid man. Nor do I think I'm particularly intelligent. After all, I'm just a humble garden in an agricultural commune, I'm well aware of the history of small c conservativism and liberterianism. I'm familiar with efforts by Murray Rothbard to seek concord with the New Left in the 1960s and 1970s, but I also know how the dreams of the hippies for social and economic transformation were dashed by the militarization of the domestic law enforcement agencies and their infiltration of  effectively destroyed the integrity of the counterculture, leaving them open to cooption by the Establishment elites. What we got instead was the hollowing out of Western economies and replacement with the illusionary and hallucationary promise of wealth exemplifed by the stock boom of the 1980s, the tech bubble of the 1990s, and the housing bubble of the 2000s.

Most of my friends are modern day hippies who are anarchists or have anarchist tendencies, but I differ from them I'm a hardnosed realist who knows the social conditions under which anarchism almost became reality. 1930s Great Depression Spain and Germany during the Berlin Soviet Uprising and Spanish Civil War respectively, when the confidance in the legitamacy of the prevailing political and regime had been seriously undermined by the economic dislocations and turmoil of the Great Depression. Make no mistake it was a bloodbath, with atrocities being committed by both sides. Violence begetting violence.

Yes I would like to strip away the powers of the State. I'm not a revolutionary anarchist. I do not believe freedom can be imposed. Instead I'm a realist reformist anarchist, who is comitted to peacefully, progressively uprooting the dead hand of the State from our lives, but I think you libertarians err in promoting reforms that strip away the activities of the State that allow the most vulnerable people in our society a dignified life, such as subsidised healthcare, an unemployment benefit, or subsidised public education. Targetting the poor smacks of self-righteous, sactimonious, Puritanism and it does you no credit. Its not a case of weaning people off junk food and assuring them its for their own goods, whilst not accounting for the fact that they can't afford anything else. What a coalition of true lovers of freedom needs to do is develop a policy platform that exposes and opposes the welfare queens at the top of the heap. The bankers, the corporate crony capitalists who seek to socialize the cost of their activities, whilst privatising the profit, the landlord class who reap a windfall in the form of over a billion dollars a year in accomodation subsidies, the real estate industry and legal profession with their incestious relationship with the local government political machinery.... If you libertarians are willing to work on such a political programme, we can talk....

Deluded is the politest word I can think of for that vision of no coprorate tax, 10% personal ....

 

Why deluded?

Because of the efficiency and effectiveness of public provisoon of such things as education, health, roading and transport and so forth; all of which requires a larger public budget than you envisage.

 "New Zealand government debt returned 13.1 percent to investors this year".....

Easy profits if you are in the loop.....friends of yours John?

Hey Mr Engleeesh...you listening up there in your plush office?.....seems there might still be some life in the building sector....don't you and your mate John oughta like raise gst again....snuff out the last of the life ....call it another example of govt forward thinking to give wage earners more cash in the pocket...thems what still have a job....

Trouble at mills you fool.......!

Great to see Wolly and the Gumbo are still wittering on to each other like larks in a storm and the politics of envy are still alive and well on this site...and ole Darth Hickey cunningly stirring the pot....congrats BH on beating NBR as the no 1 biz site in nz...a hollow victory?