Published in THE ISSUES by frog on Tue, June 19th, 2012
Tags: general debate
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Do you want to live in a better society? Don’t think in terms of child abuse, think more ‘primarily’ in terms of just child damage.
Children are unintentionally (though severely) “abused”, systematically, from the point of birth. If we can stop this then we can go a long way to truly substantially improving society.
Optimising birthing conditions/practice and focusing on the “super hot spot”, that is between conception and the first 6 months of life, is more important than ANYTHING for social progress. And it represents an overwhelmingly positive cost to benefit ratio as far as social investment goes.
The problem is of course that it’s long-range and therefore politically irrelevant in terms of its effect. And so our apathetic politicians just don’t care.
Like or Dislike: 1 3 (-2)
Considering all the areas that demand the Government’s attention (earthquake reconstruction, ACC, child poverty, unemployment), we see our highest performing sector attacked again with the bizarre suggestion of league tables for primary schools. Is this just a red herring to distract people’s attention or is this something else that will threaten our top five position educationally?
Like or Dislike: 2 1 (+1)
On Retirement Income.
Sunday, 17 June 2012
The finance industry have been creaming their pants, for a return to the halcyon days, before the tax rebates were removed from superannuation savings. When they got to play with our money for free, and the negative returns and high charges were ignored, because of tax payer subsidies.
Egged on by the neo-liberals who prefer the elderly, the unemployed and the sick to starve in the streets, as an incentive to scare working people into accepting starvation wages, while they continue to get 17% increases in wealth, the finance industry is dreaming of getting more of their sticky hands on our wealth, with private super funds.
Since the 70′s they have been constant in the meme that we cannot afford super. A meme that has been driven entirely by the self interest of those, who are too wealthy to need super and too mean to pay taxes, and a greedy finance industry.
Unfortunately, it is true, that if you repeat bullshit often enough, even those who should know better come to believe it.
We cannot afford super is code for, “we should leave our elderly to beg on the streets”. So that wealthy people can pay less tax and the finance industry can again lose our savings for us.
In fact the idea that State super is unaffordable is crap from the same people that cry TINA and reckon that all social insurance is unaffordable.
If they win with super, they will just start on other social wages.
In reality it is much more affordable than the finance company bailouts, which would be necessary with private super.
“So, in 2050, we’re projected to be paying only 1% of GDP more in superannuation than we were paying in 1990. Quelle horreur! This is not a difference to be terrified of, and it is easily manageable with a modest increase in taxation, either now or in the future (though that perhaps is exactly what those pushing for change are frightened of: higher taxes)”.
Intergenerational theft is another piece of oft repeated stupidity.
“Do we really want to return to the days when most elderly people were totally impoverished when their working lives ended”.
Super has always been paid for by current production. However you finingle it financially, whether through current taxation or savings, it still comes from the production of the current generation.
If we want to keep super affordable we should tax the current generation to invest in a sustainable future. Invest in energy, housing, education and other infrastructure so that we can keep all our people. Not in financial ponzi schemes which will fall over in the next GFC.
“”Because our kids can’t afford to buy houses, we bought houses for them to live in using the equity from our house, and now all our money is tied up in mortgages. At the same time, we’re supporting our parents in their old age.
That’s how life is and always has been, for most of us. Our parents worked to give us a decent start in life, and we worked hard so our kids could have a fair go. We’re looking after our parents in their old age. We hope we’ll be looked after in our old age.
What about this is “intergenerational theft”?”"
But. We can avoid the whole concept of retirement, intergenerational fairness and all the other sticking points by accepting that everyone in our society is entitled to a liveable share in the society they and their ancestors have built up.
Whether you call it a Universal income, Guaranteed minimum income (GMI) or a personal shareholder payment it is the same thing.
Replace all welfare, social insurance and pensions with a GMI.
We also get to solve many other problems such as child poverty, the unfairness of a present welfare system, and making our society more sustainable, at the same time.
“”Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.
It turns out they did.
Only two segments of Dauphin’s labour force worked less as a result of Mincome – new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families.
The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did”".
http://thestandard.org.nz/key-on-the-nation/comment-page-1/#comment-483385 The best way to deal with any problem is to eliminate it at root. The best way to deal with ‘retirement’ as a problem is to eliminate the entire concept. No I’m not being extreme.
The simple answer is a Universal Income”"
“”In fact super has been so effective in removing poverty amongst the elderly it should be extended to everyone in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. There is no excuse for having people with inadequate food and housing in a country which is capable of supplying an excess of both internally”".
Like or Dislike: 3 1 (+2)
The problem with the basic minimum income is it incentivises everyone to switch to part-time work, or at the least to do no overtime. It attacks the very tax-base it’s dependent on.
With our welfare system we already have social protection. What’s more, a BMI will not solve poverty until we solve the housing under-supply problem.
The best ‘egalitarian’ approach is to induce an abundance of good food and housing so it’s always cheap, for even at the bottom of the ladder. Don’t worry about education because commercialising it only wrecks it (mostly).
Superannuation should be eliminated. Base government assistance on need, not age.
…but the last thing we need is even more government welfare in our lives.
Like or Dislike: 1 2 (-1)
We already have a screwed up situation with government assistance contradicting the incentive to work. I know people who refuse to work more than 20 hours because what they earn after that is mostly lost via the retraction of benefit entitlements. We need to reverse this situation. We need to create and preserve a linear relationship to work incentive.
Like or Dislike: 1 0 (+1)
In fact in NZ in the past, when there was full employment, and unemployment benefits were much more generous than they are now, the Prime Minister famously said, “I can count the number of unemployed on one hand”.
People wary of working more than 20 hours a week is because it costs them more to go to work than the extra they earn. Because of the stupid abatement rate for welfare recipients, which means the lose 80% of the extra income. Any extra they earn is swallowed up in work expenses. A GMI with an abatement/tax rate of about 20% for income over the GMI encourages people to seek extra income.
Like or Dislike: 3 0 (+3)
Ok Kerry – I’ll check out that link when I get time.
Like or Dislike: 0 0 (0)
Andrew. What is good food and housing, but Government assistance.
Though I agree we need to ensure everyone is fed and housed, as we did in the 50′s and 60′s.
Like or Dislike: 2 0 (+2)
I’m a bit surprised that my first comment got three negative votes and no positives. Don’t worry I’m not heart broken – but why? I want to know what people are thinking. Any comments?
I’m not sure why either, AA.
The only things I can think of:
1. The ‘formula’ provided is already fairly standard practice in hospital based birthing so you’re not saying anything particularly new.
2. Dim lights – not that practical when the actual birth is taking place but otherwise standard practice, particularly postpartum.
3. No drugs – good advice in principal but with a minor inaccuracy. Apart from pethidine, drugs used in birthing (epidural, gas) do not pass the blood barrier and therefore, have no direct physiological effect on the child.
4. In general, I think people would fing it hard to take advice re birthing from (i) a bloke and (ii) a non medical bloke
I wouldn’t let it concern you Andrew Atkin… Just wait till you post on something like gun control, and get all the gun-toting hicks on frogblog freaking about their right to bare arms. The uptick downtick system is pretty crap!
National whinging about the referendum
It was amusing to see the weaselly Bill English whinging about the Green party yesterday, because they’re gathering signatures for the Save our Assets petition. I guess he doesn’t really like the idea of the people having a say in what the government does…
Didn’t you read the link Andrew. In the mincome experiment the only people who worked less were mothers of young children and students. As it should be!
The 40 hour working week is a overhang from the days of slavery where the prevailing ethos was more hours worked = more wealth (for the elite).
There is no reason why people should have to work more then 20 hours a week to cover basic necessities.
This way there would be work available for all and people who are presently unemployed can equally contribute to society.
Like or Dislike: 6 0 (+6)
AA asked what are people thinking. Perhaps the “child damage” you speak of would include smoking or drinking alcohol while pregnant. And from some of your previous posts, it could be assumed that (in your opinion) such “abuse” should be solved with “forced sterilisation”. Although I agree that drugs and pregnancy aren’t a good mix, I fear your approach to achieving utopia is half way down a slippery slope.
NB: I gave you no ticks.
Don’t know why your first was down-ticked Andrew. Wasn’t even particularly controversial.
Agree Micheal. A GMI avoids the need to find unproductive and unsustainable, make jobs, just, so people can live.
In a sustainable, co-operative society there are likely to be fewer jobs anyway – plenty of work to do, but not necessarily the kind of jobs we’ve always expected to be there. Universal basic income is going to have to be brought in at some point, otherwise there will be even more inequality than there is now.
Fairly standard practice? That’s not what I have understood. Many people have told me horror stories to the contrary, but it’s great if it now is in fact standard practice. As for drugs not passing to the baby via the blood barrier…others (medical professionals) have argued that is a myth – not sure. And the drugs still affect the mother and the birthing process.
People don’t have to take advice from me. I just want to see less semi-autistic looking faces when I walk down the street. (Smile!)
Like or Dislike: 1 1 (0)
I should clarify that what I would like people do from my blog post is look closely at the issue, and not put *blind* faith in the medical establishment. Remember it took a long time for doctors to reconsider male circumcision (good lord!). It’s true I’m not a woman (since I last checked) but that would be the most silly of reasons to outright ignore what I suggest.
Mothers have nothing to lose in making their birth as uninvasive and natural as possible. I hope they will seriously consider it (and other).
Drugs that cross the blood-brain barrier, will cross the placenta (that includes nitrous oxide/gas). Epidurals remove the cues for the mum to push.
But if a mum2b is incapacitated with pain, then pain relief will surely aid the birthing process.
Apparently the least traumatic birth for baby is a water-birth.
Is there a link between autism and birthing process?
Link between autism and bad birthing? Probably to some degree. Though it was a loose expression there, I know what heavy infantile damage looks like. I see it absolutely everywhere. We all do, whether we realise it or not. And we all have a lot of it.
…oh, and surely there would be a link for where oxygen deprivation leads to a given degree of brain damage.
Will the Green Party support NZ First on the buy back of the power companies?
On the issue of universal income, there are two major groups ineligible for income support when not working now.
Non working partners and about half students.
This would probably require 100% cost fees and the CPI applied to the debt for repayment.
So why not make non working partners eligible for the dole – work tested, but an exemption from the work test if there are children under 5 (same as for DPB) or there is significant voluntary work.
There would be some offsetting savings in reduced WFF tax credits.
Otherwise universal income (without a work test) goes to those who work (like people getting super while working) – this is expensive and makes the affordability of the provision to those not working unaffordable or reliant on major tax revenue increases or entitlement cut backs (Morgans version requires hardship for those dependent on super over 65).
Allowing individuals to receive income support while not seeking work under the retirement age is probably best left to periods where there is lack of full employment – is that “3 or 4%”?
Please add spouses who are medically disabled to your list. The handicap for the children in such a household is significant.
I have a few issues with Gareth Morgans GMI suggestions.
For one. His GMI is too low. It should be about the same level as current super.
Secondly I believe we should still have progressive taxes. Up to 45% over a 300k income like Australia? And FTT, CGT (On all assets over 500k) (Exempting the family home just favours those who can have a family home for every family member) and inheritance taxes on amounts over a million.
I suspect over time a GMI will cost less overall than the alternatives.
Savings in ameliorating the effects, health and social costs of poverty such as health treatment, jails, family assistance etc.
Big savings in the number of people we employ to harass beneficiaries.
Saving in the costs of assistance to disabled and sick people. More family members can afford to leave work to look after them.
Lastly. New Zealand has always been attractive to immigrants because of the social wage. The benefits of living in a more equal society than the ones they come from.
A country without poverty would be an inspiration for the world, A huge brand advantage, (For the commercially inclined) and make it much easier to sell the compromises needed for sustainability, to voters (when those out of work as a consequence know they can still survive. For us Greenies).
There are, of course, details to work through, including costings, but I hope we can all agree, whatever your political colour, the principle is good.
Thanks for correcting me on the blood barrier/NO comment.
Andrew Atkin ‘I just want to see less semi-autistic looking faces when I walk down the street. (Smile!)’
You might want to reconsider how ableist you sound with that comment up there.
A good autism-ally resource http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.co.nz/
Sure I agree on eliminating poverty. That’s why wrote this:
It’s actually very, very easy to do.
Interesting piece. Note though it was only applied to a poor area though. If we did have a GBI I think it should taper off for higher income earners, but that’s effectively what we have now with WFF, only it’s targeted more to families. Maybe a form of GBI could help simplify our welfare system and reduce the bureaucratic costs?
I appreciate that a good form of GBI might do a better job than what we have right now, and preserve the working incentive by not directly penalising people who work more than a given amount. At the moment we have a locked-in just-above-the-poverty-line zone.
But before anything remember the supply game. Not enough houses? Then no matter what the government gives people, the landlords will end up getting it all! This dynamic cannot be over stressed.
Another in the series of reminders that “its the economy, stupid” remains the salient problem that has to be solved.
I have pointed out, at length, that the common diagram shown at the sustainable development conference in Wellington , and accepted by Greens everywhere, that shows the economy as being “inside” the environment, is a conceptual error.
We effect and interact with the environment THROUGH our economy and society… not the other way around.
This means that direct action on the environment is EXTREMELY unlikely to overcome economic policies and assumptions that are basically wrong…. and that correcting the unsustainable economics and monetary system is a far more powerful way to address these issues.
Michael Hallager says ‘There is no reason why people should have to work more then 20 hours a week to cover basic necessities.
This way there would be work available for all and people who are presently unemployed can equally contribute to society.”
Nice theory, but it doesn’t necessarily work.
France has always been famous for low work hours, and high unemployment.
Things like high labour costs and high tax dictate what countries companies will invest in. Hence Germany attracts far more investment than France, and has half the unemployment rate.
Unfortunately there are people who think if a foreign investor puts $100m into NZ, creates jobs, but takes out an annual $5m profit ($3.5m after tax), that is a bad thing.
They are blinkered by the profit, and can’t see that for every $1 taken out, there is an extra $10-$20 benefit for NZ that wouldn’t be here otherwise.
Like or Dislike: 1 4 (-3)
It boils down to capital to labour ratio’s, and the efficiency of the economic machine. We absolutely should only have to work 20 hours in this modern age. And we could get there.
Asset sales pollute the future
This really is a lose lose situation for everybody except rich investors and farmers…
Like or Dislike: 2 3 (-1)
Jackal says “This really is a lose lose situation for everybody except rich investors and farmers….”
….and 1.8 million kiwi savers, and anyone who might get a payout from ACC, and anyone who will ever collect superannuation.
Oh – that’s everyone.
Like or Dislike: 0 2 (-2)
There are 3 million people of working age – and only 1.5M of that age ge in Kiwi
Saver – 300,000 are children.
Most of the 500,000 already over 65 will not be investing in the assets or receive ACC.
And besides – given the small proportion of the Kiwi Saver Funds that any investment in these assets would represent and the dilution effect of others buying in directly, Kiwi Saver investors would be better off with a buy back by the government.
Making rich people richer and poor people poorer at the expense of our children. It’s what they do.
Not a single tax change that didn’t adversely affect the already too great income disparity in this country.
Environmental acts that has not adversely affect the environmental protections of the country.
Support of industry, only the extractive industries.
Asset sales INSTEAD of a sustainable tax and spend level.
What part of this is good policy?
Kerry says “In fact in NZ in the past, when there was full employment…”
Full employment ?
In those days 50% of the population didn’t work because they stayed home to look after the kids.
And the ministry of works and railways employed tens of thousands of “shovel leaners” – the pay bore no resemblance to the value of the work done, which was virtually nill.
Today the same jobs would be called “work for the dole” and the left would campaign against them as being demeaning – unacceptable manufactured jobs that are not really needed.
Full employment – yeah right. Believe that and you’ll believe anything.
Like or Dislike: 0 4 (-4)
BJ says “Not a single tax change that didn’t adversely affect the already too great income disparity in this country.”
Hard to reduce taxes for the bottom 40% when with WFF they effectively pay ZERO income tax.
BJ says “Asset sales INSTEAD of a sustainable tax and spend level.”
And $12 billion extra spending paid for by reversing 1.5b of tax cuts is sustainable??
SPC says “Most of the 500,000 already over 65 will not be investing in the assets or receive ACC.”
So you expect us to believe those over 65 will never ever collect from the NZ superannuation fund? (you know – the regular payment they get).
Or ever have a fall? (considering falls in the home is the most common payout for ACC, and every year 1 in 3 over 65s have a fall).
Or that the retired don’t have retirement savings to invest?
ACC, and NZ Super fund will be two of the biggest investors, along with private super funds, private investors with retirement savings, and Kiwisaver funds.
It’s staggering you argue the elderly won’t benefit from these investments.
The Cullen Fund is to help afford the post 2030 period – most of those now over 65 will be dead by then. Besides as the Cullen Fund only affords tax paid super and tax paid super would be better afforded by government holding onto the shares until 2030 (why sell in a weak international market?).
Is not ACC primarily to cover loss of worker earnings – most over 65 don’t work and even those that do will have a tough job getting loss of pay compensation while on super – how long till they would have retired anyway etc etc.
Photo comes up with half the story as usual!
Full employment has always been defined as all those who made themselves available for work having a job.
“”In those days 50% of the population didn’t work because they stayed home to look after the kids.”"
In those days it was possible to feed and house a family on one income.
“”And the ministry of works and railways employed tens of thousands of “shovel leaners” – the pay bore no resemblance to the value of the work done, which was virtually nill.”"
Now we have tens of thousands on “work for the dole” schemes for accountants and financiers, boards, managers and money jugglers, each costing us 20 times more than a “shovel leaner”, and at least 10 times more than the grey cardigans they replaced.. And decreasing our wealth $7 for every dollar they earn. At least the “shovel leaner” left us with roads. They must have done some work.
“”Today the same jobs would be called “work for the dole” and the left would campaign against them as being demeaning – unacceptable manufactured jobs that are not really needed.”"
See accountants above.
“”Full employment – yeah right. Believe that and you’ll believe anything.”"
See definition above.
“”Things like high labour costs and high tax dictate what countries companies will invest in. Hence Germany attracts far more investment than France, and has half the unemployment rate.”"
Why don’t they invest in Greece, then? Workers there work much longer hours than Germany and France, for much less money!
German wages are higher than France. Actually!
“”Hard to reduce taxes for the bottom 40% when with WFF they effectively pay ZERO income tax.”"
because they get paid fuck all, since the great economic reforms that were supposed to make us all better off.
Of course Photo still chooses to forget the other taxes they do pay, disproportionately.
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