Government accounts just keep on getting worse and worse and worse, but still the election bribes just keep on coming, and keep on getting bigger.
The latest bribe to make it into the headlines is from the Maori Party, offering to pay a $500 Christmas bonus with your money, $136.5million of it in total, to help them buy votes.
And that's not even the scariest part.
What's scariest is their justification for the bribe. "This is the multiplier effect," says says the economically illiterate Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party. "This money will keep people buying; it will help businesses and workers by stimulating the economy, retailers will benefit from increased turnover."
Yes, Pita. And taxpayers would benefit if that money had been left in their pockets.
This so called "multiplier effect" is a complete bloody fiction, another Keynesian nonsense -- and a prime example of the Broken Window Fallacy.
First of all, government isn't Santa Claus, with a cave full of elves pumping out goods and services. The government can only get money to "invest" by one of three ways: by taxing, by borrowing or by printing money. So if it taxes, borrows or prints money to give to $136.5 million to consumers to buy votes, then it has to take that $136.5 million (plus collection expenses) away from producers who would have used it to produce and invest more. One feeds consumption, reducing the resources for production; the other feeds production, producing the wealth we need to survive. Only one of these makes us richer -- but it's much easier for politicians to steal from producers to buy votes than it is to just stand back and let production happen.
The fact is that consumption does not make us richer, no matter how many Keynesian textbooks you consume. The world is not going broke for a shortage of consumption, but precisely the reverse: for too many years, consumers have been consuming too much of the wealth that should have been used for production. Production is the horse that drives the economic cart: adding money taken from producers does not add any new goods and services to be exchanged. It depletes them.
That the Maori Party doesn't understand any of this should give the lie to any claim that they are a responsible party with whom to be in coalition -- except that no other mainstream party understands it either.
An election is an advance auction of stolen goods. Don't forget that -- especially when we can't afford the theft.
UPDATE: Cactus Kate puts it bluntly:
If Maori want to relieve poverty and keep their precious tino rangitiratanga and mana then perhaps they should go to their own tribes and [ask for] a dividend from their commercial enterprises -- all funded from white-guilt Treaty Settlements...
But then Maori Leaders with commercial nous and intellect are far too sensible to do this with money that is now in their own names. They fuel it through education and scholarship, not give it directly to the “poor” who by their own definition of being “poor” have proven they can’t handle their own money.