Thursday, 28 May 2009

The English Budget: "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" [update 3]


David Farrar calls it a "budget that almost writes itself." That's almost true once you factor in broken promises on tax cuts, the inability of politicians to stop spending what they haven't got and the underlying values of the National Party.

So let's see what the promises both kept and broken add up to both in dollars and in values betrayed. 

English promised over 5 billion dollars in extra spending over four years in areas -- health and education and feel-good crap -- where Labour's $20 billion spending binge had absolutely no net positive effect whatsoever. Which means they're keeping non-productive electoral bribes made for no other reason than headlines, and breaking their promises to productive New Zealanders who have to pay for this new blue binge.

He promised nearly one-third of a billion dollars to subsidise people who insulate their houses. Which means they're keeping their commitment to their post-election deal with the Greens, while breaking their clear election promise to the productive taxpayers who voted for National.

He promised to consume over 7.5 billion dollars over five years in Think Big infrastructure projects (for which the RMA is already being prepared) all of which will have to be paid for out of borrowing -- which means they’re keeping their promise to borrow money to bid up the prices of contractors and building materials at the very time these prices need to fall.

He admitted that the total spending bill adds up to $17 billion or red ink over the next two years -- $17 billion that will have to be borrowed -- $17 billion that could have been used by productive New Zealanders in bankrolling genuine productive spending.

So, if we remember John Key's commitment in the Wall Street Journal back in March, we might note he really is talking Adam Smith abroad while spending like John Maynard Keynes at home -- which means he must think either local commentators are stupid or Wall Street Journal readers don't do their homework.

And, of course he committed to maintaining "entitlements" -- what used to be called welfare payments -- meaning the likes of Welfare for Working Families, interest-free student loans, subsidised state-housing and the like which National (at one time) actually campaigned against. This means they're keeping their belated promises to the moochers, while breaking their firm commitment to the productive, i.e., the people paying for it all.

Asked by David Farrar "what their rationale was for deciding to break a tax cut promise rather than a spending promise such as interest-free student loans (especially as he originally opposed interest free student loans but always campaigned for tax cuts) English responded that people feel insecure in a recession, and they made a decision not to cut any current entitlements to help confidence and security."

My colleague Mr Darby warned this morning about the "fiscal child abuse" that has just been announced.

I characterised the Budget this morning as a Liars' Budget. And so it is. But it's very revealing to look at those to whom they're happy to lie, and and who they think it's important to keep "confident and secure." If you want to understand the values of today's National Party all you need to know is that they think it's important to keep their promises to moochers, but okay to lie to productive New Zealanders on whose shoulders the whole country actually rests.

If you're one of those heroes and you voted for these lying cheats, then you've been conned - as you have been if you voted ACT, whose MPs are lining up as we speak to vote this Budget in.

As Johnny Rotten once asked his audience, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

UPDATE 1: The very easily pleased Adolph from No Minister calls me "economically challenged and naive" for not standing up and applauding what Roger Douglas called a budget whose biggest deficit is one of courage and imagination -- a budget that could just as easily have been delivered by Michael Cullen.

Notes Lindsay Perigo, "Mr. Key taunted Labour Leader Phil Goff as 'Whack-it-on-the-bill Phil,' an advocate of 'Visanomics.' That's accurate enough. But in what respect does John Key claim to differ?" Care to tell us, National supporters?

UPDATE 2: I love Dave Gee's headline:
'Let Them Eat Pink Batts!'

UPDATE 3: And from Whale Oil:
While we are talking about the Dipstick from Dipton have a look at how Hong Kong is "stimulating" the economy. They have raised their tax cut today from 1500 to 1900NZD a year for stimulus. Meanwhile Bill the Dork talks about maintaining "entitlements" for losers.


  1. I joined Libertarianz today. I might be ripped off again and again in the future, but at least I know it won't be a side effect of my own voting.

  2. " .. but at least I know it won't be a side effect of my own voting."

    Well said, that man. Cheers, Greig.

  3. Yay, one more voter. Some good has come out of today's treachery by English.

    What's a suitable nickname for the new commissar of finance then?

  4. Broken English? (with apologies to Marianne Faithfull)

  5. Did you really expect anything better of such a centrist government? I was a bit worried there was going to be more of a stimulus lolly-scramble. A few pink bats are cheap compared to some of the other crap they could have come up with. It was never going to be a time of serious reform.

  6. Nat Supporter now turned Libz Supporter28 May 2009, 20:08:00

    I second to that Greig, I am thinking of joining the Libz. This fucking National cannot give tax-cuts but able to continue on with Working for Family. John Key & National are no fucking different from Labour.

  7. Personally I voted for a change in philosophy not tax cuts (no free lunch..remember?)

  8. I see over at No Minister Adolf the National Party supporter describes PC as 'economically illiterate".
    Amazing what blind adherance to a failed ideology produces..even in otherwise intelligent people.

  9. Did you really expect anything better of such a centrist government?
    I didn't expect tax rises.
    I didn't expect spending increase in real termsI didn't expect vast sums into corporate welfare

    and most of all, I didn't expect "median" and even "worst case" scenarios that are completely unbelievableUnemployment maximum 8-10% - you've got to be kidding!

  10. On the bright side, I can give myself a small tax cut by stopping my monthly A/P to Act.

  11. Sean Fitzpatrick29 May 2009, 06:58:00


    Maybe put-it-on-the-bill Bill, to go with put-it-on-the-bill Phil.

    Remember how the Alliance portrayed the two big parties as Tweedledum and Tweedledee in the 1993 election? Deja vu all over again.

  12. Richard McGrath29 May 2009, 07:57:00

    Well done, Greig! Sooner or later people get sick of voting for a new master, and refuse to condone those who would rip them off in the name of "entitlements" for the non-productive.

    As I have said many times before (though it's not Libertarianz policy), anyone receiving an "entitlement" should forfeit their vote. That should apply until such time as they have been off the "entitlement" for three years (i.e. one parliamentary term).

  13. Richard McGrath29 May 2009, 08:05:00

    Nat Supporter Turned Libz Supporter: I urge you to take that final step and join the party of principle. Stop condoning your oppressors! When a National Party Prime Minister proudly boasts that he will not cut "entitlements", it becomes obvious that philosophically he is no different to his predecessor in that office.

    Incidentally, does anyone else remember the origin of PC's subtitle to this thread about being cheated - it was a comment by Johnny Rotten at the Sex Pistols' final concert (in San Francisco if I recall correctly).

  14. As I have said many times before (though it's not Libertarianz policy), anyone receiving an "entitlement" should forfeit their vote.
    Absolutely!! No representation without taxation!
    I, of course, would go further: the franchise should be restricted to those earning over say 250K or with 2.5 million net assets. And of course I'd cap the tax rate so all income over 100K is tax free.

    That should apply until such time as they have been off the "entitlement" for three years (i.e. one parliamentary term).
    no, for ever. Anyone who ever accepts a government "entitlement" is no longer and individual selfreliant rational human being. No vote.
    And no civil rights either. Which means - yes - open season!

  15. anyone receiving an "entitlement" should forfeit their vote


    Richard, that means that the power in New Zealand will lie with the workers and producers who positively contribute to the economy, and also that anyone who wants to get ahead in life will have to work for their success. An outrageous idea.

  16. Kevin: It's not a "free lunch" to get something back which shouldn't have been taken from you to start with.

  17. Sean Fitzpatrick29 May 2009, 10:05:00

    And jut to prove hypocrisy knows no bounds -

    "Mr Goff said Mr Key had broken a promise.

    "John Key and Bill English, determined to buy the election, made the promise and didn't care whether or not they could honour it," he said.

    The bill to repeal the tax cuts, however, went through its early stages on unanimous votes and Labour was in the odd position of supporting it while it was attacking the Government for doing it."

  18. RE: No vote for those receiving entitlements

    Those that are genuinely sick, and therefore unable to work, don't have much option but to get a sickness benefit. What private charity in New Zealand would give money to someone that was seriously ill, but refused a sickness benefit?

    It wouldn't make sense to penalise a person, by removing their vote, for merely being sick in a country where private charity had been crowded out by the tax-powered welfare state. (also applies to serious cases of disability)

    In regards to the unemployment benefit, the DPB (except potentially in cases where conception was by rape) and other welfare of that sort, I agree that they should not have any right to vote on how other people's money is spent.

    However, the entire problem is solved if the Government were agreed to only be allowed spend money on the Police Force, armed forces and courts etc.. - rather than it being a question of which voters decide on which government will spend all of the money.

  19. Richard McGrath29 May 2009, 14:09:00

    David - you are absolutely right. Any loss of the franchise by claiming welfare benefits would be temporary under a libertarian government, because the welfare benefits themselves would be abolished (privatised actually, as insurance companies and charity took over this function).

  20. Voting?

    Making a mark on a piece of paper once every few years?

    That's irrelevant.

    By which method the employees of government are selected (by peerage, by birth, by passing examinations, by acclamation, by appointment, by performance of set tasks, by reputation, etc.) is arbitrary. It isn't really all that important.

    What IS required is a decent constitution (one based on freedom and upholding Individual Rights) to define what government is and what its purpose is and by what means it is allowed to undertake actions to achieve its purpose. THAT is what is important.

    Before you guys all go off on a tangent mumbling about voting, you ought to consider that. You also ought to realise that representational democrcay is a fraudulent concept. It does not and can not work as promised by the conmen who push it.


  21. Labour party, Greens, Nats whatever, are not the enemy of the people per se. A country on its knees and swinging from left to lite left will only end up crawling.

    Budgets like this are fantastic at highlighting the defects and corruption of government. Government and its power are our enemies.

    We (as Libz) don't even need to be attacking the parties - they will do that to themselves and each other.

    It is not surprising to see so many of the voting public believe that Nats are doing the right thing by canning the tax cuts. Everybody knew that hard times were coming and that tax cuts without reduction in expenditure was probably impossible.

    Did we really expect anything else?

    Nats didn't win the election, Labour lost it, remember? Nats could have promised anything - beheadings at dawn for the general publics pleasure and the nation would have hurrahed.

    And welcome to the party those who have seen through this and want a prosperous and compassionate New Zealand!

    The NZ gummint and its behaviour are paving the way for change.

    Our time is coming.


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