Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.
This week: Canterbury Corporatism, Garrett’s Impending Strikeout, and Our Declining Economic Freedom
1. - DOM-POST: “Workers get $6m in wage subsidies after quake disruption: The government has paid out $6m in wage subsidies to 7000 workers hit by the Canterbury earthquake… the government has set aside $15m for the grants but Mr Key said it could cost up to $100m.”
The problem: At the current numbers of people subsidized, this is $2.4m a week corporate welfare for Canterbury small businesses. That money has to come from somewhere. The govt either prints it (thereby eroding the savings of New Zealanders), borrows it (saddling our children and grandchildren with debt) or extorts it from the very people it is meant to protect from arbitrary predation. In any case, lower-income workers are being fleeced to subsidise businesses and employees who were quite capable of purchasing disaster or income protection insurance for themselves. Poorer people are being taxed to fill the pockets of the rich.
My suggestion: The money to help Canterbury small businesses should come firstly from the owners of those businesses and their insurers, and secondly from people willing to donate money to them. But if it is felt the money for this corporate welfare has to be extracted by force, using threats of asset forfeiture and incarceration, the first victims of this should be the people of Christchurch City, Canterbury and the adjoining and surrounding provinces. Wonder what that would do to the chances of re-election for Bob Parker and John Key?
2. - NZ HERALD: “Anyone except Douglas, says Key: Prime Minister John Key has said he could work with anyone as leader of ACT – except Roger Douglas.”
The problem: John Key could sit quite comfortably in government with Rodney ‘Super City’ Hide and David ‘Jackass’ Garrett, but not with the man who delivered New Zealand from the Polish shipyard of Muldoonism. Anyone with lingering fears that John Key was hiding a free-market agenda behind the smile and wave will be vastly relieved to find that there is nothing there. Meanwhile it appears Mr Garrett, a lawyer, may have perjured himself in an affidavit in 2005. Hey, wait a minute, David, wouldn’t that be your third strike?
A question: What would you consider a sensible sentence, David, if you end up wearing a conviction for perjury?
3. - OTAGO DAILY TIMES: “NZ third in economic freedom survey: New Zealand ranks third in the Economic Freedom of the World 2008 survey.”
The problem: Keeping in mind that the year examined was the final year before the fall of Helengrad, we can draw some interesting conclusions about the last NZ government from the Fraser Institute’s analysis of economic liberty. It appears that our overall economic freedom diminished under Helen Clark (our rating slipped from 8.64 in 1995 to 8.22 out of 10 in 2008). In five out of five parameters, we were worse off after nine years of Helen and Michael. The most telling statistic was Size of Government, which score slipped from 7.46 to 6.14 out of 10 over the same thirteen years, even as the size it measured increased out of bounds. But that’s what happens when you bloat the Labour-voting public sector by 30%.
My suggestion: Like an engorged leech, the state sector bleeds this country. It should be gently but firmly prised off the body politic and told to make its own way in life under its own steam.
And look: Countries “liberated” through Marxist rule (Angola, Venezuela), Islamic theocracy (Algeria, Iran) and totalitarian dictatorship (Myanmar) don’t do at all well. What a surprise. Cuba, adored by Michael Moore, wasn’t even rated. Wonder why.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fears the people, there is liberty.
- attrib. to Thomas Jefferson