Wednesday, 8 September 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Bribes & elections – reality & problems

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week:  How Bribes Win Elections – the reality and the problems.

1. DOM-POST: “Australia decides, finally“The Liberal and Labor parties have been locked in negotiations with independent MPs over the formation of their next government since the August 21 election failed to deliver a clear mandate. But Ms Gillard yesterday locked down the numbers needed for a parliamentary majority.”

The reality: Julia Gillard cuts a $10 billion bribe, just sufficient to secure the support of the wavering ‘independent’ MPs, so that she can cling to power. 

The problem: A system that allows such naked bidding wars. An expectation that there had to be a government with the ability to ram through legislation through sheer strength of numbers, rather than debating each issue on its merits. The unedifying spectacle of Gillard and Abbott trying to top each other’s rural broadband bribes. The thought of Julia Gillard’s grating twang assaulting the eardrums of decent folk for heavens knows how many more months as Australia’s PM.

2 “DOM-POST: $15m package to keep workers afloat“The Government has stepped up its assistance to quake ravaged Canterbury with a $15 million package to help workers hold on to their paypackets as businesses struggle to get back on their feet.”

The reality: A little more than a year from the next election, John Key proposes giving $15 million of your money as a handout to small business owners in Canterbury. There are lots of Labour Party MPs in Christchurch and surrounding areas (Burns, Dalziel, Dyson, Cosgrove) as well as Jim Anderton. Cosgrove and Burns sit on majorities of less than 1,000 votes. John Key’s “package” could end up funnelling $100 million to his new friends in Canterbury. 

The problem: The fact that the $15 million is not his to give. John Key playing favourites, manipulating the economy with money for which you might have had other plans (the bit that is ‘not seen’, as Frederic Bastiat put it), bailing out good and bad businesses alike. Kissing hands and shaking babies as he does a vote-buying tour of Canterbury with half the Cabinet tagging along on his coat-tails at our expense. The inconsistency of his actions—normally a business suffering earthquake, fire, flood damage or vandalism has to finance their own recovery via insurance that they had the foresight to purchase, and without taxpayer handouts (just as it should be).

3. NZ HERALD: “Australia ‘heading for boom’"’All of the pre-conditions that led to the General Financial Crisis are gone,’ Dr Gelber said. ‘The boom won't mature in 18 months, it will take six or seven years, or eight or nine.’ ‘Now is the time where I would go aggressively equity and away from fixed interest because the risk is gone,’ Dr Gelber said…”

The reality: None of the conditions that led to the global financial crisis are gone. It’s easy for Dr Gobshite to predict a boom in six to nine years, because he will have moved on from his job and his comments be long forgotten. Anyone who says “the risk is gone” in the context of economies and international markets should be approached cautiously and with a long sharp pole.

The problem: Politicians appear to have learnt nothing from the events of the past three or four years. They continue their currency manipulation with resultant credit booms, speculation and share/commodity bubbles which eventually burst. Essentially they are in denial about the causes of the General Financial Crisis. History is doomed to repeat itself.

“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny—when the government
fears the people, there is liberty.”

- attributed to Thomas Jefferson


  1. So Richard, are we to interpret the following:

    "There are lots of Labour Party MPs in Christchurch and surrounding areas (Burns, Dalziel, Dyson, Cosgrove) as well as Jim Anderton. Cosgrove and Burns sit on majorities of less than 1,000 votes. John Key’s “package” could end up funnelling $100 million to his new friends in Canterbury"

    ... as a suggestion that Key should be tuning the disaster response to the partisan dimensions of Canterbury electoral politics?

    If not, you might like to clarify. Because beyond the predictably risible but at least consistent "not yours to give" position taken by the Libz, this looks an awful lot like a "permanent state of political warfare" sort of argument in favour of a government you claim to hold no love for.


  2. Richard McGrath8 Sep 2010, 16:01:00

    No Lew, John Key's response to the earthquake should be based on protection of people's lives and property while affording them maximum freedom.

    He has chosen to use money that previously belonged to taxpayers to firstly throw five million dollars at the situation yesterday, and this morning to throw more at employers of small businesses.

    New Zealanders are quite capable of responding to this disaster without coercion being applied by the state in forcing them to part with their money in a manner that gives them no control over how that money is spent.

    I made a donation to the Salvation Army this morning and I will be able to contact them and see how my dollars were spent. If I don't like how that money was spent, I can donate through a different vehicle next time around. With taxation one gets no choice. Once again adults are treated as children by the maternalistic state.

  3. Richard, ok, youmade that point most adequately in your press release. Why bring up the Labour (& affiliated) MPs and their local electorates, not to mention the forthcoming election, if not to make the government's response a matter of partisan politics?

    I might disagree with you Libz when you sit up their on your lofty heights and decry the use of taxpayer money for this sort of thing on principle, but I can at least understand it, and respect it to an extent. What I can't understand or respect is when you try to claim those heights of principle whilst cynically working the partisan angles at the same time.


  4. Richard McGrath8 Sep 2010, 18:29:00

    @Lew: The partisan bit was a bit of an afterthought as I was writing my commentary. I guess the fact that John Key has intervened has opened him up to accusations of using the system to his advantage, where the subsidies thrown around are inconsistent

  5. Richard, except you appear to be arguing he's not using the system as well to his advantage as he might. Do you reckon he should be favouring National-safe areas rather than Labour-held marginal areas?



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