If KiwiSaver is Welfare for Empty Suits, as I’ve argued before—a form of “soft compulsion” herding NZers’ paypackets and a forced subsidy from employers and taxpayer towards suits who wouldn’t be able to attract it otherwise—then what would Winston’s would-be nationalisation of Kiwisaver be?
Maybe we could call it Welfare for Bureaucrats in Suits?
But really, it’s much worse even than that.
It’s means whereby which most of the country’s savings and wealth would be handed over to government to run.
Which would essentially make one large pot in the government’s hands—a slush fund for future governments in need of funds to back up their overspending, with no constitutional restraints against its plunder.
That, right there, is why Labour will have no problem with accepting Winston’s would-be bottom line as their own. Because no government can turn down a chance to plunder a pot like that, especially when the blame for going wrong (and what could possibly go wrong with such a scheme!) can always be sheeted elsewhere.
There is an argument around this morning that Winston making his proposal a “bottom line” in coalition negotiations would pose a problem for Labour.
This, too, is nonsense.
First of all, as every journalist should know, Winston’s only bottom line is baubles. Everything else he says is just window-dressing.
Second, there is enough in common between Cunliffe-and-Peters stated policies already to form some kind of common-law marriage, without their supporters falling out.
Both Labour’s new leader and NZ First’s old leader want to soak the rich.
Both Cunliffe and Winston wish to devalue the dollar to “help” exporters.
The Labour Party announced a few months back it wants to nationalise the electricity market.
And the NZ First Party announced over the weekend it wants to nationalise the KiwiSaver industry.
You’d think all this and more would make the two nationalisers a good fit. And with Winston making his nationalisation plan a “bottom line” for any post-coalition deal, that also gives Cunliffe the chance to pretend (for a while at least) that he’s only a reluctant nationaliser.
And since both these “markets” are already full of what economists call “rent-seekers,” I’d be surprised if anyone involved will be able to make a decent principled case against it.