OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Spending "Cap" is Fiscal Anorexia

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  • HenryB,

    As someone who expects to never quite reach "retirement age" as it constantly moves back, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect some sacrifice on the part of the people who might still get there.

    What sort of sacrifice were you thinking of? And would it be universal?

    It is true that there is a strong connection between income and wealth disparities and age - but then, hasn't that been the case for a long time?

    My experience with some of my `older' friends and relatives is that some only have National Superannuation to live on and others much, much more. The idea that baby boomers are an undifferentiated wealthy lot who all did well seems strange to me and at variance with my experience and the statistical facts.

    ETA: And many were forced to retire because 65 was the limit.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to HenryB,

    <cough>asset testing</cough>

    Runs away quickly.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng, in reply to bulbul,

    A throwaway comment or the real attitude of PA participants to the older generation that surfaces periodically ?

    Yeah, what everyone else said. I could have said "but decreasing numbers is not actually an option, because we'd have to deport/murder them, and that's not okay". Instead I made a joke about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 530 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Asset testing? I just wish they tested out what has gone on before so we can stop pretending that everything is new.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10771260
    Seems to be a whole pile of relevant u-turns and lessons here regarding Govt. vs private spending.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    So both of the "ACT required policies" are examples of policies that have failed elsewhere that we are going to repeat in NZ.

    Inverse evidence based policy

    Moreover anyone who believes that ACT had done the necessary groundwork to have these policies ready to go is gullible beyond belief. These are clearly National policies they were ashamed to call their own and ACT is supplying plausible deniability.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3266 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Well at least now we know what was on the table at the tea party,
    JB; the Don has called in his favour.
    JK; ffs does he ever sleep?
    JB; You know what you gotta do JK...
    JK; /whines/ but, but...
    JB; JK, don't ever show your emotions in front of the Family.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to merc,

    ...still giggling... :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1471 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to merc,

    indeed, good work

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    Let me see if I can cause some apoplexy (what me, stir?): there is one aspect of the Boomers thinking that I do like to adhere to: that of personal responsibility.

    e.g. I was there when Thatcher introduced the poll tax. And I considered it, and decided it was fundamentally wrong. And went of marches and didn't pay it and railed against my mates and eventually... she put up GST instead.

    Most of my friends did nothing. In fact one of my Aunts had the temerity to say "see Slarty, you didn't need to get all upset, they took it away".

    My point being that if you don't actively resist, then you are culpable.

    So, yes I do blame my parents generation as a whole, but not every member of it specifically. We have had a cohort of voters passing through the system that collectively have outnumbered the generations preceding and following. They are not identical, but they have reflected life-stage tendencies (yes, this is a real thing, as any marketing professional will tell you) as they have passed along.

    In the sixties it was free love and drugs. When they had kids things got more conservative. We saw policies in the 80's that were all about greed as they moved into their high-earning phase. It's not a coincidence. And it's not about the individuals, but their collective propensities. Because much as we like to think we're all self-actualising individuals, humans have a depressing tendency to follow the herd.

    We must remember that the great legacy of that generation was the excellent education we (Gen X) received in the 70's and 80's. We are smarter than them, but we are still outnumbered. We can't blame them for having suffered what we would now regard as a very poor education in the 50's and 60's.

    But neither can we ignore the systemic dumbness and self-interest.

    It has led to delights such as oil shocks, two global recessions, a number of pointless and expensive wars (and for those who like patterns, think of Thatchers Falklands alongside Bush's Iraq), climate change, the train wreck that will be our health and pension systems in the coming years, the banking system (still in denial), what we laughingly call a "Corrections" system in NZ, Child Poverty and inequality that should make every person who has voted since 1985 hang their heads in shame....

    Frankly, if it didn't offend my basic sensibilities so much, I'd suggest that many people over the age of 60 should stop voting in acknowledgement of their ignorance.

    Hows that, not too passive? ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to HenryB,

    What sort of sacrifice were you thinking of? And would it be universal?

    ... The idea that baby boomers are an undifferentiated wealthy lot who all did well seems strange to me and at variance with my experience and the statistical facts.

    Absolutely it should be universal. I believe we can be the bigger generation :)

    As to the rapine, it was widespread but not universal, for sure. And I don't propose removing the social contract in any form - the whole point is to preserve our ability to care for the less well off into the future.

    Asset testing - man did that get a bad rap. Chalk another one up to the f'ing housing market being rooted.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to slarty,

    climate change

    What? The baby boomers are now responsible for the Industrial Revolution, too?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2011 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to HenryB,

    The idea that baby boomers are an undifferentiated wealthy lot who all did well seems strange to me and at variance with my experience and the statistical facts.

    +1.
    And frankly, I'd support asset-testing (yeah, I know of the ideological fish-hooks...)


    I have, several times, pointed out that 'babyboomers' are actually *2* generations (those born in the late 1940s, and those born in the early 1960s.) The earlier bb lot didnt have an easy time of it; the latter lot, mainly did.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to slarty,

    Yippie to Yuppie...

    In the sixties it was free love and drugs. When they had kids things got more conservative. We saw policies in the 80’s that were all about greed as they moved into their high-earning phase.

    sounds like the late Jerry Rubin...
    (and I think he supported acid testing...)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4688 posts Report Reply

  • slarty, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Lol

    I was thinking more of the consistent denial of the last 10 years...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Islander,

    And frankly, I’d support asset-testing (yeah, I know of the ideological fish-hooks…)

    You know what, I don't wish to sound like I'm kicking Phil Goff but Key's a rather banal object of scorn. The outgoing leader of the Opposition has spent 27 of the last thirty years being well-compensated for his public service. (I think current teaching and nursing graduates would love to have the same entry-level salary as a backbench MP. Currently a hair under $135K, IIRC.)

    If it's "ideological" to suggest Phil (and John) shouldn't suffer from having their pension means-tested (and abated), I plead guilty. They're certainly in a much better position to save and invest in a retirement savings account than the people who clean their offices. For that matter, I'll be buggered if I can see why the Prime Minister should be drawing superannuation at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11867 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    ...suddenly, somewhere in an upper floor office, a little red light lit up brightly on a console...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to merc,

    …suddenly, somewhere in an upper floor office, a little red light lit up brightly on a console…

    and then it blinked and everyone missed it :)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4696 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB, in reply to slarty,

    My point being that if you don’t actively resist, then you are culpable.

    The least one could do, then, is get out and vote? It's not as if there isn't as much choice as there used to be in the past.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Charter Schools - Tom I struggle with your take on this.

    designed to enrich the National party's mates by privatising the attractive bits of the education system

    Fro one thing the brief is to focus on underachieving areas of South Auckland - don't see these areas as attractive business opportunities.

    Remember we had Charter schools back under Labour, Lange's Tommorow's Schools.

    I was part of a Steiner school integrated under that legislation. The idea, seemed to me at the time, was to broaden out the approach to education - it included most of the Catholic Schools at the time and yes we could object to excessive religious influence in education but it did offer to broaden the options out from the homogenized mainstream education offering.
    I am not sure it was a success this review shows what we at the time suspected, it was a tricky way of cutting education funding back.

    I still think the idea of individual approaches to education has merit - Maori have a very different approach to education that can be somewhat stifled in the mainstream.
    Kohanga Reo is a classic example, their movement is fighting back against to much state interference with their education system. If they, and the Kura Kaupapa schools, were independent "Charter" schools and allowed a full scope then maybe we would get to see the growth of education generally.
    The education system is broken in many ways , ironically not for the rich but for the poor and less privileged, for those with special needs, for those from different cultures and in some areas for specific genders.
    What is wrong with encouraging a broader approach to education by fostering Charter schools free to explore alternative approaches?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    (I think current teaching and nursing graduates would love to have the same entry-level salary as a backbench MP. Currently a hair under $135K, IIRC.)

    I have it at $157,900 as from 1 July 2011.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I have it at $157,900 as from 1 July 2011.

    Can I have that too?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Pay rise of round 7k just before the election (with lost travel rort compensated), not their fault mind, the job just seems to be a money magnet, adjusted for inflation at least, and sacrosanct, you’d have more luck whipping a pie off Gerry than getting them to taihoa on their salary, super and added benefits.
    Inflation for the rest, it’s good of them to keep it down, doffs cap.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    +1 to Henry B and Islander re Baby Boomer Bashing
    First up a confession - born in 1952 I am in the Baby Boomer group. As a member of this group it has never felt like a homogenous group of , sex, drugs and rocknroll - yuppie greedies - hungry property speculators etc etc . It was diverse group and still is. As Islander pointed out people from the 1940's are quite a different generation to the 1960's and I think, people from the 1950s.
    Slarty's attempts to blame a list of woes on baby boomers is just ignorant. The first of the Gen X are now 50! Are they by some miracle not working as stock traders, bankers, policy analysts, MPs, business leaders, property developers ( that term is so ironic) , etc etc .
    I personally don’t want to blame Gen X either and I am very defensive of GenY ( lazy selfish etc) .

    Each generation has those within it who will tread on anyone to get ahead, who will enact dumb laws, try to destroy the social contract, kick off a war and deliver the odd clusterfuck . For me the inquiry is who are those people and what made them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 474 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    There is a piece on the spending cap by Tim Watkin. General comment so far has seemed to suggest that this legislation is only going to be symbolic and something which another government can easily ignore if they so wished. This is probably right ... but I still have my qualms that it could be drafted in such a way as to make this less easy than one thinks.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • bulbul,

    Re: Baby Boomer Bashing

    While we debate a future problem, is "nature" geting on with fixing the problem.

    Have a look at the trendline of NZ births from Stats department at

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/population/births/births-tables.aspx

    Charting it shows that shows births have been going up since 2005 and are now at levels last seen during boomer periods. We may have another baby boom underway.

    Maybe Stats hasn't yet caught up with the trend change and updated its projections ?

    Since Nov 2011 • 6 posts Report Reply

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