Monday, October 31, 2011
Sickness benefit: 782.38 (3.40%)
Unemployment benefit & emergency benefit: 1,028.95 (4.40%)
Accommodation assistance: 1,264.23 (5.50%)
Invalid's benefit: 1,346.84 (5.80%)
Student loans: 1,589.68 (6.90%)
Domestic purposes benefit: 1,894.64 (8.20%)
New Zealand superannuation: 9,575.37 (41.30%)
I wasn't aware that superannuation was such a large component and unemployment so small. And it makes the few decades tricky as our pensioner population increases. I'm well aware that increasing the retirement ages disproportionately disadvantages the poor - the better income you have the earlier you can retire. That number is going to increase though. And with news that Mana is gunning for superannuation for Maori at 60 rather than 65, I can't see that as anything other than irresponsible. (Their reasoning for that is pretty nasty by the way - the fact that Maori die earlier is not a good reason to let them retire earlier, it's reason to try and fix healthcare so they live longer)
And if the unemployment spending is such a small proportion, I don't see how you can reasonably expect to save any money by bashing on the beneficiaries. 4.4% of 23 billion is 1.012 billion. Cut 10 percent out of that and you save 10 million dollars. Which probably less than it would cost in administration to reorganize everything. If nothing else, it makes it quite clear that the unemployed are considered easy targets to vilify and bash by the current government.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
One of the best signs that I've seen Occupy protesters hold up is "To big to fail is to big to exist". When you're trying to build a sustainable system, I think it's quite a good maxim to bear in mind. If you have an institution (or a bunch of similar ones) that when hit, will quite possibly cause horrendous disruption in an economic system i.e. to big to fail, then it should be limited. No single factor in an economic system should be able to take the system as a whole down.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
In stark contrast to a couple of weeks ago, there are now a number of larger media operations covering the occupation protests. There's a fair number of them who are doing it badly, writing them off as confused anti-capitalists who don't know what they want. Which is silly, with a very small amount of digging you'll find that while they may not have the answers the occupiers are essentially protesting against inequality. Maybe you aren't that concerned, but I think journalists at least should be willing to put a little more effort into their work.
I seriously don't think that there would be many protesters out there who would have a problem with CEO's earning hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars if everyone else was could feed their children and not have to beggar themselves to put their children through school. as things stand though, the gap between the rich and the poor grows and while money is forthcoming to solve the problems of rich, governments do little to try and change the fortunes of the poor. As for our lot, even the things they claim to have done to help like the home insulation scheme) were not their doing. That was a deal the Greens worked out with the previous Labour government if I recall correctly. We're better off here than a lot of the rest of the world, but rather than try and fix the problems, our politcians (yes, I'm looking at Labour to), just coast, assuming everything will get better. Which is a fine recipe for everything getting worse.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Well, he said, it's not the same people, but it's a good rick, why let it go to waste. For a while now, you've been able to get a necklace with gold nanoparticles that will improve your everything by realigning the energy flow of the body. Somewhat implausible if you ask me. This is not to say that there isn't some sort of psychological placebo effect at work. Placebo effects are powerful at altering our perception of things. I'm willing to go so far as to admit that anyone who's taken in by one of these things could perceive that their own performance is better than it was (confirmation bias anyone?). I've not seen anything to say that the placebo effect actually changes an individuals physical performance. And I'm pretty damn sure that these nano particles are not realigning the bodies energy flow to increase performance - in short, I think it's a crock. If you want to convince yourself that you are faster wand stronger with better balance and health, find yourself a lucky piece of sting - it's cheaper.
For now, I'm going to ignore silly stuff like this in favour of sitting in the spring sun contemplating another splore. trust me, it's a much better way to spend a morning.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
All that's fine. It's rather unnecessary of the police to bring in dog units. Do they seriously think that setting dogs on people (or threatening to) is going to solve anything? Short term aim - get people out of the building by threatening violence. Long term fuck up. It's not going to do anything other than piss people off more and set the public against the police. Which is a bad thing. It puts everyone further away from reaching a solution. Those who back the short term use of violence are less likely to then turn around and negotiate given that they have set in their minds that these people are only worth setting the dogs onto - even more worrisome when you realize that these people are educating people they don't think are worth talking to. And those with the grievance will have one more grievance to add to the list which given that they've already said enough, is only going to make them more likely to protest in the future.
These are not terrorists. These are our own people, our own children who are being shut out of their own lives. Talk to them, actually listen to them, include them in the process. I don't like the idea of an us vs them society but it's what we'll end up with if we're not careful.
Morgan Godfrey at Maui St has, I think, an astute observation. National need to accept responsibility. Not because they put the ship on the rocks but because that's what a government is meant to do - a problem arrives, the government should step up up to the plate and say "this is now our problem and we're going to sort it out".
Friday, October 14, 2011
I'm getting a little sick of the people defending the governments response to the Rena oil spill. The gist of the defence appears to be that John key didn't drive the ship onto the reef and therefore it wasn't his fault. Which is entirely not the point. The government/maritime NZ etc aren't being blamed for putting the ship there, that's the captain and navigation officer's fault and their well on their way to being processed. Criticisms of the goverment are criticisms of their response. An entirely different thing. We're an island nation, a lot of our importing/export is done via ship. One would hope that someone in authority would have been looking at worst case scenarios and planning.
It's not the governments fault the ship is on the reef, but once it was there it's somewhat ... pathetic, that it was left for 4 days of fine weather with nothing being done and bad weather that would make doing anything more difficult. Sure, a day maybe, but then everything should have been swinging into action.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The American Institute Of Physics is proposing a project, it's definitely inspiring. And it's definitely on the edge of what people convenience of as possible. They think they they are capable of sending robots to the moon, getting them to build solar arrays, collect power and beam that back to earth. In a word, it's a huge project. Expensive, hell yes. Capable of removing a huge swathe of our dependency of fossil fuels though and thus worth a look. As an added bonus, we'd finally have a permanent moon base. It's border-line science fiction.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
If you read much, in NZ you might have found out about the protests a couple of weeks ago. I only found out about them at the end of last week. Not via any decent sized media organization though. Go have a quick search of google news for occupy wall st (the name of the protest). There's a few of the big names reporting on it now - The Guardian, WSJ, ABC. The interesting bit though, is which other publications are making the cut. Patch.com, People's World, WFMZ Allentown(?). It gets worse if you start looking for specifics. Apparently Anonymous have threatened the NYSE website (I'm presuming not the actual exchange it self) - biggest organization to cover that angle? Bloomberg. Then it's people like Death and Taxes, Dissident Times and The Street. None of which I am familiar with. In short, where's the news?
There are some bright spots, but they tend to be coming from the blogosphere. I would recommend this piece from Ezra Klein to give you a little background about what's going on. Unless of course you're already way more in the loop than I am.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Here's a wee thought experiment for you: what do you call someone who sneakily follows you around the streets after you've visited them, thinks rape jokes are funny and that the tiniest glimpse of nipple is pornography? Creepy really seems to fit.