OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: 2009: "Blithe" (Part 1)

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    This is not the worst possible scenario. It would be worse if National continued spending and left nothing but debt behind. That'd be worse. If we carried all the costs now and made deep cuts to services or steep hikes in taxes, that might be fairer, but it would be more painful.

    It would also require a suicidal degree of political courage to go into the next -- or any other -- election with a platform like that. But don't blame National or Labour; try looking in the mirror.

    Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die first.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Babyboomer will take a bite from both ends: They will draw down an increasing amount in superannuation. They will eat up an increasing share of a stagnant pie.

    Well there is always the option of revisiting these to items in NZS.

    • no asset test
    • unrelated to past earnings' history

    Then there's this

    And why is the pie stagnant in the first place? Because
    they demanded for four years that the Labour Government give up its "excessive" surpluses, and it caved with more Working for Families and massive tax cuts. And then they voted in a good-times National Government which gave them another set of tax cuts, and promised not to cut their future incomes or their present benefits.

    See that sort of generalising raises my hackles. Not all those born between the years 1948 - 1960 are as avaricious as you would seem to imply. Because we are a complex animal there are many, many variations between individuals. Sure in any groupings there will be those who follow a herd instinct, but not all. Those years are an example of failed idealism. Why did it fail? Maybe because the looming problems were still vague enough to get pushed aside, and the parent of the "baby boomers" were still in charge and had the gall to laugh indulgently at the crazy ideas of their children and just told them to get a job. Thus the present problems were amplified.
    That, of course is not the full story, but Im not about to write a novel here.
    I'm not trying to defend the behaviour others born in those years, or to shift blame, its just that it seems no one has an appetite for real introspection.
    But this type of bone pointing ain't gunna help any or work.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Ana Simkiss,

    Mmmmm, stagnant pie, washed down with shitty coffee. Thanks boomers!

    Freemans Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To be fair, "they" is all voters who bought the "ambitious future, no downpayment now" line that shaped their major voting options of both hues.

    And perhaps didn't pay enough attention to the track record of those they voted into power and those pulling their strings.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Kyle,

    and I guess the sometimes talked about state asset sale post next election will be a shot in the arm for books in the short term but will (most?)probably stuff NZ in the longer term.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Quite. Let's sell even more revenue-generating assets and export the profit overseas. That's ambitious.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Cut super or extend minimum age out to 75 for women and 70 for men.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    And why is the pie stagnant in the first place?

    Too much blowing? No?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Get serious about being a high-value exporter of this century's stuff. Not dairy and jobs and land.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Too much blowing?

    Heh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Get serious about being a high-value exporter of this century's stuff. Not dairy and jobs and land.

    really that's it - we need a system that rewards capital gains from investments that grow the economy rather than ones from capital that sits idle for 30 years. That way our kids will have more reasons to stay, or come back.

    what with peak oil and all exporting things is going to get harder - I export bits, they're cheaper than sheep to send around the world

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    and I guess the sometimes talked about state asset sale post next election will be a shot in the arm for books in the short term but will (most?)probably stuff NZ in the longer term.

    Richard: Don't you think we've got enough real problems to deal with, without getting into "little boy who cries wolf, again" mode?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Kyle,

    "Don't you think we've got enough real problems to deal with, without getting into "little boy who cries wolf, again" mode?"

    Yep plenty of problems...but, you know, Tim Grosser (if I remember correctly) stating on NatRad that it'll be looked at again post election gives that boy nervous bowel movements

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Those debt numbers are just numbers really. In the real world, the management of the economy should have three aims:
    - to ensure everyone who wants a job has one, and for a fair wage
    - to provide a decent level of public services, pensions and benefits
    - to maintain a reasonable certainty of the future value of money

    One big reason not to get wound up about how much debt we have in 2050 is that the world will be a very different place by then. We'll be starting to see coastal areas being flooded, resulting in either abandonment or huge dyke-building projects. Crops will be failing resulting in substantial food shortages, with those not actually starving having to spend way more of their income on food.

    NZ will actually (and I know this sounds evil) be in a positive position with respect to most other countries. Our geography means we'll be able to grow some food, somewhere. We have enough space and small enough cities to relocate them off the flooding coastal areas. Plus it's impossible to swim here.

    How much we borrowed in 2010 is going to be the least of our problems - most of the urbanised nations of the world are going to have big problems making their payments by then.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    "little boy who cries wolf, again"

    Easy to forget the-little-boy-who-cried-wolf was right in the end. Not that he got to gloat ;)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    How much we borrowed in 2010 is going to be the least of our problems - most of the urbanised nations of the world are going to have big problems making their payments by then.

    You should write Xmas cards y'know. Or maybe sympathy cards: "Think you've got it bad? Well, let me outline what your dearly departed will be missing..." ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    A 'babyboomer' ( I seriously hate that term - and all the snivelling that goes on about wickedly greedy babyboomers even more) is anyone born post-1945.

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

  • Andre,

    At least inter-generational theft is being discussed openly especially by commentators like Bernard Hickey. The definitive work on this was done over ten years ago (1996) by David Thomson of Massey University - he published a book calledf "Selfish Generations" on the issue (hat-tip to Sacha).
    Apparently it finds that the thieves are the generation born 1920 - 1940, rather than the baby boomers.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Firstly, I'm not sure we should be complaining that real spending on public services will decline over time - I prefer it to the alternative myself.
    You want to maintain spending growth? Then pitch for tax rate increases to go with it. Anything else is irresponsible avoidance.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    David Thomson of Massey University... Apparently it finds that the thieves are the generation born 1920 - 1940, rather than the baby boomers.

    What an astonishing revelation! Because of course Mr. Thomson wouldn't be a baby-boomer himself! By no means!

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    David Thomson of Massey University... Apparently it finds that the thieves are the generation born 1920 - 1940, rather than the baby boomers.

    Weren't they mostly busy having rationing and dying in world wars? Unless you count the expenditure on WWII and its aftermath, and I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt on that one, it's hard to see where they had time to be selfish...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson,

    Well it's good to know we can always blame the dead people rather than taking any responsibility ourselves.

    As a person who's going to have to live through the effects of the last 20-30 years, thanks a bunch.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    The boomers paid for Muldoons election bribes - supporting farmers (average farm value $3 million today), superannuation and 27% interest rates. They are now joining in and borrowing up big to ensure that their house prices don't drop and are actively planning to give less to my childrens' generation. If they sell off our water supply, energy utilities, public transport, ports etc etc you really need to wonder what our kids will be left with.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 371 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Doesn't the "selfish generation" rely on a steady stream of suckers and/or migrants to ensure that the their property values continue to out-pace inflation and to prop up the prices of their funds? From my outpost, they may have severed their limbs below the knees and not even realize it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Don't you think we've got enough real problems to deal with, without getting into "little boy who cries wolf, again" mode?

    Herald defies Ranapia:

    This underpins the taskforce's most worthwhile recommendation, that the Government should sell off minority stakes in state-owned enterprises.
    ...
    The Government has, of course, promised no state asset sales in its first term. That unfortunate decision owed more to safety-first politics than the national interest.

    A greater determination will be required if the taskforce's 18 months of work is to bear fruit. Hopefully, the Finance Minister signalled just that this week when he said the ground might move on the Government's asset-sales commitment if it was elected for a second term.

    Fair gagging for a fire sale.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

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