Posts by John McCormick

  • Hard News: On benefit fraud,

    Presumably all the people demanding that Metiria Turei pay back the govt have never broken the speed limit. Because if they had, they would now be rushing to the Ministry of Transport to pay the required fines. They broke the law and didn't get caught, same as Metiria. Why shouldn't the same principle apply? I would make a wild guess that a lot of those people have expensive cars and a sense of entitlement. If they paid for every time the total would probably be quite large.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Budget 2017: How do we get…,

    I was at the Auckland Writers Festival last week and artificial intelligence and jobs came up several times. The broad consensus seemed to be that we are heading for a radically different world, but without really knowing what we're going to do about it. We may soon reach a point where there are just not enough jobs available for the majority of people to be employed. What then? Both economy and social structure are predicated on most people working. Some version of a UBI seems the most likely candidate for a way of coping.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Fred,

    Thanks Russell. In a time when there seems to be so much bad stuff around, it's important to recognise the good when it happens.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the…,

    Too late for WOTY, and probably disqualified anyway for being two words, but since a superb post on PA earlier this year, mention of Trump usually triggers in me the memory of hoofwanking bunglecunt. This has been a source of great comfort in coping with the realisation that the world is much nastier and stupider than I thought.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Speaker: The Uncomfortable Silence,

    What a lovely piece. Both moving and thoughtful. Thank you.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Hate and guns,

    Around 10-15 years ago there was a backlash against increasing use of Spanish in the US, and a number of states proposed English only laws. A TV report interviewed people about their feelings for the issue, and one woman explained her support by saying, "If the English language was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me." She was completely serious.

    I always think of this when trying to understand some of the weirder aspects of America. A significant proportion of the population has a frame of reference so foreign to us that it's hard to believe we live in the same world. It's also hard to think of any evidence or logic that would persuade such a person to change their minds.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Speaker: I am a Really Useful Engine,

    I have been an accountant for 30 years. It has led me to frequent musings on how we arrived at the financial system we have. My first job out of university was with a manufacturing company. I give myself credit for wondering how it happened, that at the age of 21, I earned 3 times what the factory workers got. Especially since many of them were middle aged, and presumably supporting a family, when my choices centred on what brand of booze to buy.

    Later I spent many years in the public health system. I wondered how it could be that I earned 2 to 3 times what a nurse earned, when they worked directly with patients and I never got near one. I consoled myself that it was necessary, you can't have an entity spending many millions of dollars of public money without finance people being involved, and I could certainly have earned more money in the private sector. It salved my conscience personally, but didn't provide any evidence that the system is valid.

    Economic discussions almost inevitably get to the problem of taxing or discouraging "hard-working" rich people. I worked hard, but I have seen enough to know that I did not work as hard as a nurse does, let alone 3 times as hard. I don't have a nice alternative, but the idea that the market sets a fair value on people's contributions is not just flawed, it's lunacy.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: Three Dreams,

    When I was a schoolboy, I had a friend who took an interest in hypnosis. We agreed to hypnotise each other, and plant suggestions that we would have incredibly erotic dreams that night. It was an understandable goal, given that the real world was proving rather disappointing on that front. Regrettably, I have to report that it didn't work.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Hard News: The media awards are dead –…,

    Congratulations, and well deserved. It's wonderful that there's somewhere I can go to for respite after looking at and finding 5 stories about the bachelor.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

  • Up Front: Reading Murder Books,

    Aarrrgh! I hate you all. The gap between the books I want to read and the time I have available to read them is already at epic proportions. Then I find something like this and add a whole lot more. I think I need several additional lifetimes to get through them all.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 18 posts Report

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