David Farrar sees that the government is borrowing too much – $300 million each week. But National’s tax cuts for the rich are obviously not to blame, no it’s the bloated public service.
He would like any party that wants to be government to declare what percentage of GDP is an appropriate amount of government spending. Because all parties I’m sure have an ideological figure that it should be. Rather than just enough to provide the public services citizens need, but still balancing the books.
The National Party sounding board is glad to see that the government aims to bring it down to the low 30s, but wants it to be mid 20s – “maybe as high as 28% but no higher”.
That would entail massive cuts to public services. Like the US & Australia you’d want private health insurance and private education for your kids to match the services you get for free in NZ. Your tax bills may be lower, but your other costs would rise much more than you’d save. And, as it turns out, the US and Australian governments still spend a lot more than 30% of GDP. Australia is low for a western country at 34.2% and the US is at 37.4%.
Looking at US Right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation’s figures, western democracies all spend well above the levels Farrar advocates. The UK is at 44%, Canada 39.1%, Germany 44.2%, France 52.3%, Sweden 52.4%. Even Heritage Foundation and National poster-boy / basket-case Ireland is at 35.7%. If you want good services and a stable society that’s what you pay. Oddly in the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index almost all the top countries are marked down for high government spending -the only exceptions being Hong Kong (not actually a country) and Singapore – 2 incredibly unequal territories where you give up a lot of other freedoms.
Those with ideological blinkers, like Farrar and many in National, cannot see the high correlation between being a free and stable country and paying for it. They’d rather screw the poor and live in a country like Azerbaijan (27.4%), Kazakhstan (24.4%) or Fiji (25.4%).