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NRT: “A wish, a target, and a dream”

Written By: - Date published: 6:47 pm, May 12th, 2014 - 58 comments
Categories: accountability, bill english, david cunliffe, Economy, employment, helen clark, john key, labour, national, Politics, same old national, unemployment - Tags:

no-right-turn-256No Right Turn shows that John Key has no real understanding of the economic and political history of this country. Probably because the last time another economic illiterate from National said that the prospect of reducing unemployment in NZ to below 6% was “a hoax”, John Key wasn’t here. He probably heard it from that illiterate, who once again is our minister of finance. Unemployment under Labour was as low as 3.3%

Back in 1999, when Labour promised to reduce unemployment below the prevailing 6% set by National, Bill English dismissed it as “a hoax”. But by changing the Reserve Bank’s Policy Targets Agreement and investing heavily in regional development, they ground unemployment down to 3.3% in 2007 – and delivered higher living standards for all into the bargain. Today, they promised to reduce unemployment to 4% by the end of their first term. The Prime Minister’s response? It’s “a wish, a target, and a dream”.

Again we see the constraints of National’s “hands off” thinking on the economy: they can’t imagine a better world than the miserable one Treasury predicts, because that would require the government to actually do something. Instead, their vision of “effective government” is apparently one where Ministers are paid a quarter of a million a year to sit on their arses and decry the possibility of ever doing anything. But we know that such a world can exist: we’ve lived there in the past, and we know that a government which actually decides to intervene can deliver it. All we have to do is vote for it.

58 comments on “NRT: “A wish, a target, and a dream” ”

  1. Philj 1

    xox
    This is a hands off, do little non government. Let big business and corporates have their way. The list is too long …..

    • Sacha 1.1

      It is not “hands-off”.

      Can we please retire that useless line which has done nobody any good over the last 5 years. This government has intervened an awful lot – in destructive ways. Pretty hard to hold them accountable for that if you’re denying they did anything.

      Money does not end up in the pockets of shareholders rather than workers all on its own.

      • Ergo Robertina 1.1.1

        +1

      • To be fair, they’ve also intervened in a few ways that haven’t so much sabotaged the economy as just improved it for the already-well-off. (Although I would definitely say the vast majority of their policy is either destructive of the economy in general or at least ignores the overall health of it in favour of the economic welfare of a few)

      • politikiwi 1.1.3

        “Money does not end up in the pockets of shareholders rather than workers all on its own.”

        I take your point, but Thomas Picketty would (I think) argue that this is achieved by the mechanism of capitalism, with or without government intervention as a cause. (National have accelerated the charge, though.)

  2. millsy 2

    4%? Should be zero IMO. Even if we have to pay people minimum wage to paint up the local hall.

    • Sacha 2.1

      4% during their first term is a good start.

    • Jagg 2.2

      And what of cyclical and frictional unemployment – or are you not familiar with such terms?

      In fact it is cyclicality that Cunliffe is very much dependent upon to deliver this “promise”. If he is to deliver on this prediction it will be very much dependent upon economic momentum built now and wider reaching global macro trends that look to be in his favour – almost a do nothing scenario if ever there was one… still open to accusations of over-promising though.

      Cyclicality was the same reason Labour was able to get employment down to 3.3% in their last term. High employment kind of is a symptom of cyclicality, especially when you happen to be in power during the biggest global asset bubble of, well, ALL TIME! Conveniently like to overlook these minor details don’t we.

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.1

        Meh, “cyclicality” another one of those useless economic concepts from another one of those useless economists who has been promising a turn around in the global economy “next year” since about 2010.

        Wake up and smell the fish, mate. We are experiencing a secular change in economic dynamics world wide, largely (but not solely) because of chronic energy depletion.

        While minor economic cycles of minor ups and downs may remain, developed countries are caught in a permanent downdraft now where only the 5% do well and everyone else struggles worse and worse.

        It’s been a miserable economy for 5-6 years now, this is becoming NZ’s “lost decade” and it will not be the last.

        • Jagg 2.2.1.1

          Seriously?

          For Cunliffe, and by proxy the NZ left in general, to deliver on giving the world to everyone and us all living in a permanent state of Zen he is clearly relying on riding a global growth wave that all the “useless” economists are predicting.
          Well I’m at least glad you’re just as skeptical of Cunliffe’s 4% claim as I am – especially given your terminal pessimism. Speaking of terminal pessimism – honestly, mate, I’ve read a lot of what you write – is there anything (other than projecting your miserable view of the world) that gives you reason to smile?

          I digress – This may have escaped you but the credit expansion and resulting collapse that led to this whole 5-6 year mess was principally driven by over-exuberance in real estate speculation- not a sudden epiphany that the world was going to experience an energy apocalypse.

          If chronic energy depletion was such an issue then why did global renewable energy stocks crash? Why are none of the NZ Gentailers seriously interested in major projects… oh yeah, that’s right, we currently have a supply glut in New Zealand.

          If anything the recovery we’ve seen has come from the US realising that they are the Saudi Arabia of shale gas – hardly a lack of energy. Do you get out at all?

          • vto 2.2.1.1.1

            I have no idea if CV gets out at all, but you clearly don’t if you believe this was the root cause of the GFC … “This may have escaped you but the credit expansion and resulting collapse that led to this whole 5-6 year mess was principally driven by over-exuberance in real estate speculation”

            Dunce

            • Jagg 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Err… if not real estate, then what exactly do you think is the basis for people trading mortgage-backed securities??? Dreams of fairy dust?
              What was the asset backing that then flowed on to give people confidence to write billions of dollars in worthless credit default options… yep, real estate.

              Honestly?

              • framu

                “Err… if not real estate, then what exactly do you think is the basis for people trading mortgage-backed securities??? ”

                havent you got that backwards?

                mortgage backed securities was the product being traded – approving mortgages was just the mechanism which kept it all going

                ie: real estate was the symptom not the cause

              • Draco T Bastard

                What was the asset backing that then flowed on to give people confidence to write billions of dollars in worthless credit default options… yep, real estate.

                Nope. Interest rates and the ability to get a hell of a lot of money without actually doing anything. That’s the true driver of bubbles.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.2

            If anything the recovery we’ve seen has come from the US realising that they are the Saudi Arabia of shale gas – hardly a lack of energy.

            hahahahahahahaha

            Oh, wait, you were serious.

            • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1.2.1

              Fucking funny seeing a right wing troll like this recycle Oil industry PR lines from across the Pacific

              The Shale industry is a crash and burn affair, 5 more years of altitude is all it has.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        In fact it is cyclicality that Cunliffe is very much dependent upon to deliver this “promise”.

        Nope because the business cycle can be removed from the economy if we drop the delusional neo-liberal paradigm. Well, actually, drop capitalism.

        • Jagg 2.2.2.1

          Haha – full unemployment and no capitalism, the dream… just the small dead rat to swallow of being a SERIOUSLY LOW wage economy.

          Oh, and if the “socialist paradises” of North Korea and Venezuela who also don’t need that pesky capitalism monster are anything to go by – widespread starvation and a lack of toilet paper.
          I. Can’t. Wait!!

          There’ll be no need to worry about inequality then.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.2.1.1

            Hey shit for brains, the biggest socialist country in the world is the USA – a haven for corporate welfare and socialism of the 1%.

            Seriously, catch up, the rest of us saw through your charade a long time ago.

            BTW energy is the currency of the future, not keyboard printed USD. You really need to grow up and get onboard the train mate before it is too late, the 21st Century is the century of upheaval and civilisation decline.

            Haha – full unemployment and no capitalism, the dream… just the small dead rat to swallow of being a SERIOUSLY LOW wage economy.

            Oh fuck off according to your species, a ‘seriously low wage’ is good for corporate profits and for your big business paymasters, so what are you whining about.

            • Jagg 2.2.2.1.1.1

              “Hey shit for brains”… awfully personal don’t you think – I mean I can take being called names, but, given you’ve said it a couple of times, I’m starting to develop a complex that I might have shit for brains. I thought you guys on the left were a caring bunch? With my views on the world I can’t imagine I’d last long around here calling people names like that.

              “the 21st Century is the century of upheaval and civilisation decline” Honestly mate, I can’t understand how you have such unbounded optimism in the human race.

              My species haha… you mean us reptilian humaniods, man, you got me.

              Pretty hard to make corporate profits when:
              i) all your funding lines have fled the country so the price of borrowing becomes extortionate;
              ii) tariffs and border controls mean you can’t get supplies or if you do they kill your margins and your competitiveness if you want to export;
              iii) inflation starts to rip into your operating cost base but you can’t cover your costs through domestic sales; and/or
              iv) the state just summarily decides you make a living so seizes your assets.

              • Colonial Viper

                So you know how to recite the modus operandi of the bankster class Economic Hitmen.

                Big deal.

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      4%? Should be zero IMO. Even if we have to pay people minimum wage to paint up the local hall.

      OR

      write up local histories
      produce plays set around nearby landmarks and events
      publish stories and news about local people and businesses
      create artworks with which to beautify local communities
      teach, support and counsel people in the neighbourhood who need an extra helping hand
      advocate on behalf of those vulnerable who cannot or don’t know how

      ETC

      Basically there is shitloads of undone work in society which if done would help grow peoples sense of self worth and mission

      BUT

      Oh we can’t have that “4% is a good start for the first term” what tripe (no offence intended Sacha) like having only 200,000 kids in poverty by the end of the first term instead of 300,000 yeah that’s not bad but think about it, that’s still 200,000 fucking wasted young NZ lives but let’s pat ourselves on the back shall we for a job well done break open a case of the methode traditionalle from Marlborough shall we and celebrate.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Sigh.

    In our current system of debt based money supply, you need accelerating levels of debt to achieve decreasing levels of unemployment.

    Steve Keen, the Australian economist, demonstrated this 5-6 years ago.

    Crediting Labour with having low unemployment during its recent term without crediting Labour for massively increasing levels of private/mortgage/farm debt during that term is tantamount to telling only half the story.

    PS Labour doesn’t believe in actual full employment (everyone who wants a full time job can get a full time job), but in the bullshit “full employment” as defined by neoliberal macroeconomics.

    • Jagg 3.1

      You mean the same “bullshit” concept of full employment in a “neoliberal” (whatever that meaningless term means) macroeconomic environment that results in increased inflationary pressures and hurting the most vulnerable in the economy in any case?

      I’m kind of glad that Labour believes in that. Actual full employment is a total myth anyway because frictional unemployment ALWAYS exists… unless you’re saying that people aren’t allowed to ever switch jobs.

      • vto 3.1.1

        Don’t you know what “neoliberal” means? Go do some homework on “liberal” and what resulted from that a while ago, you silly schoolboy. Then think about what the “neo” bit means, then further implication henceforth…

        • Jagg 3.1.1.1

          My point, which you have been so good to highlight, is that the term “neoliberal” is nothing more than that… a label. It actually has no grounding in economic theory. It’s just a dog-whistle term that the left uses to attach political meaning to their interpretation of classical and neoclassical economic theory (that’s actually the name of the theory not me trying to imply anything – look it up, you silly schoolboy you!).

          I don’t know what “neoliberal” means because it has no meaning in economics – it only has meaning for left-wing tragics… such as yourself 😉

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Hey shit for brains, everyone else here gets what neoliberal economics is about. It’s not the academic discipline, it is the socio-political force.

            Maybe it’s you who should get up to speed eh? Catch up with the Lefties who figured this out years ago. The fact though that you still kowtow to the mainstream economists and their private sector paymasters and sponsors who are supporting the destruction of our ecosystem and hence our civilisation, for the sake of their own careers and pay packets no less, demonstrates that you need to grow up and fast.

            Neoliberalism is a disease. You have it. Get fucked but don’t take us all with you.

            • Jagg 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Mate, this also might come as a surprise to you (don’t get out etc, etc, etc)… I’ll whisper it so no one else hears:

              The Standard is one big echo chamber, “everyone else here” just listens and agrees with “everyone else here”‘s view of the world – that includes the meaningless of the term “neoliberalism”.. which as I say only has real meaning to left wing tragics.. that meaning being:
              – Free markets = BAD
              – Globalisation = BAD
              – Private Sector growth = BAD
              – Small government = BAD
              – Corporations = EVIL & BAD

              I know that’s what the label means but it just has no real grounding in economic theory – so it’s kind of funny when you say neoliberal economics.

              • Colonial Viper

                All my mates know what neoliberal economics is. It’s not my problem if you pointy headed textbook types don’t.

                But you are already obsolete; too many people have seen through the charade of your neoliberal species now, we’ve been on to you for a long time as an overseer and obfuscator for the power elite.

                – Free markets = BAD
                – Globalisation = BAD
                – Private Sector = BAD
                – Corporations = EVIL & BAD
                – Big Government = GOOD

                Not merely “evil & bad” you loser; corporate systems of capitalism are systems of death and environmental collapse.

                Remember that while you pursue the all mighty dollar.

                Systems of death and environmental collapse.

                • Jagg

                  Sorry I did forget those claims:
                  – Corporations = EVIL & BAD & DEATH & ENVIRONMENTAL COLLAPSE.
                  Fixed now.

                  Don’t want to labour the point but I’m not surprised all your mates “know” what it means.

                  “Corporate systems of capitalism are systems of death and environmental collapse.”
                  …Because all the alternatives have clearly resulted in democratic utopias where everyone lives with unbounded wealth and human rights are held in the very highest esteem.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Who cares about the fucking alternatives (of which there are actually plenty – breaking up TBTF, localising the economy and democratising ownership of economic assets for instance), I am simply stating a fact, that corporate systems of capitalism are an unbounded revolutionary force which from a moral standpoint are systems of death and environmental collapse.

                    This are not fucking difficult concepts to grasp, look up a dictionary if that will help you, SYSTEMS OF DEATH and ENVIRONMENTAL COLLAPSE

                    PS you trying to imply that corporate systems embrace or support “democracy” is a fucking joke, why don’t you sing the star spangled banner for an encore

                    • Jagg

                      Well, I know there are a few alternatives out there but I actually would kind of care that at least one of them guaranteed me:
                      – Democratic freedoms;
                      – A life above the bread line (I mean bread and water would be nice);
                      – Opportunity for my children; and
                      – Some rudimentary human rights (even Magna Carta c.1215 would do)…

                      Is that too much to ask? I’m just not convinced that any of them have conclusively been proven to tick all the boxes.

                    • McFlock

                      Capitalism guarantees none of those things.

                      You’re a fool if you think it does.

                      Frankly, I think you’re confusing “capitalism” with “democracy”. And even democracy falls short.

                    • Jagg

                      I didn’t say it guarantees anything but it’s done a fair bit better than anything else that’s been put into practice.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Corporate capitalism is a highly organised and revolutionary system of death and environmental destruction.

                      Does that sound like it will deliver you with “democracy”, life “above the bread line”, “opportunities” for children, etc. Don’t be stupid. The kids of today’s primary school children are in line to inherit the ashes of today’s ecosystem from us.

                    • McFlock

                      🙄

                      Try keynesianism of the 1950s-60s then.

                    • Jagg

                      Yep, Keynesianism, why not…. I mean:

                      When countries around the world were under intense scrutiny in 2008 for the level of sovereign debt they held the best thing we could have done was to borrow more to stimulate aggregate demand… except rating agencies would have called us out (rightly or wrongly) raising the cost of borrowing on our mountain of private and household debt.

                      Funny how the left has difficulty accepting people taking even the most educated positions in capital markets but is fine with their government taking speculative positions on the global macro environment… especially when their government is so small that any action or policy it takes is akin to pissing into the wind.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Another neoliberal idiot who thinks the GFC was caused by sovereign debt…newsflash moron…it wasn’t.

                      except rating agencies would have called us out (rightly or wrongly)

                      Ah yes, the ratings agencies, the bankster associates who were the ones who had the whole world including Spain, Italy, Greece and Lehman Brothers at an investment grade in early 2007.

                      What the fuck do those criminally corrupt Morans know. After all, they classed subprime mortgage debt as triple-A so that they could collect big fees even while they hung pension funds and municipalities out to dry.

                    • Tracey

                      lol @ capitalism guarantees you democracy….

                      and yet so many countries had capitalism way before indigenous people and women could even vote.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.2

            I don’t know what “neoliberal” means because it has no meaning in economics
            lol

            Do you know what “mother” means, or “human”, then?

            Fucking cultist. Try thinking for yourself rather than assuming Milton Freidman used all the words you will ever need.

            start here

            • Jagg 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Cultist – yeah, you’re right, worshiping at the alter of empirical research and peer reviewed academia is so irrational isn’t it?

              • McFlock

                Are you seriously arguing that economics is empirical?

                It relies on abstract mathematical models and real-world experience is retrofitted to suit those models. Nothing is repeatable, and if something unexpected happens they backsplain it to suit.

                Look at the stock market – they can’t predict daily fluctuations, and they can’t predict long term trends, and they can’t predict sudden cataclysms. Empirical research my arse.

                With peers like that, who needs review?

                • Jagg

                  How silly of me…

                  Well let’s rewrite the books then – put your prices up and pump up production everyone because supply has nothing to do with demand.

                  • McFlock

                    What’s silly is assuming that a two-factor linear chart can predict a complex system.

                    At best it can only tell you what happened yesterday. Try that with a real science like physics, you’d get laughed out of the room.

                  • miravox

                    “Well let’s rewrite the books then”

                    Funny you should say that

                  • framu

                    thats not even close to answering the question

                    it was this

                    “Are you seriously arguing that economics is empirical?”

                    do you dispute McFlocks statements? can you argue against his/her statement?

                    it would seem by your reply that you cant – oh well, no surprises there – economics isnt called the dismal ‘science’ for nothing is it now?

                    ive also noticed that the longer youve gone on this thread the more weird and out of context your ranting has gotten – odd

                • Phil

                  Are you seriously arguing that economics is empirical?

                  “Empirical research is a way of gaining knowledge by means of direct and indirect observation or experience.”

                  It depends on the specifics of the economics but, generally, yes, it is empirical. The problem with your comment is you expect Economics (as a whole field) to then do something with its empirical research that it does not set out to do – predict the future with certainty.

                  If you look at pretty much any economics textbook today, or through a paper published in one of the major journals, you’ll see screeds and screeds of mathematical formula. There will be appendices showing the statistical results of a wide range of computations, and charts demonstrating the validity, or arguing the invalidity, or whatever premise or condition is being studied.

                  The questions economists are studying and answering are not “where will the stock market be in two years time?” but “why did the stock market grow rapidly over the last two years?” If we (either economists or others) then choose to draw conclusions about what policy prescriptions should be part of our future, then we need to remember that we’re not controlling for all external factors.

              • Dave

                Your logic has gone around in circles Jagg. You say you worship at the alter of empirical evidence and peer reviewed academia. But the statistics, in the long form, over the last 40 years has shown a decrease in the important statistics that matter to the 90%, I won’t go into the particulars. Everyone here should know the statistics, if you don’t, go away and read some of this academia you talk about.

              • Murray Olsen

                Thinking economics is a science, and
                worshipping at some weird altar
                are just wrong. Yeah, I’d go so far as to call you irrational. And dishonest.

                • Phil

                  Thinking economics is a science, and worshipping at some weird altar are just wrong.

                  Here’s a thought, by way of comparison:
                  ‘Cosmos’ is quite possibly the most artistically beautiful television show ever produced. It’s taking some incredibly difficult scientific concepts and presenting them in a way that’s communicable to the vast majority of the population. It necessarily leaves out the most complex mathematical elements and that can, at times, lead people to conclusions with that will be false. It walks a narrow path between art and science.

                  Economics as a field, while not nearly as pretty at ‘Cosmos’ and the dulcet tones of Dr deGrasse-Tyson, struggles with the same issues of presentation and the balance between science and art.

                  Discussion of homo-economicus is a perfect example. It’s easier to debate with non-economists the principles of rational markets and equilibrium if you start from ‘everyone is always rational’. The steps taken to get to an equilibrium state are easier to understand, but people get hung-up on the premise of rationality.

              • Tracey

                by alter dd you

                worship at the change of empirical research…

                you sir are worshipping at the alar of economic zealotry. it appears if it isnt in a textbook you like, it mustnot be considered.

                economists are a bigger scurge on society than lawyers…

  4. Philj 4

    xox
    Sacha. I take your point, that government has done some /plenty, devious and nasty stuff, by a thousand cuts. But they have also stood by when it comes to regulating forestry safety, water pollution, Sky tv regulation, worker safety, leaky buildings, weak mining inspectorate, TVNZ 7, prosecute Banksie, Christchurch earthquakes ( its up to the council to sort out )etc. But you are correct in your comment.

    • Macro 4.1

      “But they have also stood by when it comes to regulating forestry safety, water pollution, Sky tv regulation, worker safety, leaky buildings, weak mining inspectorate, TVNZ 7, prosecute Banksie, Christchurch earthquakes ”
      you have to be joking!
      Or do you mean “they have sat on their hands”?

  5. Jagg 5

    Where’s everyone gone?

    Must be bed time.

  6. Jim 6

    Labour is predicting 4% unemployment after 3 years, Shonky stated this morning that the budget predicts 4.5%. This would be about right given Labours history of having lower unemployment than national. Shonky also challenges labour to justify its predictions of going surpluses. National are also predicting on going surpluses and as labour have a better record of producing surpluses, labours predictions are about right. So all this is just name calling rather than a debate in my view.

    As for debating whether neoliberal is a valid term when discussing economics. My understanding is that it is a term that originally came out of Germany and has been given new meaning by the left. Left leaning economic faculties in Europe and England such as the London School of Economics will likely have economic definitions for economic neoliberalism.

  7. captain hook 7

    he was trying to pronounce appropriate last night on the teevee but it still came out appropeeit.
    well I think it would be appropeeit if he just resigned now and went back to where he came from before he gets his pink slip in September.

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