Friday, July 02, 2010

Translating Bill English

I’m not a fan of Finance Minister Bill English. I’ve always thought that his rigid rightwing ideology was funny, but I’ve just realised that he was speaking an alternate language. It’s either that or he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

Speaking to “business leaders” in Auckland, Bill declared, "By any international measure, our housing market it still way overpriced.” Oh really? And we all live on some international ledger sheet, do we? I find it hilarious the way the rightwing—both the National Party and the even farther right Act Party—bleat on and on about market forces, about how the Holy Market, Hallowed Be Its Name, will find the “true value” of commodities, goods and services, but when it comes to the houses that ordinary Kiwis buy, for that one thing alone the market fails and people are just being stupid. And here I always thought it was Bill and his rightwing mates who are being stupid.

Houses, like everything else in the world, are worth what people are willing to pay—nothing else matters. Bill can pontificate all he wants, but it’s one of the clearest examples of market forces in action. They cost what they cost, and, quite frankly, “international standards” are irrelevant. We live in New Zealand, not in some international statistic.

But buying houses isn’t the only thing ordinary New Zealanders are doing “wrong”. Apparently, we’re all a bunch of bludgers: "The government gives free childcare, free compulsory education, no interest on tertiary ... and pay per week per child. Everything is free so why should people save?"

Bill is a putz: NONE of that is "free"—let me restate that: Not one thing that Bill listed is “free”: We taxpayers pay for every single one of those things. If Bill doesn’t know that, then he should resign immediately so we can get someone in there who understands how government finance works.

The reason that Bill talks like this is precisely because he wants to sell off all government assets. He also doesn’t have any interest in ordinary New Zealanders and instead caters to the interests only of the corporate elites. This is why that party’s tax cuts and policies are skewed to help the rich while making things worse for the poor and for hard working ordinary New Zealanders.

Take Kiwibank, for example. He wants to “privatise” it so “mum and dad investors” can be “owners” of Kiwibank. In pushing that nonsense he’s deliberately trying to prevent people from realising the truth, namely, that we citizens already own that bank!

And as for housing, where this post began, the reason people don’t invest in other areas is that there’s no incentive (not because we get something for “free”). National has steadfastly refused to use tax incentives to get desirable spending, and it also refuses to change the system to remove the incentive to buy investment property. So, Bill’s basically whining about a situation that his government has not done, and will not do, anything to fix.

I guess common sense is lost in translation.


liminalD said...

Yep, nicely put.

I've never trusted English. I used to think he WAS just a simple country man who didn't quite get it, but I now think that behind the simple salt-o-the-earth, decent everyman rhetoric he knows very well what he's doing.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I think so, too. I also think that, after seeing what happened to Kevin Rudd in Australia, John Key should watch his back.