Democratic socialism

At least it is voters, not politicians like here

The good thing about elections is that it reveals the real motives of the politicians and also their supporters.

One key area is economic literacy, and it seems that few people actually understand the basics.

Education: Everybody talks about how the presidential primaries have uncovered intense voter anger at the political establishment. It’s actually revealed something more troubling: The widespread ignorance of basic economic truths that spans across the political spectrum.

Has there ever been a bigger disconnect between economic reality and public perception?

Polls taken during the primary season have found Democrats embracing socialism, Republicans rejecting trade, and majorities in both parties saying Wall Street is hurting the economy. That’s despite the general consensus among mainstream economists that none of these things is true.

Take Democrats’ views on socialism. An American Action Network poll finds that 40% of Democrats say socialism is the best form of government, while another 10% say both. In other words, half of Democratic voters are perfectly comfortable with the idea of the government owning and/or controlling the private sector. More than half of Democrats (57%) say that socialism has a positive impact on society.

A separate New York Times/CBS poll found the same thing: half of Democrats have a positive few of socialism; just 34% have a negative view.

Overall, the NYT poll found that a third of the public has a positive view of socialism, while just over half has a negative view.

All this despite the unbroken string of failures with socialist states, the latest of which are all happening right in the nation’s backyard, where socialist policies have produced massive deprivation and chronic shortages. Just this week, Venezuela ordered a two-day workweek to save on electricity.

Denmark, which socialist Bernie Sanders says is a model socialist state, rejects the label, insisting that it’s a market economy.

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How Labour should respond to the budget I

With dead men walking Hodgson and Mallard running the strategy, Labour’s response to the budget will be something dull, ineffective and miss a massive opportunity to rebrand Labour and put them in play at this election.

New Zealand’s economy is current rooted. This government has made few if any changes that will make any real difference to New Zealanders, and Labour have not taken advantage of this because Mallard and Hodgson have been wasting too much air time on really dumb stuff, not letting the new guard of Labour make the case for a Labour government.

Labour need to ask New Zealand “Are you better off now than you were under Labour”. Then they need to acknowledge that the current level of government spending is unsustainable and some cuts will need to be made or we are going to keep borrowing $300 per family per week.

Without a change at the top Labour can’t make the case for new policies because the old guard set up the old policies. It is too easy to smack up Goff for something he said in the Lange/ Palmer/Moore era, or the Clark era, so he can’t get any traction. Zombie MPs like Mallard and Hodgson get in the way because they have pushed policies that are now unaffordable and their public statements will be recycled by the National research unit.

Labour need to say “Times are tough, and government spending is unaffordable. We cannot continue like this and we are going to have make changes. Like most New Zealand families have made sacrifices, the government is going to need to make sacrifices too. We will be forced to review all areas of government, and cut back on the growth of non core provision of services to New Zealand families.”

“When times are tough those who can afford the most have to be asked to make a contribution to help New Zealand grow. This means we will be cutting Working for Families for those earning over $100,000 a year, introducing interest on student loans for those earning over $100,000 a year, and putting an immediate freeze on salaries for bureaucrats earning over $100000 a year. We will also increase the tax rate for those earning over $100000 a year by 2% pa, with a sunset clause that this will be removed after 5 years when the economy improves.”

That’s just a start. Labour need to deal with the fact that we cant afford to continue spending so much, and with the current leadership this can’t be done because they backed all these policies, and told New Zealand they were affordable.