Previous Posts

  • Robert MacCulloch

Two Princeton University economists, Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton, and his wife and co-author, Anne Case, report some grim statistics (in Project Syndicate):

"Well before COVID-19 struck there was another epidemic running rampant in the US, killing more Americans in 2018 than coronavirus has killed so far. What we call "deaths of despair" - deaths by suicide, alcohol-related liver disease, and drug overdose - have risen rapidly since the mid-1990s, increasing from 65,000 per year in 1995 to 158,000 in 2018.

The increase in deaths from this other epidemic is almost entirely confined to Americans without a four-year college degree. While overall mortality rates have fallen for those with a four-year degree, they have risen for less-educated Americans. Life expectancy at birth for all Americans fell between 2014 and 2017. That was the first three-year drop in life expectancy since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19; with two epidemics now raging at once, life expectancy is set to fall again".

... Life expectancy was rising, by comparison, in New Zealand between 2014 and 2017 and now stands at 81.7 years, compared with 78.5 years in the US.

  • Robert MacCulloch

The leaderships of both the National and Labour Parties have sought to distance themselves from the "pro-market" reforms that began in 1984. What were those reforms? Here's a short list of the main ones:

1. International trade was made freer by removing tariffs and licences

2. The Kiwi dollar was floated

3. Goods and Services Tax (or "GST") was introduced

4. Income taxes were cut - the top rate fell from 66% to 33%

5. The Reserve Bank of NZ was made independent

6. Subsidies to farmers were ended

7. A number of government owned enterprises were privatized

How many of these reforms has the National Party sought to reverse? ... ZERO

How many of these reforms has the Labour Party sought to reverse? ... ZERO

So why are the 80's reforms condemned in speeches by politicians who, behind the scenes, privately endorse them?



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Robert MacCulloch