It’s common to see carping about how compassionless the Government and John key and National MPs are. How they purportedly don’t care about poor people – some go as far as accusing ‘right wing’ politicians and rich people of deliberately keeping the masses poor so they can accumulate wealth.
Which is absurd, as anyone who knows how commerce works knows that the more affluent people are the more prosperous business can be. You can’t make much money out of destitution.
Thursday’s budget has created confusion and consternation on the left. How could an allegedly hard right government be the first to raise core benefit levels for 44 years? Something three eras of Labour led government had failed to do.
Amongst the confusion absurd claims have been made. In Thoughts on budget 2015 Danyl at Dim-Post:
National believes in massive intervention in the economy, mostly in favor of their political donors but also in response to signals from their polling and market research…
rickrowling asked “What are the examples of this?” None have yet been given. This statement is typical from the left of National do anything hinting at compassion – there must be an ulterior motive driven by the greed of the 1%.
One way of trying to explain is by claiming that National’s efforts are weak and the left would have done it better. Like ‘truthseekernz’:
The response from virtually all opponents was lamentable. I would have preferred something like:
“It’s great to see this government adopt a weak tea, might-work-a-little version of the policies we’ve been promoting for years. So we’ve won the policy argument. National has done it because that had to, not because they wanted to. If voters want the real thing, they should be sure to vote for us (whoever ‘we ‘ are – Labour or Greens) next election.”
National can’t have done it because they wanted to what they thought was a good thing to do, they ‘had to do it’. That’s crap of confusion.
John Key’s hallmark of power is pragmatism and if that means that he has to give a little to the masses, he will, and did. But that does not change his wider agenda that has all the markings of seeking neoliberal outcomes.
Again Key “has to give a little to the masses” but has a “wider agenda”. That’s ideological crap.
Neilm has a different take on it:
And Key’s opponents have developed a rather insular, self-reinforcing narrative about how Key hates the children etc which isn’t quite what National is. I’m not suggesting that National is the perfect social justice party but constantly making strategy on the basis that they’re corrupt liars out to destroy democrat and the planet has distracted from forming a strategy that deals with reality.
Tinakori also challenges the left leaning laments.
Wow, Danyl, there are so many straw men in that post. The major two are the propositions that this government was a group of hairy chested economic fundamentalists and that effective social policy is entirely the preserve of the left.
The first was flawed from the very beginning and was probably prompted by the bizarre and false idea that they had embraced austerity as a fiscal policy when their approach was classic Keynesian. This is just another case of the left and the commentariat looking to overseas political slogans for guidance rather than looking at what a government actually does.
As for the big things – fiscal, monetary and general regulatory policy – there is no major change that I can see and the spending changes are pretty small in the context of both government spending and the economy.
richdrich swings the other way:
The “middle class welfare” concept is an artefact of neo-liberalism.
It divides society into “hard working keewees” and “beneficiary scum” (Labour and National both love the former term, but Labour might be a bit softer on the latter. “Communities with needs”, maybe?)
Benefits (apart from disguised ones like tax free capital gains) are denied the former and grudgingly meted out to the latter, accompanied by an appropriate degree of paternalism, like making them spend all day in a Winz office with no toilet – at least they can’t take drugs while they’re in there.
I haven’t seen any sign that National (and ACT and the Maori Party and Peter Dunne) have “grudgingly meted out” the benefit increases. Confused leftists like richdrich can’t bring themselves to even grudgingly meting out praise when it’s due.
How could this tory scum out left the left on social policy? Tinokori suggests:
On social policy you underestimate the personal impact on government policy of growing up in a state house (Key) and the Catholic social conscience (English).
There may be something in that, but there’s far more to it. I’m not Catholic and didn’t grow up in a state house. I did grow up in a very poor household – where I learnt the value of hard work and self responsibility.
Many people in New Zealand who have built their own businesses and careers and wealth have seen and experienced hardship somewhere along the way.
We now seem to have a left who can’t see past their arrogance.
I see more compassion in Key and English and many in business and on the centre right than amongst the carping on the impotent left.
This budget appears to have turned politics upside down in New Zealand. I don’t think it has. It just demonstrates what has been evident for a long time, that the left/right divide was long ago bridged. It doesn’t exist in New Zealand how it once did.
Key and his National government get it. They got it a long time ago, that’s why they are still in government.
There’s no reason why commerce and compassion can’t co-exist. Except in the closed carping minds of the old left. They are left crapping in their own nest.