Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Analysis, nanny state and being economical

The OECD (far more reputable than any UN organisation) report today on young people highlights a few stats to get people excited. Within OECD (as in mostly developed) countries:
- UK teens drink the most (hardly surprising);
- Turkish teens are the most bullied but love school the most;
- Finnish teens have the best educational results (it's about keeping bad teachers out of the system and paying good teachers a lot to teach large classes);
- NZ teens have the highest suicide rate (time to scrap the obviously useless Ministry of Youth Affairs), but in the UK it is a fifth of that in NZ (does alcohol help?);
- Swiss teens have the least exercise (too much cheap public transport methinks, hehe)

Here is the report. It also says NZ average family incomes are low (so ask anyone wanting more taxes why that is a good thing). Time to read some more.

Today if you import incandescent light bulbs into the EU, you are breaking the law. So Germans are hoarding them. Another example of nanny state telling everyone what's good for them, something the EU is especially good at doing, will create a black market in light bulbs some people actually want to buy. Like children who don't know how to manage money, European residents are being told they must save energy for their own good - perhaps removing layers of subsidy and restrictions on what power companies can charge consumers (and raise prices), might be a better way of allowing people to decide how they want to save power, if at all?

The Drinking Water Subsidy Scheme is on hold. Essentially this is where taxpayers are forced to bail out the appalling mismanagement of local authorities that left local water supplies to go to rot through lack of maintenance, so that in some places water doesn't meet national standards. Good. The local people concerned should ask the local authority what happened to the rates it has been pilfering for decades, ask why it can't manage "public assets" (we hear so often how government can manage such things better than the "evil profit seeking" private sector) properly, why it hasn't heard of depreciation. Maybe they should haul some of the current and former councillors over the coals, and local authority managers. Maybe the voters should look to themselves as to why they trusted local government to supply water in the first place. In any case, it is NOT the fault of central government or taxpayers across the country to bail out such mismanagement. If people in some local authorities want better water, maybe they should just privatise what is left and - wait for it - pay for it. If not that, then set it up as a Council Controlled Organisation and, yes, pay for it. Oh and if Brendon Burns, ex. Labour spindoctor, is so concerned about the communities affected, he can go help lay new pipelines or cough up his own money - after all, what's stopping him besides his socialist principles?

The government isn't going to bail out investors in the failed Kingston Flyer tourist steam train operation. Good. It isn't a "cop out" it is treating them the same as everyone else. If you don't like it, you go down there and put your own money into it. Don't get the state to put its hands into everyone else's pockets for you. It is laudable that Kiwirail wont buy it back either. It is no more special than the umpteen other heritage railways in the country.

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