Wanted—Winston! (No, not *that* Winston!)
SOLO-NZ Op-Ed: Wanted—Winston! (No, not *that* Winston!)
December 2, 2009
The History Channel is the best thing in history.
Among many other things, it reminds us every day of the suicidal foolishness of appeasement and inertia in the face of mortal peril.
In programme after programme about WW2, there strides that magnificent colossus Winston Churchill, antipode of that dreadful Uriah Heap-like Chamberlain, galvanising his nation against a tyranny whose victory seems inevitable.
The West needs a Churchill now, being sold as it is into soft servitude to Chinese tyrants by the utterly icky Chamberlain clone Barack Obama.
New Zealand needs a Churchill too. Someone who will smite the tyrannous retardation of socialism (and stand tall for the right to use the word "retarded" while he's about it). Someone who knows as Churchill did that socialism "is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
Socialist New Zealand has fallen dramatically behind socialist Australia over the past 40 years. Sundry luminaries have been bending their minds toward how we might catch Australia up by 2025, a goal set by Prime Minister John Key. Earlier this week, the 2025 Task Force he set up, chaired by his predecessor as National Party leader, Don Brash, reported its findings and recommendations. Key could have saved the taxpayer $400,000 simply by stating the obvious right from the get-go—that the way to overtake socialist Australia is to become capitalist —and getting right on with it. But that would be electorally risky, and this Prime Minister likes nothing more than being Prime Minister."Blood, toil, tears and sweat" might frighten the horses.
So did the Task Force say it instead?
No. It accepted the premises of socialism while ostensibly urging less of it. Lower taxes, but no reminder of whose money it is in the first place. Less government spending, but no indication why the levels of 2005 to which the Task Force aspires short-term (29% of GDP) are acceptable and the higher levels now aren't. No admonition that the only legitimate functions of government are law and order and defence, that government's role is solely to protect individuals from invasion, coercion and fraud. Brash, as usual, was not brash enough. That, indeed, sadly, will be his political epitaph.
Moreover, the Task Force's recommendations smack of setting up jobs for the boys in perpetuity—the "boys" being those slick overfed former yuppies who stick to the edges of the ACT/Roundtable axis in search of cost-benefit analyses and reviews and Task Force memberships to keep them overfed at taxpayer expense for the rest of their lives. Thus (and remember, these are people who purport to abhorr central planning by government):
4. The Government should undertake an in-depth examination of the scope for further institutional changes to strengthen long-term spending discipline. Examples of such institutions could include a Taxpayer Bill of Rights and/or an independent Fiscal Advisory Council.
5. Expert taskforces should be established to scrutinise each major area of government spending, with a view to proposing more effective models for delivering those services that for evaluating government spending should be materially strengthened, including greater use of rigorous and transparent cost-benefit analysis for both new spending proposals and periodic re the public sector will continue to fund.
6. Processes views of the value that is being obtained from existing spending programmes. Enhancing the quality and rigour of such analysis should be a key priority for the Treasury. ...
g. A full review should be
undertaken to identify, and recommend reform of, those areas
in which various government education agencies (Tertiary
Education Commission, Education Review Office, Ministry of
Education) have become overly prescriptive, and to explore
other, less intrusive, monitoring and accountability options
to achieve policy ends that pass a
cost-benefit test. ...
17. To strengthen governance while businesses remain in public ownership, an independent Crown Commercial Appointments Commission should be established, to be responsible for making recommendations to Ministers for Board positions on all Crown commercial enterprises and for vetting and publishing suitability assessments of all appointees to such boards. ...
19. Congestion charging should be introduced in central Auckland and in any other cities where a cost-benefit analysis supports doing so.
20. Rigorous and transparent cost-benefit analyses should restored to the prime place in guiding decisions on all public capital spending, including infrastructure spending. All such cost-benefit analyses for projects involving the outlay of more than $50 million should be formally reviewed by Treasury. ...
24. Substantially improving the quality of regulatory impact analysis being undertaken before legislation is introduced and/or government regulatory powers are extended should be treated as a matter of high priority by Ministers and central government agencies. Such analysis should be an integral part of all policy development and review processes, to ensure that the full costs and benefits, to all sectors, are appropriately and rigorously factored into government decision-making.
25. An independent Productivity Commission should be established as a centre of microeconomic and regulatory analytical expertise. The Commission should be authorised (and resourced) to undertake reviews of matters referred to it by Ministers, and of issues it identifies as requiring further in-depth analysis and research.
26. A high quality independent taskforce should be constituted as a matter of urgency to review resource management law from first principles, including identifying the policy goals that should be served by such legislation and assessing the best ways of achieving those goals. ...
32. Emissions trading legislation and any future emissions reduction targets the Government adopts should be independently monitored and periodically reviewed. Such reviews should focus on monitoring the economic impact of any carbon abatement goals, and the impact of chosen abatement regimes (here and abroad) on prospects for achieving the 2025 goal.
33. A review of the Commerce Act should be undertaken, with a focus on restoring the primacy of economic efficiency considerations and long-term consumer interests in the design and conduct of competition policy.
Now I don't doubt that all of these task forces and commissions and what-have-you would be stacked by the usual suspects from the Alan Gibbs Hayekian harem, so what we'd be seeing wouldn't really even be less socialism at all, just more heavily monitored socialism—monitored by those freakishly frigid whores who wear their suits to bed and give capitalism a bad name at the hands of that other Winston, Peters. I struggle to see this as a prescription for catching Australia.
Quite simply, Government should spend and tax less and less and less, starting now, until it's taxing and spending at a level commensurate with its proper functions. Not so that we may catch Australia but so that we may never catch the full-blown disease of dictatorship to which we shall otherwise succumb.
Oh to watch the History Channel in 50 years and see a new Churchill circa 2010 smiting the scourge of socialism just when it seemed invincible. That would be the best thing in history!