Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Livingstone on Mugabe

This morning on Andrew Marr, Ken Livingstone said that it was a shame tha Mugabe is doing what he is now, because when he started out he was a good guy doing a good job.

What - Mugabe has always murdered his political opponents. Ask the Ndebele people.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Tories begin to get it - no moe targets

As anyone who has read John Seddon knows - targets are bad - hopefully Dave gets it.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Please, please, please

Find these theives guilty and a) fire them and b) make them give us our money back

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

This Is My Blog: Mind the gap

This Is My Blog: Mind the gap

This is a post by batsgirl about the difficulties she encounters in dealing with the state around NI, incapacity and working.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Global warming

"The one good thing about global warming is that as the waters rise, Hazel Blears will drown first."

Quote attributed to a Labour MP by Danny Finklestein today at Times Comment Central

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The future of the Davis-Cameron relationship

My post to a discussion about the negative economic effect of tax cuts.
If you pay ex-public sector workers less dole than you gave them as salaries, then you have a tax saving. Simple. Or perhaps we should save the economy by increasing tax to 100% and have everyone work for the government?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Darling urges pay restraint to curb inflation

Likely to be as effective as asking motorists not to fill up when there is a fuel shortage on.

4 David Davis 4 Freedom: Its not just our freedom that's at stake

4 David Davis 4 Freedom: Its not just our freedom that's at stake

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Poor performance

I made a comment regarding Basic Income.

What the Govt, and opposition, are experiencing is the failure of a system that tries to target help to the right people. The constant adjusting, tampering, creation of specific benefits for specific things and means testing of benefits means that thousands of traps are created and are constantly on the move.

The poorest in our society cannot help themselves - that is the EVIL of the Welfare State. The traps in the system create circumstances where low-paid work is not a rational option for a an unemployed person - what they gain in income is all lost in benefit withdrawl. Benefit withdrawal rates in excess of 85% are common in the system. If short term work is taken (and much low paid work is short-term), the re-starting of benefits has such a lag that the cashflow problems cause eviction or starvation.

As the success of Eastern European migrants shows, there are plenty of low paid jobs in the UK, suitable for our unemployed people. But a job at £5/hr may look good to a Pole, but to a person in the benefits system it is a job at 75p/hr, and that is before transport is considered, and the risk of re-starting benefits if the job finishes.

This system of keeping the poor down is the cause of social breakdown in deprived areas. It is why kids don't care about school (why work at school, when you are convinced there is no job for you to do that pays) It is why petty crime and benefit fraud are rampant (they are the only ways to increase income.) It is why single parenthood is a career choice - couples are penalised by the design of the system.

The only talk from politicians about the benefits system is tinkering and tampering: may help the odd person here, harm the odd person there, tinkering at the edges, fiddling while Rome burns.

We need a new system, that lets the poor work themselves out of poverty. One such scheme is Basic Income, coupled to a flat tax, as described by Herbert Simon, Friedrich Hayek, James Meade, Robert Solow, Charles Murray and Milton Friedman.

No longer would the state be preferring that a child grows up in a one-parent home; no longer would the poor turn down a short-term job, because they know that the benefit start-up process creates crippling cash-flow problems when the work finishes.

If I heard politicians talking like that, I'd be interested. I want to help my fellow man, I don't begrudge the 50% of my income that goes in taxes, but I am furious that it is either pissed away on expenses, consultants and wars, or is given to the poor with so many strings attached, that it makes a prison for them.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New piggies!

New additions to the familiy. Looks like the female we recently purchased was pregnant! Still, they're sooo sweeet.

Monday, 2 June 2008

The Whimsical World of John DeAmicis

Lucas critique

Police pledge to put the public before targets

May this be a beginning of the end of the target culture in public services.

Nick Luxmoore

Seen but not heard: why we must listen to our angry teenagers

Ways to be sure the kids are alright

Zero tolerance for violence against children will result in no violence from children