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More money does not a Socialist Utopia make.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 22, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Just how incompetant is the Labour Government? Read on:

More money does not a Socialist Utopia make.
Thursday, 22.03.2007, 09:30pm (GMT12)

Garth George:

Inept social engineering never does us any good

12:00AM Thursday March 22, 2007

Policy analyst Phil Rennie’s scathing paper New Zealand’s Spending Binge, which received but cursory coverage on this page on Tuesday, proves once again the veracity of two fundamental principles of government.

1. The higher the tax take and the bigger the bureaucracy, the more wasteful and inefficient government becomes.

2. The social problems which consume so much government spending are incapable of solution simply by throwing money at them.

Mr Rennie, of the New Zealand policy unit of the Centre for Independent Studies, takes a bit over 12 closely typed pages to prove what many of us instinctively knew – that the Clark/Cullen nanny state’s vast expenditure of money stolen from its citizens has achieved, to put it bluntly, bugger all.

The full report is certainly worth reading, as I found when I downloaded it from Google (just type in “New Zealand’s Spending Binge” and click on the html version). It tells us:

* Core Government spending is now almost $20 billion a year higher than it was in 2000, a 32 per cent increase in real terms, up from $34.55 billion in 2000 to $54 billion this year.

* Total Government spending, estimated at $65 billion, represents 40 per cent of GDP.

* The available special indicators – life expectancy, infant mortality, hospital outputs, literacy, violent crime, suicide, poverty and income inequality – have barely changed since 2000 despite the huge increase in social spending.

So let’s take a look at some detail. Health spending has risen 49 per cent in real terms since 2000, yet a basic measure of health-care effectiveness, life expectancy, moved up only marginally from 2000 to 2004 (the latest year for which figures are available), compared with marked increases in each of the 30 years before that. Infant mortality decreased vastly from 1975 to 1997 but since then has dropped hardly at all – from 6.1 deaths for each 1000 live births to 4.8.

The least surprising statistics are those for public hospital outputs. Mr Rennie quotes a Treasury report that concluded that from 2000 to 2004, hospital efficiency fell by 7.7 per cent compared with a 1.1 per cent improvement in the three years from 1997.

Other key indicators of efficiency (or, rather inefficiency): The number of elective surgery operations has declined from 107,366 in 2000 to 105,437 last year; hospital admission and mortality rates and the average length of stay in hospital are largely unchanged from 2000; and patient satisfaction with district health board services has steadily declined.

In education, spending since 2000 has increased by $3.1 billion, or 26 per cent in real terms, yet two of the three leading indicators for education outcomes – the literacy of 15-year-olds in reading and science – declined considerably between 2000 and 2003, and in the third, maths, improved only marginally.

On the credit side, the percentage of school leavers with little or no qualifications dropped from 16.5 per cent in 2000 to 12.9 per cent in 2005 (although the nefarious NCEA assessment system probably accounts for that).

As for social outcomes, overall social spending (health, education, welfare and superannuation) now makes up 72 per cent of all Government spending.

The most relevant and substantial indicators of the efficacy of this spending are suicide rates, crime, poverty and income inequality.

Suicide rates reached an all-time high in 1998, declined over the next two years, but from 2000 to 2004 the rate changed little – from 13.1 for every 100,000 people to 12.8.

Crime rates overall have continued to decline, but the decline slowed between 2000 and last year to 10 per cent compared with 13.5 per cent in the previous five years. Violent crime, on the other hand, has increased by 9.3 per cent compared with only 0.9 per cent in the previous five years.

On the poverty front the figures are horrifying. According to the Ministry of Social Development, between 2000 and 2004 average living standards of the low-income population fell slightly, the proportion of the population experiencing some form of hardship remained at 24 per cent, but within that group “severe hardship” increased.

The proportion of Maori families living in severe hardship rose from 7 per cent to 17 per cent; of Pacific Island families from 15 per cent to 27 per cent; and the proportion of all children in severe and significant hardship increased from 18 per cent to 26 per cent.

In income inequality, Mr Rennie reports, there has been no measurable change since 2000.

To put it in a nutshell: social engineering has never worked, doesn’t work now and never will work, and it’s time the inept social engineers who have played with us for far too long were relegated to the (opposition) bench.

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