Mallard scalps helpless students

Apparently Trevor Mallard understands why secondary markets add value:

Mr Mallard [said] that the sale was neither scalping nor dodgy. He bought the tickets last year but now had another engagement.

It’s a shame that he didn’t apply similar logic when he was a Minister:

In November 2006, Mr Mallard initiated legislation …to protect event sponsors from people making money out of major events with which they had no formal association.

He said at the time: “When there is bulk-buying of tickets to such events simply for the purpose of profiteering, scalping is a ripoff that could deny many people the opportunity to see an event.”

So Mallard is almost hoist with his own petard, but the sad thing is that that there’s any law against it. And maybe that the students decided to go to the Dom Post even though they wouldn’t have got the tickets they wanted were it not for Mallard selling them. For some righteous outrage over the demonising of scalpers see goonix, Eric, Trent Reznor, and more Eric.

Referendum Tool: MPP vs FPP etc..

If you are looking for a way to kill 5 mins at the end of the day, this tool/quiz to help you decide whether you like MMP or FPP is interesting… I must say I felt weird after doing the quiz as I wasn’t sure it accurately represented my feelings. Preconceptions are there to be shattered though:)

 

Greens on poverty

The Green party has recently released their policy program for helping the poor:

[Turei’s] party wants to extend Working For Families tax credits by $60 a week for the poorest 140,000 households, reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for university-level courses to help beneficiaries get educated and into work, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and create minimum standards for rental properties to ensure they were warm and healthy.

I like the idea of helping poor families but is the best plan really to:

  • raise marginal tax rates on them,
  • give them cheaper bachelor’s degrees,
  • increase the barriers to entering the workforce at the minimum wage; and,
  • increase the cost of rental properties?

I’m sure Matt will have a more thoughtful analysis up soon but does this policy really tackle the problems that our poorest citizens and their children face? I don’t know for sure but I imagine that the cost of a university degree isn’t a binding constraint for many of them, for example.

It’s going to be fascinating to see all the parties releasing more meaty policy agendas as we approach the election!

Comic government test

Look at this comic right now, before reading any other comments or anything I have to say.

Via SMBC

Then, if you can be bothered, write in the comments your first impression regarding what this comic implied about government.

Brief comment from me under the fold.

Read more

Apparently China needs censorship because Chinese people are stupid….

….that is the justification offered by a Chinese journalist in this article related to the Google vs China row (blow by blow at Ars technica here). This quote is shocking:

The Chinese society has generally less information bearing capacity than developed countries such as the U.S., which is an objective reality that no one can deny. Chinese intellectuals living in China should show understanding to the motherland’s weakness.

F**k being a banker …

Seriously, so the UK is going to arbitrarily tax bonuses at 50% because they are not “generating real wealth” they are just “rent seeking” (Will Hutton and Paul Krugman feel this way).  Wow.

The decision to pay a wage, or a bonus, is voluntary.  Given that these bankers are creating sufficient value through their work to extract these wages/bonuses why shouldn’t they get their wage/bonus.  They are generating sufficient “wealth” through their activities – or else they would i) get undercut by other labour, ii) not get paid by clients.

Yes the organisations that got bailed out should have to pay back their bailouts.  Yes, we should try to avoid the current moral hazard problem that could exist in the industry (on the basis of the bailouts mind you – which is government intervention). However, shouldn’t the solutions to these issues be focused on the actual issues – rather than arbitrarily attacking bonuses (which will simply be delayed to avoid the tax for those that can afford it).

If we think that the price paid for the financial labour service is out of whack because of some sort of direct market failure then tax it.  If we are trying to work out optimal tax and we find that the supply and demand for these services is perfectly inelastic, potentially shift the tax burden.  But that isn’t what the authors are doing.  They are accusing bankers of being the equivalent of organised crime and then stating that we should punitively attack.  I’m sorry but I find this attitude simply abhorrent.

Seriously, if you have something specifically against bankers, lets apply the logic somewhere else:

UK is going to arbitrarily tax teachers at 50% because they are not “generating real wealth” they are just “rent seeking”

After all, teachers don’t build physical things they just provide a service like the bankers.  If we are going to attack bankers for there being a credit crisis, why don’t we just start taxing teachers more because we “feel like educational standards are too low”.

Update:  Stumbling and mumbling also believes bank bonuses should be hammered.  However, he at least paints his argument out in full and so deserves to be heard.  I don’t agree, but that isn’t really the point 😉