Monday, July 31, 2006

Bring on capital gains tax

The greens want to set up a property gains tax .
Their proposal is frankly pathetic - not because it goes too far but because it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.

1) Taxes need to be simple - you can’t say "I will tax houses as long as they are owned by someone who doesn’t own another house". the problem there is that you get a situation where the second house you buy just has to be under the OTHER partner's name the third one under child's name the fourth under another the fifth in a trust of some sort the 100th is easy enough to get away with because the law can't even figure out whether to tax you on any of the others anyway.

2) Not having a capital gains tax on ALL houses is basically a tax on very poor. Owning an investment which isn’t taxed is a big advantage, but poor people don't own houses so it effectively creates and magnifies the gap between those who do have houses and the very poor. This is both inefficient (talking to national voters) and unfair (talking to green/labour voters).

Anyway if the housing market is going to crash anyway maybe we can push this through and slice the top off the housing bubble.

Housing market destabilizing

Apparently home ownership in NZ is down by 12 % and home ownership in Auckland is down by 25%

Prepare for the crash guys, your running out of greater fools…

Saturday, July 29, 2006

An interesting comment on society

When you do a google search for "fathers union" you get "did you mean mothers union?"
apparently fathers aren't supposed to have unions....

Prison blog

Simon Power proves that national representatives can go above and beyond the call of duty in being retarded trying to ban Tim Selwyn from bogging/reporting on going's on in prison.


1) he doesn’t want us to know how the prison system works and in particular incidences where it fails to live up to its own objectives (which must make almost everyone deeply suspicious)
2) he wants to deny prisoners rights such as "the ability to communicate with people outside of prison" which surely would have you in trouble with the UN on human rights grounds.
3) he is an idiot that just says stuff without thinking

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Democratic posers

Democrats in the USA engage in some pathetic posing

Last week, al-Maliki said that Iraq was urging the international community "to take a quick and firm stance to stop this aggression against Lebanon, to stop the killing of innocent people and to stop the destruction of infrastructure."

Schumer said he wants al-Maliki to discuss his comments before the congressional address.

"Before he speaks before Congress and the American people, we ask him which side is he on in the war on terror?" Schumer asked.

"Part of the reason that America was sold on Iraq was to have a staunch ally in the region -- a democratic ally that would back our policies," Schumer said. "Now if the prime minister can't condemn terrorism, which is ruining his country ... then where are we headed?"

Separately, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, declined to say whether she would attend al-Maki's speech.

"I hope that they have agreement about the outrageous comments he made with respect to Israel," Clinton said. "Look, we have a lot of fires this administration is trying to fight, and I think we have to expect he'll say something to repudiate his comments if he expects to get support from those of us up here."

Really quite pathetic. you might or might not agree with the president but he has a right to have that oppinion. Funnily enough that is exactly what potential republican presidential candidate John McCain said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said he couldn't say whether Democrats should or shouldn't boycott al-Maki's address due to his remarks. "I don't like them either, but he's entitled to them," McCain said.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cancer Virus

Maia argues in favor of funding for giving EVERYONE the new vaccination against cervical cancer (the virus that causes it).

It sounds like a great idea until you see the messy details.

The bottom line is how many lives it will save and how much spare resources we have.

The problem is
1) The vaccination only prevents some strains of the virus
2) Only a small number of people actually die from this cancer so you are vaccinating 2 million people to prevent maybe a bit under 100 people dying.
3) The people they are currently vaccinating are the ones wheel it would be most effective so the remainder are the ones where it is less likely to be any use.

As a result it might never be worth total funding even if we diverted all our money into health. Some quick maths indicates that you get more "bang for your buck" by improving dangerous corners on roads or more advertising for "five a day" than by making this free for everyone.

With any luck our government does these calculations of resource allocation.

The one thing that would counter that is if there was a world wide plan to eradicate the virus, now that might be a good thing...

Apron strings

Holden republic
is celebrating the cutting of further apron strings with the British.

Personally when I see us use the British to represent us in countries where we have no representation and to rescue our people from places like Lebanon. I think if we cut our apron strings we could go unrepresented in many countries and our citizens could be made less secure overseas. Why on earth would you want to do that sort of thing?

Basically humans are animals with apron strings. There is nothing wrong with having ties with particular nations.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Watching the british deal with our citizens in lebanon and elsewhere in the world I just think.. "cutting the apron strings" (ie cutting ties with britain) - yeah, that idea is just looking stupider and stupider...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Opposite day

A number of bloggers from marginal revolution , positive liberty , pseudo poly,math Richard @ philosophy et cetera have jumped on Jewish Atheist’s idea of an opposite day.

If anyone has any suggestions I'll do one and unlike positive liberty and like pseudo polymath I'm not afraid to advocate anything from slavery to whatever else in the spirit of opposite day.

Although I might critique my own post afterwards....

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dragons Den bankrupt

The dominion post today indicated that various creditors were "surprised" to see their "bankrupt busy working on the dragons den handing out "dosh" and say ing he was worth 20 million.
By the looks of it this is another example of the trust effect. Is he worth 20 million - could be! Can his creditors or the tax department get their hands on it? Nope.

Every man and his dog "should" have a trust. The trust system is basically a tax on non trust users. If you don’t use one you pay more in all sorts of ways and get less. At the same time everyone without a trust should be campaigning to get them neutered or made illegal because in the meantime they are subsidizing those who have such instruments probably to the tune of thousands of dollars a year.

This may expose a problem with our system - those who are cheating the system know it and want to protect their loop hole - those that don’t know that it exists.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brains repair

Some doctor jsut discovered the human brain can repair itself in adults.
er what kind of idiot ceate the theory that this was not true?
every memory that you record every thought that you make is a sort of "repairing" of your brain. It is jsut a matter of scale what they seem to ahve discovered. I'm always surprised by how silly some of the "refuted theories" are in science - makesme wonder if anyone really actualy held those theories.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Plant growth - bad?

Oh My God!
TV3 just warned us that there was going to be more plants in the UK as a result of global warming. Although it was presented to us under the overall story that there would be more hay fever and plants would be more productive.
Cripes - global warming might not be good but the news stories are really going out of their way to demonstrate that plant growth is a bad thing.

Philosophy tests

My Moral Parsimony Score is 88% basically I valued inaction over action but otherwise was consistantly untilitarian. I actualy oppose this sort of distinction but I also don't trust hypotheticals that talk about "you could save person X if" but I do trust hypotheticals that say "you could hurt person X" resulting in weak obligations to donate to charity - but strong ones to not poison someone.

what is god creates a list of objections to your concept of god.

I think this is unsubstantiated
"But this response seems to rest on a misunderstanding of the nature of physical laws. Laws in the legal sense do require law-givers and law-enforcers. But physical laws are simply descriptions of the nature of reality."

Also I dont think this is impossible in itself
"In the model, God was asked to make 2 + 2 = 5 (where all the terms hold their common meanings). She could not do so and the model broke down. It seems that no being can ever do what is logically impossible."
I suggest 5 would just become 4 in that example (as well as 5) except in as far as part of the definition of 5 is that it is NOT 4 (which is what they mean I guess but they were sneeky in not saying clearly).
One could say a perfectly rational being would never have such a desire so it would never matter - does that prevent the omnipotence?

battleground god I bit a bullet and tok no direct hits!

Peter Sharples

Peter Sharples continues to impress as maori leader . I hear there is anothr maori party leader - but it is hard to tell anymore.
Good to have the maori parliment in parliment (who would have thought I would say that!).


In light of the recent deaths of two babies there are calls tonot give benefits to those already recieving benefits if they have further children. With hte idea of encouraging them to not have children.

Simply, in the world there are short term and long term thinkers. Short term thinkers have babies regardless of incentives, they also tend to be poor (both a cause and an effect).

As a result they respond poorly to certain types of incentives. Your chances of teaching them to think far into the future at a late stage in life are damn near zero so strategies based on that are deeply flawed.

babies alowed to stay in prison longer

the NZ parliment has voted to send Sue Bradford's Corrections (Mothers with Babies) Amendment Bill to the select committee. this bill allows babies to stay with mothers in prison longer.

The problem is that by necessity the "baby friendly cell block" will be of a different nature to the "general cell block". this would cloud any rational individual decision regarding whether they keep their child with them or not (i.e. a child with a perfect home (with loving father and family let's say) on the outside might be rationally offered to the woman in prison in order to make her situation better at a minor cost to the child. It also restricts the options for how the prison could be managed and increaces costs.

Having said that, I was convinced by the guy on Newstalk who talked about the additional opportunity to teach these potentially high risk parents good parenting skills in a controlled environment. The remaining issue becomes how well controlled is the environment...

what to do about spending

Increase the age for super by one year each year for 5 years. then take a break and try and do it again as the population grows older.
two aims
1) Efficiency - getting healthy people to work
2) Fairness - each generation should spend about the same percentage of their adult life in work.
both should result in a pretty big savings in terms of super

Israel threatens palestinian leader

Israel is now threatening to assassinate the leader of Palestine.
Bad move I say.
Israel seems to have a strategy of escalating the conflict in a knee jerk sort of a way every time anything happens.
Obviously they can’t give in to terrorism and they cant do nothing - so I have a solution for them.
1) As soon as anyone gets kidnapped grab some sort of notable hamas person (for some legal reason) and offer them up as an exchange.
Your not giving in to terrorism because you only “kidnapped” the person in response to their kidnapping. If they refuse then just ignore them. If they kill the soldier you can fast track the execution of someone in the system or some other action that really says "you can't hurt us" "no point trying".
If you have very accurate information and are pretty sure it will work you can send a small squad in to rescue him but don’t send in the whole army every time based on just one person.