Sunday, January 31, 2010

Frank Newman: The Minimum Wage


The government last week announced an increase in the minimum wage from $12.50 to $12.75. Of course the Greens condemned the increase as inadequate (they and their union comrades wanted it increased to $15).

One can understand why anti-business activists are calling for an increase. There is some (albeit minor) legitimacy in their argument in that there is a minimum amount a working person needs to earn to survive. But here’s the question: Why should the employer take the role of a welfare agency by paying a person more than they are worth to the business? If the government wants workers to have a minimum income level then they should provide it through the tax or welfare systems.

Or is it that the government does not trust employers to pay their staff a fair wage, and everyone regardless of their abilities or inabilities is worth $12.75 an hour?

Ronald Kitching: Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises

It is my intention to try and enthuse readers to start reading some of the works of Ludwig von Mises who I believe was the greatest economist and social scientist of the 20th Century commencing with some of his smaller books which I’ll mention in future essays.

Here is an extract from “Bureaucracy” by Ludwig von Mises.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mike Butler: Mr Key and the flag of disintegration

When Prime Minister John Key gave approval to fly the red, black and white “tino rangatiratanga” flag on the Auckland harbour bridge and other official buildings this Waitangi Day, did he realise he had agreed to a goal of the Maori sovereignty movement?
“Tino rangatiratanga”, which has become the most contentious phrase from the Maori language text of the Treaty of Waitangi, has become something of a rallying cry for proponents of Maori sovereignty, or Maori self-determination.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mike Butler: Losing money on rentals

Property investors who offset rental losses against personal income would be surprised to find out that the Tax Working Group has not prescribed measures on loss attributing qualifying companies.

Possibly Prime Minister John Key’s comment about “closing loopholes” has sparked debate, especially among commentators who have been campaigning against these companies.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Frank Newman: Taxation review just one piece of the puzzle

The big news of the week is the release of the report by the government’s Taxation reform Group. The six main recommendations of the Group are:
  1. To broaden the tax base beyond income tax and GST the Group recommended the introduction of a land tax of 0.5% of the unimproved land value of a property.
  2. Increasing GST from 12.5% to either 15% or 17.5%.   
  3. Reducing the 38% and 33% personal tax rates. The Group says it would like to see lower personal tax rates across-the-board to offset any increase in GST.

Mike Butler: Tax reform must benefit everybody, even property investors

Over the past 10 years, I have seen a steady stream of people invest in property to cope with their changing tax circumstances.

Therefore, I would agree with Tax Working Group chairman, Professor Bob Buckle, who wrote (in the Dominion Post, January 16) that raising the top tax rate in 2000 and the bringing in the Working for Families policy undermined the New Zealand tax system.

Ron Smith: Prisoners and War - Why we need Guantanamo

For some centuries the convention was clear. In regard to war between states (conventional war), prisoners were returned when the war was over. Notwithstanding that they may have killed soldiers of another state, they were not seen as criminals by either party. This convention became international law with the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions and specific provisions for the status and treatment of prisoners of war were set out in the third Geneva Convention in 1929.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ronald Kitching: Ludwig von Mises - The Economist of the 20th Century

Without any doubt whatsoever, the greatest economist and social scientist of the 20th Century was Ludwig von Mises. But until recently relatively little was known about his life story. All is revealed in Jorg Guido Hülsmann's great 1,143 page book titled “MISES - The Last Knight of Liberalism”. The book describes not only the life of Mises but also the history of the times in which Mises lived. And, the many associates and enemies of Mises.