David Shearer is trying to convince us we’d be better with a more hands-on government.
What he means is he wants his hands on more of our money to redistribute in ways that will help some at the cost of many.
The some he helps won’t necessarily be those in need and the many it costs won’t only be those who can afford it.
He doesn’t back up his desire for a more hands-on approach with facts, possibly because, the facts wouldn’t back him up.
Hands-on economies are struggling and countries which have weathered the global financial crisis better, are those which have a less hands-on approach.
The countries that best weathered the crisis were exactly those that have followed the so-called neoliberal agenda.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, the world’s six freest economies are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada (see table).
These six have avoided anything like the deep and prolonged recessions of more interventionist countries.
The IMF continues to forecast higher growth for the six than for countries further down the freedom list.
Even more important, both unemployment and youth unemployment are lower in the more free-market economies.
“Hand’s-on” countries like Sweden seem unable to design an economic system that avoids a quarter of their young people being unemployed. In the six freest economies, youth unemployment is half socialist Europe’s. . .
New Zealand’s youth unemployment is higher than it was because of a left-wing hands-on approach, the removal of the youth wage.
. . . Still, Mr Shearer has done us a favour by launching a “hands-on / hands-off” debate.
It highlights the risks of departing from successful free-market economics towards the kind of EU-style interventionism first begun by Jim Anderton and continued ever since.
We have clear choice.
There’s the hands-on our money approach of David Shearerpisos and Labour’s potential coalition partners.
Or the more moderate approach of National and its allies which prefer to address the barriers to growth and employment then allow people to get on with their lives and businesses.