Bad economic policies kill more children than war:
Recent reports that infants now die at a higher rate in Venezuela than in war-torn Syria were, sadly, unsurprising—the results of socialist economics are predictable. Venezuela’s infant mortality rate has actually been above Syria’s since 2008.
But it’s not all bad news.
The big picture, fortunately, is happier. The global infant mortality rate has plummeted. Even Syria and Venezuela, despite the impact of war and failed policies, saw improvements up to as recently as last year. From 1960 to 2015, Syria’s infant mortality rate fell by 91% and Venezuela’s by 78%. This year (not reflected in the graph above or below), Syria’s rate rose from 11.1 per 1,000 live births to 15.4, while Venezuela’s shot up from 12.9 to 18.6. Meanwhile, infant mortality rates have continued to fall practically everywhere else, and have declined even faster in countries that enjoy more freedom and stability. Consider Chile.
Chile’s infant mortality rate in 1960 was actually above that of both Venezuela and Syria. It managed to outperform Syria by the mid-1960s, but was still woefully behind its richer northern cousin, Venezuela. In the early 1970s, Chile’s progress slowed to a crawl as its elite flirted with socialist policies. Once its government abandoned socialism and began economic reforms in the mid-1970s, the pace of progress sped up again, and soon Chile’s infants were safer than Venezuela’s. Today, Chile’s infant mortality rate is similar to that of the United States.
There is a lesson to be learned from these data points: economic policy matters. While Venezuela’s socialism has managed to kill more infants than a full-blown war in Syria, Chile’s incredible success story shows us that by implementing the right policies, humanity can make rapid progress and better protect the youngest, most vulnerable members of society. Today it is hard to believe that infants in Chile were once more likely to die within a year than their contemporaries in Venezuela and Syria. . .
New Zealand is in no danger of following Venezuela’s downwards trajectory to complete disaster, but it is concerning that economic growth has slowed:
The economy appears to be slowing with today’s GDP figures showing economic growth in the past three months is the lowest in five years, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.
“Economic growth in the past three months of 0.3 per cent doesn’t even compensate for population growth. Economic growth per person, which reflects population growth, actually declined in dollar terms over the past three months.
“Despite all the Government’s talk of wellbeing, that means New Zealanders are becoming worse off.
“While quarterly numbers can be volatile and need to be read with caution, these latest figures do suggest a general slowdown from the economy the Government inherited from National.
“These results will cause embarrassment to the Minister of Finance after he was too quick to boast about the previous quarter’s result, which now appears to be an outlier.
“Despite the economy slowing, the Labour-led Government is projected to take an extra $17.7 billion in tax from New Zealand families over the next four years than was projected under National. That amounts to $10,000 less in the back pockets of the average household.
The announcement of another increase to the minimum wage without a change to tax thresholds will mean even more tax taken.
Any families on low wages will be little if any better off because any gain in their pay will be offset by abatements to Working for Families top-ups. It is better to earn more and be less dependent on government support but that will be cold comfort to people who are struggling.
“National believes New Zealanders deserve to keep more of what they earn. Unlike the Labour-led Government, we know that as a country we can’t tax our way to prosperity.
“New Zealand needs sensible and consistent economic policies that promote growth and reward hard work, as well as wise spending of taxpayer money.”
Venezuela is an extreme case but the lesson is clear – tax and spend economic policies are no substitute for ones which promote economic growth and lessen the burden of the state.
Good economic policy is the necessary foundation for sustainable social progress.