Monday, May 12, 2014

"A wish, a target, and a dream"

Back in 1999, when Labour promised to reduce unemployment below the prevailing 6% set by National, Bill English dismissed it as "a hoax". But by changing the Reserve Bank's Policy Targets Agreement and investing heavily in regional development, they ground unemployment down to 3.3% in 2007 - and delivered higher living standards for all into the bargain. Today, they promised to reduce unemployment to 4% by the end of their first term. The Prime Minister's response? It's "a wish, a target, and a dream".

Again we see the constraints of National's "hands off" thinking on the economy: they can't imagine a better world than the miserable one Treasury predicts, because that would require the government to actually do something. Instead, their vision of "effective government" is apparently one where Ministers are paid a quarter of a million a year to sit on their arses and decry the possibility of ever doing anything. But we know that such a world can exist: we've lived there in the past, and we know that a government which actually decides to intervene can deliver it. All we have to do is vote for it.