saw hilary clinton on the late show last night. it was an interview that was aired on monday night, before "super tuesday" (see http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/07/hillary-on-electoral-financing/ for youtube videoclip). thought she did quite well, even though she was given some pretty patsy questions by mr letterman. one that did interest me was the discussion on state funding of political parties. hilary was very supportive of state funding, particularly after letterman was pushing the US$1 billion that has been spent on the campaign so far. hilary was probably taking this line to try to protect herself from accusations of having been bought. or maybe its because of the cash problems she's having about now.
in any case, the points were still valid. that US$1 billion could have gone to the 35 million americans who don't have enough to eat. or to the 45 million who have no health insurance. state funding will provide more chance of independence, with candidates less likely to be bought. i did find it interesting when hilary said that their supreme court has, uptil now, blocked any moves towards state funding. she wasn't clear about how she might get around that hurdle.
back here, the tax cut debate has started again with dr cullen's speech today (see http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0802/S00084.htm). of course the opposition has started with the "election year bribes" line - as though somehow when they offer tax cuts, it's not a bribe!? but i was more interested in this bit of the speech:
For too long, our economic debate has seen policies for growth pitted against policies of fairness. But together over the past eight years, we have shown that this competition was false. We have shown that fairness actually makes our economy stronger.
this truth of this statement can be seen when the minimum wage rises. it has risen every year since labour has been in government. every time, employer and business groups predict doom, predict that businesses will have to shut down because they can't afford higher wages, or that prices will have to rise. yet every year, unemployment keeps reducing, the economy keeps growing, and the main drivers of inflation have been house prices and petrol prices, neither of which are affected by the minimum wage.
Cullen goes on to say:
It is my hope that this year, after eight years of expansion and success, we can have a new debate. The time is now for a national discussion on how to have a growing, a fair, and a sustainable economy and in the process how we can achieve a new period of unprecedented prosperity for all New Zealanders.
it'll be interesting to see whether or not that discussion happens. listening to the opposition today, i'm not particularly hopeful. john key on the panel today had very little substance, and was clearly misleading. he said that national's 2005 tax cut plan would have cost $2 billion over 3 years. i'm sure the figure was something more like $11billion, and was going to require considerable borrowing. had we done so, the economy would have been poorly placed to deal with the turbulence caused by the american sub-prime mortgage crisis.
finally, i've just booked my ticket to go to the national interfaith forum, from 8 to 10 march. further details can be found here http://www.interfaith.org.nz/. i've been to three of the last four forums, and they are really great experiences. its nice to know that there is a committed group of people in this country who want to work towards creating an inclusive society.