Further evidence that representative parliamentary democracy does not work. This time it comes in the form of 'Peter Garrett's head' - lopped off for really making a Economics 101 blunder. I did see him at Macquarie University one time. He must have been just a tourist because their 1st year economics courses were great! Oh well, I think he studied law. Maybe he should crusade for judicial activism....just maybe he'd give it his own slight 'judicial socialism'. Maybe its best if he stay on the backbench.
His mistake was an ill-conceived home insulation scheme. In fairness to Pete, there are not many 'rockers' around (aka Midnight Oil) who know how to manage money, so why should we expect any better from him. Also he was not the only minister to support such a scheme. They did the same in NZ, and probably elsewhere.....which just reaffirms my point. Democracy suxs...and it suxs badly. Not news to you? Well...why do you flipping vote for them! If you want change, you are going to have to participate! Coercion is a popular idea. Popular in school, corporations (usually in the form of extortion with incentives) and most of all government. Government is the peak body of corruption. It models subordinate sectors of the economy, just as the proto-parliament of England modeled the coercive powers of the monarch. We need to get away from unconditional love, as well as unconditional power. You get tax if you spend it well. If you don't, then you stop paying taxes. Why is everyone else expected to be accountable, but no one is. We are told by Dr Phil 'if there are no consequences, how do you expect him to learn'. The same rule applies to adults. Teach them to help themselves. They are like children!
Back to the home insulation scheme. The problem is that it involved government distortion in the market. Governments behave poorly because they get 'free money' they did not earn. It was extorted from 'earners' for the benefit of parasites, whether we are referring to the politicians, or the pragmatic politically-aligned business people who exist on government favours. Some business people don't even bother to get involved in such schemes because they understand the dubious nature of them.
Consider that - if you offer free or subsidised insulation - people rush to buy it. The problem is people are not deep thinkers, so they take the 'carrot', not recognising the other costs such as installation have been wildly overstated. They of course have no idea what installation involves, but they dive in, without even researching whether they would benefit from it. Cautioun is thrown to the wind. They don't even care about the quality because its cheap. The problem of course is that the wholesalers of the insulation and the installers cannot cope with all the demand, so they raise their prises. The implication is that we have a lot of installer millionaires around the country, and installation established which was probably not even justified. In many cases it was not installed properly. The rushed demand caused by the market 'distortion' of government resulted in house fires and even death. The problem is that roof lighting can ignite insulation if its not properly protected. So now we have law suits against government and people. All very silly! Its not a new problem....but it happens all the time, and people keep signing up for it. If you want an idea of how ill-conceived these schemes are - consider the same subsidies for 'heat pumps'. Heat pumps are great. But they make no sense if your house is poorly insulated. In some houses the best insulation is an "Eddie Bauer" jacket. It only costs $300 but it will keep you warm without heating the whole house.
A heat pump though is little more than a refrigerator in reverse. A refrigerator made in China can be bought retail for $500 these days delivered to NZ. A heat pump in contrast sells for $3000-6000 depending on its features. The implication is that it would be a better investment for you, and better for the environment for you to:
1. Defer your heat pump investment for 10-15 years until all those high-priced, unthinking Americans, Germans and Japanese have one, and then buy one. By that time they will likely integrate with your refrigeration, water distillation and home power solution.
2. You use the money saved to buy a wind turbine for zero future energy consumption. Or just buy some stocks, rather than go broke on government hand-outs.
Government is in the business of extortion because it does not know how to 'earn' money.