The grey economy

The Sydney Morning Herald reports

The grey economy: how retirees rort the pension

ELDERLY Australians committing welfare fraud on a massive scale are behind the extraordinarily high number of $100 notes in circulation, a former senior Reserve Bank official says.

Yesterday the Herald revealed there are now 10 $100 notes in circulation for each Australian, far more than the more commonly seen $20 notes.

One popular explanation is that they are used for illegal transactions as part of the cash economy, something the former Reserve official, Peter Mair, rejects as a “furphy”.

In a letter to the Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, dated July 4, Mr Mair laid the blame squarely on elderly people wanting to get the pension and hiding their income in cash to ensure they qualified for the means-tested benefit.

“The bank is basically facilitating a tax avoidance scheme by issuing high denomination notes,” he told the Herald. “They are not needed for day-to-day transaction purposes, or even as reasonable stores of value.”

His best guess is the average pensioner couple could hold up to $50,000 in undeclared $50 and $100 notes to get access to the pension.

Mr Mair said that in 1996 when the green plastic $100 note replaced the grey paper note, the Martin Place headquarters of the Reserve received regular visits from retirees wanting to withdraw large quantities of the new notes. He said the commercial banks had sent them to the Reserve because they did not have enough $100 notes on hand.

Mr Mair said the return for an Australian close to getting the pension who held $10,000 in cash, rather than declaring it, was “enormous”.

“If putting it under the bed or in a cupboard means you qualify for the pensioner card, you get discounted council rates, discounted car registration, discounted phone rental – in percentage terms the return is enormous,” he said.

Mr Mair used comparisons of the holdings of large-denomination currency in Australia and New Zealand to back his argument. “In broad terms the average value of notes held by New Zealanders is about one third of the $2000 held by Australians – almost all of which by value is in the $50 and $100 denominations,” he wrote in his letter.

“An obvious explanation for the difference is means test-free age pensions in New Zealand.”

I’m not at all surprised to read this. Examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences appear in the news on a daily basis. Why? Because unjust laws create perverse incentives. It’s that simple. But not quite as simple as Mr Mair, who really has no freaking clue.

His letter to the governor proposes phasing out the $100 and $50 denominations.

“Cards and the internet have delivered a body blow to high-denomination bank notes. They are redundant,” he said. “There is no longer any point in issuing them except to facilitate tax dodging. The authorities would announce that from, say, June 2015 every $100 and $50 note could be redeemed but no new notes would be issued. After June 2017 every note could only be redeemed at an annual discount of 10 per cent. It would mean that after two years, each $100 note could only be redeemed for $80, and so on.”

The letter acknowledges the proposal would be contentious and says it should not be done “in any way precipitously”, but as payments become more electronic it will become inevitable.

“What would remain in circulation are coins and a modestly expanded issue of currency notes in the $10 and $20 denominations. There is every reason to expect that a national currency issue of this character would soon be adequate.”

How thick is Mr. Mair? How thick is a bundle of bank notes? $10,000 in cash in $100 notes is 100 notes. That’s half an inch. $10,000 in cash in $20 notes is 500 notes. That’s two inches more.

Give ’em an inch …

The Blind Men And The Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -“Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
(John Godfrey Saxe)

One of them

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

“But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ (NIV)

There are two kinds of people in this world. Are you one of them?

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (NIV)

I just found this Slayer fan video. (Warning: extreme content may offend.)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, but what about the Great Commission?

The World By Wisdom Knew Not God.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
St Paul 1cor1vs21-27.

This is why Believing the Divine Revelation is a Higher Reason than mere human Rekoning… which has been darkened… and cannot know God.
While it is true that Reason does reveal the invisible truths of The Deity…The scripture admits that By The creation of the World God is clearly seen…so that Atheists are without Excuse (Rom1vs20)…and also Man’s sin nature…our fallen condition… and the cursed nature of our world are also self evident…via common experience, yet there is no way Man can descover via reason…without faith in the scriptures… that God would send his son Jesus Christ …to die a criminals death…as substitutional attonement for our salvation! This fact cannot be descovered independently via human logic/ etc from experience or from studying Nature.
And this is Why Interlectual vanity Blinds many people whom refuse to simply humbly believe the scriptures… like common fools… Thats right! Salvation is availible to the simple minded! It is not the preserve of the highly educated or superior interlects!

“…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1Cor1vs21)

Satan loves Interlectual vanity because it tends to hinder faith in the trustworthyness of the scriptures. The Highly Educated prefer Clever arguements and rationalism… sophistry, etc… putting schooling ahead of simple minded faith.

Tim Wikiriwhi. King James Bible believer.

St Paul Preached to the Greek Philosophers at Mars Hill regarding their Alter to the Unknown God.

One of us

Not to put too fine a point on it, people like Graham Capill give Christians a bad name.

Capill’s parents were Christian missionaries. He was born in western Africa, but grew up in Christchurch. Capill worked in the aviation industry, but later decided to become a minister. He gained a Bachelor of Divinity degree and became a minister of the Reformed Church of Dunedin in 1988. He also gained a law degree in 1997.

The Christian Heritage Party, founded in 1989, held its first convention in 1990. Capill was officially appointed the new party’s leader in June of that year. In 1996, Capill came close to becoming an MP. The Christian Coalition (being the Christian Heritage Party and the Christian Democrat Party) gained 4.4 % of the party votge in New Zealand’s first MMP election, tantalising close to the 5% threshold. He remained leader of the party through five elections, but stepped down in 2003. Capill resigned from the Christian Heritage Party in November 2004.

OK, here’s Wikipedia to tell the rest of the story.

On 23 March 2005 Capill appeared in the Christchurch District Court charged with indecently assaulting a girl aged under 12. On leaving the court he was assaulted (“punched and left whimpering on the ground”) by local sickness beneficiary Daniel McNally, a former boxer. The media referred to Capill, who was then under a name-suppression order, as “a prominent New Zealander”. McNally, who had no previous connection to the case, received a two-year prison sentence for the assault. On 1 April 2005 name suppression was lifted and Capill pleaded guilty to a charge of indecently assaulting an eight-year old girl on four occasions. These events took place between the years of 2001 and 2002, while Capill was still leader of Christian Heritage. His activities were brought to an end by the Rev Wally Behan, vicar of St John’s Anglican Church, Latimer Square, Christchurch, the church which the Capill family attended. Rev Behan was acting on information received from some of the victims. Further charges of rape and indecent assault against girls aged under 12 (committed during the 1990s) followed. As Capill had strongly condemned “sexual perversion” throughout his political career, the revelations had particular impact. Capill’s conduct was swiftly condemned by Christian Heritage.

On 28 June 2005 Capill entered guilty pleas on a further three charges of indecent assault, one of rape, and one of unlawful sexual connection, all committed against girls under the age of 12. Newspaper reports now describe him as “a sexual predator”, and he was remanded in custody while awaiting sentencing. On 14 July 2005 Capill was sentenced to imprisonment for 9 years. Prior to his sentencing, he sent an e-mail to supporters, asking for forgiveness and that they pray for a light sentence, also claiming that the sex with one of the young girls was “consensual”. His lawyer said that the e-mail, intended to gain sympathy and support, backfired and was ill-advised. Judge Kerr said the email sent by Capill to supporters demonstrated he had yet to fully appreciate the enormity of his offending.

On 16 August he appealed the sentence to the dismay of his critics. The appeal was abandoned on 31 January 2006.

Not once has anyone ever seen such a rise of pure hypocrisy! Talk about Capill syndrome. The Sensible Sentencing Trust has a great collection of Capill quotes, including, e.g.,

“The association of the innocence of an infant with the filthy lifestyle of homosexuals is offensive in the extreme.” Protesting pro-homosexual billboards promoting the Hero Parade – 1998.

“Other parties may pay lip service to family values – we have a manifesto built on them.” Launches the Christian Heritage manifesto. – 1998.

“I am concerned for young people. They may be driven along by the heavy beat, but fail to discern the destructive message of hate, violence and death.” Calls on the Government to keep hard rock band Marilyn Manson out of New Zealand. – 1998.

“It is distressing in the extreme to find the gallery advertises this objectionable material as part of a Family Fun Day, which ‘celebrates Keith Haring’s love of children, child-like spirit and extensive work with school and youth groups’.” Objects to a pop art exhibition by legendary New York pop artist Keith Haring, which features cartoon-like graphic homo-erotic images. – 1999

“I don’t see anything funny in seeing pictures of Saddam Hussein in bed with Satan having it off. If this is Bill Hastings’ image of New Zealand the way he wants it, he can get himself another job.” Demands the chief censor resign over designating South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut R16. – 1999.

YouTube hosts a brief news clip of what took place outside the Christchurch District Court on 23 March 2005. It’s titled Graham Capill on Wholesome Christian Values.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Christianity does not need Graham Capill.

Capill’s actions are anathema to anyone inculcated with the values of modern Western civilisation. In Pariahdom, the paedophile is King. Whereas, homosexual acts between consenting adults—of the kind that Capill railed against—are unremarkable. It’s true, of course, that the Bible does indicate that homosexuality is a sinful perversion. Certainly, man-on-man action is not what God intended. But, for the life of me, I struggle to see what’s wrong with it. Thankfully, gay sex doesn’t appeal to me. Thankfully, too, sex with minors doesn’t appeal to me, either—I find the idea utterly abhorrent, as do most. In this respect, Graham Capill is not one of us.

Capill, who turns 53 this year, is now out on parole, the Parole Board having been satisfied that he was unlikely to re-offend within the remaining three years of his sentence. May God help him and bless him.

Now, let’s put Capill’s offending into perspective. According to traditional sources, the Prophet Muhammad was 53 years old when he consummated his marriage with his wife Aishi who was 9 years old at the time. (One source records that she was 10 years old.) These sources are not disputed.

Like Capill, the Prophet Muhammad was a paedophile. He committed rape and indecent assault against a girl aged under 12. In saying this, I am not insulting the Prophet and I am not insulting Islam. I am simply stating the facts. And the facts are that Muhammad was not one of us.

How anyone can follow a religion founded by an acknowledged and unrepentant paedophile is beyond me. And yet Islam is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. There are 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide.

Islam is a false religion. It is anathema to Christianity. Whereas Christianity gives repentant paedophiles a free pass to the next world, Islam gives unrepentant paedophilia a free pass in this world. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Islam is an alien ideology. It is inimical to Western civilisation. This has only truly dawned on me in the wake of the wave of global violence sweeping the world as Muslims protest that someone made a movie somewhat uncharitably, but more-or-less accurately, portraying their beloved Prophet as a violent, child-molesting fraud. It’s not just over the issue of the sexual violation of minors that Islam and Western civilisation part company. It’s over issues even more fundamental than that.

To illustrate, I’m going to conclude this post with a handful of excerpts from a recent blog post by Liberty Scott. (It’s one of his very excellent posts. You can and should read the whole thing here.)

[I]t is abundantly clear that the values of individual freedom, free speech and freedom of religion, are not embraced by the majority of the world’s population.

Whilst those of us in the “Western” world see differences between the US and Europe, these differences are insignificant between those of other civilisations on the planet. It is taken for granted in the “West” (by which I mean the EEA countries, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), that women should be equal under the law to men, that racism is unacceptable and barbaric, that free speech including the right to criticise all political views, and to both criticise and mock public figures, is inviolable, and that freedom of religion and from religion are part of a modern society.

However, whilst many share some of these values, many not only disagree but cannot even comprehend a viewpoint that holds them.

[T]he big conflict is with the Islamic world, which itself has many diverse strands, but which by and large, with the exception of the likes of Bosnia, Albania and Turkey, is hostile to individualism, secularism and freedoms of speech and religion.

The reaction seen across the Muslim world, and in many Western countries, is a throwback of some centuries, indeed it is a difference that is more profound that than between Marxism-Leninism and Western liberal democracy/mixed capitalist countries during the Cold War.

The flames being fanned by Islamists are ones of values that are completely contrary not only to the post-enlightenment settlement between Christianity, the state and society, but also international law on human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The protestors are predominantly men, promulgating a misogynistic world view, which not only treats women and girls as possessions, but has no tolerance for even engaging in debate or challenge of their religious view. Freedom of speech is to be burnt at the stake along with all those who they feel have hurt their point of view. It is as dangerous as it is infantile, as fanatically anti-reason as the anti-semitism of the Nazis, the anti-classism of the Khmer Rouge and every sectarian conflict you can remember.

They are as incredulous about the relaxed Western view over a film produced privately in the US, as Westerners are over their violence and (literal) sabre rattling. They live in societies where drawing an image of their prophet can get you executed, and indeed even deciding that you no longer believe in Islam can mean death. This is accepted as being integral to their entire social system and set of beliefs. Religion is not an adjunct to life that provides meaning for certain ethical questions or advice on living under difficult circumstances, for reflection at least once a week. It is central, fundamental and provides a source of guidance on a daily basis. The closest parallel outside it in modern history is seen in the personality cult laden totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany, the Stalinist world, Maoist China and today in North Korea. In all of them, the thoughts and words of the personality cults meant everything, their lives, their deeds took up so much time in education and daily life. For many Muslims, Islam is that special. The idea anyone would choose to abandon such believes is not only foolish, but dangerous and any such element is likely to bring down their proud culture.

Given they live in states which enforce this society, they find it remarkable that other states do not also reflect their national religions. The idea that private American citizens can produce a film, without any official endorsement or state oversight, seems improbable and impossible to them. After all, surely all governments everywhere enforce the religious values of their societies?

Not to put too fine a point on it, Western civilisation does not need Islam.

One of you

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. (NIV)

This is a song which
I use to describe what I feel
About people like you
No sense for humanity, no idea about life
This premise has been proved

You used my trust to satisfy your brainless lust
Your word isn’t worth
More than puke in the dust

You twisted things to satisfy
This greedy lust you can’t deny, you can’t deny

How could I be so naive
To believe all the lies
You so easily told
I think I’ve learned my lesson too late
The story took time to unfold
Now I see your true face
Behind your mask, a cheat, a fake
Your word isn’t worth more than puke in the dust

Ignorant twisted mind,
Maybe it would help
To think before you speak from time to time
Pretend to be a friend of mine
But you would sell your mother if you could
For less than a dime
Intelligence lost,
Brain deceased,
So you will lose,
Fall to your knees,
Guys like you I cannot stand
Maybe I must speak another language
Before you understand

You twisted things to satisfy
This greedy lust you can’t deny, you can’t deny

Wordsworth, Romney: Obsolescence

You walk into this room at your own risk
Because it leads to the future
Not a future that will be but one that might be
This is not a new world
It is simply an extension of what began in the old one
It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time
It has refinements
Technological advances into a more sophisticated approach
To the destruction of human freedom
But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule:
Logic is an enemy and truth is a menace

Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant

I found this piece on John Ansell’s blog. It’s been doing the rounds as “A German’s View on Islam” by Dr. Emanuel Tanay.

But truth matters. Although Emanuel Tanay is real and a holocaust survivor he did not write this article, nor is he German.

The original version is a blog post written by Paul E. Merek. Marek is a second-generation Canadian, whose grandparents fled Czechoslovakia just prior to the Nazi takeover. He is an educational consultant specialising in programs that—fittingly, in the present context—protect children from predatory adults.

I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War II. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

“Very few people were true Nazis,” he said, “but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

We are told again and again by experts and talking heads that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a war-mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across Southeast Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians – most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet. And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt; yet, for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because, like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghanis, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us, watching it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts: the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

[Cross-posted to SOLO.]