The Help To Buy “Time Bomb”

The classic definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time.

British Prime Minister David Cameron seems very chuffed that his new Help To Buy Scheme is seeing such a large number of applicants right away. But I wonder if this isn’t another financial ticking time-bomb that’s set to go off, in a similar (if not smaller) manner that the last housing-related bubble went off?

Why is there this obsession with making people “home-owners”, foresaking decent economics in the process, even when those decent economics can steer you clear of a financial meltdown?

Buy all means, build more homes if there’s a market for them. That might curb prices and make a mortgage more economically viable. But when the government uses the banking/lending system as another tool for social engineering, you get, well, you know, what happened last time.

Some interesting views on this in the Backbencher, which is always well-worth a read.

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Margaret Thatcher: The Libertarian PM?

MaggieT_IronIn light of Margaret Thatcher’s passing, everyone has added their tuppence worth, and I doubt I could add much more.

Alex Massie sums it up pretty well for my money, as does Daniel Hannan in both overall summary and here in his take on the specifics.

The fact is that the economic freedom Thatcher promoted helped laid down the groundwork for the social freedom that came after it. Ironically, neither her nor her enemies would acknowledge that.

The rich got richer under her. But so did the poor. Yes, the gap between the rich and the poor widened, but seriously, so what? Would you rather be better off, or worse off as long as other people are worse off as well? It’s true and unfortunate that the increase in wealth for the poorest was slow, but that’s because she increased overall government spending. If Margaret Thatcher was even more Thatcherite, the government would have been smaller and poorer people would have been even better off.

Her personal opinions on many social issues were very wide of the mark for me. But – especially in the economic sphere – there has not been a prime minister in Great Britain in my lifetime whom I have agreed with as much.

Those who are bitterly and spitefully cheering her death really do so for one reason. In the political realm and in the real-world, she won and they lost. Not just during her time, but quite possibly for all time. And they’ll never be able to take that away from her.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, NT!

Just thought I’d mention it: Norman Tebbit is now blogging.

I doubt I’ll agree with everything he says, but he’s written a couple of very interesting posts (that I partially agree with) already here, and also here.

I particularly like his line about our welfare state and it’s perverse effect on the poor:

It is madness to claim that people so poor that they need welfare payments are at the same time sufficiently well-off to pay income tax.

It’s nice to have this articulate voice on the web. From his appearances on TV, I’ve often found myself agreeing with him often, but he sounds pretty stuffy a lot of the time. I feel he’ll really shine in the written word.

Welcome to the web NT, I’m sure you’ll have a blast!

Andy Jones TV: David Cameron Must Make the Moral Case for Limited Government

My take here:

I was watching Conservative Party leader David Cameron squirm on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, mostly because he was avoiding the real issue of spending cuts. It seems that to really get over the recession and general deficit, Britain needs to start by cutting government down by 30-odd percent, rather like they did successfully in Canada.

If DC and his chums want to win the next election with a large majority rather than just pip the rest at the post, Andy argues that he needs to make the strong moral case for significant cuts, a limited government that does less than it is and have us doing more and making the key decisions over our own lives. Only then can he smash the threat of a hung parliament or win on a slimmer majority.

As Ayn Rand always said, an economic and social revolution is easy once you’ve had the moral revolution for individual freedom first.