Another manufactured crisis | The Jackal

11 Jan 2013

Another manufactured crisis

Yesterday, The NZ Herald reported:

The Government plans to hound student loan holders who have gone overseas leaving big debts behind. 
Australian-based borrowers in particular will be targeted, as the Inland Revenue Department increasingly uses legal action or debt collectors to claw back money from the most reluctant payers.

I hate to swim against the tide here, but what this is really all about is National trying to ensure that education is only available for the rich, with those who are unable to repay student loans because of a weak job market being unfairly targeted by a government that is essentially ageist.

They're also hell bent on revenue gathering because their costs have ballooned out of control. Targeting "freeloaders" isn't the only way National is further taxing the people to try and balance their dodgy books, with various other taxes being recently announced in order to restrict and punish.

The problem is that the National party is controlled by a bunch of old white men who often develop negative policy that's specifically targeted against younger people. Unfortunately John Key and the rest of the tory scum don't have the best interests of the country at heart, and as long as the already wealthy are strengthening their positions, they simply don't care if the best and brightest have the opportunity for a higher education.

Overseas-based borrowers are responsible for 80 per cent of overdue repayments, which amounted to $418 million in October. 
"It's fundamentally a fairness issue," said Revenue Minister Peter Dunne. "There's a certain sense of annoyance amongst people who stayed in New Zealand and diligently worked to pay off their loans that these freeloaders overseas are, in some cases, getting away with it."

What a load of rot! There is no "sense of annoyance" amongst the working class in New Zealand about the few people who have left and are not repaying their student loans. This is another manufactured crisis in order to get Peter Dunne into the media spotlight.

It's also an inefficient use of capital whereby funds recovered aren't going to be more than the funds spent in chasing the bad debt. There's also the issue of selling the debt to a foreign collection agency when the contract is only pursuant to New Zealand laws.

Suing student loan debtors, taxing wages or repossessing items in foreign countries will also have a number of additional costs that makes the governments entire student loan debt recovery policy defunct... It's clearly unworkable in practice and in law.

Mr Dunne said that simply getting in touch with borrowers abroad was often enough to increase the rate of repayments.

"The vast majority, when contacted, realise they've got an issue and they have to do something about it. A few say, 'Go to hell', and they're more likely to be the ones that end up in court.

"We've also had cases of irate parents discovering that their darling had left the country with a rather large debt and have taken steps of their own."

The majority of borrowers overseas were in Australia, and IRD had become more aggressive in its pursuit of those with huge debt. It was increasingly employing debt collectors and in the very worst cases, borrowers were taken to court.

About 15 were being pursued for legal action in Australia at present.

Mr Dunne said the new measures would not collect all of the overdue payments, and only a culture change with regard to student loans would erase the mountain of debt.

The real problem here is the neoliberal agenda that believes younger generations should pay for the governments fiscal and social mismanagement.

Instead of actually living within their means, the government and many baby boomers who largely had free education themselves are happy to go along with the blame the young mentality. Who cares if the numbers don't stack up, as long as the government can appear to be doing something about the huge debt their mismanagement has caused, your average Joe Blogs will go along with the propaganda.

Of course Cameron Slater has an opinion... He wants to send in the debt collectors after creating false Facebook accounts to find out people's information. Who cares about the terms and conditions of Facebook itself or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF) that states a debt collector cannot misrepresent... Who cares that it won't work at all to reduce the student loan debt, as long as it creates more jobs for fat useless bastards like him, the tory slob and other ideologically blinded morons will continue to applaud National's stupidity.

There's no doubt that the governments idiotic idea to make former students pay-up no matter what will end up costing the taxpayer more than is recovered. They will also turn more people away from seeking an education in the first place, which is obviously another one of Nationals agendas.... Educated people are harder to control after all.