>Mulling…

December 22, 2010 5 comments

>There’s a lot going on.

I should probably consider a return to blogging.

(* Considering *)

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Miscellaneous

>Spot the inconsistency

August 3, 2010 1 comment

>Can you spot the inconsistency between the two short descriptions below?

I’ll give you some time before posting the answer.


UPDATE: Only one is described as “unelected”.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Defining Modern Keynesianism

>For the modern left John Maynard Keynes is the source of all wisdom on matters of the economy.

Keynes was no dummy and his The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money is a major piece of work and serves as the economic bible for many economists to this day.

Being a major piece of work doesn’t make it right, though. Marx was an intelligent man but still manage to bring to life The Communist Manifesto, which brought so much suffering to, especially, people in the 20th century. Like Tolkein, Marx and Keynes invented their own reality and then proceeded to solve all of the problems within it.

However, Keynes’s reputation suffered a severe blow in the 1970s when major economies around the world went through a period of stagflation – the combination of high unemployment and high inflation – that Keynes said was impossible.

Due to this failure of Keynesianism, modern economists adjusted his theories and refer to themselves as “New-Keynesian”, which replaced the term “Neo-Keynesian”. As is the way in all branches of economics there are divergent opinions of which Krugman, Mankiw and Stiglitz are three such examples.

But how do they differ from the plain, old, vanilla Keynesian of days of yore?

Anyone who has even the shallowest understanding of economics will have heard of the term “pump priming”, which comes from Keynes’s theory that when economic activity slows the government can “prime the pump” by spending money to stimulate the economy.

“How does that differ from what Krugman is saying?”, I hear you ask.

Here’s the only real difference between Keynes and the Modern Keynesian…

Keynes believed that governments should create a fund into which surpluses would be placed when times were good so that those funds could be used when times were slow.

Saving for a rainy day, as my grandmother used to say.

Instead of using a pool of surplus funds as the source of government stimulus, Modern Keynesians use the next generation of taxpayer in the form of government deficit.

And that’s all there is to it.

Modern Keynesianism is about giving the bill to your kids.

That’s why Keynes has made a comeback; it provides political cover to those governments whose preference is to spend money rather than reduce in size.

Yet another example of the deep immorality of left wing policies and their ruinous effect on the world.

(Nothing Follows)


Categories: Economics

>Putting the US deficit into perspective

July 27, 2010 2 comments

>Need to raise revenue for the government?

That’s easy, simply tax the rich.

The United States, like the majority of Western nations, is spending itself into oblivion at worst and massive civil strife at best.

There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it’s still huge – 10 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product – but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates.

But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP.

The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers.

“These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,” said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. “The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.”

So, how the heck much is 1.4 trillion dollars?

Is it actually possible to increase taxes on the rich and deal with the debt (assuming that there’s no impact on employment or investment)?

I thought, why not simply confiscate all of the wealth that the rich have? That ought to solve all of the problems. Right?

I looked up the Forbes list of world’s billionaires that are domiciled in the United States and are doing business and paying taxes there.

The richest person on the 395 name list is Bill Gates with $53B, followed by Warren Buffett with $47B and a gap back to Larry Ellinson at $28B.

Now, here’s the kicker – and the sobering reality check for the soak-the-rich left – if you confiscated ALL of the wealth of these 395 people in order to fund the debt (which means it would need to be sold to overseas interests, of course, as there’d be nobody rich enough in the US to buy it anymore) then how much would you raise?

Ready?

1.328 trillion dollars.

You’d still need to find another $143B to break even for the year! And your wealth creators have now got nothing! Good luck with that…

Here’s another way of looking at that $1.471 trillion deficit.

Consider the following: there are 113,146,000 households in the US, which means that in just one year each household now has an extra $13,000 added to its debt. No wonder the Congressional Budget Office describes the debt situation as unsustainable.

Competition from emerging economies in China, India and Brazil, coupled with declining birth rates, undermine the modern Western (immoral) indulgence of giving people money who haven’t earned it while putting the bill onto the next generation…and the one after that…in a gigantic, populate or perish, Ponzi scheme.

2010 is a momentous year in world history, I believe, as history will mark it down as the year that the welfare state, in its current form, ended.

(Nothing Follows)

>Labor "moving forward" to victory

July 17, 2010 1 comment

>If there’s been a more banal political slogan in Australian history than Labor’s “moving forward” then please let me know.

The first poll published after the calling of the August 21 election comes from Galaxy and shows that the government holds on to its 52-48 lead.

I commented recently that before the last election, which Labor won with a 53-47 margin, their Betfair odds were $1.31.

The current odds are as follows:

The odds support the 52-48 poll so, unless one side or the other puts their foot in it big time, then we’ve got another three years of Labor government to look forward to. How much more debt will they be able to pile onto our kids? It’s remarkable that the modern, “progressive” left has no care for the financial health of the economies of which they’re supposed to be custodians.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>The A-Z of the Labor government’s incompetence

July 16, 2010 2 comments

>This one is doing the rounds of the Internet and highlights the absolute disaster that our Labor government has inflicted upon the poor, old taxpayer for the next umpteen years.

Rarely has a government promised so much, spent so much, said so much, and launched so many nationwide programs, and delivered so little value for money and expectation. Two years of Kevin Rudd has produced 20 years of debt, and most of it cannot be blamed on the global financial crisis. This alphabet soup is self-inflicted.

Asylum seekers. Unless the government can show otherwise, it appears that about 98 per cent of asylum-seekers are getting Australian residency. In contrast, the latest figures from the United Nations refugee agency show most asylum applications worldwide are rejected. The bulging Christmas Island detention centre has become a grossly expensive sham and a mockery of a core election promise.

Beijing. Supposedly Rudd’s strong point, the relationship with China deteriorated badly last year after a series of serious missteps with Beijing.

Computers in schools. A million computers promised to schools, one for every student. This turned out to be much harder than it sounded.

Debt and deficit. The Rudd government inherited a massive $90 billion financial firewall when it came to office, via a federal budget surplus, the Future Fund and two infrastructure funds. In two years the budget has gone from $20 billion in surplus to $58 billion in deficit. Net federal debt has gone from zero to a projection of between $130 billion and $180 billion. It took the previous government 10 years to dismantle the $96 billion debt mountain that it inherited. It took Rudd one year to build it back up again.

ETS. The Copenhagen climate conference was a disaster. Rudd’s emissions trading scheme is abstract, complex, expensive and polls show about 80 per cent of Australians do not understand or trust it. A T-shirt produced by Newcastle steelworkers distils the political problem: “Rudd’s ETS: Higher Prices. Lost Jobs. 0.001 degrees cooler.”

Fuelwatch. Big promise, empty outcome.

Grocerywatch. Ditto.

Hospitals. Ditto.

India disaster. Last year Australia degraded relations with the two emerging Asian superpowers.

Juvenile justice. The plight of young Aborigines is worse than ever, with ideology trumping pragmatism. Children are shipped off to violent foster families while government exhibits a mesmerised inertia in the face of pockets of endemic violence.

Kaiser. The aptly named Mike Kaiser, former ALP Queensland state secretary and state MP, became the umpteenth poster boy for the Labor patronage machine this month by landing a $450,000-a-year lobbying job with the national broadband network. The job was not advertised.

League tables. The government’s one-size-fits-all league tables for schools, plagued by glitches and misleading data, is another centralised scheme that serves as a substitute for tackling the union-imposed rigidities on teacher performance.

Migration. Permanent migration to Australia surged 550,000 during the first two years of the Rudd government, the highest two-year increase in history. This is at odds with the government’s rhetoric on reducing Australia’s carbon footprint. It was also never mentioned before the election.

National broadband network. Last year the Rudd government spent $17 million looking for a private partner to co-build the network. The process yielded nothing. The government will now build and operate the network itself at a cost of $43 billion. A money sink.

Opposition theft. The Rudd government inherited the strongest budget position and banking sector of any major Western economy, which protected Australia from the global financial crisis. The government pretends this was all its own work.

Power. The national solar power rebate is a political debacle. The GreenPower scheme has failed. The renewable energy trading certificates scheme is in disarray.

Question time. Question time has blown out by 50 per cent over its traditional running time because of long ministerial answers and incessant points of order, while the time devoted to answering real questions, rather than Dorothy Dixers, has shrunk to less than 30 per cent of question time; a blatant corruption of the process.

Roof insulation. Send in the fraud squad. A good idea gone bad. Rampant false billing and over-charging. Cowboys everywhere. People dead. Houses unsafe. Systemic overspending. A hapless bureaucracy detached from the realities of the building industry.

School spending. The $16 billion Building the Education Revolution scheme is bloated with systemic overspending and over-charging. The problems were encapsulated by a builder who told me: “My company is involved in the BER work and it involves mismanagement, overcharging, schools being railroaded into decisions not in their interests, all hidden behind a smokescreen. It is the country’s most expensive political stunt ever.” Another money sink.

Tax increases. The federal budget in May will begin to reveal the consequences of panic, hubris, overspending and waste as the government seeks to offset its profligacy with higher fees and taxes. Superannuation was just the start.

Union power. The unions, having bankrolled Labor’s election campaign in 2007, have received their payback, with an increase in union rights and powers. Union muscle-flexing is back, from the mining sector to small business. Endemic corruption, blackmail and violence in the building industry was finally curbed by the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Julia Gillard is shutting it down.

Vanity. See B, K, O, Q and U.
Whitlamesque. Spendthrift programs. Empty rhetoric. Self-congratulation. Deficit spending. Debt blowout. Two years of the Rudd government produces 20 years of debt and poses the question: worse than Whitlam?

X Y Z Generations X, Y and Z They will be stuck with the bill.

What amazes me is that Labor voters can read through this list and still manage to find positive things to say about the government such as the “Sorry” to the (non existent) Stolen Generations and, supposedly, keeping us out of recession.

All they’ve done is to ensure that we will have a weaker economy over the next couple of decades than we otherwise would have. They have guaranteed higher interest rates and higher unemployment, though the effects of those are still to hit.

China’s growth is said to be slowing. How much debt is this government going to have? $100B? $200B is probably closer.

It took 10 years to pay off Labor’s previous $100B debt. How long will it take to pay it off this time around?

The implementation of left wing policies can only lead to unwelcome, bordering on immoral, outcomes.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Ongoing collapse of the UK

>Yet another example of the societal collapse in the UK:

A BBC commentator has apologised to a 16-year-old British tennis star after saying she had “puppy fat” on live television.

David Mercer made the remark while discussing Laura Robson’s weight as she played her second round juniors match at Wimbledon, The Sun newspaper reports.

“I suppose the one thing that I have at the back of my mind at the moment, is Laura mobile enough around the court?,” Mercer said.

“Perhaps a little puppy fat at the moment, the sort of thing you’d expect her to lose as she concentrates on tennis full-time.”

Robon said she was not fazed by the comments.

I’ve spoken to the guy who said it. It’s not a big deal,” Robson said.

“It’s just his opinion. You know, I don’t really care.”

Since when has it become politically incorrect to use the term ‘puppy fat’???

These people are crazy and the UK is doomed.

Good to see that the kid herself is not in the least bit offended by it all, which must annoy those self-appointed overseers of society who make a living by being offended on behalf of everybody else.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Politics, United Kingdom

>Labor will win the next election handily

June 29, 2010 1 comment

>Anyone on the conservative side of politics that thinks we’re a chance of winning the next Federal election is, pretty much, dreaming.

And the election will be held soonish.

Here’s the Betfair market on the election date:

Now, there’s only $700 in the pool and the reason is that nobody wants to put any money into betting against an election date that has already been decided by the government. Sportingbet has a market on the exact date of the election. August 28 is at $2.50, which is pretty short.

Supporting the government’s decision to go early is internal polling that shows they’ve got a strong, election winning lead.

That’s reflected in the Betfair market:

Prior to the last election Labor had a healthy lead in the opinion polls and the price available was only a little bit shorter than what it’s currently at, which seems to suggest similar polling numbers.

Therefore, my prediction is that the election will be on August 28 and the government will be returned with a 52-48 result.

Friday 2/7/10 UPDATE:

All of the money on the betting markets has been for an August 14 election. Sportingbet has that data at $2.10 and August 28 at $2.75 so I predict that the election will be called this weekend for one of those two dates.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Expunging Brand Kevin

June 24, 2010 2 comments

>During the 2007 election a large number of ALP supporters chose to wear Kevin07 paraphernalia.

They looked like donkeys.

Now, Brand Kevin is being expunged from the ALP corporate memory. I just got on the ALP website and searched the site for “Kevin07”.

Here’s the response:


(click to embiggen)

Just four?

There used to be pooloads of Kevin07 information.

By comparison, I searched for “minimum wage” and got 12 responses. “Tony Abbott” returns pages and pages and pages of responses. To be fair there are still many responses to “Rudd”.

There really are no more vicious politics than when the left executes one of its own.

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics

>Labor finally jettisons the worst PM ever

June 24, 2010 1 comment

>The worst prime minister in Australia’s history has been jettisoned by the Australian Labor Party allowing our first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, to take the reins.

Congratulations to Julia Gillard.

Will she be a good PM? Who knows? As I write every time there’s a change of leadership, either in government or opposition, we will have to wait some time to see how a person grows into the role. I suspect that she will be up to the task.

There does seem to be some schizophrenia in the market regarding Labor’s electoral chances. Last week ninemsn ran a poll asking whether people would vote for Julia Gillard if she became leader. The vote was 60-40 against her.

ninemsn has repeated the poll after the vote this morning:

Even with only 7000 votes there’s still a big no vote against her.

However, the betting market is the one to follow:

The price before the leadership spill was pretty much the same as it is now so the government is still a strong favourite to win the next election.


One poll goes one way while the other goes the other:


UPDATE: From the ninemsn website:

ninemsn readers have cast doubt on Julia Gillard’s future as prime minister, with almost two-thirds declaring they will not vote for her in the looming election.

At 3pm today our homepage poll showed that more than 50,000 readers would not vote for Ms Gillard in the coming federal election, compared to about 23,000 who said they would.

The ninemsn homepage is visited by more than ten million people each month — 70 percent of Australians online.

In addition to the vote, more than a thousand readers have posted comments — revealing a vast mix of reactions — since Ms Gillard was chosen to replace Kevin Rudd in the top job earlier today.

Many readers who said they might have voted for Mr Rudd have hit out at the Labor caucus vote that put his former deputy in power.

“We the Australian people voted in Kevin Rudd as our Prime Minister … who is the group, a handful, of faceless people who can just come in and change our democratically elected Prime Minister???” wrote Holcars from Cranbourne.

“The people elected Kevin07 for PM not Julia-010,” agreed Tony G, from Maroubra.

“No one has heard of these Labor factional powerbrokers and the people certainly did not vote for them.”

(Nothing Follows)

Categories: Australia, Politics