Thursday, 25 August 2016

Around the Traps 27/8/16

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)

Vox wonk

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Getting the budget back to balance

We have a lot of hoo ha ( a technical term) from both parties of how to get the budget back to balance.
ONE problem we are being mightily misled.As Ross Gittins points out the government is covering its recurrent expenses. The reason the budget is in deficit is infrastructure spending.

Now a concerted attempt to get the budget back to balance when it is currently estimated to be 2.2% of GDP has three problems.

The first problem is the contractionary effects it would have on the economy.  I have written about this recently here and here. I suspect that is why all treasurers have been very tentative in their budget consolidation efforts.

The second problem is that infrastructure spending would normally boost the supply side of the economy as Glenn Stevens alludes to in his last speech.  See here for an old paper on how this occurs from the US Treasury.

The third problem is you are cutting programs not associated with the structural problems of the budget. The problems of the structural deficit are all on the revenue side. ( see first here link for that.)

Unfortunately we have politicians on both sides who either do not know what they are talking about or are simply talking porkies.
It is unlikely we will in the foreseeable future so budget repair must be slow but sure otherwise it will be counterproductive. see booming conditions.


I have been asked if the government and opposition are fair dinkum in their efforts at budget repair.

No as I implied neither side is. If the Government was they would have had a meeting with Shorten, Bowen and Chalmers and come to an agreement on what to do instead we first of all had Turnbull saying by megaphone he wanted an agreement with the ALP/ He wasn't serious and we have seen this ever since Turnbull's speech. The government minsters have been politiking and it was easy to spot. ( Thus it was poor politi. king alah Abbott)  The Oppostion then responded  in kind . Our political classes are not of a high order

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Castle: The end of the series

Castle ended some time ago and I have yet to comment on it.

That the series ended was not unexpected. It had been in terminal decline since the second half of season 6.
Why was this?
There was no attempt at continuity in the series. Beckett for example did go the prom in season one but didn't in season 6. Lanie hated her mother in season 3 yet did everything to appease her in season 7. Beckett was a model at 17 in season 2 but at 19 in season 6.

There was no research done on anything.Consequently we had Beckett being offered a job on national security despite being suspended for a lengthy time of gong rogue less than a year before this. Beckett becomes a captain after being only a detective. Castle is seen by two police officers attempting to kill 3XK yet is not even arrested!

Possibly the biggest thing however was here we were supposed to have a long flowing love story yet at no time did Castle or Beckett ever share anything in life, no decisions were ever made together and they never ever discussed  major mistakes  in life.

That such a once great series ended ingloriously is a tragedy.


Wallander (UK version) is one hell of a police series. It is a police series based in Sweden.

Kenneth Branagh is the main star of the series and shows why he is one of the great actors. We have other stars such as a young Tom Hiddleston and the late Tom  Beard.

Although at times it becomes a very dark series as one might expect from a series based on solving murders the writing, directing and acting is superb. It is amusing for an Aussie to see a person wearing a jumper, overcoat  in summer.

I watched the last episode of the last season I taped on Sunday on the ABC. On Monday I watched the very first episode on 72 which i missed before i knew about the series
It is one hell of a series.

Monday, 22 August 2016

In Praise of blogging

Nick Gruen , the nicest bloke in the blogosphere and one on the most thoughtful ( although very Broderist in the best on M0nty;s definition.) has written in praise of blogging.

He naturally writes a interesting column on blogging.

Blogging has simply increased exponentially over the last ten years.

I can read and be kept up to date on macro-economics, micro-economics, statistics, politics, econometrics, history even economics in star trek or how science fiction is evolving. I can participate in debates over the various star trek franchises ( yes I am a trekkie) or the Lord of the Rings ( yep there too).
Even better you get to interesting blogs through either links in good articles or the blogs on the sidebars.
Don't believe then go to :

  • Mark Thoma
  • Simon Wren-Lewis
  • Noah Smith
  • Steve from Brisbane
  • Hotwhopper
this is only a small example.

My wife always nags me about how much time I have on the computer however she does not realise I am reading lots and lots of articles.

Thank you Nick

Not an update:

I have been upbraided for not commenting about how blogs on politics and elections in particular has become so much more sophisticated.
In Australia we saw Mumble and then in more recent times Kevin Bonham and Mark the Ballot who have shown us what the polls are really telling us.
In the US we had Nate Silver, Sam Wang and our own Simon Jackman all told us what would occur in the last US Presidential election ( although Katesy and Catallaxy did not typically understand)..

As Brad De Long would say smackdown accepted!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Blue Oyster Cult

They did have one song that became an absolute classic.  Don't fear the Reaper

Here it is!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Around the Traps 19/8/16

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman (mainly stats)
Genial Dave Giles (econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk