Thursday, 16 May 2019

Around the Traps 17/5/19

It is time for Around the Traps.

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

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Poll roundup plus rant on polls

The redoubtable Kevin Bonham has his last polling roundup. Here is Mark the Ballot's monte carlo simulation

A few observations.

Why so few polls? I cannot remember an election when coming into the last week we have just two polls : Newspoll and Essential.

My guess is the media want a close election. to foment this instead of having weekly polls we have the useless seat polls. This means ,they hope, more readers of papers or websites.

If the ALP have been leading in the polls from essentially ( no pun intended) since the last election a sudden change is unlikely. Moreover we would see it it the betting markets which seem to following either published or party polls.

People should also take into account Mark the Ballot 'worries' about herding. If the polls are out by a small amount will it go to the ALP or the Liberals? I suspect the former more so given their infighting this week.

Personal voting habits
I am in Bennelong and thankfully will be able to vote against John Alexander. A very poor candidate although this election he has discovered suits!
Brian Owler is an impressive candidate however I will be voting for Jason Yatsin Lee below the line in the Senate who is easily the most impressive candidate I have ever met. If only I could have voted for him in 2012!!


Why do journalists write so much political gossip. The ALP are quietly confident in such in such a seat. Same for the Liberals et al. Perhaps they are not capable of writing about various policies or the election is so boring they have to write about something, anything

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Was it wrong to ask Morrison do gays go to hell?

I see a few people are all in a lather about Scott Morrison being asked if gays go to hell?

Liberal shill disguised as a journalist Denis Shanahan thinks it is a disgrace.So does another person who is disguising herself as a journalist Fran Kelly.

Morrison was asked by a Journalist this very question and he dodged the answer.
Shorten leaped upon this later thinking here was an east attack and to be fair it dominated the headlines.
What to make of all this.

  • Firstly on a general level Australia is NOT a christian country.  The same sex  plebiscite showed that 
  • Secondly this evolves from the Israel Folau debacle where he is being persecuted for his christian  beliefs
  • Thirdly it shows Bill Shorten is not a Christian. A belief in heaven and hell is central to christianity and he does not believe in hell.
  • Fourthly it shows again the ALP is now a secular humanist party who may well discriminate against christians some time in the future.
  • Fifthly it shows Scott Morrison is ashamed of his beliefs. This was the perfect opportunity to proclaim his christian beliefs yet he did not do so. It could only be that he though if he said words to the effect .No gay people do not go to hell simply for being gay but we all sins and thus go to hell unless we all ow Jesus to pay the punishment for a sins  then that was a vote loser.
So was it wrong to ask?

No. He allows himself to be televised inside his church on a Sunday. We need to know what his beliefs are but we do not.

In their own different ways both Shorten and Morison were both very shallow men yesterday.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Uncertainties and Australia

Warren Hogan who I remember from the financial markets but has now followed his illustrious father into academia has kindly  written an article along these lines.

Obviously the largest threat that can be viewed is a US/Sino trade war. Here we simply do not know the reaction of Donald Trump/, In some ways he reminds me of Mussolini. He is a shallow 'strong man'.  He thinks you can win trade wars and tarries are paid for by the importing
On the first John Quiggin shows the way. On the second Trump obviously has no idea.
Whilst Menzie Chinn examines who might win in terms of pay-off matrices  It is very hard for either side to 'appear weak in this dispute. We must not discount given Trump simply does not understand the costs of a trade war he could easily over-rule his negotiators because he appears to have given too much away. We should be scared. Very scared. Very late Tyler Cowen on who-loses-most-from-the-u-s-china-trade-war

In case the worse happens we have how-design-to-a-stimulus-package

Whoopsy. I should have mentioned  Morrison's tax cuts way into the future. The Grattan Institute have examined these cuts and found very stringent spending cuts are needed for the budget figures to be even feasible. No government has ever been able to cut spending consistently by this much.
Why was this done by the Government? Because they put all the figures into the never never where Treasury simply makes projections. My thinking is if they win the election then they will worry about this problem. Perhaps let tax rise as a % of GDP??

Double Whoopsy
Read this from my old mate Ricardian Ambivalence on financial-stability-and-mortgage-dynamics abd you get grey hair!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The ABC last night was an absolute Ripper on TV

The best viewing ever!
Am I over the top?

You decide.
The Programs were:

  • Agatha Christie's The ABC murders    This is a different but enthralling mini-series concerning Poirot but starring John Malkovich as Poirot.

  • Harrow An OZ crime drama starring Ioan Gruffudd ( a favourite of mine since Hornblower)

  • Shetland  Another UK crime drams based guess where!

  • Line of Duty   Yet another UK crime drama where you see 'bad' cops being investigated 
Given the blow-out in the A-League semi-final I gave it a miss, watched these shows and then watched Manchester City win the English Premier League over some red wine.

Best night ever

ALP Costings and other electoral musings

Well Peter Martin has beaten me to it.

The costings of any opposition now should be quite reasonable as opposed to what has occurred in the past as Peter shows . The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) is as good at providing costings for policies as the Treasury is. moreover the ALP also has three distinguished gentlemen to overlook all these PBO costings and say the total package is fine.
(Every Australian should than Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott for this. This was part of their list of demands to support Gillard.)

Thus there are no longer any 'black holes' as in 1987 or 'rubbery figures' behind the document as in Phil Lynch's infamous 1977 budget.
This lead to the government's response firing blanks. The costings could not be trusted there were no costings for policies on the platform that were not promises!

The main problem with both parties is their promise to keep the budget in surplus in their IF there is a slowdown. This is the worse policy response. Why so?

The state of the budget figures are mainly determined by the economy. Hence a slowdown will affect the budget because automatic stabilisers cut in. This is the cyclical part of the budget.
However it is the structural part of the budget that has the major effect on the economy.
Thus if the economy slows the cyclical part of the budget 'blows  out' because less taxes are coming in and more social welfare payments are going out. The government cannot directly control this part of the budget.
If the aim is to maintain a budget surplus in a slowing economy then the only policy response any government can have is a  larger structural surplus.

 Discerning readers will automatically recognise the contradiction here. The more you attempt to have a larger structural surplus the larger cyclical deficit you will have and the cyclical part of the budget is vastly larger than the structural part hence you not only have a weaker economy and a budget deficit anyway. This is the curse of classical economics.

On another perhaps related track the pollbludget talks about the election campaign.
As toy can see most reports are writing political gossip.
We know seat polls are crap. ( a highly technical term). so why are 'internal seat polls' reported at all?
Probably the greatest load of rubbish I read was that the Nationals had tracking polls in oe close seat.
Are they lazy, ignorant and simply have to write this rubbish because if they did not they would have nothing to write about. Why is this rubbish
1.The cost of tracking polls ( usually made daily) is quite high
2. If the National party has the money why this seat
3. Seat polls are useless
4. The margin is so high as too make useless even if the polls were of a good sample

Please note how can different journalists have different sources saying entirely opposite things?

One last thing. We are now into the last week of the campaign and we have only ONE poll released. WHAT has happened to ipsos and Reachtel? Are they to expensive for Channels 7 and 9?  Strange

At least it ends on Saturday

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Around the Traps 10/5/19

It is time again for Around the Traps.

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