Thursday, 31 July 2014

Around the Traps 1/8/14

It is time for Around the Traps again.
Will update on the week-end.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( Mostly Stats)

Dave Giles (Econometrics)
Dianne Coyle (Quirky + Book Reviews)
vox wonk

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

How is the Government travelling?

Here is:

writing about this topic. I do not intend the reinvent the wheel and they do it far better than I.

Kevin's is the longer and possibly better article.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Work for the dole is very very stupid

We heard yesterday plans for the government that people getting the dole ( to be accurate the dole doesn't exist anymore but you get the point) will need to not only 'work' for it but also show they have gone for 40 jobs during the month.

This is incredibly stupid policy. We already have evidence for this. One of the main reasons for this is that the programs do nothing about improving the skills of the person involved.
Getting a job is a very time consuming job in itself.
I have been lucky in that on the occasions I have been retrenched I have had outplacement facilties given to me.
When you get this the first and possibly only lesson you use is that it is only by using your network that you will gain a new job as the vast majority of jobs are not advertised.
You will drink a lot of coffees as you endeavour to achieve your goal.There are a lot of phone calls involved as well.
As you can see if you are 'working' for the dole then it must mean your chances of gaining that new job diminishes and indeed most studies of work for the dole show this.

In addition if you have to show evidence that you have applied ( and been rejected) for 40 jobs guess who has to do the paperwork. Yep, the business.

This idea is so stupid it could have only come about if Katesy or the Peroxide Princess advocated it!

Special Bonus by the Kouk on will-work-for-the-dole-increase-unemployment

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Israel and Palestine

My eldest son asked me why there are problems with Israel and Palestine.
I replied each denies the humanity of the other. Thus when they murder people they feel no remorse indeed they wish to murder more.

The excuses of either side border on the pathetic.
Hamas fires rockets into Israel which in essence do nothing very much. For this hundreds perhaps thousands of their countrymen will dies if the existing situation is prolonged.

Israel acts as though the country is under threat. It isn't and never was. Yes a response to the firing of rockets must be found however it must be proportionate. Clearly the existing situation is anything but proportionate.

What is the solution?

Accept Hamas as the government and let them govern. This would mean they would have to change. Any increase in growth must come first through greater trade with Israel.
As Growth increases and people become materially better off they want a better standard of living, their own homes etc.

Firing rockets makes thus impossible hence it would stop. Hams would become more conservative and act like a government.
Just look at the IRA and Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Around the Traps 26/7/14

It is time for Around the Traps. I will update on Sunday

Northern America

Andrew Gelman ( Mainly but not only Statistics)
Dave Giles (Econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( Quirky + Book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sinclair Davidson will never change

Sinclair Davidson having gotten badly bruised and battered by the Kouk in the tobacco wars returns to his absurd stagflation prediction today.
First THIS is reasonably okay on the definition and history of stagflation.

Please note there is nothing at present that remotely looks  like the 1970s at present. Also note that one key ingredient of stagflation is the level of wage increases. This both leads to the price and unemployment levels being much higher than  would otherwise be the case.
I let us examine the figures as the RBA views terms of inflation.
In six monthly annualised terms, the path for underlying inflation over the past two years has been: 
H1 2014: 2.5% H2 2013: 3.1% H1 2013: 2.1% H2 2012: 2.7%  ( courtesy of the Kouk).
According to the RBA a rise is rates in unlikely.They said this about the labour market
"Labour market conditions had improved a little since late in the preceding year. The level of employment was around 0.9 per cent higher since then. The unemployment rate had been steady at 5.8 per cent for the third consecutive month, although the participation rate had declined over that period. Employment growth in household services continued to be strong over the past six months, while employment in business services had also picked up. Members observed, however, that total hours worked had not increased for a considerable time. Forward-looking indicators of employment had recently been mixed and while these indicators were higher than at the low points of the previous year, they remained at levels consistent with only moderate growth in employment in the months ahead.
The recent national accounts data indicated that unit labour costs were little changed over the past year, reflecting low growth of wages and above-average growth of productivity. Members noted that while labour productivity had been boosted by a sharp improvement in the mining sector, productivity growth had improved across a wide range of industries in recent years. Business surveys and liaison suggested that wage growth was likely to remain subdued for some time, consistent with the modest improvement in the labour market to date."
how we can have both falling real wages and stagflation is something Davidson talks about!
The market is expecting a rate decrease not an increase. 
So according to Davidson inflation near 3% and unemployment around 6% is stagflation. wow that is some re-writing of the definition.
It is amusing to see Davidson asserting growth in Government spending is the main reason for Stagflation.
If this was the case then how come there wasn't a boom in Wayne Swan's last budget where NOMINAL spending fell not Real spending. This was easily the tightest budget we have ever seen. It decreased GDP whereas for example Hockey's budget was adding to GDP! Remember also Davidson absurdly argued this budget ( Swan's) was expansionary!
On a final note this would be easy to point out on Catallaxy but unfortunately Davidson does not believe in free speech. You rarely if ever get different points of view over there.
So add hypocrite to being ignorant on Budgets, National accounts, CPI figures etal

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What is Sub-Prime

Calculated Risk has this classic post by the late Doris Dungey better known as Tanta on what was sub-prime loans.

It is a classic.
In 2007 when I was at a very large Funds Manager the man involved with credit research was most impressed with my knowledge of the US housing market.
I soon put him onto this blog and it became a must read. Consequently they never had any dud CDOs on their books.

Monday, 21 July 2014

You know you are old when...

A long time ago I was a member of the Sydney Anglican diocese social issues committee.

Two people who were also on the committee were Margaret Rodgers and John McIntyre.

Margaret was a very easy person to know and to talk to. I was very sad to hear she had dies of a heart attack.  She actually interviewed me for the Anglican magazine. I was in the midst of co-writing a paper on Unemployment and was suddenly made redundant so I gained practical experience on the subject!

John and I were very unlikely friends. We never agreed on anything be it theology , economics or even the 'stolen generations'. However we enjoyed each other's company enormously. when he has made Bishop of Gippsland he told me I must visit him. Unfortunately something always cropped up and I never did.  
He dies recently of respiratory failure. he was only 62!
He found it strange that I was much more conservative than anyone in the Sydney Anglican hierarchy but I would always share a beer with him yet others wouldn't!

I will miss John.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Carbon Price

The price on carbon ( note please it wasn't a tax although quite similar) is now gone.
Here are a few articles from Friday's Around the Traps.

Firstly the Kouk writes about the economics of the carbon price.

Next we have Hugh Saddler examining energy-markets/looking-back-two-years-price-emissions. Note that rising prices have changed consumption ( The ETS was only a small part of that.) Renewable energy has risen considerably.
Then we have Anna Skarbek and Franz Josko telling us we should be keeping-our-eyes-on-the-ball-is-the-only-way-to-hit-our-climate-target.
 In essence if you believe in clomate change you have either a carbon tax or an ETS. If you do not you have neither. 

Finally we find Peter Martin saying carbon-tax-going-but-dont-expect-big-savings. Tony Abbott is going to have MORE problems.

Bill Shorten has promised to have an ETS as part of his policy platform for the nest election. Some people think this is a vote loser.
I disagree for two reasons.
1) you can only mount a scare campaign before it is implemented. once the fixed price ETS was implemented it became a big yawn. it was unheard of in the last election.

2) A floating price ETS will probably be lower than the fixed price introduced after the 2010 election so it will have even less effect than minor effect the fixed price ETS had.

I might add when El Nino impacts Australia then climate change will again rise as a major issue in the public's mind.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Around the Traps 18/7/14

It is time again for Around the Traps.
Catch up round for postponed wet weather games this weekend ( not a lot of games therefore) so updates will be on Saturday and Sunday.

Aussie, Aussie,Aussie,Oy,Oy,Oy
Northern America

Andrew Gelman (Mainly Stats)
Dave Giles (Econometrics)

Dianne Coyle (Quirky + Book Reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Hit and Myth in the Middle East

I was reading Chris Bertram's piece on the current state in Gaza when it occurred to me both Hamas ( wholly created by Israeli intelligence) and Israel both campaign on myths which simply do not make sense.

Hamas sends rockets into Israel. the 'Iron dome' system appears to be working well as the said rockets have not killed anyone as yet. Israel blows any rockets up that appear may hit areas of Israel that could hurt or kill people and let other rockets go if they simply blow up in the country side.
One might think Israel is lucky Hamas does not sophisticated weapons that Russian guerrillas use in the Ukraine.One might also ask why?

Israel claim they have to clamp down on these rockets to prevent any people getting killed.
Thus both parties are sending out and reacting to myths.

It is like when Israel says Hamas is committed the destruction of Israel. Yes they might have that aim but they do not have the means and never will.

As long as both sides argue about myths and not what actually happens nothing will ever change.

One thing is for certain neither 1948 nor 1967 can be excised from history.
Part of the solution would have been when Hamas won Government to encourage them to change like the IRA in northern Ireland. Israel went the other way.
That worked well!

Here's Peter Beinart

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Judith Sloan demolished again

I outsource this to STEVE from BRISBANE.

I find it interesting that a person who gets things so badly wrong time and time again doesn't seem to care.
Perhaps she uses too much peroxide.

I think one of the reasons why people from Catallaxy not only get things wrong on a consistent basis but also fail to acknowledge their mistakes is because they rarely venture outside of that blog. Hence they never have to defend their absurd positions.
They keep on making columns most of which you would think they are living on another planet. Few contrary positions are allowed there.
Anyone who does usually gets banned for made up reasons.

It is all very sad

Monday, 14 July 2014

When Parents grow old

I had my mother with us last week.

It was both fine but also very sad.
Despite the guest room having its own bathroom and toilet she frequently got lost going to any of the rooms.
She needed help to have a shower, to brush her teeth amongst  many other things.

Both My wife's father and my father are dead.
My  wife's father was the GP to the country town of Blayney and did a magnificent job. I remember being woken up in the cold mornings more than once to discover him driving to the hospital to to help patients, usually the result of car accidents.
He had a very sharp mind and thus it was heart rending to see him deteriorate so quickly when he retired. To visit him at the Aged Care part of Blayney hospital was heart breaking. The great thing was to see how much the hospital staff cared for him.

My father was a very energetic man. He would paint the house every year! Once he was in decline he declined very fast and was a shadow of the man he had been at his peak.

There are some people who want to live to a ripe old age. I am not one of those people.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The World Cup

The World Cup is now over and Germany has won.

It has been the best world cup I have watched since the 1986 finals in Mexico.

We saw attacking teams win in the group stage. Every team which tried to park the bus lost!

This ( and the lack of cards as demanded by FIFA which this Referee disagrees with) meant more goals scored during the group stage than for some time. Even the draws were mostly great to watch.

The goals certainly dried up when the second round came but this always occurs. We still had attacking teams winning.

There was no stand out team in this cup. Germany were lucky but worthy winners. One would have said the same thing if Argentina had have won. Unfortunately we did not see Messi at his best in this tournament. He has not been in great form for around 6 months so it was expecting a bit for him to be like Maradona was in 1986 . He was more like Maradona in 1990!

Teams such as Brazil and Holland were a travesty to their culture. No Joga Bonita no total football. A number of coaches reputations went backwards.

Australia had a lot of encouraging signs. Ange took over way too late but we played well in the first two games with out youthful inexperience costing us all the goals. It was unfortunate that whilst we didn't have a lot of talent to choose from we had injuries to vital players just at the wrong time.

however we played well and with lick could have had two wins. As with most inexperienced youthful teams we could pick ourselves for the third time and got well beaten by Spain however I am looking forward to both the Asian cup in Australia next January and then the World Cup in Russia in four years time.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Around the Traps 11/7/14

It is time for Around the Traps.
A lot of great articles in Vox Wonk this week. Genial Dave Giles is trying to enjoy himself in NZ. Good luck!
Wife and boys in Blayney with her mother so can update on the weekend with ease.

Northern America

Andrew Gelman (Mainly but not only Stats)
Dave Giles (Econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( Quirky + Book Reviews)
Vox Wonk

Monday, 7 July 2014

Australia reaches a new low

The news the government sent all asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka the country from where they were persecuted is a new low and shows the Government has no moral compass.
No-one could take seriously they could investigate their claims on a boat.

I will be interested to see what the government apologists say about this action.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Around the Traps 4/7/14

It is time for Around the Traps again.

Northen America
Andrew Gelman (Mainly Stats)
Dave Giles (Econometrics)

Dianne Coyle (Quirky + Book Reviews)
Vox wonk