Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Why we should get rid of negative gearing in Australia.

I am a convert to not allowing negative gearing in Australia.

Firstly and most importantly if a person has a property for example and the interest bill on their loan is greater than the rent they are getting then ip so facto they are NOT investors but SPECULATORS. They are only interested in future direction of their capital price ( which they think can only go up).They are NOT interested on the return on their investment

It follows that such people are never worried about the quality of the property they own since the return they are getting on their money is not the reason they bought the property.

It also means Central Bankers  sweat on property prices not falling because if they do these 'investors' will sell their properties post hast which would exacerbate any business cycle. As we saw in the USA if the housing industry is the culprit for a slowdown even a recession then the recovery will be muted!! ( Lower interest rates cannot stimulate the housing industry is such circumstances.)

Negative gearing is  favoured  by people of high net worth to both reduce their tax bills and increase their property portfolios. Peter Martin has shown that millionaires pay no tax because of this. They are the tax nots???

If negative gearing is such a great policy then why don't companies do it? Well because they invest they do not speculate.

However we should also be aware that negative gearing only become a 'problem from when Howard halved the capital gains tax.

Given all this I would be in favour of abolishing negative gearing. Allowing interest as a tax deduction on positive gearing would still be okay . In this way we can encourage investment and discourage speculation.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A few random thoughts on 'Christianity' in Australia

There have been a few things in the news about Christianity so let us look at a few of them.

Royal Commission
Roger Herft at present the Anglican Archbishop of Perth and previously bishop of Newcastle was cross examined about what occurred in the diocese concerning child abuse.  I was not in the least surprised of his fiddling whilst Rome burnt. He is a prime example of an Anglican Archbishop who is not a christian. Like his predecessor in Perth he is not really a supporter of Christ been punished for mankind on the cross nor does he believe in the resurrection.
He is in trouble because like Peter Hollingsworth he did not act as a christian when faced with grave charges.  George Browning another Anglican bishop thought nothing of admitting to adultery. It was not that bad he only did it once!

A pity it  goes completely against biblical principles. The pastoral letters shows god holds pastors etc to a much higher standard then other people.
In all these cases the persons concerned should have resigned immediately after the offence was done. If not they should have been sacked. They could continue to be in church IF they confessed their sins but never in any office.

the Australian Christian Lobby
The ACL  should be an organisation which is rich in christian principles. To my mind the men who have headed this organisation have never shown to be  Their campaign in the same sex marriage debate has been quite poor.
compare the present head performance with for example the-extremely-impressive-katy-faust.

Ask Peter Jensen if he is available to head the organisation. He is quite presentable and highly biblically  literate as most sydney anglicans are

Bill Shorten

Bill got caught yesterday by Ian Powell about his comments on the same sex debate. Ian Powell is a 'refugee' from Sydney where the evangelical view is dominant.  Not a good look Bill!

Monday, 29 August 2016

A few random thoughts on politics here

First I think I should fess up to saying I am finding it very hard to write anything on Mondays. Perhaps it is because I am too bored. I can't even be bothered writing about wonderful examples of stupidity at Catallaxy from Katesy or The Peroxide Princess and this is dead easy and takes little time. Things may change. Who knows

Now onto politics.

Northern Territory election
I suspect if was was mad enough to live in the Northern Territory then I would have voted for the CLP. Not because I would have supported them. They were the worst happless water buffaloes ( to use a Roy and HGism)  I have perhaps ever seen. No the reason is it is not good for a major party to be so comprehensively thrashed. We saw it here in NSW and it wasn't good for Government. It is laughable to believe the Four Corners episode had any influence in the result. Since when did people ever give aq damn about anyone in gaol?  The problems the program showed were the result of both the CLP and the ALP as the program showed!

Malcolm Turnbull
Turnbull has shown during the election and since the result he possess poor judgement. the Liberals and Nationals should thank him for winning the election because if Abbott had still been PM they would have been decimated. Moreover since the election he and the government have been reacting to events not giving any lead at all. If the Gillard experience showed us anything it is that people want Governments to lead even when they deny them the means to do that!
I suspect Turnbull will lose the leadership as the polls show he is no longer an election winner, Although I would love Abbott to make a comeback I very much doubt the Liberals are that stupid.
It is anyone's guess who will succeed Abbott. There is no obvious candidate

Bill Shorten
It is remarkable how quickly shorten has changed. He is now a very confident leader. He believes he will win the nest election..He is denying the government the means to a plebiscite making the same sex marriage a constant wound in the government. He is offering the government the means to make budget savings but showing up their duplicity on the matter. He knows no matter how silly the ALP behaves the government will cop the flak.
I am unsure whether he actually sees any medium term problems. Abbott didn't and it sunk him in government. He needs to think about how he MIGHT govern  in the future. 'Good'Short term politics sometimes means very bad medium term politics

Baird has eventually succumbed to bad polls.( This is only one poll and it could well be a rogue .We simply do not know.) We don't know why but we do know it was do to with the Greyhounds ban nor the Lockout laws. Thus it seems the changes to councils and even the inability to sell the poles ans wires must the the main reasons behind the decline together with the opposition doing its job pretty well. I have previously said Baird is not good under pressure as he has had little experience with it. He may well end up changing and as good at behaving under pressure as Bob Carr however I doubt it.
I am staggered by the utter incompetence of Daniel Andrews. He ensured a liberal victory in the Federal election courtesy of his behaviour with the CFA. He does seem the epitome of a thoroughly modern politically correct leader these days. It could laso show how cautious people should be in getting rid of a one term Government. Oppositions are rarely ready to govern. It is becoming apparent the current Victorian Government was not ready at all.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Byrds

How can one like the bible being pit into song by Pete Seeger!! He must have had the wisdom of Soloman!! The best thing done by the Byrds.

Turn, Turn ,Turn

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

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Penalty rates and employment

Fascinating article on this topic from Serena Yu and David Peetz. They examine the period from when NSW increased penalty rates to 200% on Sundays in NSW and compared it to Victoria where they did not.

Timothy Taylor on a related topic in the US.

Two anecdotes.

  1. A cafe does open on Sunday in Eastwood. It is the best cafe but the owners have decided Sunday is their family day
  2. An electrician told my wife any work he does on a Sunday is much dearer than any other day because again it eats into his family time. The opportunity costs is greater in other words.

Q & A Brian Cox and Malcolm roberts

I taped Q&A on Monday night and watched it recently.  I was impressed by Brian Cox someone I had never heard of before. Malcolm Roberts came over as a complete fruitloop. Both Linda Burney and Greg Hunt were underwhelming. The Mathematician was a babe, ( technical term!)

Roberts claimed the data was corrupted and there was a conspiracy between  BOM. CSIRO ,NASA  etc.

Gavin Schmidt has demolished the conspiracy garbage here.
And then theres Physics is good as well. Graham Readfern joins in

I think it very appropriate Roberts is part of Hanson's mob. He is right ( pun intended) at home there and deserves it.

I should note Jim Rose thought Cox condescending because of his smile. I thought the smile was merely highlighting good manners,  Denialists would probably no little about manners!

The show also highlighted denialists will NEVER acknowledge the facts. They simply change their arguments as I told Steve from Brisbane so long ago.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A waste of money

Australians courtesy of the Government ( and it is bi-partisan) dishes out a lot of money to sport in the expectation it will lead to results. Let us leave the argument that is is a waste of money for the moment..

Quite clearly over the last decade we have seen little return on this large investment.
In swimming ( aint it interesting how we love sports most nations take little notice of) had quite a few world record holders who were favourites to win. Few did.

Ipsofacto something revolving around coaching is the problem.

Either a full investigation should be undertaken or simply stop the money going into high level sport

Monday, 15 August 2016

The US Presidential election

It seems (going on Sam Wang and Nate Silver) with about 12 weeks to go this election is Hillary Clintons to lose.

This would only happen if the Republicans nominated a person few people could vote for. In Donald Trump they have a candidate only the mentally impaired would vote for. At present he has few policies apart from making Mexico paying for a fence on the border. . The little he has said on economic policy would indicate that like most Republicans he likes to increase the deficit for little advantage at all to the economy unlike Obama's modest stimulus. ( Talking of Obama it is highly ironic so many 'conservatives' have criticized his fiscal policy yet failed to recognise he has produced a MUCH more austere policy than the sainted Ronald Reagan It is one of the reasons why the recovery has been so weak!).

I would imagine Clinton will decimate Trump in the debates. Once the Republican primary debates got down to three candidates and Trump had to do more than deliver one liners he was woeful.

However people should focus on what Clinton will do once she wins.

Let us go back a bit. When Obama was running Kruggers asked what his plan B was as it was certain Republicans would not cooperate at all as Obama was hoping they would.
As we found out Obama had no plan B and had to think on his feet to stay in office.

How will Clinton fight Congress? On her most optimistic scenario the Republicans will still have control of the house.

We also know whilst Clinton is fantastic on policies and policy detail she has no political smarts at all.
I could see her losing that battle and consequently the 2020 Presidential election.

The next four years could well be highly problematic and not too good for the US economy as she battles the house.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Fiscal policy and The fiscal position of Governments

New evidence from a group of economists from the World Bank on how well fiscal policy works.
They examine fiscal policy from:

  • Dependence of fiscal multipliers on fiscal position
  • The independence from cyclical effects of state-dependency on fiscal position
  • The channels through which fiscal position affects multipliers
 Very very interesting

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Around the Traps

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, 10 August 2016

Nauru is an absolute disgrace

Yesterday the guardian lifted the lid on Nauru. Well actually it confirmed what the Human rights commission found no so long ago.
Let us be clear. This documents tel us what has occurred. They are not accusations. They are statements of fact. 50% of the reports relate to children who are only 10% of the total population of refugees.
Refugees are fleeing counties seeking a safe home. We are putting them in prison and this results.

I am in agreement with:
Chris Bertram  and
Khanh  Hoang and Madelaine Gleeson 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

I am feeling my mortality

A good friend of mine died on Sunday morning.
His name was Steve McAppion.
We shared two things in particular. We both refereed in the Gladesville Hornsby ( see HERE for a wonderful obituary of Steve and his work at the GHFRA) competition and we both umpired at cricket he in grade and I in Shires.

I first met Steve a long time ago when I played cricket and he was involved in the administration of cricket in the then Gladesville competition.

I got to know him better a few years ago when he first helped out the Northern Districts cricket competition in our Senior semi-finals and Junior finals ( held on the same day).
When I told him we had only two turf matches he said he was more than happy to do a match on artificial turf more so if it were close to Meadowbank park where he lived.

He got in touch with me about a rep game he was umpiring for North Shore against one of our teams. He asked who our umpire was. I told who it was and said it was his first year of umpiring. Darren told me it was a privilege to umpire with Steve as he was a font of knowledge.

I was able to umpire with him when grade umpires helped out the Shires competition.
Last season I was doing this at Pennant Hills oval with him when he failed to turn up on the second day. I was very worried as he would have rung. ( That day it took me a hour to get from Beecroft to the oval normally a drive of ten minutes). I am thus the last person to umpire with him.
I later found out from his sister he had a stroke and it affected his speech. I saw him at Royal North Shore with my eldest son. When I said proudly he was going to referee a super league game we somehow had a conversation on refereeing. This was problematic as Steve could not speak. however my son  came away feeling on top of the world and enthusiastic.

I saw him in rehabilitation and he gradually was regaining the ability to speak. The last communication with him was when he told me he was definitely umpiring in grade this season.
I was about to contact him again to see how that forecast was going when his sister contacted me again. On a Friday again he had another stroke however this time he was in a coma. He never recovered.
I shall attend his funeral today in full umpire uniform as a tribute to him ( as all umpires will do.)

He was only 56. I always thought he was older than me and now I find out he was younger.

Rest in peace my friend.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Factional warriors who see the light!

I am very sceptical of people who have used the factional system to get where they are and then decry the whole system.

Let us be bipartisan here.

Paul Keating was the factional warrior par excellence. He did a lot of things in young labor with hard hat Laurie that were highly dubious, Ask Tom Burns,
however on becoming Prime minster he saw the light and talked highly negatively about the factions.  Perhaps it was the new breed of factional warlords. Richo in particular whom Keating saw as one greedy person who only talked about himself and really did know next to nothing. He cost Keating votes when he won the leadership over Bob Hawke. however he did nothing to reduce the power of the factions.

Last night was say Tony Abbott decry the power of the factions in the Liberal party. This man was one of the key people of the right wing faction. He danced merrily when John Brogden attempted suicide.So  factional wars was so inbred in him.
now he has turned.   the cynic in me thinks it is more about Michael Photios being a better organiser than anyone in the right wing of the Liberal party.

I might have believed  either had they admitted they climbed the greasy pole of politics via the factional system but now saw the light but neither did.

Indeed the ONLY person who was changing the system was the horrible Kevin Rudd and the factional warlords took him down and gave very specious polling reasons for doing so.

how ironic that only Rudd has ever acted to reduce the power of the factions and he was toppled for doing so.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Has Turnbull taken the Liberals to the left?

one of the recurring criticisms of Malcolm Turnbull particularly since the election is that he has taken the Liberal party to the left.

Is this so?
If we look at gay marriage, refugees oe the Republic he is singing from the same hymn sheet as tony Abbott.

In reality the reason why Turnbull has lost popularity is that has hasn't taken ANY decisions that are of a liberal stance. He is seen as a captive of conservative forces.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Around the Traps 5/8/16

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