Monday, 27 August 2018

Around the Traps 31/8/18

It is time again for Around the Traps.

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

Drought again

Some good stuff on drought since I wrote about it.

We should always remember drought is one way capitalism weans out bad farmers from goon ones. Too often we give out drought assistance like governments might do to people whose house has burnt down in a bushfire but failed to take out insurance,

Here from 2009 is the Productivity Commission

Chris Uhlman says more

Chris Uhlman ,the highly respected head on Nine's political bureau, had a spray at various journalists and commentators who had become actors the last weeks political events. He accused 2GB, Sky after Dark and the Murdoch press of being up tho their armpits in being directly involved in the changing of the PM.
Yesterday being interviewed by Patricia Karvelas ( who has gone up a long way in my estimation, he went further. He levelled accusations of bullying. He said he had been told by various liberal mps that they would be threatened.
He wanted these MPS to come out and say who had threatened them but they were too frightened to do so.

This is very worrying. We have people who are so bullied by certain people they will not even say what has occurred. This is very trumpian.

There are some people who believe it is their right to build up and then tear down PM's. Never mind about the electorate.

Oh dear I forgot my last important point. all these self professed defenders of the people who only know which way the Liberals should go. Their great goal thus far is to hive off some the liberal vote to mad parties one nation, Katter's mob etc. This always means part of this protest vote go to the ALP because of the diluted preferences. Yep in other words the worst defenders of the Liberal party are those people who always say they know best.

They were all massive apologists for Abbott yet most Australians were glad to see the back of him according to all the polls. They have no idea of what main stream Australia wants at all.

I just love irony

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The winners and losers from Fridays debacle

Who were the winners?

  • Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenburg obviously.  Well done to Patricia Karvelas of now ABC fame for saying Frydenburg would win in in a canter which he did.
  • Malcolm Turnbull well yes he was defeated however he finally showed brilliant political skills. He justly asked for a petition of 43 signatures  as the conspirators claimed majority support. That it took so long to get should have led some people to think the numbers for Dutton were nowhere near as strong as they thought. The time involved allowed enough time for Morrison to garner the numbers which he did.
  • The ABC. Their coverage was outstanding on this. It does help when you have that much talent to work with. I have a new found respect for PK now.
  • The biggest winner of course is Bill Shorten and the ALP

Who were the losers?
There are a lot of them.

  • Peter Dutton. His limitations as a politician was heavily exposed. A person who listen and talks too much to shock jocks and tells them one thing when claiming another was exposed badly by Ray Hadley verbal slip. He will undoubtedly lose his seat now being  justly seen as a wrecker.The man who said Longman was in the bag had no political skills and his no GST on electricity for some but not all showed his economic understanding was very poor.
  • Tony Abbott is now toxic. When the Government lose in a landslide as they surely must this man is front and centre on why. Hypocrisy has never had a better candidate
  • Mathias Cormann, Mitch Fifield and Michaela Cash. They to put it brutally were wood-ducks who could not count.
  • 2GB  People such as Alan Jones and Ray Hadley were heavily involved in this. Yet after all this they have destroyed the Liberal party and their man did not get up.
  • Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin, Sky 'after dark', News corp. See 2GB

A must read from the indefatigable Kevin Bonham.

if the Australian electorate is not hypocritical then the Libs will lose the next election in a landslide.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Around the Traps 24/8/18

It is time yet again for Around the Traps.

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

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Liberals are in a mess

Before I start we should digest the latest poll roundup by the  imitable Kevin Bonham.

The members of the Liberal party are in an absolute mess.

They will lose bigtime if  Turnbull continues as PM. They will lose bigtime if Dutton displaces him.

Let us go back in time.No-one understood why the ALP got rid of Rudd. Clearly they were in a winning position. Both ex-ante and expost the only reason why Rudd was displaces was faction heavies were worried about what Rudd was doing to their factional power.

When Turnbull displaced Abbott this was clearly done for electoral reasons. The Liberals were headed for a train wreck. Turnbull only just saved them. The electorate who was initially very happy Abbot was gone went off Turnbull when it was clear Turnbull was simply a mere figurehead. There was no change in policies.

Now we have some who want Dutton to displace Turnbull.
Why is a very good reason. As the pollbludger notes his political judgement is highly questionable. He also notes Dutton has a constitutional cloud over his head. See also Kevin Bonham for latest developments.
We should note that the ALP have had Brett Walker's opinion on this since April. Clearly they were just waiting for this to  erupt.
Dutton as a mate of mine pretty accurately stated is Keating but without the eloquence nor the intelligence.
His only policy stance  of late is to be frank absurd. Is his policy advisor Mad Steve Kates ??
He has a spectacularly poor ministerial career, This was the case with Abbott and we saw how well that went.

The 'conservatives are correct to believe One Nation takes votes away from them. They then leak preferences to the ALP.
however installing Dutton may well shore up a defence against them but would lose votes big time to the centre.
Moreover the public do not like the changing of leaders every two years. More so if there is no reason for it if Dutton becomes leader.
The public have never liked a divided party although it must be said they vote against the ALP more heavily than the LNP.

Whatever way this goes the Libs and Nats are in for a large loss.

 I forgot the Abbott factor. Abbott is toxic to most of the electorate except Ray Hadley , Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt. Having Abbott is his 'cabinet' would simply make Dutton the puppet for Abbott.
You could not make this up.

Kevin Hogan whom I used to know ( I attended his wedding given I had worked with his lovely wife, has been quite honorable to the  inevitable displacement of Turnbull. He knows people are sick of this.

Its Scomo V Dutton.
Scomo would easily be the better candidate for the Libs but I would love Dutton to become leader.
His incompetence would easily be seen and I would like to see the third PM  lose his seat at an election.

I should add the ABC has been outstanding. Fran Kelly not included

As much as I detest Tony Burke as a person he is very good in parliament

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

The Biggest policy mistake of the past decade

Simon Wren-Lewis of Mainly Macro fame tears into those who stupidly advocated austerity as the world tried to recover from the GFC.
Read and weap

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Rise and Fall of Malcolm Turnbull

When the ALP was in Government we couldn't wait to get rid of them. Not because of their policies but because they were an utterly divided lot.
A lot of people like myself put our fingers to our nose and voted for Liberals hoping that Abbott would grow into the job of PM.

Alas Andrew Elder was proved right and Abbott was totally out of his depth. He would be in a par with Stanley Bruce as one of our worst PMs. At least we had the fortune of him not being there as the GFC erupted.

Most people wanted the Libs to get rid of Abbott as leader and were very happy when Turnbull replaced him. Andrew Hastie for one would not be in Parliament if this had not occurred. The Government was on the road for the mother of all hidings in the next election with Abbott as leader. As PM he simply had a political tin ear.

Unfortunately Turnbull had made a Faustian pact with the 'conservatives' in the party so he never enacted any policies he was known to support but rather continued to implement policies Abbott had promised. He became Abbott lite.

The electorate never wanted this and did not want this. Thus his popularity fell over time. He just got the government over the line although this is what the polls foretold all along.

Ever since the election he has simply made more concessions to the 'conservatives' with the result he now stands for nothing. The disaster of the NEG simply epitomises this entirely. Turnbull now looks as a person without any principles at all who will do anything to stay as PM.

He is a dead man walking. His replacement by Peter Dutton is simply laughable. Dutton is not even a capable minister ( like Abbott actually). He thought Longman was in the bag Here is Anne Twomey on Dutton's troubles

The ALP have gone to odds on for the next election.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Around the Traps 17/8/18 ( Aretha Franklin edition)

It is time again for Around the Traps.
Tribute to the Queen of Soul in General

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

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Interest rates Versus Fiscal Policy

The ever ecellent Simon Wren-Lewis of Mainly Macro fame writes a wonderfully educative article on interest-rate-vs-fiscal-policy.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A prediction on the US mid-term elections

Stats GURU and generally all round good guy Andrew Gelman who it must be said has the best blog for keeping up to date on your stats education which has wallowed since finishing University has had two posts on the above subject.

They are:

My thinking for what it is worth is we have already seen huge swings in special elections held thus far.
If any President needs party balancing it is the present one.
Trump was and is a minority voted  President.

Hence I think it is a pretty fair bet the House and/or the Senate will switch back to the Democrats. 
I think a fair amount of republicans would think this is a good thing.

You would think (hope?) this behaviour of trump might have an impact

Monday, 13 August 2018

Turkey's economic woes

Turkey is facing dire times.
John Cochrane
Emre Tarim
Raul Meijer
OECD Observer
Richard Holden

I am sure there will be more and IF I find them I will add to the above.

From a foreign affairs perspective Trump is taking a large gamble that this will eventually mean the USA being demonised in Turkey and thus Turkey turning to China.  Another Trump success

Sunday, 12 August 2018


Okay let us start at the beginning a very good place to start as Julie Andrews sung to us!

We learnt not too long ago the 4 major reasons why electricity prices have risen over the last 10 years from David Blowers of the Grattan Institute.This adds to that

  1. Gold plating of the network  42%
  2. Retail Margin                        26%  
  3. Wholesale market                 17%
  4. Environment                         16%
Thus the major reason for the higher prices is the privatisation of the industry by various State governments. It accounts for 84% for the price rises.
It is pointless in arguing for nationalisation of the industry although this would be the best thing for the country as no State government could do that for monetary reasons.

Just before we leave this we should remember we never asked about the reliability of coal powered stations. We must thank Peter Martin for informing us that particularly in summer the coal stations are very unreliable.

What then for the future? Unfortunately higher prices are here to stay
Why is this?  Take a look at why prices rose so much to start with.
You need a very good regulator and the gold plating fiasco shows that is not the case.
There is no way at all there will be a vast over supply when the market is now essentially in private hands. Thus as Grattan point out we will never go back to the 'good old days'.

Where to go to then. Well we have both the Grattan Institute and the Finkel report telling us the same thing.
Coal is possibly the highest cost alternative whereas renewables are cheap and getting cheaper!!
Add in a battery as recommended by Finkel like the Telsa battery and you have dispatchable power very easily.Moreover it appears wind power and solar energy are complementary

To be honest most of our problems would go away pretty easily if we had a price on carbon and let the market work it out.
The NEG is perhaps a fourth best solution but one I am prepared to live with despite Hugh Saddler's reservations as it is at least a starting point and we haven't even had that in ten years.

My guess is that if we get a change of government we will only get a genuine emission intensity scheme rather than the de-facto one that is in the NEG.
The reason is politics. It leads to emissions falling with the least cost in terms of prices.

Whoopsy. I have been asked do I think the 'Monash' group is serious. NO! If a publicly funded coal fired station was built it would need permanent subsidies to operate. The Libs would be political roadkill for sometime


Ken Baldwin makes good points

Timothy Taylor also has some interesting points.

I got this late. Robert Farrago on nuclear and other stuff

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Around the Traps 10/8/18

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America

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