Thursday, 31 January 2019

Around the Traps 1/2/19

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, 30 January 2019

Davidson at it again.

Our old Gobbelsist Sinclair Davidson is at it again.

He is criticising the ALP policy on taxing some people's excess franking credits.

He shows he is either a complete ignoramus or is lying through his teeth
True to form none of the commenters are wiser.

First of all he claims most of the women affected ( remember it is mainly women affected).

He claims this will lead to them exhausting their share portfolios to gain the pension.

Well No.
The  pension has both an asset test and income test to gain some part of the pension.
If married then both people's situation is taken into account.
Unfortunately we do not know what assumptions Davidson is making. He simply makes this over generalised claim.
The Family home is not taken into account. Other assets are such as shares.
If Nana had a share portfolio of $258,500 if single or $387,500 if married then it is true she w ill no=t  have any access to a pension. Nana would get dividends of  $14.425 assuming a conservative 5% Return.
Now it is entirely unrealistic to assume Nana does not have superannuation if her share portfolio is so large at retirement age. Nana must have had a good job to buy all those shares or a wealthy husband who invested on her behalf..( This of course would lead Nana having a much more generous superannuation package than normal.
We should always remember the worst policy mistake that Costello ever made. Superannuation benefits have NO tax levied on them.
Let us again be conservative and assume Nan gets a superannuation pension of $40k per annum.
This means Nan is getting at present $54,425 a year tax free. Just remember the Super is taken into account for the income test which is if you get over $172 a fortnight you get nothing.
Davidson implies Nana is near penury.

Thus far Davidson does not understand either the pension assets or income tests.
He next has a go at Chris Bowen. Of all things he did not like fuel watch. WE do have fuelwatch now. I can look up what the price of petrol is at any station is locally. Davidson and his mates said this could  never be done. Davidson was responsible for predicting stagflation ( without ever getting the definition right) just when the nation got deflation according to the GDP Deflator. He also recently said anyone who supported a two state solution in the Middle East is anti-semitic

He then deliberately avoids Craig Emerson's main point. dividend imputation was envisaged where superannuation benefits were not taxed.

He then again refers to taxable income. however as we have talked about previously taxable income is a very poor predictor  of  wealthy a person is.

Taxable income is of course gross income less deductions. As many people have pointed out deductions are correlated with gross incomes.Conservatives in the past such as Michael Porter wanted to eliminate deductions /( as did Milton Friedman) because of this and if one did ordinary taxpayers  would pay less tax!

finally we should speculate on why females constitute such a large portion of people of excess franking credits.
Given it is unlikely we would have such a large cohort of females earning so much money in their career they have these franking credits then the only other solution to this is wealthy husbands have invested on their wives behalf ( because of their lower taxable income.
Numerate people would realise if Nana had a share portfolio of $ 387,500 she in fact would pay tax as the tax free threshhold is $18,200.

THIS article from Frances Coppola is pertinent.

Let us be rank excess franking credits is mostly a tax dodge for wealthy people. Davidson is your chief apologist for wealthy people to dodge paying tax.  As Craig Emerson pints out the more they dodge tax the more tax the punters have to pay to keep revenues at their present levels. This occurs because most punters do not have the deductions to reduce their taxable incomes!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Movie Review : Green Book

I went with my wife to Top Ryde Cinemas last night and watched Green Book.

This was done on the recommendation of one of her former teaching colleagues.

I was not disappointed. I was a great movie.
The link should give you the gist of what the movie is all about.
however the developing friendship between the two is probably what the movie tries to portray.

A poorly educated man of italian background meets a fantastic piano player what has not one but two doctorates.
( The best part of piano playing is when he plays the  piano in a dead end club and plays good old boogie woogie. He mostly plays jazz but would prefer to play classical music. however he gets such a high playing boogie woogie he says he would love to do it once a month and do it for free!)

It is a movie which shows the latent racism in the US deep south of the early 60s. (The lead player is shown ringing Bobby Kennedy up to get out of a southern gaol.)

In the end it is a feel goo g movie. Is it accurate. Perhaps not in all things .I do not know. however the end product is right up there in terms of movies i have seen.

Highly Recommended

Monday, 28 January 2019

A Parent's worst nightmare

Last Saturday a lad the same age as one of my sons dies when jumping from the third floor of a house he missed the pol and hit the pavement.

Here was a young man who had just finished his degree, in the full bloom of life with it all in front of him killed in an accident.

Most parents expect and hope to die before their children. Having to attend a son's funeral when he had yet to experience life is an absolute tragedy.  I would be inconsolable.

The death has really hit hard to my son and his friends.

He and they  will eventually get over it. The family will not. They will always feel the pain.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Around the Traps 25/1/18

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, 23 January 2019

Health Care is expensive

Even though we have Medicare health care is expensive in Australia.

I have to see two specialists at present. One  for skin cancer and another for gall stones. Seeing both  leaves you with little beer money from $500.
Then of course there are the tests the specialists want you to have. They cost you as well.

To be sure both in the tests and seeing the Specialist Medicare does give you a rebate but it aint a lot.

now imagine you have to go to Hospital. Yes your private health care covers you for hospital costs but not for the specialists to operate on you.

Of course you do not pay for anything in the public hospital.

Why then have private hospital cover. As I found out when I was operated on for my prostrate it cam be done very quickly and the hospital is very good ( the San in this case).

I would still make the case if you have demand for medical services ( which usually means you are getting older like me) health will cost you even with private health cover which goes up every year more than inflation.


I am going to have my gallbladder out. It will cost me a little less than $2k in out of pocket expenses for one day in hospital.for those interested the bill for the anesthetist is almost three times that for the Surgeon..

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Warren Mundine

The Prime minister  is trying to parachute Warren Mundine into the seat of Gilmore in NSW.

This is a big call on the part of Scott Morrison. It is a captain's call. Calls that are mistakes tend to be highlighted.
So is this a mistake?

Mundine has no connection to the electorate whatever.
Mundine is not a 'star' candidate either. Having seen him on the ABC show The Drum various times he has ranged from inarticulate to embarrassing.  Moreover he was at one tine President of the ALP. It seems the only reason he left was he was unsuccessful in gaining  preselection in both the Senate and the house of representatives.
The local preselectors in Gilmour who preselected Grant Schultz appear to be up in arms. Schultz has said he will run as an independent.

All in all not a great look for the Liberal party nor for the Prime Minister's political nous

Monday, 21 January 2019

Coal power's poor future

Here we go again.

 Coal has a poor future in electricity.
Why you ask.
Easy peezy.

First is cost. As I outlined last November new solar is now the same cost as EXISTING coal. It is half the cost of NEW coal power stations. South Australian experience.

Second is reliability. the demand for electricity is highest on stinking hot days. Guess what. On these same days units at coal powered power stations break down regularly .  See HERE

For anyone yo invest in a coal powered power station you would need a public subsidy for the plant's life of 50 years.  That is a vote winner


Latest coal powered power stations are just as bad if not worse than old stations with regard to units breaking down

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Grand Designs

Grand Designs is a television series on the ABC.

The link tells you all about the show.

I really enjoy it. Before discussing I need to say there is an Aussie and Kiwi version of the show.
They do not work for two reasons.
1) Kevin McCloud is unique. He understands what the viewers want. It isn't just building a home

2) He shows us very different kinds of homes. for example i can think of making a home in a cave, Making a home in a circular way like mollusc and another one which used a former dairy to as its basis. This simply has not occurred in the antipodean versions.

I am finding i like it so much I am taping it. My only criticism is it goes too long.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Around the Traps 18/1/16

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Australia Day farce

Only in Australia do we celebrate ( and it has only been very recently as well post bi-centennial actually) Australia day on a day we did NOT become a nation.

This would be like celebrating your birthday say on January 1 on January 16. It is stupid. It has no rhyme nor reason but hey we are Australians.

The folks with the loudest voices saying we should do this are people calling them selves conservatives.

Oh dear

Perhaps we should call this our fake Australia day

Late update:

Daniel Flitton  says it oh so well

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Do not test pills

There are some people who want the Government to test illegal drugs at various music festivals.

This is a poor call.

People know they are playing russian roulette when taking the pills. If they possessed any intelligence they would go nowhere the pills.

If the government tests these pills they are essentially making illegal drugs legal. This is utter stupidity

Monday, 14 January 2019

Another damned operation

I went home on Saturday morning quite pleased as Australia had convincingly defeated Palestine in the Asian Cup. I went to bed thinking that was that. I awoke at around 12.30 thinking I must be suffering from indigestion or heartburn. When Mylanta did not do a thing I knew something else was occurring so it was off to Ryde Hospital in thee wee hours of the morning.

Finally i was told I had not one but three gallstones that had to come out at some time.

So I am now trying to find a specialist who can do this.

The worst thing about getting old is going to hospital.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Trump is doomed

One of the most easiest things to predict is the future of Donald Trump.
He essentially became President by a fluke.
He has not captured any of the independent  vote at all.
He has no adults at all advising him either from cabinet or as advisors.
He clearly is not very intelligent at all.
Clearly he has something to hide on Russia. An innocent man would not care less about the  Mueller investigation otherwise.
His other large problem is his tax cuts has massively increased  the budget deficit without any commensurate increase in the GDP. This is not a bad thing as the Fed would have  had to raise interest rates exponentially otherwise.

He also shows he possess little political nous whatsoever.

Thus it is quite easy to believe Trump is going to have one hell of a year with Democrats examining  every nook and cranny of any conflict of interest

How could I forget this missive from Michael Fullilove on Trump

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Around the Traps 11/1/19

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, 9 January 2019

some heroic forecasts

Okay it is the New year and perhaps it is time for some heroic forecasts or guesses.

I see a minority Liberal/National government in NSW. Back down Berejiklian has gained a reputation and some infrastructures problems will outweigh the any successful solutions they have produced. More so when they are big.

Unless the voting public are complete hypocrites the ALP should romp home federally. As the saying goes disunity is death and the Libs and Nats have it in spades

I am going for a softer economy so GDP  It won't go over 3%/ Reasons? housing will be a negative, savings have been depleted so consumption should slow. Maybe China slows so commodity prides soften.  I can't see wages rising much so inflation won't either

Trump will get worse. I am in complete agreement with Calculated Risk. Trump is a thin skinned narcissistic ignoramus. With no adults to assist him the chickens will come to roost. The US economy will slow over the best two years and a trade war will erupt. The Mueller report and its repercussions will merely exacerbate this. I don't see an impeachment as Democrats want Trump to contest the 2020 Presidential election.

Therese May survives in Parliament and is vindicated when the no-deal Brexit provides all the problems people said it would

The economy slows as trade tensions with the US erupt.

We easily lose the Ashes series and Smith scores the only Aussie ton. Jimmy anderson takes over 30 wickets on bowler friendly wickets

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Some reflections on the Test Series

Well the test series is over and the Indians thoroughly deserved their first success on Aussie shores.

So let us examine the series.

I said before the series started that the series would be won by either the Aussie batting or the Indian bowling rising to the fore.
I did assume the Australian batsmen should bat better on home soil than in the UAE. I also thought the Indian bowlers would revert to type and bowl far too short.
Both assumptions proved to be unsound.

The pitches bar Perth were an absolute disgrace. We do not want roads here. We want fast bouncy wickets where the ball is on top of the bat. Thus a century is well earned. Tell Sydney and Melbourne they do not have tests next year. As Brisbane and Hobart are clearly the best pitches they should always have tests until the other cities catch up. Perth is nearly there.

The Selectors were either incompetent or out and out liars. They said they would go on form. Huh?
The top four batsmen in averages did  not get a look in. Finch did a valiant job in the UAE where the ball rarely swings. However in Australia there must be a good reason why Victoria never picks him to open. We saw this in the first two tests. Despite this he was still told to open in Melbourne. Why?
Despite this he still managed to score more runs in his first four tests than either Warner or Harris.

Why the Marsh's were selected is a complete mystery. Elder Marsh is 35. He aint going to improve if anything he will do the opposite. Mitchell Marsh is the only 'allrounder I know of whose bowling average should be his batting average and vica versa.

Let us go to the bowling.
Mitchel Starc is dynamite with the new ball when he is swinging it. Yet he only bowled two decent balls that swung  in the whole 4 tests. Both got wickets. The reason (not the only one but the most recognisable one) was his right foot should have been pointing to first slip ( if bowling to a right hander) yet far too many times his right foot was pointing to the wicket keeper.
Hazelwood under pressure does the same thing. It was very easy to spot in Sydanee.

Some people argued the new ball should have gone to Cummins but he does very little with the ball in the air.

Unfortunately the selectors have backed themselves into a corner. They must be hoping Warner and smith will make a huge difference in England.

Enough of Australia what of India?
It took them two tests to find new openers but that was the change they needed. If the new teenage sensation is only moderate they have solved their opening woes. Pujara was simply sensational. He was the bulwark behind their batting. Kholi never had to concentrate all that much so we only got 1 tom and 1 50! They can choose between Vihari or batting Sharma for no 6.
Pant reminds me of Iron gloves Marsh from 1970-71. Neither were/are competent keepers but were/are selected on the hope their keeping will improve. It did with Marsh and I think it will with Pant.
Only bowling Sharma is likely to retire  soon ( how come he bowled faster this tour than in previous tours.) They have replacements who can swing the ball and bat competently.
Ashwin only played one test but he too bowled much better this time than last tour. As we found out they have strong spinning stocks.

I suspect Kholi will go to South Africa and then to England and win there. They were dead unlucky against both last year.

I should add one last thing about India. Kholi is a fitness fanatic and this has obviously had an effect on the Indian players. They mostly all looked like good fieldsmen who would throw themselves around the field. They also ran much better between wickets.

We have troubles and the Indians have the opposite!


I forgot the ludicrous suspensions made to the three in sandpapergate. at max Warner and smith ,given he was the captain should have gotten 2-3 test matches as a suspension. Because the totally discredited CA overreacted and gave them suspensions which were well over what the punishment fitting the crime Australian cricket suffered. Good riddance!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Opal tower will have future implications

The massive problems of Opal Tower at Homebush will have negative implications for housing this year.

We simply do not know how large they will be.
However now investors, speculators, home owners and developers all know now what can occur in building apartments.
This will exacerbate the current decline in housing.

not happy Jan

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Around the Traps 4/1/19 New Years Edition

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