Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Anniversary of the GST

Way back in the late 90s we finally got a reasonably comprehensive goods and services tax.
It wasn't the real deal. There were too many exemptions and far too many people complained the GST  was a bad tax because it heightened inequality.

Indirect taxes will always be regressive. That is the point of their simplicity. The less exemptions means less opportunities for tax avoidance. ( The greater the rates the more avoidance as well as Italy will attest to.)

Thus you examine the whole tax system to see if it is progressive not one tax.

This is why I have always supported the idea of a GST. It got through on the support of the Australian Democrats. I remember asking their leader at the time ( was it Meg Lees?) why there was a different rate for the Encyclopedia Britannia for the book and the CD. She could not answer.

The other thing was the States were supposed to eliminate a myriad of inefficient taxes but Peter Costello was too laxy to follow up on this.

I am always amused how the most fervent supporters of the GST are ardent opponents of a price on carbon. They believe a price on carbon is a big tax and regressive. Quite clearly these people are not too bright.

My view is the GST should be broadened. I would increase it as well. Given the incidence with the GST and payroll tax is broadly similar. I would increase it and then eliminate the payroll tax. It is much better to have but one tax rather than two.

Monday, 29 June 2020

The Anarctic is warming strongly

A new article shows the South Pole is warming quite strongly.

Not good.


This is more evidence

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Rooftop solar does not blow up your keetle

Renew economy has a good article on this myth.

Roof top solar is changing a lot of things. blowing up kettles is not one of them.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Around the Traps 26/6/20

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
vox wonk

Wednesday, 24 June 2020


I had high hopes when I started to watch Tommy.

Surely the yanks could do a decent TV cop series. I had not seen one since Hill Street Blues. what a great series that was.
Alas and alack I was wrong. It is crap but I put the horse before the cart.

I liked LA having a female police commissioner and the circumstances for this.
however the main character Tommy who is the commissioner is very badly written which seems to be always the case on yank shows.

She was married but divorced however allowed the father to have the child, a daughter. Why?
She is apparently gay???  did she always feel this way but tried to be a wife and mother or did she realise this during the marriage?? We do not know.

She is in her late 50s or early 60s which is appropriate for her job however she is either average looking or unattractive depending how honest you wish to be.

Two problems here. In the very first episode a smoking hot female who clearly works in administration in the LA head office propositions her. She says she is too tired.
Two problems. no boss should ever even contemplate sex with an underling. Why would some-one 20 years or more younger than her ever want to have sex with her.
Again we are left with nothing.

When we meet her former husband he is clearly much younger than her?? Again this makes no sense at all.

No series is ever going to make it without a good back story about the main characters. When the back story makes no sense at all the writers are shown to be lazy and we viewers give up.

I have given up after 2 or 3 episodes.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The High court and sexual harassment

I have to admit I have never had any time for males who sexually harass females. They are only interested in having sex and once they do everything is over.
I also have to admit i simply do not understand males that act like this.
Take one of the allegations concerning Dyson Heydon. Here is a man in his late 60s ( older even than I) who makes a play for a legal student at a University function.

Mr Heydon was seen as one of the great intellects of the high court. Although this appears to relate to the law. Taking on the 'Trade Union' royal commission and then accepting to speak at the liberal party fundraiser shows he can be stupid when he wanted to.

I cannot help comparing him to Bill Clinton. This will overcome anything he did in law. It appears because he got away with it for so long he did not think anything would go wrong. Like Bill Clinton it did and has.

As a society we really have to do something about such behaviour. The main problem is how do you complain about such men in powerful positions.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Branch Stacking

Just as one mans terrorist is anothers freedom fighter one mans branch stacker is anothers boosting membership.

What we do need are people getting involved in political parties. The big question is how to we ensure these people are genuine.

I have two suggestions.

Firstly get people to pay for their membership by card. This means no -one can pay for their membership by cash. It takes a lot of work to get around this.
Secondly get people to attend 5 meeting before they can vote on pre-selections. Yes they can do all else at the meeting but can only vote after 5 meetings. A person who attends a meeting on a cold winters night is committed to the cause.

A vibrant democracy needs a vibrant rank and file. People will continue to lose faith in Australian polity if things do not change.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

US Politics

A couple of different things on US politics
First we have the wonderful Andrew Gelman on what polling is saying and what betting odds are not saying. Two things about this. Watch for future articles on this and se condly read the comments.

Second we have Susan Glasser on John Bolton's book. It is easily the best read about the book. two things stand out. Bolton has between know as a flamethrower ( we say bomb thrower here in OZ) but never a liar. secondly how can you try and take legal action to stop publication of a book which you claim is full of false claims!

I fell I cannot finish without stating it is interesting Trump likes firing Attorneys or Inspector General who get to close in their investigation. Very much the mobster

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Around the Traps 19/6/20

It is time for Around the Traps

Northern America

Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky - book reviews)
vox wonk

Monday, 15 June 2020

JK Rowling and transgender

The writer of Harry Potter has been in the news concerning transgender.
Steve from Brisbane on it.

Both Carl Trueman and  Murray Campbell encapsulate my views but of course I am a conservative evangelical. ( sorry a tautology.)

You are born a male or female. no amount of surgical procedure can change that.

I have to say my experience of transgender people  mainly being Bob Connell and  Malcolm McGregor would lead me to think transgender people have bad and still have large psychological problems.However these are but anecdotes.

What I can say is transgender 'women' are not women. either physically or emotionally. to equate them with natural women is simply absurd.
Indeed it appears some people want to completely change on what is a man or a woman.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Statues, films, TV series etc

Well it appears some people are in a very censorious mood.Statues are either being torn down or defaced  and films and TV series are no longer being able to be viewed on line.

What to make all about this?
On statues I would prefer not to see any. In the first place I find it almost idolatrous  and in the second they are prone to nature. I prefer people read about any 'famous' people from history.

As for films, TV series etc I am outraged. I think I can work out what is occurring . I know for example that slaves in the Deep South were not treated well in the majority.This is not to say c some lucky ones were treated well.
I think i can work out was in worth viewing and what is not. It is like reading.
It almost like we have the Nazi burning of the books at present!

Some things are going way overboard.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Around the Traps 12/6/20

It is time again for Around the Traps.

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
Dianne Coyle ( quirky + book reviews)
Vox Wonk

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Mixed Messages from the NSW Government

One day this week The Premier was very angry with all those who protested on the weekend.
This should have occurred when we still have the coronavirus running around so to speak.

The very next day the Sports Minister said all community sports can start in July. Huh?
Tell me which of the two is more likely to spread the virus. ( Don't talk about how football is invading the months when cricket should be played).
Lots of heavy breathing, sweat even spitting on the ground. They are physical contact sports.

If these sports can proceed then social distancing is not needed. Therefore it doesn't matter if public transport is crowed but apparently it does. The dopey Deputy Premier wants spectators. This makes sense if physical contact sports are allowed to be played.
does the NSW Government even think things through???

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Why did US Unemployment fall ?

James Hamilton of Econbrowser fame writes the BEST article on why US unemployment fell.
It is a lengthy article but well worth reading.

After adjusting for a lot of factors Jim thinks the true unemployment rate is close to 20%.

Go on and read why.

Monday, 8 June 2020

I Can't Breathe

We have observed demonstrations right around the world following the tragic death of George Floyd.
The police behaviour in this episode was disgraceful and they have been rightfully charged. ( see Tim Taylor on Police Reform).

This incident appears to be the straw which broke the camel's back. A bit too late for Colin Kaepernick which was a disgraceful act which now appears to be over although no apology for him.

The first question we must ask is , is this protest just. Of course it is. black lives indeed all lives matter.
The second question is should you demonstrate in this era of social distancing. If the reason is very important then the answer is yes.

I should add an Australian take on this.
Aboriginal people have attempted to link this with deaths in custody.
In my opinion this is wrong for two reasons.
First the royal commission into black deaths in custody found no 'racism' involved in deaths. Indeed by far the largest reason was suicide. I am unsure how the police or others are responsible for suicide. Just remember other people die in custody .
Second I would like to see the differences in arrest rates between aboriginals and others. Some time ago I remember a person giving a paper on crime rates between black and white people in the USA. She found no difference in arrest rates but most certainly in convictions. She put this done to white people being able to afford legal counsel.
I would love for some-one here to examine this. I would not be surprised if this occurs here big time.

This is a concern. If I am a racist policeman I know if i arrest an aboriginal it is highly likely the man will be convicted!

We in Australia should also examine why Aborginals are so over-represented in gaols. We must find ways to overcome this.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

The honours system is broken.

Yet again we see people receiving honours for essential for, what Nick Gruen said some time ago , doing their job.
Some of them did a pretty poor job of it which makes it even worse.
The honours system was always flawed and at least we no longer have the absurd giving out of the Sirs and Madams.
However why do people receive honours for essentially doing their job. Lots of politicians and public servants here as well as sportsmen.want to

Even if you do community work do you really need a gong to show what good work you have done. Even if you do what does it say about your neighbour who has done the same but has no gog.

Abolish the honours system and abolish it now.

I see Steve from Brisbane agrees

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Around the Traps 5/6/20

It is time again for Around the Traps

Northern America
Andrew Gelman ( mainly stats)
Retired but still genial Dave Giles ( econometrics)
  • nuttin, Dave stop fishing
Dianne Coyle (quirky + book reviews)
Vox wonk