Over-reliance on monetary policy risks adverse unintended consequences

In The Australian today:
“The decision by the US Federal Reserve to end quantitative easing does not close the era of easy money in the world’s largest ­economy. “

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Open Forum: November 1, 2014

Posted in Open Forum | 125 Comments

A blast from the past

Posted in Libertarians don't live by argument alone | 16 Comments

Old Palmer Song

My favourite folksong when I first came to Oz. A great tune which ended up as the theme for the series “Rush”. It’s about mining in Queensland and searching for gold and things like that. It just sort of came to mind for no reason I can think of.

Old Palmer Song

The wind is fair and free, my boys, the wind is fair and free
The steamer’s course is north, my boys, and the Palmer we will see
The Palmer we will see, my boys, and Cooktown’s muddy shore
Where I’ve been told there’s lots of gold, so stay down south no more

So, blow ye winds, heigho
A-digging we will go
I’ll stay no more down south, my boys
So let the music play
In spite of what I’m told
I’m off in search of gold
I’ll make a push for that new rush
A thousand miles away

I also came across this looking for the above on youtube which is “The Old Maid’s Song” this time sung by someone named Clive Palmer. Have I mentioned that as part of my life on the left, I learned to play the banjo like all good children of comrades and naturally from Pete Seeger’s instructional manual. This is a great tune and well done but by today’s standards very non-PC.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, the theme song from Rush was written by George Dreyfus but there ought to be no doubt that he was taking it from “The Old Palmer Song”. Lots of composers drew on folk song tradition. Here is Dreyfus’s version. And please do note the lovely sounds of the banjo.

FURTHER UPDATE: Again pointed out in the comments that the tune comes from an English sea shanty. But the “Ten Thousand Miles” of the title are about a lad who follows his true love off to Australia after she’s been shipped out as a convict. And if you go into this link on the history of the tune on disk, you can see a number of versions of the lyrics and one more video of the song being played. But if you are in England, the only place Ten Thousand Miles Away is Botany Bay so it may really be ours after all.

Posted in Australian Story | 24 Comments

Keith Windschuttle invokes the Colonel Jessup defence

This must be one of the greatest speeches in movie history – in an otherwise dull movie.

The Jessup speech captures the security dilemma facing liberal societies very nicely. People with guns have to secure our freedom. Yet the problem is, we know in the story that Colonel Jessup is a criminal. We know that he has exceeded his authority. We know that we have to guard against the Colonel Jessups of this world just as vigilantly as we do against the people on the other side of the walls that have to be guarded.

Here is how Keith Windschuttle characterises the issue:

Leyonhjelm is channelling those middle-class hypocrites Rudyard Kipling accused of “makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep”.

Kipling’s Tommy can be found here.

Keith Windschuttle is entirely missing the point here:

Moreover, the knee-jerk reaction to the new security laws confirms how deep-seated the culture of contempt for our intelligence services remains. This culture originated in the Cold War when the Communist Party developed the effective tactic of ridiculing Australia’s intelligence agencies for their allegedly obsessive surveillance — “looking for reds under the bed”.

First, of course, there were reds under the bed. More importantly, it is not a contempt for the intelligence agencies that drives a distrust of government, but rather a love of freedom. If we wanted a statist security apparatus that spies on its citizens, that dictates what can and can’t be read or said in the media, and lectures that no freedoms are absolute, we could simply have surrendered to those very reds under our beds.

Posted in Federal Politics, Liberty Clip | 106 Comments

How much tax do multinationals pay?

We keep hearing about those naughty evil multinationals not paying any tax. Well what do the ATO have to say about that?

In 2013, there were over 6,300 businesses reporting international related-party dealings and they collectively paid $40 billion in company income tax. Our focus is to ensure this represents a fair share of tax under current international tax rules.

$40 billion is company tax from multinationals. To get a feel for how much money that is the total company tax take in 2012-13 was $66.9 billion and in 2013-14 $67.3 billion – so some 60% of company tax revenue comes from multinationals.

Posted in Taxation | 21 Comments

Some economic basics

(HT: Sanjeev)

Posted in Economics and economy | 8 Comments

Damn statisticians (and accountants)

I suppose an inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology is not a bad thing, but I’m wondering what George Christensen hopes to find?

He seems to be suggesting that any process involving statistics (or accounting) is hopelessly compromised. Now that is simply not true. He also seems to think that an inquiry will show the Bureau is up to no good.

What such an inquiry will find is that index construction is a complex task that involves many more or less arbitrary value judgements. That if you make a whole bunch of different value judgements that you might get a different outcome, or might not. I very seriously doubt that any inquiry into the temperature record methodology is going to find a deliberate effort to show rising temperatures in the present relative to the past. That may well be the outcome of the actual methodology employed to create the time series. More likely we would find that the temperature time series isn’t particularly useful for policy purposes given all adjustments that need to be made to generate “consistent” data.

So the community would learn a lot of the limitations of aggregate data and the uses of those data, but not much about the intentions of the Bureau of Meteorology.

The overall lesson would be that we don’t know as much as we think we do – certainly not enough to be spending billions of dollars on direct action, or taxing carbon emissions and that the Bureau should stick to forecasting the weather.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy | 56 Comments

Your vote is sacred, unless you vote Republican

The video is of another instance from the story quoted here, but the story is just the same: Voting machine casts candidate’s vote for his Dem opponent.

Admitting his confidence in Cook County ballot integrity is shaken, State Representative Candidate Jim Moynihan (R-56), was shocked today when he tried to cast a vote for himself and the voting machine cast it for his opponent instead.

voteballotbox“While early voting at the Schaumburg Public Library today, I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” said Moynihan. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race. It is unknown if the machine in question (#008958) has been removed from service or is still in operation.

You will not be surprised to find that this is not a story on the front page of the New York Times. There are now so many scandals within the American political system that it is impossible to keep up.

Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, International | 31 Comments

Wednesday Forum: October 29, 2014

Posted in Open Forum | 1,580 Comments