I’m out of town doing the theme park thing with the offspring. As such I’ve been unable to write a couple of op-eds that editors have approached me to write. Pity. Anyway I thought I’d quickly sketch out what I would have argued.
Op-ed 1 – the Coalition will repeal redundant regulation. Yes, good; I suppose. But it isn’t just the redundant regulation that needs to be be repealed – its all the value-destroying initiative-sapping regulation that actually constrains business (and private behaviour too) that needs to be repealed. I would have proposed a mandatory sunset clause on all legislation and regulation (either 5 or 10 years) that would require the Parliament to reconsider any and every piece of legislation.
Op-ed 2 – No boat arrivals for 3 weeks. Here the editor wanted an argument that the Coalition boat policy could be described as having being successful. Here my view is that we’ve obviously lowered our expectations so low that three weeks of no boat arrivals is a good thing. Maybe it is – I suspect, however, that it will be a temporary thing. It is true that the government policy of suppressing information will have played some role in that blip. It has increased the information costs associated with people smuggling – but I have no doubt that information brokers will emerge (as they do in most markets to reduce information costs problems) and the boats will soon be on their way again (perhaps after the monsoon season). Reducing the traffic from Indonesia to Australia will have to take policy innovation along the lines of an immigration auction (for example) or policies so draconian that the Australian public will ultimately baulk.