“Actually, I am a taxpayer. I will ask questions too.”

September 24, 2009

Today’s media is full of Treasury boss Ken Henry saying the stimulus package saved Australia. But:

So who’s standing up for taxpayers? The IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson said this to government senator Doug Cameron at Monday’s parliamentary inquiry into the stimulus.

Prof. Davidson - We have a constitution that actually has states that make decisions about these things. You do represent the states, don’t you?
Senator CAMERON - I am here to ask the questions, not you.
Prof. Davidson - Actually, I am a taxpayer. I will ask questions too.
Senator CAMERON - You will not ask me any questions. I will be asking the questions, thanks very much.

Ever been interrupted by a kid at your front door selling chocolate bars raising money for their sports club or Scouts or Guides? If you’re in Maroondah in Melbourne don’t worry. The kid will now be breaking the law if they don’t have a council licence. And garage sales? They’re banned too without a licence.

Last week even the left-wing website Slate had enough of the Nanny State.

Next time someone complains about ‘consumerism’ get them to watch this great clip of Richard E Grant from the 1989 movie How to Get Ahead in Advertising. It is very, very funny. But WARNING – it does have swear words…

I was on ABC’s Q and A last Thursday with author, Thomas Keneally. (The interesting bit about the History Wars is about 24 minutes in.) And on Lateline last Friday, IPA director Michael Kroger talked about politics, the ETS, and industrial relations.

In The Australian today, Tim Wilson examined the farce of the Copenhagen meeting on climate change, while John Pesutto in the AFR revealed problems in the government’s ‘FairWork’ laws. Yesterday in the Courier Mail Julie Novak warned of the price tag of the stimulus. Chris Berg defended drinking alcohol in The Sunday Age, on Saturday Alan Moran in the Herald Sun said energy is not getting cheap soon, and on Friday in the AFR I asked why people like big government.

PS - We’ve had lots of requests for the video of Geoffrey Blainey’s talk last week – here it is.

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A $8,200 tax cut instead of Rudd’s stimulus spending

September 17, 2009

Instead of Kevin Rudd’s stimulus spending what if he gave us all a tax cut? The IPA asked ANU economist Alex Robson to do the calculations. Here’s the results we released this morning:

(Our press release is here, and Alex’s research paper is here. Everybody thinks it’s a great idea - Alex and I have been doing media on it all morning.)

Last week, the IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson was in The Economist saying Kevin Rudd’s wrong about the economy.

At last! – someone’s fighting the Nanny State in England. It’s called Big Brother Watch - read about it in The Times. (Its Nanny State examples are pretty amazing – a £225 fine for leaving your wheelie bin lid open by four inches!)

And we’re coming up to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November. To commemorate it get this great IPA t-shirt!

IPA T-Shirt

Want more on the Berlin Wall? I reviewed The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan in the latest IPA Review, and Chris Berg talked about what led to the fall of the Wall.

On Tuesday, Australia’s greatest historian, Geoffrey Blainey told the IPA about why we’re not getting a real education revolution. His speech, at the launch of Mark Lopez’s new book, is in The Australian today, and The Australian editorial on it is here.

Today Richard Allsop was in Online Opinion arguing public transport works better when it’s privatised. On ABC’s Counterpoint, Dean Bertram talks about his IPA Review article on why so many Australian films are terrible. Read his article here.

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3 Day Happy Hour!

September 10, 2009

Kevin Rudd says his $42 billion stimulus saved Australia.

But did it? The US had a bigger stimulus – and they’re doing worse! Here’s what we’ve pulled together.

Perhaps there are other factors at play. What about the budget surplus Rudd inherited? (Which he’s blown!)

Workplace reforms made an impact too – so what does the PM do? He re-regulates jobs. I explained how in my Australian Financial Review column on Friday, as did Alan Wood in The Australian today.

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman’s 6,700 word essay in the New York Times Magazine last week has America talking. The Atlantic has a good rundown of the debate.

Here’s a new Nanny State classic. Edinburgh last week forced pubs to hold prices steady for 72 hours – supposedly to stop “happy hours”. The result? A three day happy hour!

If you’re into the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, and Wordsworth – this is a good piece from the latest edition of New York’s City Journal.

The IPA’s Tim Wilson was on ABC TV’s Q&A (watch it here). I’m on next Thursday – if you want to be in the audience click here. And the IPA lecture by Pat Michaels, a climate change expert from the Cato Institute, is here.

In The Courier Mail, Julie Novak took on the Nanny State and so did Tim Wilson in The Australian. In The Sunday Age, Chris Berg explained why our gold medals cost too much. The sports mafia is so upset the captain of the Australian rowing team responded today in The Age.

PS: Next week’s Geoffrey Blainey function at the IPA is full. Don’t worry – I’ll get the video to you as soon as possible!

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Rudd’s 122 steps to a Nanny State

September 3, 2009

So this is what the Nanny State looks like. There are 122 recommendations from Kevin Rudd’s ‘National Preventative Health Taskforce‘ released on Tuesday, including:

· 26 new laws,
· 18 new “frameworks” and programs,
· and 7 new bureaucracies.

We’ve compiled the full list of the Taskforce’s crazy ideas. Here’s the craziest:

“Work with industry, health and consumer groups to introduce food labelling on front of pack and menus… and [introduce] a standard serve/portion size within three years.” (click here, page 14)

So in 2012 a Canberra bureaucrat will regulate the size of my chicken parma? This is the IPA press release on the report and here’s what the IPA’s Tim Wilson said about it.

Bureaucrats just can’t stop telling you what to do and how to do it. In Michigan, there’s a government department that even tells you what to do if you spill mercury on your cat! (What if something else happens to your pet? catonfire.gov.au?)

I liked this from Bloomberg: business management lessons you can learn from the Beatles.

Here’s an important paper by Henry Ergas and Alex Robson on how the government will spend at least $14 billion too much on the broadband network.

We’ve got two videos for you this week: The IPA’s Tim Wilson debated free trade on ACA on Monday. Here’s Sinclair Davidson at the IPA Liberty Sessions last week talking about Mises’ classic Bureaucracy. In The Age today Richard Allsop wrote about public transport privatisation.

PS – if you’re in Melbourne on 15 September come and hear Geoffrey Blainey speaking at the IPA on ‘Australia’s Forgotten Future’ at the launch of Mark Lopez’s new book. Entry is free but you must register.

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