Santa Warning edition

December 17, 2009

Here’s the IPA’s rough guide to what’s happened to the Australian economy in the last twelve months. Yes – the economy ‘grew’ by half a percent – but only because of government spending! (As the Treasury Department itself admits.)

Kevin Rudd wants to censor the internet. That’s bad for lots of reasons. Including, according to calculations by the IPA’s Chris Berg, there’s more than 24 billion web pages which could be blocked ‘by accident’. (The web filter trials accidentally blocked at least 2.44% of web pages and there’s more than 1 trillion web pages in the world.)

You can read the overnight report from Copenhagen by the IPA’s Tim Wilson here. The whole thing is turning into a circus – Penny Wong gets jeered and Hugo Chavez gets cheered. It’s a bigger circus than the Olympics – Beijing had 11,000 athletes. In Copenhagen there’s 45,000 NGO activists alone! Tim found this great BBC interview from yesterday. (It’s 4 minutes – and it’s really surprising coming from the BBC!)

If you’ve ever studied economics, chances are you used Paul Samuelson’s textbook. And all the graphs and equations you learned are because of him. He died on the weekend. Steve Kates in Quadrant and Peter Boettke assess his enormous (and controversial) legacy.

And who’d have guessed? Rich people are happier, as Andrew Leigh wrote in the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday.

Over the holidays after you’ve watched DVDs of The West Wing, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, (even Entourage) read this article from Prospect which explains why Americans make the best TV drama – and why the BBC (and for that matter the ABC) don’t.

Have a safe Christmas. And if you have children don’t expose them to Santa Claus – according to new research from the British Medical Journal you could make your children fat.

This is what IPA staff have been writing about this week: In Friday’s Australian Financial Review I wrote about the impact of a climate change election. In the Herald Sun on Saturday, Alan Moran imagined a month without new government programs and in the Sydney Morning Herald, Chris Berg wrote about our big dumb government. In the Sunday Age, Chris also argued the Victorian government is trampling human rights. And in ABC’s The Drum last Friday, Alan Moran found Climategate’s Australian connection.

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