Keynes vs Hayek: The rap battle

January 29, 2010

(John Roskam is away today – but he’ll be back in the Hey… What did I miss? chair next week!)

So: after nearly 2 years reviewing our tax system, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry has concluded that – we can’t have any tax cuts. (Here’s his speech.) Henry reckons the government needs our money too much.

I’d believe that if the government hadn’t recently given:

There’s a lot more. Here’s the press release we put out after Henry’s speech calling for tax cuts.

And a video that has to be seen to be believed: a rap battle between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek.

Want to know what Obama wants to do to America’s banks? – read this from the Washington Post – and this from the Wall Street Journal on why it won’t work. But not even Obama’s Treasury Department knows what his plan actually is!

Finally, for Dan Hannan fans – his latest video on what Europe needs to learn from the Massachusetts election. And here’s the IPA’s Tom Switzer on what the Republican win means for America.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: Alan Moran wrote about property rights for farmers in the Herald Sun on Saturday, and in the Sunday Age, I said if we want to help Haiti, we should let them work overseas. In Online Opinion on Friday, Chris Doig revealed how the Nanny State was killing live music. And on ABC’s Life Matters on Monday, John Roskam talked about how a “Minister for the Respect Agenda” misses the point.

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Cliff from ‘Cheers’ changes America

January 21, 2010

Apparently 53% of Australians think the rich should pay more tax – according to a survey from progressive think tank Per Capita released a few days ago. How much more? The survey didn’t say.

But the rich are paying more – and more – tax every year already! The IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson has crunched some numbers:


(If you’re interested in tax numbers – it’s all here)

The survey also showed Australians have no idea where their tax money goes. People think 22% of the budget is spent on defence (actually – 5%). People think 26% of the budget is spent on social security (actually – 38%).

And Per Capita had a good idea. Your tax return should tell you what the government spent your money on!!!

In Massachusetts I reckon Scott Brown won on Tuesday because he was endorsed by Cliff from Cheers. Here’s Cliff (John Ratzenberger) talking politics with Neil Cavuto a few months ago – and here’s some classic Cliff.

Brown was also endorsed by football legend Doug Flutie. If you’re a sports fan watch this video on why Flutie is famous in Boston (listen for the fantastic commentary at the 2 minute mark). The IPA’s Tim Wilson had this to say about Massachusetts today in the ABC’s The Drum.

Talking about celebrities – if you’re outside of South Australia you might have missed this. Lance Armstrong gets paid $2 million by South Australian taxpayers and comes out and says Mike Rann should be re-elected!

Oh – and in Victoria as of this morning there’s now a ‘Minister for the Respect Agenda‘. Bizarre.

The conservative intellectual Paul Johnson – you’d know his great book Modern Times – has a new book on Churchill. James Mann reviewed it in the Washington Post. (I reviewed Mann’s book on Ronald Reagan in the November 2009 IPA Review.)

This is what IPA staff have been writing about this week: in The Australian on Monday Tim Wilson looked at the importance of free trade and today Alan Moran said the government should abandon the ETS. Tim was also in the Malaysian New Straits Times on palm oil and sustainability and he covered Copenhagen for India’s Mint newspaper.

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New Goat Fat Standards

January 14, 2010

While you’ve been on holiday – the government has been working making laws!

Since 1 January, there’s at least 88 new federal regulations scheduled to take effect. (Count them for yourself here.) That’s 6 new regulations every day (There were 394 new regulations last year).

And what are these new regulations about?

Those 88 new regulations don’t include 62 new compilations for regulations effective from 1 January (eg the new Fair Work regulations). And by the way, you know if you employ someone after 1 January and you don’t give them this GOVERNMENT ADVERTISEMENT for the Fair Work laws you could get fined up to $33,000? (See sections 125, 539 and 546 here.)

And here’s some of California’s new laws for 2010 – celebrities are now safe from paparazzi.

Next time someone makes a prediction about new technology give them this from the Wall Street Journal.

You’ve heard of John Stossel? He’s a free market news anchorman in America. He was recently poached by Fox Business News from ABC News and given his own show. Here’s his show on Ayn Rand from last week, and his blog.

Last month I mentioned this Prospect magazine piece on why American TV drama is better than British TV. On Tuesday The Guardian confirmed it with their list of the 50 best TV dramas of all-time.

Here’s a few of the things IPA staff have been doing lately: Chris Berg was on the 7.30 Report on draconian police powers, Tom Switzer was in the Wall Street Journal Asia on climate change, Alan Moran in the Herald Sun on why housing is so expensive, and me in the Australian Financial Review on why government-run banks are a terrible idea.

And finally – Peter Spencer concluded his protest yesterday. Chris Berg in the Sunday Age and Michael Duffy in the Sydney Morning Herald explain the significance of what he was doing.

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Best noughties’ scare campaigns

January 7, 2010

Here’s what you missed when you were at the beach listening to the cricket. The IPA released its annual survey on state government business taxes – it made The Australian front page.

Have you heard of New South Wales farmer Peter Spencer? He’s on a hunger strike to protest the government taking his property. IPA research we released this week shows there are more than a dozen laws impacting on people’s property rights in NSW. That’s more than 700 pages of law.

But that’s not as much as the 1,279 pages of law passed by the US Congress to save Wall Street. One person has tried to read the whole thing.

Denis Dutton has a great piece in the New York Times on all the scare campaigns of the last decade. (Remember Y2K?) Dutton is the editor of Arts and Letters Daily – one of my favourite websites.

And this was one of my favourite articles over the holiday break – Gerard Henderson on the stupid things people said during 2009.

And from the Nanny State files: a video on Reason TV‘s Nanny of the Year! Oh – and in the UK parents will be banned from parking near schools. Why? To tackle obesity – obviously.

Still looking for some summer reading? Here is the Atlas Foundation’s top ten books on liberty published in the last decade. I really liked Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism – Chris Berg reviewed it in the IPA Review here.

And in the last Hey… we were wrong! Twice! Apparently the guy who wrote the ‘research’ about Father Christmas encouraging obesity now says he was joking! Really! And in our chart we inadvertently turned the positive contribution from imports to GDP growth into a negative contribution. Click here to see the graph as it should be. (And thanks to one of the country’s most senior economics commentators for pointing out our mistake.)

Don’t forget Christopher Monckton will be in Australia in a couple of weeks. If you’d like to support his visit click here.

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