$48 billion well spent?

April 29, 2010

Kevin Rudd said this morning he wanted to cut tax. If only. Remember how he used to say he wanted an emissions trading scheme?

There’d be money for tax cuts if the government wasn’t racking up debt to pay for school halls nobody wants.

Treasury anticipates the government will pay $48 billion in interest over the next four years. That’s $48 billion! I’m not making it up – look for yourself here.

Let’s put that $48 billion into perspective:

The federal budget is in two weeks. Here’s a great game – INSTABUDGET10. If Wayne Swan can play Treasurer, so can you.

Here’s the IPA’s press release on Rudd’s ETS backdown. A year ago we called for the ETS to be scrapped. And here’s the letter about climate change I sent to all MP’s two weeks ago. What are 400 climate change bureaucrats do now? Get a real job?

This is a very funny video (4 mins) from the Today Show about Wham-O (they make frisbees and hula-hoops). It’s via one of our favourite blogs Marginal Revolution.

There’s a big debate in America about finance industry regulation. If you’ve got no idea what they’re talking about – here’s a good summary from the Heritage Foundation.

Here’s what the IPA staff have been talking about this week: In The Drum on Monday, Alan Moran said sports salary caps were bad. On Tuesday, Chris Berg said the worst policies are often green ones and Tom Switzer wanted to know if there was a plan B for the ETS.

And for all of you under 35 who know your Hayek – this competition is for you.

PS – I spotted this from The Age in Melbourne on the weekend. Surely the best ‘We were wrong’ from a newspaper E-VER.

For those interested in climate change, the 4th International Conference on Climate Change will be taking place in Chicago, Illinois from the 16th until the 18th of May. Additional information can be found here.

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LETTER-O-MATIC: here to help

April 22, 2010

This week the federal Labor government took over hospitals. Not to be outdone, the NSW Labor Party wants to control something equally essential – Letters To The Editor.

Thanks to the NSW LABOR PARTY LETTER-O-MATIC (that’s what they actually called it) endorsing federal & NSW Labor government policy in a letter to the editor is just a mouse click away. There’s 7 topics to choose from and over 60 newspaper to send your letter to. Try it here.

Shutdown was a book published in 1992 on the failure of ‘economic rationalism’ in Australia. It created quite a stir. This week one of its editors, John Carroll said the book was wrong.

Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) fronts a new political TV channel in America – Rightnetwork. His promo video is very funny (it’s 90 seconds long).

This piece from Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal is a good analysis of the US debate on financial regulation. This from Bloomberg yesterday proves the point. Goldman Sachs was the second biggest source of donors to Barack Obama in 2007 and 2008 (after – you guessed it – the University of California).

Big government is back in America. Last week in The Australian David Alexander warned we should get ready for more taxes and spending too.

The Enlightened Economy: an economic history of Britain 1700-1850 is a great new book on the ideas of the industrial revolution. The author, Joel Mokyr was on Counterpoint on ABC Radio National on Monday.

And here’s an ANZAC Day Nanny State special. Diggers aren’t allowed to ride on army Land Rovers during the parade.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about: In the Canberra Times on Monday Julie Novak said the states must reject Kevin Rudd’s health reforms. In The Drum on Tuesday Chris Berg discussed the success of immigration. And in The Australian yesterday Tom Switzer said the time for an ETS has passed.

PS – The IPA has two new books out. 100 Great Books of Liberty and Climate Change: The Facts. You can read more and buy them here and here.

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From Friday your $$$ is your $$$

April 15, 2010

Congratulations! As of Friday what you earn is now yours – not the government’s. 9 April was ‘Tax Freedom’ day. On average Australians will need to have worked from 1 January to 8 April 2010 before they’ve got enough money to pay their commonwealth, state, and local government taxes.

Here’s how we compare:

If you like things financial, you’ll like this – it’s a spoof prospectus for the US Government. It’s one of the best summaries of just how bad US Government finances are.

This article from Monday’s Wall Street Journal was about the lessons of the Great Depression for today. Did you know that under FDR the top marginal rate for income tax was 94%? And it wasn’t until 1945 the top corporate tax rate was cut from 90% to 38%.

Talking of the Great Depression this great website lists the five books you need to read about it recommended by one of the world’s best economists – Robert Barro. (Some of my other favourites from the site are: 5 Best Books on Totalitarian Russia, and on Solzhenitsyn.)

And more from the Nanny State files – this is from Brisbane on children’s tree houses. And from America, imagine airlines charging people for their luggage!!! And from England – kooky but true! – who would have thought there’s an ‘International Church of Jediism’. To make you smile here’s a classic Edina and Patsy Nanny State rant from Absolutely Fabulous (it gets good at the 1:35 min mark).

This is a great new blog by the Sydney Institute’s incomparable Stephen Matchett. Today he’s asking why the education union is so stupid. Last week he pondered what Nanny State bureaucrats would do without fat people.

Here’s what staff at the IPA have been talking about this week: In The Australian Financial Review on Monday Tom Switzer talked about the costs of emissions trading in the US, and today Sinclair Davidson said the government needs to make better use of tax revenue. In The Drum on Tuesday Chris Berg discussed the Tea Party movement.

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Government rulebook for photographing flowers

April 8, 2010

You know how I told you last week that you need a permit to photograph a tree in a national park in NSW? We’ve since found out there’s a 19 page rulebook to obey.

And to get a photography permit you need to answer more questions (18) than if you want a gun (6)!!! (Because shooting a photo is three times as dangerous as shooting a gun?)

Here’s more on the goldfish that landed a British great-grandmother with a criminal conviction. WARNING – it’s strong. Here’s the IPA’s Tim Wilson on A Current Affair last week about the ridiculousness of needing a permit for Chook Lotto.

But here’s something GOOD that’s happened. The video archive of C-SPAN is available for free on the internet. Jim Kearney talks about all the great videos available. If you’ve got a spare 4 hours take a look. Some of my favourites are:

Here’s Jim’s review of a new HBO drama about Winston Churchill – apparently it’s unmissable.

Michael Crichton died in 2008. He wouldn’t have been surprised by this story from Tuesday’s Der Speigel on how the climate change debate has changed (it’s long, but good).

With ANZAC Day around the corner this piece by Geoffrey Blainey from The Australian yesterday explains why we still care.

Whittaker Chambers, Churchill, and Blainey are all in a brand new book from the IPA – 100 Great Books of Liberty (Plato, Locke, Burke, and Hayek are all in there too). To find out more and order your copy – click here.

Here’s what staff at the IPA have been talking about this week: In the SMH on Monday Chris Berg said we should just adapt to global warming and in The Drum yesterday he talked about government incompetence. In the Herald Sun on Saturday Alan Moran argued the public service needs to be more productive.

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