Danger: a rock

July 29, 2010

Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott say they’ll cut company tax. That’s nice. But what do voters really want? Australians don’t like higher taxes … they love ‘em!

Here’s some new polling the IPA commissioned:

If Gillard is so obsessed with listening to ordinary Australians about climate change, immigration, and population – how far away is a really bad bank super profits tax?

The government needs 5 years to figure out how to celebrate the ANZAC Centenary. The wheels of government turn slowly … unless of course you’re spending $43 billion on the NBN which Kevin Rudd made a decision about in 70 minutes.

And you’ve seen the reports today that California is practically broke? It’s not as though no-one saw it coming – here’s Reason’s assessment of Schwarzenegger from a year ago.

Here’s a great Nanny State story – American school kids can’t touch rocks! Don’t laugh. In Tasmania a daughter was fined for giving her father a piece of cheese and not wearing gloves. But at least we can now legally eat horse meat! Here’s Scott Prasser in last week’s Canberra Times on our risk-averse society.

Niall Ferguson is in Australia for the CIS. He’s in today’s SMH on the decline of the US. He had this radio interview on Monday – about history, classic music and 1930s Germany – if you like such topics read the remarkable first 2 pages of The Seduction of Culture in German History from a few years ago.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: On Friday in The Australian Financial Review I complained about business spinelessness on industrial relations. On Saturday in the Herald Sun Alan Moran talked about the high cost of renewable energy. In The Sunday Age Chris Berg blamed NSW Labor for the immigration debate and on Monday in The Drum he said the Greens are confused about population policy. And in the AFR last Monday Tom Switzer said Gillard is no Thatcher.

The Mannkal Economic Education Foundation is holding a public lunch with writer Johan Norberg, author of In Defence of Global Capitalism, on 5 August. For more information click here.

Don’t forget the Melbourne launch of 100 Great Books of Liberty is on 11 August at 5.30pm. Click here to attend. 100 Great Books is available from the IPA, Connor Court Publishing or Amazon.

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A strong economy goes to the dogs

July 22, 2010

Julia Gillard is using photos of waterfront cranes to prove Australia has a strong economy. Here’s the ALP advertisement.

What do you notice? Those cranes belong to Patrick – the company at the centre of the 1998 waterfront dispute!!!

2 years ago in Parliament Julia Gillard compared the crane’s owners to dogs. Now she reckons those ‘dogs’ are the symbol of Labor’s ‘Strong Economy’.

And did the PM get her ‘Moving Forward’ line from The Simpsons?

If there’s one thing you click this week – THIS is it. It’s Dan Hannan’s review last week of a new book How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes. Watch the video of the author, Peter Schiff predicting the Global Financial Crisis in August 2006. It’s amazing. Schiff is now running for the US Senate.

Also in the video you’ll see how Ben Stein, the economist immortalised in this great scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off got it WRONG (and so did Arthur Laffer).

The IPA and the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation have just launched a new research program and a new website – The Foundations of Western Civilisation. We’ll be doing lots of history, philosophy, religion, and culture. The site will have blogs, book reviews, essays, and good stuff about Western Civilisation from the net.

Here’s the IPA’s Richard Allsop in The Spectator on why we shouldn’t apologise for Australian history. And here’s Richard speaking last week at the IPA’s Liberty Sessions on the significance of Geoffrey Blainey. And here’s the IPA’s Chris Berg on Kevin Rudd’s unkillability and here on the cuts he should have made years ago.

PS – Don’t forget the Melbourne launch of 100 Great Books of Liberty is on 11 August at 5.30pm. Michael Kroger, Peter van Onselen and Sally Warhaft will be discussing the topic ‘Do ideas matter in politics?’ It’s free but you’ve got to register – click here if you’d like to attend.

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When ex-Prime Ministers attack

July 15, 2010

It’s been a big week for ex-Prime Ministers abusing each other. If you haven’t already read Paul Keating’s letter to Bob Hawke – it’s here – it’s amazing. And yesterday from Britain there’s this – Tony Blair said Gordon Brown was ‘mad, bad, dangerous and beyond redemption’.

This is the IPA Review story on why Rudd ain’t no Keating from November 2008. 18 months on it stands up pretty well! (Keating’s giving a public lecture in Melbourne on 4 August.)

The IPA and Catallaxy Files have been telling you about dodgy Treasury data for months. The media are now on to it too. Here’s The Australian’s Jennifer Hewitt talking today about ‘dodgy figures’ and Ken Henry’s loaves and fishes miracle.

Talking of miracles – according to the World Health Organisation, North Korea has conquered obesity. Seriously… really? Here’s Reason on it.

Here’s Bloomberg’s six investments tips from the World Cup – it’s good.

And from the Nanny State files: flower arrangers at Gloucester Cathedral need police checks! (Here’s what police checks have done to volunteer groups in the UK.) And here’s more from Spiked Online on the parents who let their children ride to school.

In The Australian yesterday the IPA’s Alan Moran said the new mining tax is no improvement, and in the Herald Sun on Saturday he explained why states in the US are broke. In Tuesday’s The Drum Chris Berg discussed climate change ‘mind games‘, and UK politics in The Sunday Age. In the AFR on Friday, I said raising taxes is not reform.

PS – The Melbourne launch of 100 Great Books of Liberty is in Melbourne on 11 August at 5.30pm. There’ll be a panel discussion on ‘Do ideas matters in politics?’ with Michael Kroger, Peter van Onselen (The Australian), and Sally Warhaft (formerly from The Monthly). It’s free but you’ve got to register – click here if you’d like to attend. And click here if you want to buy the book.

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Dunno what will happen tomorrow. But I can tell you how much wind there’ll be in the Year 2071.

July 8, 2010

Sometimes people ask why I’m always talking about Treasury Department mistakes (some of them are here and here and here). Dunno about you…but I reckon it matters if governments get stuff wrong.

On Monday we discovered a new Treasury tactic. They’ll now pick and choose what they tell the Australian people.

Treasury boss, Ken Henry got asked at a parliamentary enquiry how much Julia Gillard’s mining tax backdown would cost over the next ten years – HE REFUSED TO ANSWER! Here are his exact words.

Apparently it’s all too hard to estimate what will happen in 10 years time. Oh! – but different rules apply for climate change. Treasury are happy to tell us that in 2100 – NINETY years from now – 19% of renewable electricity will come from wind (no, not 18% or 20%. EXACTLY 19%).

There’s loads more examples. Look at Graph 5.26 on page 127. Treasury can be even more precise – here’s what will happen in 2071. This is what the IPA thinks of government predictions.

In Tuesday’s The Sydney Morning Herald, Professor George Williams rightly complained about the draconian powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission. People can be compelled to testify against themselves and the right to silence has been eliminated. But where were the civil libertarians in March last year when the IPA told you Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme did exactly the same thing??? (I guess civil liberties don’t count when polar bears enter the equation.)

From the Nanny State files. In London if you let your kids walk to school you’ll get dobbed into social services by the headmaster. Boris Johnson had this to say about it in the Telegraph on Monday. It could be worse… in New York last year, Lenore Skenazy was called the ‘worst mum in America’ for letting her 9 year old son catch the subway home. Yep, I’ll bet that’s the worst America’s got. Here’s Lenore on ABC radio last year talking about it.

And Boris reckons England were hopeless at the World Cup because no-one plays tennis.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: In The Age today Sinclair Davidson said the government is digging a bigger hole for itself over the resources tax, and in The Drum on Monday Alan Moran wondered if it would raise any money anyway. In The Drum on Tuesday Chris Berg declared 2009 the year of disappointment for the Left. In Friday’s Canberra Times Julie Novak said it was time to give the states control over the GST.

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