Even Superman is ditching the USA

April 28, 2011

Here’s what the media was saying about the Victorian budget this time last year…

But the Victorian budget has – actually – been in deficit for the last two years! Who knew?  

Oh, yeah, the IPA’s Julie Novak did! She’s been a lone voice banging on about Victoria’s spending spree and its ‘unsustainable debt bubble’ for years. Like here, in The Age in 2009. In today’s Australian, Julie explains why – it’s not the financial crisis’ fault that state governments are spending more than ever. Here’s Julie’s new paper on state budgets and how to keep them in check.

We’ve been telling you in Hey for a while now about how much trouble the US economy is in. Well, it’s not just the economy that’s in trouble over there.  Here’s an interesting piece from The Economist last week on what’s wrong with democracy in California. But it just gets worse for America… even Superman has renounced his citizenship.

If you’ve ever needed a great rebuttal to the arguments against international trade (or the arguments for Donald Trump becoming US President) – you need to read this by Scott Lincicome. But hey, at least US citizens are more likely to believe in free trade now than during the Great Depression. 

For the Nanny State files: a town in Massachusetts has finally overturned a ban on public gaming machines after 29 years. And no, I’m not talking about the type of gaming machines that Nick Xenophon doesn’t like – I’m talking about a scourge far worse… Pac Man and Donkey Kong!      

And in case you missed it, one of my favourite Enlightenment philosophers David Hume celebrated his 300th birthday on Tuesday…but I’m sure you had it in your diary already.

Hume is one of the greats of Western Civilisation. Don’t forget that The Genius of Western Civilisation symposium is in Melbourne on 24 June – it’s a magnificent line-up – Andrew Roberts, Peter Craven, John Hirst, Michael Duffy, Giles Auty, John Carroll, Sally Warhaft, Claudio Veliz, Ron Manners, Rabbi Shimon Cowen, Ian Harper, Michael Lawriswky, Greg Melleuish, Paul Forgasz, Richard Allsop, Cassandra Wilkinson, Julie Novak, John Roskam, Jake Niall, David Daintree, and Rod Kemp (and me). Book here.

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

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A Short History of Cake Taxation

April 21, 2011

There’s nothing like raw numbers to frighten you.

That’s how Australia’s deficit of 2.8% of its GDP looks compared to America’s massive deficit of 9.8% of its GDP. It’s no surprise Standard & Poors said this week there’s a 1 in 3 chance the US will lose its AAA rating. So … will Wayne Swan and Ken Henry apologise to Barnaby Joyce yet? (Here’s what the IPA’s Ted Lapkin said that means for Australia’s defence in The Drum today.)

In 2008 in the midst of the GFC the UK government unilaterally decided to spend £2.3 billion to bail out people in Britain who had deposits with the Iceland Bank – IceSave (what a name for a bank). Then the UK government sent Iceland the bill. Last week the Icelanders had a referendum on whether to pay – and guess what? They said NO! Again.

Michael Lewis, the author of books like Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and The Big Short, had this on Iceland’s banks in Vanity Fair back in 2009. It’s worth a read.

It feels like deja vu all over again. In 1993 John Hewson couldn’t explain the effect of the GST on a birthday cake. In 2011 no-one can explain the effect of a carbon price on a birthday cake. The IPA’s Tim Wilson had a go this week in The Australian. And Tim knows what he’s talking about – he’s a trained ‘carbon accountant‘ (yes – there is such a thing). Here’s the recipe he used.

If you’re a Boris Johnson fan, read this 5000 word profile from last Saturday’s The Guardian. Boris and David Cameron have apparently hated each other since Eton.

In a win for the middle class, John Brack’s painting, Collins St, 5pm, was last week voted the National Gallery of Victoria’s most popular artwork. Tim Wilson picked this two years ago in his review of a Brack exhibition in the IPA Review.

Andrew Bolt is launching Gary John’s book Aboriginal Self-Determination from Connor Court Publishing in Melbourne on 2 May, and Mal Brough is launching it in Brisbane on 27 April. Details here. The book has a foreword by Bess Price who’s been in the news in the last week. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you obviously only read The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald).

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

PS – Bookings are now open for the most intellectually stimulating event of 2011. The Genius of Western Civilisation symposium in Melbourne on 24 June with Andrew Roberts, Peter Craven, John Hirst, Michael Duffy, Giles Auty, John Carroll, Sally Warhaft, Claudio Veliz, Ron Manners, Rabbi Shimon Cowen, Ian Harper, Michael Lawriswky, Greg Melleuish, Paul Forgasz, Richard Allsop, Cassandra Wilkinson, Julie Novak, Chris Berg, Jake Niall, David Daintree, and Rod Kemp (and me). Book here.

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David Cameron takes IPA advice on street parties

April 14, 2011

Apparently the cuts the Republicans want to make to the US budget are ‘radical‘. How radical is this?

The graph is by Stanford economics professor John Taylor. I first told you about him back in 2009 when he did this interview on Lateline about why the stimulus wouldn’t work.

Tuesday was the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the US Civil War:

The Greens love sovereign wealth funds, and apparently so too does Malcolm Turnbull. In my column in The Australian Financial Review I said they were a terrible idea (the CIS’s Stephen Kirchner agreed in The Australian.)

The British Nanny State is stopping street parties for the royal wedding. And David Cameron’s upset. Back in 2009 the IPA’s Chris Murn wrote about how hard it was to have street parties in Australia – you’ve got to follow a 25 page safety plan. I said this in The Age in 2007 about how government regulation was destroying communities.

Australia lost one of its finest (and funniest) writers this week – Peter Ruehl. Here’s some classic Ruehl on education.

To win a ticket to our upcoming Genius of Western Civilisation symposium and a copy of 100 Great Books of Liberty (over $300 value) join the IPA online in April. PLUS as a bonus you will receive 14 months’ membership for the price of 12 (just $88). Don’t just raise your voice … raise ours. Join today.

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

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Guess the most bureaucratic level of government

April 7, 2011

Ever wondered what’s the most bureaucratic level of government?

(The IPA’s Julie Novak crunched the numbers for some new research she’s doing; ‘General public services’ includes administration, regulation, and research – in other words, bureaucracy. The original ABS data is here.)

And no surprise, someone (well … more likely a team of someones) spent many hours writing:

Which countries like the free market the most? Not Australia as it turns out. According to this just released by The Economist magazine, capitalism is less popular here than even Brazil or China.

It’s just getting worse in the US. They’re about to reach the federal government debt limit. If you want to know what this means read this from Tuesday’s The Wall Street Journal. And if you think people are exaggerating the depth of America’s problems, read this letter from US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

And this is what everybody’s talking about this week: Alan Greenspan in the Financial Times on why the financial system is more complex than lawmakers and regulators can contemplate. Can anyone disagree with this? Apparently. Peter Hartcher in Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald thinks Greenspan could be senile.

Lots of people told me they loved last week’s piece by The Guardian’s George Monbiot on why nuclear power is still the future. He followed it up this week with a piece on our very own doomsayer, Helen Caldicott. It’s a must read.

Not yet a member of the IPA? You can be for $88. PLUS if you join online in April, we’ll give you two extra months membership free, AND the chance to win a ticket to our upcoming Genius of Western Civilisation symposium and a copy of 100 Great Books of Liberty – over $300 value! Join us today!

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

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