What’s this fiscal cliff thing?

November 15, 2012

From John Roskam

What’s the ‘fiscal cliff’ you say?

This from the The Age last week is an excellent short explanation. And Real Clear Policy explains its legislative and technical components. And here’s ‘The Absolute Moron’s Guide to the Fiscal Cliff’ (their words – not mine) from New York Magazine from Monday. I can guess which article you’ll read first.

Next time someone quotes to you the Congressional Budget Office as a ‘non-partisan’ source (like in this article in The Australian) tell them the CBO thinks higher taxes and bigger government are good – as The Cato Institute explains.

In my column in The Australian Financial Review last Friday I wrote what I thought of the American election.

…on a lighter note – on Sunday in England a 19 year-old who got drunk and posted a picture on Facebook of him burning a Remembrance Day poppy was arrested. Last week in Hey we told you that in the UK three people a day are being arrested for what they post on Facebook and Twitter.

The Gillard government has backed down on its internet filter. Now all we have to worry about is the Iranian government deciding what Australians can see on the web – as the IPA’s Simon Breheny explains on FreedomWatch.

Encounter magazine was a bastion of liberalism in the West during the Cold War. You can now read every edition and writers like Isaiah Berlin, CS Lewis, Raymond Aron, Hugh Trevor-Roper, and Arthur Koestler free and online here. All the details are in this month’s edition of the IPA’s Horizons.

Peter Coleman has a wonderful history of Encounter and its milieu in his 1989 book The Liberal Conspiracy. Here’s the Los Angeles Times review of it.

You’ll be starting to think about books to buy yourself for Christmas. Don’t buy Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new autobiography – The Spectator’s review of it a fortnight ago is hilarious.

Do buy the final volume of William Manchester’s biography of Churchill which has just come out – this is its fascinating story from the New York Times.

With Stephen Spielberg’s new movie Lincoln out soon – the trailer is here – and Rolling Stone’s review is here – you could get yourself the book it’s based on which was reviewed in the IPA Review back in 2009.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The BBC won’t let ET phone home

November 8, 2012

From James Paterson

Obviously crime has been eradicated entirely in the UK. That’s the only way to explain three people being arrested every day for posts on Facebook and Twitter. Some have even been jailed for as long as three months!

But then again the UK is a weird place: the BBC won’t even let the Brits listen to aliens from outer space because it might violate health and safety regulations.

Our 75 (now 100) radical ideas for Tony Abbott attracted some criticism. But nothing could prepare us for this stinging editorial in The Guardian, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia.

Everyone knows Greece is in serious trouble, as explained in this excellent piece last week by Nick Cohen in the other Guardian (I can see how you’d get mixed up). But would you believe America’s debt per person is actually much worse?

Some Hey readers might be disappointed by the election results from America yesterday. But not James Delingpole – he offers 10 reasons to be happy about an Obama win! So how did Obama do it? Time magazine has an interesting back story on the Democrats’ data-crunching machine. Personally I think it came down to the National Dance for Obama Day.

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, retailer Wal-Mart famously came to New Orleans’ rescue long before the US federal government. What could possibly beat that story of free enterprise efficiency over government bureaucracy, you ask? How about Victoria’s Secret saving the day during Hurricane Sandy? I promise it’s true.

If you’re looking for something lighter to read, try this wonderful essay by Simon Schama on James Bond’s 50th anniversary from Newsweek.

Finally, if you’re in Sydney next week you can see the IPA’s Tim Wilson and Peter Costello debate Bob Katter and Alan Jones on foreign investment. Tickets to this Spectator Australia debate can be purchased here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The stimulus that didn’t stimulate

November 2, 2012

From James Paterson

A few months ago we told you the federal parliament passes around 7,000 pages of law every single year. But how much legislation in total is on the books in Australia? Chris Berg has the answer:

Only a federal government that brought in a massive new tax which raised no revenue could also design an expensive stimulus program that only increased average household spending by $1. The evidence is in on Kevin Rudd’s $900 cash-handouts, and it is nothing to boast about.

The latest IPA Review is out this week. After the big response to our 75 radical ideas for Tony Abbott in the last edition, we’ve added 25 more! And we’ve calculated some of the savings from implementing them.

Overnight in Britain David Cameron suffered a humiliating defeat over how much money his government gives to the EU. The Spectator has the background story of how the rebel Conservative MPs engineered their coup. Perhaps they would change their mind if forced to watch this wacky pro-EU propaganda music video.

The man who might replace Cameron, Boris Johnson, is doing a great job unofficially campaigning to the Tory base – check out this terrific defence of free speech against media regulation in The Telegraph this week.

Over the last week in the US everyone has been talking about this creepy new Obama campaign ad. Steve Kates on Quadrant Online thinks they got the idea from Australia.

Last week we told you Republicans were more informed than Democrats. But do Obama supporters even know about his own policies? This amusing video suggests the answer is: nup.

As part of our strategy to continue to grow the IPA, we will soon be sending out a free membership information pack. If you’re interested in joining the IPA but want to learn more about what membership involves, please send your mailing address to Rachel Leigh at [email protected].

And if you’re in Brisbane you might be interested in attending ‘IR Changes in Queensland‘ – a briefing with the HR Nicholls Society on 21 November.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Mr Bean loves free speech

October 25, 2012

From James Paterson

Looks like Occupy Canberra has a lot of work to do with the bureaucratic 1%:

That chart is from an important new report on how to really downsize the public service by IPA Research Fellow Julie Novak, released this week.

This video, of Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson defending the right to offend, is the must-click Hey link of the year. Why don’t Australian celebrities stand up for free speech? The IPA’s Simon Breheny explains why the UK’s ‘Section 5’ is their Section 18C.

The latest edition of the IPA Review is out next week. Sadly, we learnt last week that communications minister Stephen Conroy is not a fan (but obviously an avid reader). Here’s a sneak preview of the front cover. And here is a great article from the last edition – Peter Gregory on how private schools are transforming the developing world.

A few months ago we told you it was lucky that Tim Flannery wasn’t Dutch. Well, it’s even luckier he isn’t Italian, given this court case. Europe sure is a strange place, as this insane EU poster (discovered by Dan Hannan) demonstrates.

I’d never have picked Mitt Romney as a comedian, but his speech at the Al Smith dinner last week in New York was genuinely very funny. Barack Obama’s was pretty good too. And here’s something you won’t see reported on CNN: Republicans are better informed than Democrats.

Finally, the current edition of New York magazine has a fascinating long read on the Ayn Rand-devotee who turned around AIG after the bailout.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

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