Tag Archives: ken henry

Rudd’s Smoke And Mirrors Accounting

26 May

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 26 May 2010:

Questioning in Senate Estimates today showed that the Labor Party has been cooking the books to make their spending plans look better.

In the budget the Labor Party brought forward about $1.5 billion, which was earmarked for spending in future years for State and Local Governments, to this financial year.

“Much of this will be paid on June 7. It is not clear what State and Local governments will do with the money for the 23 days that will be left in this financial year. Perhaps the interest will help their bottom line at the expense of the Commonwealth’s”, Senator Barnaby Joyce said.

“The Government could not provide a cogent reason for bringing forward this spending. They could not produce one letter from a local government requesting an early transfer of spending.”

“Labor has produced an accounting trick to increase the base of their funding in 2009-10 and therefore make the amount they can spend higher under the 2% expenditure cap in forward years.”

“The Government’s financial acumen is demonstrated by them losing $11 million on the Sydney West Metro project. In last year’s budget the Government gave NSW $91 million for this project. Not much more than six months later the NSW government scrapped the project, with $11 million of the Commonwealth’s contribution going west on helpful things like ‘consultant fees’.”

“This is another clear example that the Australian people simply cannot trust this Labor Government to deliver economic responsibility.”

More Information- Jenny Swan 0746 251500

This government is constantly ‘cooking the books’.

Please take the time to review the following exposés of other accounting ‘tricks’, in previous Rudd government budgets –

Labor: Hide The Increase

Labor Fakes GDP By 4.5%

Tanner Lies About Budget, GFC

Labor’s $50bn Budget Fraud

Barnaby Bets Henry

26 May

From AAP:

Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce wants to bet federal Treasury boss Ken Henry $1000 that the government fails to deliver its $1 billion 2012 budget surplus.

The forecast surplus depends largely on the government’s proposed 40 per cent resource rent tax.

Senator Joyce said achieving the 2012 surplus will be miraculous.

“Does Dr Henry truly believe that?,” the Nationals leader told ABC television on Tuesday.

“If he does, I’m willing to take a $1000 bet with Dr Henry, and if he is … a billion dollars or better I will pay him $1000.

“If we have a deficit, is he prepared to match my money?”

Senator Joyce has clashed with Treasury secretary Ken Henry previously.  When Barnaby was the Opposition’s Shadow Finance Minister, the insufferably arrogant Ken Henry appeared to relish taking every opportunity during Senate Estimates hearings… and in public speeches… to make thinly-veiled criticisms about his economic views.  Criticisms that the feral media pack wlecomed gleefully in their constant baying for Barnaby’s sacking.

Ironically, the increasingly dire global economic events are demonstrating ever more clearly, that when it comes to economics, Ken Henry is usually wrong.

And Barnaby Is Right.

Mining Tax Puts Australia On Frontline of Market Fury

21 May

Highly respected Australian economics commentator, Robert Gottliebsen, puts forward the same basic point as investment giant Goldman Sachs/JB Were in their recent note to clients – that the Rudd’s government’s mining tax is a prime cause of the dramatic collapse in the Aussie sharemarket and Aussie Dollar.

From Business Spectator:

Global stock markets are losing faith in governments to manage the escalating problems stemming from the sovereign debt situation. But it is worse than that. Bankers are also losing confidence in governments. The sharp falls in stock markets will affect business activities and will have repercussions on economies around the world.

Solvent governments such as Germany are effectively borrowing vast sums to prop up bankrupt countries like Greece and most of the other PIIGS . The bankers say it will not work. Traders are liquidating their portfolios and the shorters are selling European shares.

And whereas we should have been one of the pillars of stability in this global crisis, our crazy mining tax has caused Australia to be in the front line of the market fury.

We have already been hit by a massive bear raid and now we will hit again by the falls on Wall Street.

We need good government at this crucial point in history. Instead we have bad government, so our economic recovery will be stalled if markets keep plunging. Treasury’s optimistic budget forecasts now look as silly as its mining tax.

Smashed $A – Rudd’s Super Tax Blamed

21 May

Goldman Sachs’ Australian subsidiary, JBWere, has issued a note to clients highlighting the reasons for the ongoing rout in the Australian Dollar, which has nose-dived from USD93c to just USD81c (at time of writing) in just three weeks since April 30.

via ZeroHedge:

Despite our belief that relative growth and relative interest rates suggest some support for the A$ over coming months, it is hard to see a swift resolution to the major sources of risk aversion impacting Australia and its hard to build a compelling case for offshore investors to bid the A$ higher. In that environment it will be difficult for our long-standing 95c target for the A$ around mid-year to be met; however, we still think our 12 month 90c target is still feasible, albeit with the path to 90 now likely to be via near-term weakness. Whether an ongoing decline in the A$ is in prospect will partly hinge on whether the Treasury Secretary’s suggestions that the WACC for the resource sector will be lower are viewed by the market as valid arguments or not. In sum, it is not just risk aversion that is driving the A% lower at present, fundamental factors have also been very important (relative growth, shifting rate expectations, lower commodity prices and capital exit) and the path to lower risk aversion is less dependant on the typical ebb and flow of market sentiment and highly dependant upon the actions of policy makers in Australia and Europe. Our A$ forecasts are now under review.

(emphasis added)

So there you have it, from one of the world’s most powerful investment banks, in their advice to clients. “Fundamental factors” have been “very important” in the rapid sell-off of the Australian Dollar.  And a key factor blamed, is the Rudd government’s “Resource Super-Profits Tax” (RSPT), inspired by Treasury Secretary Ken Henry.

(This is the same Ken Henry who utterly failed to foresee the GFC coming in 2007-08.  The same Ken Henry who, in February this year, publicly announced that the GFC is ‘over’, and predicted that Australia is set for a period of “unprecedented prosperity” lasting to 2050)

The financial markets are now considering the AUD to be a high risk currency. And according to JBWere, the “path to lower risk aversion” is “highly dependant on the actions of policy makers in Australia…”.

Rudd’s proposed “super tax” on the mining industry is not just wiping tens of billions off the value of Australian mining company shares – and the value of your Superannuation account.  It has also pulled the floor out from under the Aussie Dollar.

Insulation program. School halls. Border protection. Computers in schools. Renewable energy. FuelWatch. GroceryWatch. “The greatest moral challenge of our time”.

Does everything this government does turn to $***?

The GFC Is ‘Over’, Ken?

8 May

From The Australian:

Debt and taxes a recipe for economic chaos

The Australian sharemarket lost a massive $95 billion in a five-session horror streak this week, as the European debt crisis and the proposed resources super profits tax severely dented investor confidence.

It was the worst run for local equities since the peak of the global financial crisis, and the meltdown appears far from over, as the second phase of the global financial crisis takes hold.

Wait a minute?!  A “second phase”?  As recently as February this year, the Treasury secretary Ken Henry – architect of Rudd Labor’s massive “economic stimulus” spending, and the Henry Review with its resources super-profits tax that this week resulted in billions wiped off the value of Australian mining companies – publicly declared that the GFC was ‘over’:

“What people have called the global financial crisis, that has passed, I think it’s safe to say,” Dr Henry said. “But that isn’t to say that there will not be further adverse shocks for financial markets down the track and some of those shocks … could be of some significance for individual countries, but I don’t imagine (they would be) shocks of the sort that would be globally significant.”

Really Ken? You clearly do have a disturbing lack of “imagination”:

The local market tumbled a further 2 per cent yesterday, taking its loss for the week to 6.8 per cent, leaving the benchmark S&P ASX 200 index at its lowest point in 17 months.

Yesterday’s sell-off came after an extraordinary lead from Wall Street, where the Dow Jones sent shudders through the world, experiencing its biggest intraday move in history after another drubbing on European markets.

Asian markets also tumbled, with Tokyo’s Nikkei falling another 3 per cent, forcing the Bank of Japan to mount its biggest one-day injection of cash since 2008.

There was no sign of a let-up in Europe last night, with major markets opening as much as 2 per cent lower.

CMC Markets analyst David Taylor said markets were fearful the Greek debt crisis would spread globally and jeopardise growth.

“The sheer fact there is a possibility of a second global financial crisis or a second massive credit crunch inspired by a sovereign debt default, markets are . . . terrified about that,” he said.

Ken Henry completely and utterly failed to foresee the onrushing first wave of the GFC in 2007-08.

His “go early, go hard, go households” economic stimulus advice to Rudd Labor has resulted in massive wasteful spending, rorts, fraud, house fires, deaths, and a Budget thrown into an unprecedentedly huge hole.

He preemptively declared that the GFC is ‘over’.

And as recently as February, he could not even imagine any further “shocks of the sort that would be globally significant”.

How much is this arrogant, demonstrably incompetent clown receiving from MY taxes?

Sack Ken Henry now!

Don’t Bet The House On China

4 May

An excellent and timely article by Karen Maley in today’s Business Spectator (reproduced here in full):

Kevin Rudd’s resource super profits tax has one massive risk – that commodity prices collapse before he gets to collect one cent of it.

Yesterday, the influential forecaster, Marc Faber joined those warning of problems ahead in China. “The market is telling you that something is not quite right”, he said in an interview on Bloomberg television. “The Chinese economy is going to slow down regardless. It is more likely that we will even have a crash sometime in the next nine to 12 months.”

On Sunday – as Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan were announcing their new resources tax – China’s central bank made another attempt to dampen property market speculation. It lifted its reserve requirement ratio by a further half a percentage point, so that most Chinese banks will now have to hold 17 per cent of their deposits on reserve.

But this latest increase in the reserve ratio will likely prove as ineffective as the two previous rises in January and February this year. Many believe the Chinese property bubble will continue to expand for as long as the Chinese government maintains interest rates below the rate of inflation.

And that’s the core of the problem. The Chinese government is reluctant to increase interest rates because it risks exposing the huge fault lines that exist in the economy.

Over the past decade, China has built factories and expanded its manufacturing capacity in the expectation that the United States and Europe would continue to demonstrate a robust appetite for Chinese-produced goods. But western demand for Chinese products slowed in the wake of the financial crisis, leaving the Chinese economy with substantial overcapacity in manufacturing.

The problem was exacerbated during the financial crisis. With Chinese exports plunging, the Chinese government launched a massive economic stimulus program, equivalent to around 14 per cent of the country’s GDP. It also ordered Chinese banks to lend, and instructed Chinese state-owned companies to borrow.

The program had the desired result. The Chinese economy grew at an 11.9 per cent annual clip in the first three months of the year, the fastest pace since 2007. And we benefited too, because this strong Chinese growth pushed up the prices of our commodity exports, such as iron ore and coal.

But there are huge concerns over how the Chinese stimulus money was spent. Provincial governments, under instructions from Beijing to reach specified growth targets, undertook massive construction projects that have resulted in a glut of commercial office space, and huge shopping malls that are near-vacant. And much of the increase in bank lending was funnelled into property market speculation, pushing up housing prices to astronomic levels.

The Chinese government has tinkered with various measures to contain its property bubble – increasing the reserve requirement, lifting the minimum deposit that home buyers must have before they’re allowed to borrow, and urging banks to monitor their risks.

But it is loathe to raise interest rates for fear that it will cause mass defaults among manufacturers and property developers, leading to huge problem loans in the banking system.

Eventually, however, an end-point will be reached. Either the Chinese government will raise interest rates, or the property market bubble will collapse under its own weight. At that point, commodity prices will plummet, slashing the profits of the big mining companies.

And if this happens before 1 July 2012 when the new tax regime for the miners comes into effect, Rudd is unlikely to ever see a cent of his new resource super profits tax.

Betting the house on China is exactly what the numbskulls in the Rudd Labor government, the Treasury, and the RBA are doing.

Please take some time to review some of the many earlier articles in this blog, showing how the likes of Treasury secretary Ken Henry and RBA Governor Glenn Stevens have declared that the GFC is ‘over’, and forecast that (thanks to China) we are all set for a ‘period of unprecedented prosperity’ lasting until 2050.

What is vital to bear in mind always, is that these are the very same incompetents who all completely and utterly failed to foresee the onrushing Global Financial Crisis in 2008… even though its first wave had already broken in the USA and on global share markets during 2007!

‘Boycott Australian Iron Ore’ – China

6 Apr

From The Australian:

A Chinese industrial group has urged domestic steel companies to stop buying iron ore from the world’s top three miners, including Australia’s Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, in protest of an alleged price monopoly, state media says.

The China Iron and Steel Association has asked domestic steel firms and traders not to import iron ore from Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brazil’s Vale for two months, the China Net, a government news website said.

The association called for the boycott on April 2 as the most effective means to fight the “monopolistic behaviour” of the three iron ore giants, the report said.

The Rudd Government, economically-led by (unelected) Treasury secretary Ken Henry, are banking on another China-fueled mining boom to bring the budget back to surplus.  In fact, Ken Henry has predicted a “period of unprecedented prosperity”, possibly stretching to 2050, thanks to his belief in a continuous 4-decade China Miracle.

Many leading economists believe that China is in a massive bubble. Some believe it will burst within ten years… others believe by 2012.

Whoever is right, this latest event makes it clear that China is flexing its economic muscles.  Barnaby Joyce’s warnings about changes to the Foreign Investment rules by Rudd Labor only appear more prescient in light of these developments.

Labor Less ‘Creative’ Than Greece

19 Mar

From the Korea Times:

The Greek crisis is a textbook example of the interconnectedness of the global economy and the foreign policy environment.

For most of the last decade, the Greek economy grew faster than others in the euro area. Yet, the country’s balance sheets worsened.

(Sound familiar?)

So, when the global recession hit, and the Greek economy contracted by 2 percent in 2009, international bond markets panicked, fearing that Athens was going to have trouble meeting its obligations. By mid-February the Greek government was paying three percentage points more to borrow money than the interest rate charged Germany, worsening the mismatch between Greek revenues and expenditures.

Wall Street bears some of the blame for this mess. Goldman Sachs and possibly other American financial institutions reportedly helped Athens understate its true indebtedness through the creation of innovative financial instruments.

The Rudd Government has used a more traditional way to understate our true indebtedness. ‘Creative accounting’. Or ‘cooking the books’.

First, Rudd Labor has made changes to the ‘methodology’ used for reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  And they have applied those changes to all the previously reported Budget numbers too.  The result?  A “substantial increase” in Australia’s GDP.  As much as (eg) 4.5% per annum added to the real, inflation-adjusted GDP that was originally reported in the Howard Government’s 2006-07 Final Budget Outcome.

The benefit to Rudd Labor in making this “substantial increase” to GDP in the historical data, is that their spending (as a percentage of that GDP) looks lower.  Their annual spending growth (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower. Their debt (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower. And, their Interest-on-debt (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower too. This explains why Rudd Labor politicians always love to quote everything in percentages. “As a percentage of GDP”.

Second, Rudd Labor has also changed the ‘methodology’ used to calculate the inflation-adjusted value of ‘real’ spending growth.  This was a sudden decision, for the November 2009 MYEFO budget update. The result? The Rudd Government’s reported ‘real spending growth’ is a whopping 30.1% lower under their new calculation method.

Finally, Rudd Labor lies about the GFC whenever it needs to defend its massive spending spree. They have repeatedly told the public that “the GFC punched a huge hole in our projected revenues”.  But the official Budget documents show that this is a lie.  In the May 2009 Budget, the estimated government “Receipts” were only 2.7% lower than for the previous year.  And by the November MYEFO update, government revenues were expected to be slightly higher than for the previous year.

Please follow those links. View for yourself the actual Budget documents that show how Rudd Labor have ‘cooked the books’.

You will see that, unlike Greece, our Labor Government does not need to hide our true state of indebtness through the use of creative financial instruments.

They use good old-fashioned ‘creative accounting’ instead.

Hell Freezes Over

18 Mar

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 18 March 2010:

Hell Freezes Over: Cameron / Barnaby Agree

For once, Senator Barnaby Joyce agrees with the government. In the Senate today Senator Doug Cameron said, “This government has a good record on tax”.  They have a great record if it is about increasing taxes. Barnaby Joyce says he is glad that they recognise this. The Rudd Government’s ETS is one of the biggest imposts on every aspect of life ever invented.  So it is great that the members of the Senate do recognise that they have a fine record of creating taxes. Remember this is a tax on everything that will achieve nothing. It will not change the weather patterns but it will increase the prices on everything.

Mr Rudd did give us hope that there may be some real efforts on tax reform, but the report is conspicuous by its absence. Perhaps the Henry Tax Report has become a doorstop, a coffee table book or elaborate origami, buried somewhere in Mr Swan’s office?  Without the report, how can the Federal Government expect the states to agree to any change of GST funding for their proposed health plans?

More information- Jenny Swan 0538 578 402

Labor Fakes GDP By 4.5%

17 Mar

*This post follows on from my recent article, “Labor: Hide The Increase”.  There, I showed that the Rudd Government has fiddled the books to hide their massive increase in borrowing and spending. Please read the article for background to this new article.

In the fine print on the Rudd Government’s Budget 2009-10 MYEFO website, we learned that Rudd Labor made a change in the accounting method that was previously used to calculate Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  This change resulted in a “substantial increase” to the official GDP figures:

* The 2008-09 Annual National Accounts show a substantial increase in the level of GDP over history due to the ABS adopting the new System of National Accounts 2008. Given the degree of increase in the level of nominal GDP, the Government has released updated tables of fiscal aggregates contained within Appendix D of the 2009-10 MYEFO.

So just how much is that “substantial increase”?

4.5%. Or $47bn. In just one year.

Here’s a chart I’ve put together from the official Australian Government Budget data. It shows my reverse calculation* of the value (in $millions) of Rudd Labor’s “revisions” to historic GDP.

That is, it shows just how much the Rudd government has simply tacked on to the previously-reported official GDP figures (click to enlarge):

Rudd Labor "revisions" to past GDP figures

This chart only goes up to 2006-07.  The last year of a Coalition government Budget report.

That is because the Rudd government has gone back and “revised” the figures in the Rudd Labor 2007-08 and 2008-09 Final Budget Outcome documents too.  So I could not find the original reported figures for those years in order to calculate the GDP, and compare to their newly “revised” figures.

Even so, you can easily see that Rudd Labor’s “revisions” to past GDP are indeed, a “substantial increase”.  For the 2006-07 year – the last year that I am able to compare original vs “revised” figures – it appears that they have adjusted GDP upwards by $47 billion (4.49%) over the original figures reported by the Howard Government.

Of course, we can easily perceive just why Rudd Labor would wish to do this….

Continue reading ‘Labor Fakes GDP By 4.5%’

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