Tag Archives: ken henry

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%’

China Biggest Worry For Markets

17 Mar

Fromt the Wall Street Journal:

Nervousness is growing in the financial markets about China, which might seem odd when there are so many other places to worry about.

There’s still Greece, for example, which is likely to be the focus of this week’s meetings of European finance ministers. There’s Germany, and its trade surplus. And there’s the U.S., the U.K. and all the other places with triple-A-rated debt that may not be rated triple-A for much longer.

So why the focus on China, where shares closed Monday at their lowest in five weeks, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite ending below 3000 at its weakest since Feb. 9? Well, as one bank put it on Monday: “Are we facing a ‘growth miracle’ or will China be the next bubble to burst?

Even the markets are more cautious on China than Australia’s financial powers, the RBA and the Treasury department. They still believe we are headed for 40 years of “unprecedented prosperity” on the back of a new China-fueled mining boom.

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