Tag Archives: smh

Carbon Tax Causes Cannabilistic Infanticide

25 Apr

Chalk up the first big horror outcome for the carbon (dioxide) tax.  Evidence is growing that sustained public opposition to taxing the air we breathe can cause our self-appointed moral and intellectual betters to start eating their own children.

From today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Why is there such a sharp and growing divide between the majority who oppose the carbon tax and the minority who openly treat the majority as idiots? …

The justification for this tax is that it will curb greenhouse emissions endangering the planet. It is an argument which covers a multitude of sins. Here are just some:

1. There is no mandate for the carbon tax. It was expressly singled out by Gillard during the last election as a no-go, which helped save her government.

2. The tax will have almost zero effect on global carbon dioxide emissions.

3. It is a tax on everything, as higher energy costs flow through the economy.

4. It is regressive, harming households and small businesses on tight budgets.

5. It is a massive exercise in tax churning.

6. It does not address the structural inefficiencies in the energy sector.

7. It is a prelude to a emissions trading scheme, a derivatives market.

8. Large-scale carbon trading is inherently vulnerable to fraud, manipulation and speculation, as seen in Europe.

9. It will introduce a new layer of complexity to the economy.

10. It ignores significant energy savings possible without a punitive tax.

11. The federal government has an abysmal record in delivering large-scale interventions.

12. Australia contributes about 1.5 per cent of global carbon emissions and any local measures will be irrelevant without a global carbon tax regime.

13. It will not introduce certainty to energy pricing as promised.

14. Solar and wind power generation are prohibitively expensive and cannot meet baseload power needs.

15. The tax represents a massive transfer of wealth and power to the bureaucratic class which benefits most from a new labyrinth of compliance and compulsion.

In short, a carbon chasm is emerging in Australia and when it is all boiled down, I think Sue Isles is right and Julia Gillard is wrong.

Damn straight.

Also from the Sydney Morning Herald recently, the government sales pitch for the carbon tax exposed and mocked:

You can tell everything you need to know about a product by the way it is sold. In advertising, a dog of a product is apparent from its unique selling proposition, or USP…

”One million people will be better off” is the USP with which the Minister for Climate Change, Greg Combet, hopes to persuade the public to buy his shiny new carbon tax.

I almost choked on my 100 per cent natural grain Wheaties. This must be a really crappy product.

There can be only one genuine way to sell the carbon tax, and that is by advertising the fact that it will prevent anthropogenic warming. It’s like Mortein. I buy it because I have a nasty problem that needs eradicating. Excessive CO2 emissions around your home? Stop them dead with the new carbon tax! Available at all good stores.

It’s instructive to think of how the GST was sold to a less than enthusiastic public. Basically, it was the castor oil strategy – this stuff is going to taste slightly unpleasant, but it’s going to do us all a power of (economic) good. And it worked. Arguably that is the only honest way of selling the carbon tax, too. Self-sacrifice for the greater good. In this case, of mankind.

Yet despite all the political shenanigans of the past few years and a massive teaser campaign for more than a decade (rising sea-levels, end of the world, Al Gore) “the greater good” is not the USP with which the government has chosen to sell this product.

Which must mean, to put it bluntly, that the product doesn’t work.

Here’s what happened behind the scenes. The advertising agency researched what a carbon tax might mean to people. To do so, they assembled groups of consumers – mums and dads, single parents, uni students, anyone who was prepared to give up an evening for $50 and some free food – and stuck them in specially designed research rooms where their every utterance was observed, taped and scrutinised. The topic was climate change. To a man and woman – apart from one or two sceptics – the groups agreed ”something must be done”. The polite, well-spoken researcher then introduced the concept of a carbon tax. The focus groups were wary, but accepted the idea so long as it solved the problem of global warming. Sandwiches and pizza were handed around. The researcher then showed the groups numerous concepts that attempted to distil the idea that the carbon tax could not fix the problem in and of itself, but rather, was a pre-emptive action that would require many other changes throughout the world over which Australia has no control before any useful reduction in carbon emissions could or might occur.

Things started to get a little sticky. When, via a detailed analysis and discussion of various phrases and catchwords the focus groups cottoned on to the fact that the tax was not going to do what they hoped for, they became angry. And the advertising dudes, watching them from behind a one-way mirror, became nervous. At this point, the researcher, her hands sweating slightly, popped some different boards under the noses of the focus groups. These new concepts and phrases introduced the idea that some people, due to the structure of the rebates, would find themselves better off under the new tax. And suddenly the conversations took a dramatic turn. The focus groups became pacified. Heads started nodding. Greed kicked in.

Meanwhile, behind the one-way mirror, the advertising folk and government consultants heaved a sigh of relief. Now they had found their USP, all they needed was a catchy phrase and the job was done.

One million people will be better off. You can’t get any catchier than that.

The avowedly warmist Sydney Morning Herald beginning to turn on its own children?

Perhaps now is a good time for someone to start a new list, similar to this one detailing all the publicly alleged effects of global warming.  You might wish to call this new list, “UCACA – Unintended Consequences of ‘Action on Climate’ Advocacy”.

Australians All Let Us Rejoyce

25 Apr

Seriously.  Who wouldn’t want a straight up, stand up, no-BS, battle-scarred country bloke with a heart full of pride in Australia and a mouth full of hilarious one-liners to be our next Deputy PM?

The times certainly are a-changin’ when even a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald’s latte-sipping inner city self-appointed moral elites is jumping for joyce at the prospect –

Sometimes people can’t handle the truth. Haters are going to hate. Not long after making these statements Joyce was cruelly divested of the shadow finance portfolio.

Since then he has railed in a most entertaining manner against the Building the Education Revolution (“glorified garden sheds”), the carbon tax (“a little home-cooked policy cake to cool the planet”) and the national broadband network, which he likes to call a “telephone company”.

This last quip causes the Broadband Minister, Stephen Conroy, to actually twitch with indignation. It’s marvellous.

Joycean press releases are a joy; gleaming gems among the usual dreary transcripts and self-serving announcements that land in the journalistic inbox…

Last week, for something different, he bowled up a press release in the form of a quiz.

“Q. Who am I? Two weeks ago there were 183.8 of me, this week there is 187.3 of me,” it read.

“A. Billions of dollars in gross debt.”

Who else but Barnaby could turn the deficit into a parlour game? Australian politics is the richer for him. He is a constant and vociferous critic of the government, an independent thinker and a fearless advocate for his state. Plus he has a flair for language, something Gillard can most certainly not boast.

For that reason alone, actually for only that reason: Barnaby for Deputy PM.

Gittins Nails ‘Rudd’s Budget Trick’

17 May

Economics Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins, hits the nail squarely on the head in critiquing the latest Budget, and at the same time, smashes the lamestream media’s pathetic reporting of the Rudd smoke ‘n mirrors ‘trick’:

The annual debate about the budget gets ever more unreal. This year it reached the height of absurdity. Budgets used to be about what the government plans to do in the coming financial year. Now they’re about what supposedly will happen any time over the next four years.

How unreal can you get? Who on earth knows what will happen over the next four years? No one. Certainly not Treasury (nor any of the smarties who think they know better than it). This time last year Treasury’s best guess was that unemployment would peak at 8.5 per cent next year; now we know it peaked at 5.8 per cent in the middle of last year.

This time last year we were told revenue collections over five years would be down $210 billion on what the ”forward estimates” had told us the year before. Now we’re told they’ll be down $110 billion – but why would you set much store by that guess? We know from repeated experience that Treasury is quite bad at telling us in early May what the budget balance will be at the end of the following month. And yet we take seriously what it says the balance will be in three or four years’ time.

This year there’s been huge emphasis – encouraged by the government’s rhetoric and amplified by the media (including yours truly) – on one figure: the projected budget balance in three years’ time, a surplus of $1 billion. Hallelujah! Home and hosed. All over bar the shouting.

How absurd can you get? Treasury isn’t even prepared to dignify this figure with the status of a ”forecast”? It’s the product of a completely mechanical, punch-in-predetermined-numbers ”projection”. Here’s another absurdity: the public debate about the budget treats all its figures as if they were accomplished facts. No ifs or buts or maybes. And do the purse-string ministers – who know better than anyone how unreliable these figures are – make it their responsibility to warn us not to take them too literally? Not a bit of it.

Here’s Lindsay Tanner: ”The result is that we are back in surplus three years ahead of schedule in three years’ time and the level of debt Australia has will be half of what was initially projected” (my emphasis).

Last year’s projection was rubbish, but this year’s is fact. Of all the (inescapably) rubbery figures in the budget, the one we’ve fixated on is the rubberiest: the $1 billion cash surplus in 2012-13. The one thing you can bet on is that the budget balance that year won’t be a surplus of $1 billion.

This relatively recent shift from focusing on the budget year to taking a blurry look at the next four years has made it easier for governments to manipulate our perceptions of the budget. And boy, weren’t the pollies working hard at it this year.

Read the rest of Gittins’ detailed and brilliant critique here.

Batten The Hatches

16 Mar

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The ominous word ”boom” appeared last week, in large type, on the front page of the local newspaper. Given the nature of this paper, the word could only refer to one thing: property. While the signals from the property market are mixed, it appears we are springing back to normalcy without absorbing the reality: the global financial crisis is far from over. All the elements are in place for a second crash.

The world has become an economically unstable place, with enormous unresolved issues. Australia’s economy is fundamentally sound, but the global economy is fundamentally unsound. Even a good boat can be swamped by a bad sea and Australia, as a middling economy, will be buffeted by forces beyond its control unfolding in the United States, the European Community and Asia.

The Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, is warning of ”unstable dynamics”. Ominous language. The International Monetary Fund estimates the world’s 20 largest economies, the G20, will have a combined debt equal to 118 per cent of their combined gross domestic product by 2014, meaning debt will have exploded by 50 per cent in just seven years. To fund what? In Australia, debt is being used for expansion of the mining sector, which is good, but also for the ill-disciplined spending of the Rudd government and the chronically overpriced housing sector. As a result, Australia’s economy is more vulnerable to economic stress from abroad…

While the obvious and prudent response of government in a financial crisis is to provide social and economic shock absorbers by increased spending and borrowing, it is also important not to overreact. If you believe the global financial crisis is still unfolding, the key is not to overshoot, but to conserve resources and policy options.

The Rudd government, as it has proved in every area of major policy, overspent. It threw money around with undisciplined panic when faced with the global economic crisis.

A must read article.

Perhaps Mr Sheehan might like to point all this out to the overpaid, short-sighted, know-it-all idiots in the Treasury department, and at the Reserve Bank of Australia.

They all failed to see and forewarn of the GFC.  So, thanks to their incompetence, millions of Australian citizens lost literally billions in retirement savings and investments during late 2007 through to early 2009.

Now they are saying that the GFC is “over”, and that we are set for a multi-decade China-fueled mining boom that will provide a “period of unprecedented prosperity”.

Sack Ken Henry. Sack Glenn Stevens.

And abolish the RBA.

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