Piers Akerman – Thursday, June 09, 11 (06:40 pm)
CAUCUS is in revolt over the treatment of cattle exported to Indonesia but not over the plan to export people to Malaysia, possibly the most racist nation in South-East Asia.
Writing about the economically unjustified Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program in today’s Washington Post, George Will gets it exactly right about the nature of that lamentable program. Here’s the heart of the column:
A government borrowing $58,000 a second cannot afford Obama’s policy of Stimulus Forever, and there is this problem with TAA at any level: It is unjust to treat some workers as more entitled than others to protection from the vicissitudes of economic dynamism.
Consider a hypothetical Ralph, who operated Ralph’s Diner until Applebee’s and Olive Garden opened competitors in the neighborhood. With economies of scale and national advertising budgets, those two franchises could offer more choices at better prices, so Ralph’s Diner went out of business. Should he and his employees be entitled to extra taxpayer subventions because they are casualties of competition?
Why should someone be entitled to such welfare just because he or she is affected negatively by competition that comes from abroad rather than down the street? Because national trade policy permits foreign competition? But national economic policy permits — indeed encourages, even enforces — domestic competition.
In 2001, when approximately 80,000 people worked in 7,500 music stores, the iPod was invented. Largely because of that and other technological changes, today only about 20,000 people work in 2,500 music stores. Should those 60,000 people be entitled to extra welfare because they are “victims” of technology? Does it matter if the 60,000 have found work in new jobs — perhaps making or selling electronic devices?
In 2008, Americans bought 1.4 billion books made of paper and 200 million e-books. Soon they will buy more e-books than paper books, and half the nation’s bookstores will be gone. Should the stores’ former employees be entitled to special assistance beyond unemployment compensation?
Tim Blair – Thursday, June 09, 11 (12:32 pm)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (09:24 am)
Turnbull is always worth listening to on global warming, as we all know:
Politicians and Whitehall mandarins are pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and consigning Britain to a future of inflated fuel bills and economic misery, the former head of the Civil Service warned last night.
Lord Turnbull – who served Tony Blair as Cabinet Secretary from 2002 to 2005 – accused MPs and civil servants of failing to challenge the ‘climate change consensus’.
He suggested that by blindly following the green agenda, the Government had hit hard-working families with a range of costly policies…
‘It is regrettable that the UK Parliament has proved so trusting and uncritical of the (global warming) narrative and so reluctant to question the economic costs being imposed in pursuit of decarbonisation,’ he said…
‘From our politicians we need open-mindedness, more rationality, less emotion and less religiosity; and an end to alarmist propaganda and to attempts to frighten us and our children.
(Via Benny Peiser.)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:55 am)
Another climate scientist speaks up:
AFTER arriving in Australia yesterday, the Dalai Lama called for countries to cut greenhouse gases urgently, without waiting for other nations to act first.
I think the Dalai Lama understands his constituency. After all, if you were an Australian of a sceptical disposition, would you really be a Buddhist?
Still, at least the Dalai Lama backs up his green beliefs by recycling:
Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:44 am)
If the Gillard Government is touting yesterday’s Productivity Commission report as an endorsement, then it cannot give the Greens the compromise they demand:
On the plus side for the government, the commission has backed a market-based mechanism as the lowest-cost way of achieving abatements. But with that is a warning. The market-based mechanism must be policy pure.
The PC finds feed-in tariffs and renewable energy incentives - key measures being demanded by the Greens in return for a lower starting price - have driven up costs and produced very little greenhouse emissions reductions in some of the countries studied, including Australia.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:40 am)
So what’s Plan D, if Manus Island is not reopened?
The ABC’s Lateline program reported last night it had obtained a confidential internal paper from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Canberra office, questioning whether PNG’s cabinet would give the centre the green light…
It refers to a lack of political will in PNG, aside from Prime Minister Michael Somare, recovering from heart surgery, and now sacked foreign minister Don Poyle. “The serious illness of (Mr) Somare is a complicating factor as it was widely believed his ‘blessing’ was required before the cabinet will approve any arrangements,” it says.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:22 am)
Physicist Clive Best says the world just isn’t warming as the warmists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted:
The latest global temperature measurements are available for both satellite data  and for the Hadley CRU temperature data , so I thought it would be interesting to compare these with the predictions made in 1990 by the first IPCC report. There is now sufficient data to test whether the GCM modeling of greenhouse gases used by the IPCC really matches up to reality.
(Via Watts Up With That.)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:21 am)
I wonder what Indonesia’s poor think of Australia, now that we’ve banned livestock exports and driven up the price of meat:
The price of 1 kilogram local meat would likely reach Rp 25,000 (US$ 2.90) per kilogram, up from its regular price of less than Rp 22,000.
(Thanks to reader Socrates of the Hills.)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:13 am)
Treasurer Wayne Swan says Treasury’s latest modelling justifies the government’s carbon dioxide tax.
Henry Ergas is horrified:
Most striking is just how large the costs of the new scheme are estimated to be.
According to the Treasurer, per capita incomes will grow by 1.2 per cent annually. The scheme is expected to reduce that growth rate by 0.1 percentage point. That reduction, Swan claims, is a mere trifle. But it amounts to a permanent 8 per cent cut in our long-term growth rate.
To see what that implies, consider the present value of the forgone income; that is, the absolute value of the cost to 2050. That present value is in the order of $1.4 trillion. The proposed policy would therefore cost Australia about 1 1/2 years’ national income. But even that large amount is a significant underestimate, assuming the modelling is similar to that done for the CPRS.
First, it assumes moving to the scheme involves no transition costs. But resources are not infinitely malleable. Substantial costs would be incurred not merely in moving to the scheme but also if we eventually wanted to abandon it.
Second and even more important, the modelling assumes our commercial rivals are implementing a similar scheme. Given that assumption, the modelling does not assess the government’s proposal. Rather, it models an entirely different policy: that of introducing an emissions trading scheme when such a scheme is being introduced by our competitors.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (06:07 am)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, June 10, 11 (05:48 am)
I suspect Labor’s trouble lies as much in the kind of ideals it’s championed as it does in the lack of ideals:
IN the strongest speech of his career, Labor senator John Faulkner warned last night that the party had “no future” unless it changed to embrace a “culture of inclusion” and repudiate powerbrokers who put their own interests before Labor’s survival.
Delivering the Neville Wran Lecture at NSW parliament, the former ALP Senate leader said Labor had already “lost a generation of activists” and unless it confronted internal reform, “we will risk losing a generation of voters as well”.
His message was that Labor suffered from a deepening malaise that was a national problem. He attacked Labor’s governing culture of control and staying “on message” as “no longer enough”, and argued the public now valued authenticity over “the appearance of harmony"…
Senator Faulkner said there was something “deeply wrong when we use polling to determine our party’s policies and even our values”. Loyalty meant staying true to Labor principles, “not to . . . media management . . . (or) spin”.
I’m sure there are many Labor politicians who genuinely champion global warming policies, for instance, or green values more broadly. Indeed, Labor is now defying the polls in arguing for its carbon dioxide tax.
The problem is that these values conflict with Labor’s more traditional ones. It pits New Labor against Old. And, of course, the whole rational edifice for these new ideals is missing or crumbling.
Faulkner is alarmed that Labor is losing activists to GetUp. But check the GetUp agenda and you will find a giant suicide note. GetUp celebrates moral exhibitionism and the cult of the perpetually irresponsible. Take one of GetUP’s signature causes of boat people. It’s by adopting the GetUp kind of agenda of weak borders and misty eyes that Labor has caused our detention centres to fill and some 200 boat people to drown at sea.
Again, I don’t believe Labor did this foolish thing just by following polls and focus groups. Rather the reverse.
The real problem, it seems to me, is the infantilism of the Left and the decline of serious, thinking adults within Labor’s hierarchy.
Speaking of which, in Faulkner’s speech comes a defence that is also a confession of how shaky Julia Gillard’s leadership is:
He warned against the cult of leader change, as exemplified in NSW. The party had to grasp that “there is more amiss here than any one individual can be asked to shoulder the blame for”.
Blame? Gillard’s getting blame?
Well, doesn’t she deserves a lot?
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, June 09, 11 (11:41 am)
I’ve noticed the same cowardly tactic that Perth radio’s Howard Sattler describes:
THE Gillard Government and its carbon tax supporters are running scared.
How else can I explain the reaction of its chief climate change adviser, Prof. Ross Garnaut, to my request for an interview on the subject.
During the negotiations my producer was grilled about my views on the proposed impost and global warming.
Told I was a sceptic, the response was:"That changes everything.”
Needless to say, the interview did not materialise.
Snubbing talkback radio commentators who disagree with the Government’s policy is one ingredient in the campaign to derail opposition to the tax.
This is a deliberate tactic to avoid awkward questions, marginalise sceptics and pretend there’s no debate. What you should conclude is not just that these people have no real confidence in their arguments.
You should also conclude that every time you hear a journalist interview a government mouthpice or scientist on global warming, that this is one journalist who is trusted not to ask a hard question.
(Thanks to reader Gab.)