Monday, June 13, 2011

News items and comments

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Dana Milbank praises Barack Obama’s outgoing economic advisor Austan Goolsbee for allegedly rejecting “hifalutin theory” in favor of “cold, hard facts” (“With Goolsbee’s departure, Obama losing a voice of reason,” June 12). While rightly lamenting the administration’s loss of Mr. Goolsbee’s reasonable voice, Mr. Milbank wrongly supposes that economic policy can be guided exclusively by “cold, hard facts” unprocessed by some theory about what data mean and how they relate to each other.

There are good theories and there are bad theories, but there are no ‘no-theories.’ Evidence for this fact (!) is given by Mr. Milbank himself when he writes that “Goolsbee endorsed many of the extreme measures Obama took two years ago, because the private sector was in free-fall and massive government spending was the only option.”

Correct or not, the belief that “government spending was the only option” to keep the economy from imploding is itself a theory. No data independent of some economic theory scream with crystalline clarity that increased government spending must substitute for collapsing private spending. That Mr. Milbank believes that increased government spending “was the only option” means only that Mr. Milbank accepts Keynesian theory so unthinkingly that he mistakes it for a cold, hard fact, and thus causes him to be unaware of other theories that counsel very different responses from government.

Donald J. Boudreaux


Harry Johnson on Keynes

by DON BOUDREAUX on JUNE 11, 2011


Daniel Kuehn’s apparent surprise that any serious scholar – for example, Joseph Schumpeter or Thomas McCraw (or any gadfly; for example, Don Boudreaux) – would regard Keynes as a stagnationist got my brain racing. Where, where,where did I long ago first encounter a mainstream economist who identified Keynes as a stagnationist? Fortunately, my mind raced fast enough to remind me of the late Harry Johnson. Johnson was (partly) a Chicagoan, it’s true, but hardly a Hayekian or Austrian, and certainly no ideologue.

So I found my long-neglected 1975 collection of some of Johnson’s best essays,On Economics and Society, and reviewed for the first time in more than 15 years the fascinating readings collected therein. Here’s from Johnson’s 1960 address at the American Economic Association’s annual meeting; the address (published in the May 1961 issue of the AER) is entitled “The General Theory After 25 Years”:

A more relevant question is whether large-scale unemployment is the typical situation of the advanced capitalist economy, as the theme and prevailing tone of the General Theory imply, and as the stagnationists of the 1930s insisted.

By the way, Johnson in a later, a 1973, essay (“Keynes and British Economics”) noted that

the ‘new economics’ won acceptance in the United States only as recently as the tax cut of 1964….

Just FYI.


Monckton returns

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (11:49 am)

Lord Monckton is touring Australia again, with Dr David Evans and Jo Nova.

Bookings through Ticketek.

Phone 132 849 or go to
$25 per person

6th July 7.00pm Starlight Room, Wests New Lambton NSW
7th July 6.30pm Wesley Theatre, Sydney NSW
8th July 7.00pm North Sydney Leagues Club NSW
13th July 7.00pm Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club QLD
20th July 1.00pm German Club, 291 Dandenong Rd, Windsor VIC
20th July 7.00pm German Club, 291 Dandenong Rd, Windsor VIC

Useless fix to what’s probably not a problem

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (11:11 am)

What Lord Lawson, the former British Chancellor, says of Britain’s policy to “decarbonise” its economy goes double for Australia:

The ostensible purpose of this policy is to prevent what is customarily described as catastrophic global warming.

Now, there are at least two major problems with this.

The first, as more and more eminent scientists are finding the courage to point out (the most recent being the distinguished physicist Professor William Happer of Princeton University), is that it is far from clear that there is a serious problem — let alone a catastrophic one — of global warming at all…

The second major problem with the British Government’s policy is that even if it were thought to be desirable to cut back drastically on carbon emissions, this can have an effect only if it is done globally.

For the UK, responsible for 2?per cent of global emissions, to go it alone is futile folly....

They claim, first, that policies to promote the replacement of carbon-based energy by (substantially more expensive) renewable energy, notably wind power, will bring great benefit to the British economy and in particular create millions of so-called ‘green jobs’.

This is economic illiteracy of the worst order… All the Government is doing is creating uneconomic jobs that require an ever-increasing subsidy at the expense of genuinely productive jobs requiring no subsidy at all…

The plain fact is that the Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on.

It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: to make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration ‘the greenest government ever’. My dictionary defines green as ‘unripe, immature, undeveloped’. It is time this government grew up.

(Thanks to several readers.)


Shouldn’t we blame the Left-wing media?

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (10:37 am)

Where is the Left to damn ”political hate speech”, ”extremist fervor” and the new culture of intimidation andviolence, fueled by the ”hate media”?

The release of 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails shows that she received a barrage of abusive emails including death threats in the run up to the 2008 presidential race.

Oh, and no comments either about this invasion of priviacy and naked trawling for scandals?

(Thanks to reader Bryce.)


No one knows

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (10:11 am)

It’s a complete mystery. Why would viewers suddenly be switching away from the ABC at 10am on Sunday?

Another concern is the switch-off of viewers on Sundays following Barrie Cassidy’s Insiderswhen Business Insiders with Alan Kohler comes on at 10am.


A meesage from Rudd on Labor’s woes

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (10:00 am)

It’s what Kevin would like to say, I’m sure - and may yet.

(Thanks to reader Roger.)


On the other hand…

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (09:51 am)

A refugee it’s been our honour to help - and who helps in turn:

AS A schoolboy in Afghanistan, Ali Reza Yunespour’s classes were held in tents and mosques… Mr Yunespour, 23, is now studying at the University of Sydney. Six years after arriving in Australia as a refugee, having excelled at Marden High School and won scholarships to university, he is finishing an honours degree in international studies.,,

He tutors high school students, prepares refugees for citizenship tests and was instrumental in having a school for 1000 children built in the village of Borjegai, in central Afghanistan.

The co-educational school officially opened this year. Students will attend year-round.

Mr Yunespour said the privilege he felt in coming to Australia gave him ‘’a sense of internal responsibility … for me to help other people’’.... Education was ‘’an alternative for the peace process in Afghanistan’’, the key to alleviating poverty and allowing young people to ‘’find their own pathways’’.

‘’The peace and stability and security in Afghanistan doesn’t come through military involvement only,’’ he said.


No more futile

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (09:35 am)


Mark Knight has the solution:

QANTAS has cancelled all flights in and out of Tasmania and New Zealand for the rest of the day due to the danger posed by an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano… The eruption of Chile’s Puyehue volcano on June 4, more than a week ago and over 11,000km from Melbourne, is responsible for the flight chaos.

(Thanks to reader James.)


One year on, and Gillard’s mining tax looks even more doomed

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (07:00 am)

Adele Ferguson doesn’t give the Gillard Government’s planned new mining tax much hope, and marvels at Julia Gillard’s fear of debate:

Billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals is expected to be a party to mounting a constitutional challenge (in the High Court), with the West Australian, Queensland and New South Wales governments odds-on favourites to join any claim…

It can be revealed that in a letter written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on March 18, Forrest outlined concerns and “flaws” with the proposed MRRT and requested a meeting to discuss his concerns.

Despite Forrest founding a company that now has a market cap of almost $20 billion, and holding similar concerns to most of the iron ore and coal mining industry, no meeting was forthcoming.

In the letter, Forrest wrote: “The tax base will be unreasonably narrow, being focused on 320 taxpayers in two resource areas: coal and iron ore. It will be a volatile tax subject to huge fluctuations depending on international commodity prices (making it unsuitable to fund ongoing budget commitments your government has made such as reducing company tax and funding increased superannuation)."…

He also wrote about his concerns that the three companies that privately negotiated the MRRT - Rio, BHP and Xstrata - would not contribute commensurately to the $7.4 billion of MRRT that Treasury expects to raise in the first two years. “No one can see how you will raise this amount given the enormous deductions that BHP, Rio and Xstrata will enjoy in the first years of the tax.”


The author of all our ills

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (06:52 am)

Malcolm Fraser attacks Australia’s treatment of boat people, and the various policies on offer:

The push towards a renewed Pacific Solution or a people-swap with Malaysia demonstrates the absence of a moral compass when it comes to leadership on both sides of the political fence.

Fraser identifies only one of the allegedly guilty politicians by name. Guess which:

A. Julia Gillard
B. Chris Bowen
C. Tony Abbott
D. Kevin Rudd
E: John Howard

All politics is personal with this bloke, isn’t it?


No news is good news for Gillard

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (06:40 am)


Christine Wallace, married to a former Kim Beazley chief of staff, won’t explain:

AN unauthorised biography of Julia Gillard that ALP strategists feared would rock the Labor Party has been dumped in a literary mystery.

Billed by publisher Allen & Unwin as “the book of the year”, the long-awaited tell-all on the prime minister’s life and times by biographer Christine Wallace was due for release later this year....

But Wallace told The Sunday Telegraph: “I’m adopting the Benjamin Disraeli position, (Never complain) ‘Never explain’.”

It’s not known if a legal issue or editorial differences are to blame for the parting of ways, but the publisher would have paid a substantial advance for the book.

Allen & Unwin sources said that Wallace had had her reasons “which she believes are good ones”.

The decision believes the claims of the book’s pre-publication blurb, which also suggests a reason:

‘Christine Wallace pulls no punches. There’s no holding back. She combines investigative journalism with the writing flair of a literary novelist.’ - Laurie Oakes…

In this insightful, hard hitting and robust portrait of Australia’s most powerful woman, Canberra insider Christine Wallace reveals the real Julia Gillard. She introduces a brilliant and ambitious operator with genuine personal warmth and charm. And just as convincingly, she uncovers the contradictions, tensions and frailties of Gillard’s personality.

It may not have always been pretty. Sometimes it hasn’t looked principled. Occasionally the company she has kept has been questionable...


No, the problem is Labor’s New Class values

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (06:30 am)

James A. Falk explains the point I was trying to argue on the Bolt Report yesterday - that Labor’s problem was not that it had no ideals, but that it had the wrong ones:

Labor figures such as Senator John Faulkner and Rodney Cavalier claim that the ALP needs to build policy that its members support, and to engage more closely with left-wing intelligentsia…

Conspicuous by its absence is the admission that their core agenda already responds to the ideological interests of a progressive class.

That class is contemptuous of suburban values and aspiration, embraces green conventional wisdom about the evils of industry and capitalism, and is willing to sacrifice the opportunities of the less-connected to the false certainties of 1950s class conflict. These failings are why the Liberals gained all of the swing away from Labor in one of the safest Green-Left seats in the country, and why we won the Balmain primary vote at the last state election for the first time in history, and why the Greens gained virtually nothing.

Until progressives realise that too many voters view their policy mix as pandering to old prejudices and to a wealthy minority, all the internal reform and celebrity advertisements in the world will make no difference to their long-term decline.


Can’t run from Work Choices forever

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (06:24 am)

Chris Kenny on a challenge Tony Abbott shouldn’t shirk:

Australia’s productivity growth has slipped from 3 per cent in the 1990s to just 1 per cent now… Workplace reform is the most obvious opportunity to boost productivity…

Anecdotal evidence suggests the unfair dismissal provisions, understandably, discourage small businesses from giving a chance to people without work histories… And there is huge potential to boost workforce participation, especially for women, through greater flexibility in working hours and practices; an area where Labor’s hands are tied by the unions.

Politically, this argument is a gift for the Coalition’s crucial base of small business people and the aspirational self-employed…

Abbott must reveal a workplace policy before the next election and we can be certain that no matter what it contains or when it is released, it will be dubbed the Bride of Work Choices.

Perhaps that is all the more reason to start tilling the ground now, explaining the failings of Labor’s re-regulated model and making the case for reform.


Attention all voters: this is personal

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (06:06 am)

Not to suit the political cycle:

AUSTRALIA’S first bloke, Tim Mathieson, took a further step into the limelight last night, declaring he was ‘’absolutely’’ in love with Julia Gillard and showing off his men-only shed in The Lodge grounds during their first joint interview.

The couple’s appearance on Nine’s 60 Minutes is likely to be controversial among Labor MPs, some of whom think Mr Mathieson’s previous appearances diminished the PM’s authority…

When Wooley suggested a wedding could fit with electoral timing, Ms Gillard said: ‘’All this is kind of stuff you do for yourselves, not for anything to do with political cycles.’’

And a personal concession to the men-only clubs of the kind Labor has tried to close down:

On 60 Minutes, as they approached the shed, Ms Gillard said: ‘’No girls allowed … I’ll let you two enjoy the shed.’’

Inside the shed, Mr Mathieson, who is patron of the Australian Men’s Shed Association, told Wooley, ‘’She’s doing as she’s told [staying outside]. That’s really good.’’


The cry goes up: Where’s Kevin?

Andrew Bolt – Monday, June 13, 11 (05:59 am)

So where’s Kevin been this past month instead?

FORMER Papua New Guinea prime minister Rabbie Namaliu yesterday urged Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to fly to Port Moresby to rescue the Gillard government’s floundering asylum-seeker deal.

Sir Rabbie, who was the foreign minister during the operation of the Manus asylum-seeker centre under the Howard government, told The Australian that “the PNG government is going through a very uncertain period” with Prime Minister Michael Somare still seriously ill in Singapore.

He said last week’s sacking of foreign minister Don Polye “put the relationship with Australia in a situation where nothing will happen on the asylum-seeker issue, while Port Moresby’s focus is on domestic politics”.

He said Acting Prime Minister Sam Abal—who sacked Mr Polye for plotting to oust him from the top job—“had a very good relationship with Mr Rudd when he was foreign minister” and throughout the Rudd prime ministership, to last December.


Bolt Report - Where’s Kevin, and here’s Kelvin

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (04:43 pm)


I think Nine’s PR person was right

Andrew Bolt – Sunday, June 12, 11 (11:48 am)


Even 60 Minutes concedes it’s being used by Tim Mathieson and Julia Gillard tonight:

He’s our first bloke, a hairdresser from Shepparton who is consort to the most powerful woman in the land....

Of course, it’s probably no coincidence that he’s chosen to talk to us now, with the Gillard government tanking in the polls.

Federal Labor is desperate to re-engage with voters.

But interviewer Charles Wooley quarrels with his own publicity department:

(Mathieson) has until now been kept away from any television interviews… Some cynics might think this is what this exercise was about: a little love to make the political medicine go down. But in fact it wasn’t what the spin doctors ordered and it took 60 Minutes many months to get the first interview with the first couple.

Er, right.

And Wooley then spreads the love:

On a frosty winter’s day in Canberra, I ask her: You’re in love with this man?

PM: Yes, Charles.


PM: Absolutely.

And Mr Mathieson, who also declares his love for the Prime Minister, seems a nice fellow, smart, likeable, down to earth. A capable sort of country bloke who will do Ms Gillard’s image nothing but good.

“He’ll bring back insights that I haven’t picked up as I move around,’’ Ms Gillard says. ‘’Particularly in the area of men’s health, especially in regional Australia. He’s done extraordinary things.”

Robbo is silent on important matters. Like Hamidur Rahman.
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Demons run when a good man goes to war .. I love this series!!!
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    • David Daniel Ball
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He has a profound sense of entitlement
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