A shallow and blind statement.Tell this to those in England who lost loved ones in World War 2.
… is from page 678 of Will & Ariel Durant’s 1963 book The Age of Louis XIV:
It is easier to be original and foolish than to be original and wise; there are a thousand possible errors for every truth, and mankind, with all its efforts, has not yet exhausted the possibilities.
This graph from Mr. Graph himself – the indispensable Mark Perry – captures very concisely much of what Russ and I (and Mark, and Doug Irwin, and many other economists) have said in one venue or another over the years. Proponents of imposing heavier tax burdens on Americans who purchase goods and services from abroad should look at this graph and ponder the following questions:
1. Do you not worry about the possibility that fewer American imports will reduceAmerican economic activity – and, hence, reduce American employment – even in the short-run? Because nearly six in every ten dollars that Americans spend on imports are spent buying inputs to production, why do you overlook the possibility that, with fewer or more costly inputs for use in production, some U.S.-based producers will either shut down completely or produce less?
2. Because so many American protectionists are (rather inconsistently) also champions of increasing American exports, do you not worry that, by employing protectionist policies that raise the cost to U.S.-based producers of producing, that higher tariffs will actually and directly reduce exports?
3. Do the data in Mark’s graph cause you to question the oft-heard argument that America’s trade deficit is a symptom of Americans “eating their seed corn” – that is, of Americans borrowing from foreigners simply to finance consumption today?
Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
Steven Pearlstein alleges that a laughable mysticism drives those of us who “reject as thoroughly discredited all of Keynesian economics, including the efficacy of fiscal stimulus, preferring the budget-balancing economic policies that turned the 1929 stock market crash into the Great Depression” (“The magical world of voodoo ‘economists’,” Sept. 11).
Before guffawing at us oafs, Mr. Pearlstein should check his facts.
After running a budget surplus in 1930, Uncle Sam ran a budget deficit in 1931 of $462 million and a budget deficit in 1932 of $2.74 billion. Moreover, 1932′s budget deficit was four percent of GDP – a deficit-to-GDP ratio the size of which was not matched after 1946 until 1976, and which was exceeded by only three of FDR’s non-war-year budgets. For 1930-1932 as a whole, the U.S. government ran a net budget deficit of $2.46 billion.* Herbert Hoover’s deficit spending was so alarming that, during the 1932 presidential campaign, FDR emphasized his own commitment to reverse what then seemed to be unprecedented fiscal recklessness.
Of course, FDR broke that campaign pledge. He ran a budget deficit during every year of the greatly depressed 1930s – a fact that should cause Mr. Pearlstein to shed some of the arrogance with which he dismisses skeptics of Keynesian economics.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* See Tables 1.1 and 1.2 here.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (06:10 pm)
It won’t just be Craig Thomson who is sweating:
The HSU has been central to allegations that former senior officials, including Labor MP Craig Thomson, mis-used union credit cards.
Mr Thomson has denied breaking the law.
But police announced that Strike Force Carnarvon was created after senior police received additional information from union members this morning.
The investigating officers include senior members of the State Crime Command’s Fraud and Cyber Crime Squad.
“The NSW Police Force has established a Strike Force to investigate allegations of inappropriate practices within the Health Services Union,” said a statement.
There was no mention of Mr Thomson or any other former or past official of the HSU.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (01:29 pm)
No, the debate isn’t over at all:
In April 1990, Al Gore published an open letter in the New York Times “To Skeptics on Global Warming” in which he compared them to medieval flat-Earthers. He soon became vice president and his conviction that climate change was dominated by man-made emissions went mainstream. Western governments embarked on a new era of anti-emission regulation and poured billions into research that might justify it. As far as the average Western politician was concerned, the debate was over.
But a few physicists weren’t worrying about Al Gore in the 1990s. They were theorizing about another possible factor in climate change: charged subatomic particles from outer space, or “cosmic rays,” whose atmospheric levels appear to rise and fall with the weakness or strength of solar winds that deflect them from the earth. These shifts might significantly impact the type and quantity of clouds covering the earth, providing a clue to one of the least-understood but most important questions about climate. Heavenly bodies might be driving long-term weather trends.
The theory has now moved from the corners of climate skepticism to the center of the physical-science universe: the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN. At the Franco-Swiss home of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, scientists have been shooting simulated cosmic rays into a cloud chamber to isolate and measure their contribution to cloud formation. CERN’s researchers reported last month that in the conditions they’ve observed so far, these rays appear to be enhancing the formation rates of pre-cloud seeds by up to a factor of 10. Current climate models do not consider any impact of cosmic rays on clouds.
(Thanks to many readers.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (12:32 pm)
The smartest independent believes in the freedom of the press:
Tasmanian Andrew Wilkie has cautioned that he might not support an inquiry “that was obviously political”.
Cabinet is expected to canvass the issue when it meets in Canberra tonight amid speculation the government is considering a review that focuses on print rather than the wider industry.
Greens leader Bob Brown has flagged a broader inquiry of his own which he plans to put to the Senate on Wednesday.
Senator Brown is understood to want the inquiry to look at media ownership and “past and present practices of the media both in Australia and internationally"…
But Mr Wilkie says he does not share many of the concerns of the government and the Greens. “I don’t have a concern with any perceived bias in the print media,” he said. “I am not fussed at all about issues like bias in the media. That is just the nature of things.”
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (11:12 am)
So what’s plan F?:
JULIA Gillard’s bid to resurrect her Malaysia Solution for asylum-seekers faces defeat after the opposition last night attacked it on four separate criteria and the Greens warned the Prime Minister against an “unholy alliance” with the Coalition to revive offshore processing.
Ms Gillard looks set to overcome internal divisions within Labor to win support for a new Malaysian plan in special cabinet and caucus meetings this morning.
But opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison has rejected the Malaysian policy…
With the Greens insisting on onshore processing of asylum-seekers - and Labor and the opposition at odds over appropriate arrangements for offshore processing - the government’s bid to continue offshore processing faces a political stalemate…
Writing in The Australian today, Mr Morrison said the primary weakness of Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s policy was that adequate protections were not in place for asylum-seekers sent to Malaysia. He said children would be denied access to public schools and one medical clinic funded by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees would be shared with 94,000 people.
One win so far for Gillard:
JULIA Gillard has won the backing of caucus to pursue her Malaysian Solution amid a warning that onshore-only asylum-seeker processing would cost $4 billion a year.
The Prime Minister’s proposal to amend the legislation was carried on a clear majority of voices, despite opposition from the party’s Left.
The change would restore the powers of the Immigration Minister to declare third countries as offshore processing destinations after the High Court placed them in doubt.
Inside the caucus room, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen argued the merits of his Malaysian Solution.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard told colleagues this morning that an amendment to the Migration Act would allow the government’s Malaysian Solution to proceed.
It would also pave the way for Tony Abbott’s preferred Nauru option but “we won’t use it’’.
This is legislationthat should help make Tony Abbott’s preferred solution of Nauru safe froma High Court challenge, too, which put pressure on the Opposition to approve it.
But let’s hear no more from Labor’s Left on the “cruelty” of the Howard Government.
And let’s not allow Labor to escape the moral responsibility of having so recklessly lured so many people to their deaths:
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen ... urged colleagues not to forget that four per cent of asylum seekers who got on boats drowned at sea
Do the maths. Since Labor foolishly relaxed the boat people laws, more than 11,000 boat people have arrived. If Bowen’s death rate is right, then more than 440 people have drowned at sea, lured to their deaths.
Which makes that change in the laws the deadliest mistake Labor has made.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (06:41 am)
As I asked on Saturday,
Do you have to be Macedonian to be free to speak? Are only Anglo-Saxons racist?
Tom Switzer, Australian Financial Review, December 23, 1998:THE moral of this story is simply this: the Palestinians cannot be trusted in the peace process. Contrary to the accepted wisdom, it is the Palestinians—not the Netanyahu government—who are the true culprits in derailing efforts to reach an agreement over Gaza and the West Bank. Add to this that Mr Yasser Arafat uses Western aid not, as it is intended, for the poor of Gaza, but to build luxury flats for his military and bureaucratic elite, and it would appear that the Palestinians remain vicious thugs who show no serious willingness to comply with agreements.
Administrative Decisions Tribunal of NSW anti-discrimination ruling on AFR July 24, 2000:
THESE proceedings concern a complaint of racial vilification made by Mr Ali Kazak against The Australian Financial Review. Mr Kazak alleges that an article written by Tom Switzer published on 23 December 1998, contravenes s20C of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (the Act). The article as a whole paints an extremely negative picture of the Palestinian people and an extremely positive picture of the Israeli people and their government. The language used suggests that the Palestinians, unlike the Israelis, are unworthy and undeserving of support because, at least in relation to the peace process, they are hypocritical, untrustworthy, blameworthy and viscous[sic] . . . ..The complaint is substantiated.
Australian Macedonian Weekly, May 19, 2009:
WHAT we cannot disregard, cannot forgive, cannot close our eyes to, and we cannot ever remain silent about is the fact that these Greek zealots, these Greek deranged bastardly monsters took the Macedonian language away from our Macedonian children. Who gave a right to these freaks of nature to impose their ugly nature on other populations ?
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal anti-discrimination ruling on Australian Macedonian Weekly September 6, 2011:
IT is without doubt a grave matter to restrict or control the free expression of political thought. . . . It is a concomitant of political freedom that political activists, especially those at the extreme ends of the political spectrum of ideas, will from time to time, even frequently, hurt and offend other members of society. It seems to me that we must be mature enough to accept that as a price that we must pay for the privilege of living in a society where political expression is to remain free and unfettered . . . The complaint is dismissed.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (06:27 am)
Julia Gillard made “multiple” calls to News Ltd to stop any referral to her past relationship with a union conman - andto stop any referral to an expose about to be broadcast on Fairfax radio.
Is it conceivable that she did not make any call to Fairfax itself, which has censored its broadcasts and seems about to sack a presenter?
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (06:20 am)
Pretty simple proposition to put to a demoralised party:
REPLACING Julia Gillard with Kevin Rudd would take Labor from confronting a landslide defeat to a potentially election-winning position, according to an Age/Nielsen poll that also finds a slump in the PM’s approval to her lowest ever.
Labor’s two-party vote, steady on 42-58 per cent from last month, would jump to 52-48 per cent under Mr Rudd.
The poll does not tell us why but we can reasonably suppose the main reason is legitimacy. In the eyes of the people, Gillard never had it. Rudd never lost it. ...
But would Rudd’s popularity survive his return? Rudd is martyr popular. If his martyrdom were reversed, would his popularity reverse too?…
“This whole situation is unique in history,” says the Herald’s pollster, John Stirton, of Nielsen. “If you give it back to Rudd, he’s then the legitimate leader. But he still owns the problems created in his first term.”
The big policy problems facing Gillard are the same ones bequeathed her by Rudd - carbon pricing, asylum seekers and the mining tax. This is Labor’s dilemma - the strong likelihood of defeat under Gillard, or a wild gamble on Rudd. And it’s all self-imposed. Oops.
But such is the hatred for Rudd among those who know him best…
In an article in The Australian today, the leader of the NSW Right, Sam Dastyari, has declared changes in party leadership should be “rare and infrequent” and “never be allowed to transform into a prevailing culture”.
Mr Dastyari, the NSW Labor Party’s general secretary, says the party must hold its nerve on action to combat climate change and demonstrate to party members - the “true believers” - that it has the “courage of its convictions.”
Other senior Right figures confirmed yesterday that Mr Dastyari’s comments had been widely canvassed among factional players in Sydney and Canberra and should be read as an unqualified statement that the group would not back a move on the Prime Minister, despite dire recent polling.
It’s telling that Dastyari’s list of federal Labor’s “convictions” starts and ends with “climate change”. How very sad for the party.
(Thanks to reader Pira.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (06:07 am)
Are some child welfare officials stark staring mad with fashionable non-judgment?
One of the women was preparing for a sex change to become a man at the time, while her girlfriend was undergoing fertility treatment.
The boy and his 12-year-old sister have since been moved but former Children’s Court magistrate Barbara Holborow yesterday called for a full inquiry into the decision to put them there. “Oh my God, what are we doing?” Ms Holborow, who has fostered eight children, said.
Families Minister Pru Goward has demanded a full explanation from child welfare service Barnardos, which had recruited the couple.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (05:58 am)
Labor will do anything to avoid breaking yet another promise:
LABOR is planning to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars from the Future Fund in an unprecedented move that will help the government meet its promise of returning the budget to surplus in 2012-13.
A spokeswoman for Finance Minister Penny Wong confirmed to The Australian that more than $250 million worth of assets were due to be withdrawn from the Future Fund in the 2012-13 financial year, despite the fund having been created, by Peter Costello, under the condition it was not to be touched before 2020.
The government, which has forecast a surplus of $3.5 billion in 2012-13 after several years of heavy deficits, claims that the assets will be returned to the fund at a future date.
But the opposition has slammed the move as “reckless and fiscally irresponsible”.
The Government denies any such plan. Or it’s backed down:
FINANCE Minister Penny Wong says Opposition claims the Government is about to withdraw monies from the Future Fund are “completely incorrect”.
The Opposition has accused the Government of having a “secret plan” to dip into the fund set up by the Howard Government to pay public servant superannuation liabilities so it can meet its goal to return the Federal Budget to surplus in 2012/13.
But Senator Wong said the Coalition had misconstrued plans by the fund, flagged in the Budget, to rearrange some of its assets.
“The Government is not making withdrawals from the Future Fund. The Future Fund is simply making a small change to the types of assets it holds,” Senator Wong said today.
(Thanks to readers CA and the Great Waisuli.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (05:45 am)
It’s probably time for a proper inquiry into how union leaders spend their members’ money:
THE boss of Craig Thomson’s union, Labor Party vice-president Michael Williamson, was accused of spending thousands of dollars on his union credit card for personal items including bedding, perfume, shoes and electrical goods in the 1990s.
In a scenario reminiscent of the Thomson affair a decade later, Mr Thomson’s mentor Mr Williamson took defamation action against his accusers and later came to a confidential settlement.
The accusations against Mr Williamson, Health Services Union East (NSW and Victoria) secretary and national president of the union, are in documents lodged at the District Court. Mr Williamson has consistently denied the allegations.
Although unproven, these claims will apply pressure on the federal government for a proper investigation into the activities of the union.
Mr Williamson is one of those Labor officials who were part of the decision to have NSW Labor pay more than $150,000 to settle Mr Thomson’s legal costs to stop him going bankrupt and keep him in parliament when Mr Thomson settled with Fairfax this year over alleged misuse of his union credit card.
Williamson denies wrongdoing, and, like Gillard about her relationship with a large-spending union official, says this is all old news.
(Thanks to readers CA and the Great Waisuli.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, September 12, 11 (12:07 am)
To watch go here and search on The Bolt Report. The home page videos aren’t working.
Andrew Bolt – Sunday, September 11, 11 (09:02 pm)
The Courier Mail reports on number counting by supporters of Kevin Rudd and Stephen Smith:
Several MPs have confirmed they were sounded out by third parties over Mr Rudd and Mr Smith as leadership contenders. Others have named a Labor MP as “doing the numbers” for Mr Rudd.