Saturday, September 24, 2011

News Items and comments

To recognise a mental disability?

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (04:43 pm)

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Reader Waxing Gibberish wonders why greens are considered more crippled than the disabled:

I parked underneath the Darling Harbour exhibition center the other night and noticed that you can park closer to the exit if you’re ‘green’ than if you’re disabled.

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Never mind the evidence, admire the green conclusion

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (01:22 pm)

The Age is very excited that the green lifestyle it recommends is paying off at the office:

THE new wave of ultra-green office buildings is bringing unexpected benefits for their occupantsbeyond the obvious savings in cost and energy.

Employees have reported being healthier and happier working in natural light and with minimal air-conditioning, as well as being surrounded by carpets that don’t emit the cocktail of chemicals called volatile organic compounds....

The ... sentiments are backed by an increasing body of evidence, including a detailed study with another law firm, Oakley Thompson, after it recently moved into a newly refurbished green building in the centre of Melbourne.

The study, conducted with the University of Melbourne, found sick days had fallen 39 per cent and the lawyers’ billings ratio rose 7 per cent despite the overall hours worked falling 12 per cent.

The survey even found the firm’s secretaries were typing 9 per cent faster in the new building and with greater accuracy.

Wow. That survey sounds so authoritiive, and the conclusions so ringing.

But then Professor Bunyip starts to check.... and, oh dear, a survey comparing like with unlike, asking as few as five people, checking only the self-selected, curating the results, not allowing for seasonal factors and more.

But as long as it comes up with the desired conclusions, it’s good enough for the The Age.

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What other strings were pulled to stifle debate?

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (11:10 am)

Senator Michael Ronaldson asks Julia Gillard what other media bosses she contacted to stop reporting of her past associations? Ronaldson’s speech in the Senate below.

(No comments.)

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What’s drowning is us - in hypocrisy and lies

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (10:49 am)

If Tony Abbott is responsible for any boats that arrive after he blocks the Malaysian “solution”, who is responsible for the 12,000 boat people who’ve come since Labor weakened our border laws in 2008?

This, more than anything, is what makes the Home Affairs Minister’s press conference yesterday so ... well, you think of the word:

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

And indeed I also want to make one other point as Minister Responsible for the Australian Federal Police and Customs and Border Protection, those agencies, along with other agencies of government, have indicated to us that the Malaysian arrangement is the strongest possible deterrent to prevent people getting on un-seaworthy vessels on perilous journeys, and I believe Tony Abbott has a responsibility, not only to do the right thing for this country, but to listen to the men and women in uniform that put their lives in danger on our high seas, at cliff faces on Christmas Island, and indeed deal with very serious challenges in villages in Indonesia.... He is putting his personal interest ahead of the men and women in our uniforms, on our vessels, doing a very hard job to protect our borders, and that is a reckless and unconscionable act by the Leader of the Opposition to put his personal interests ahead of those that actually serve this country so well…

QUESTION:

You were pretty strong there in your criticism of Tony Abbott. How is this his fault when it’s your government that dismantled the system of offshore processing in the first place?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

Tony Abbott is putting not only putting the Government’s arrangements at risk by not supporting the legislation, he is even putting his own option at risk by not supporting the legislation....

QUESTION:

You say that Mr Abbott should accept the advice of the department, the same one that gave the advice to John Howard. Why did your Government reject the advice and dismantle offshore processing?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

Well, I don’t accept your premise that we did not the advice of the departments.

And yet more hypocrisy, to put it at its most polite:

QUESTION:

Mr O’Connor, in 2007 Kevin Rudd campaigned and said he’d turn boats around. This boat in the Indonesian search and rescue zone, was this an opportunity to make a statement?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

We’re not… as I said, we have masters of vessels to make operational decisions. If people want to understand the history of turning boats around they might recall, and Prime Minister Howard conceded this, that the chances of turning around vessels to Indonesia was gone and it was gone from 2003....

QUESTION:

Minister, you just said that it was clear from 2003 that turning the boats around was no longer an option. Why did Kevin Rudd promise to do it in 2007?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

I’m saying to you…

QUESTION:

I don’t understand, if you knew that why promise it to the people?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

Well, you’re talking about what the now Minister for Foreign Affairs may have said in 2007.

QUESTION:

He did say it.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR:

Well, this is my view. My view is, I mean, you cannot, you cannot have any confidence in a policy where the Indonesians will not accept that proposition. Now, had Indonesia made those statements more clearly at the time, I can’t… I’m not sure on that.

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Muzzling the press, so the elites can dictate to the masses

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (08:29 am)

Brendan O’Neill, my favorite Marxist, nails it again:

For anyone who believes in unfettered freedom of the press - that is, in the freedom of anyone to publish what they believe to be true and interesting - these are deeply worrying times.

In Britain and Australia, the hacking scandal has led to the setting up of inquiries, staffed by judges and various other bigwigs, who will poke their noses into the behaviour and morality of the media....

That so few people seem to appreciate how profoundly problematic it is to have a politically appointed judge determine what the ethics of the media should be speaks to how devalued the concept of press freedom has become…

... in Australian academic online magazine The Conversation, Michael Pusey of the University of NSW says too many media outlets have become “a law unto themselves”. Apparently the commentary of various “shock jocks” and tabloid papers is encouraging “hate speech, scapegoating and blind politics among some of the most powerless sections of the population”.

The eye-swivelling snobbery in that statement is astounding. What Pusey is really saying is that the little people, Them, are so lacking in intellectual resources and critical-mindedness that they can be swayed towards hatred and hysteria by the utterances of a radio host or a newspaper editorial. People’s minds are mere putty, apparently, easily remoulded by powerful men, and thus the government must do more to regulate what the media can project into our fragile little brains.

That such views flourish within academe is a worry. Once, universities believed in the free exchange of ideas and the robustness of human minds; today their instinct is to muzzle loud and rowdy publications lest they turn the moronic masses into hateful drones.

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Rubbish policies, not poor positioning, are Labor’s problem

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (08:22 am)

Paul Kelly argues that Labor’s problem isn’t of leadership, but of positioning:

Labor is trapped in a weak centre ground that cannot hold.... The message is that when Coalition and Greens combine to assault Labor then Labor will lose in the parliament and in the nation...

I think this misunderstands the problem. It’s not that Labor is in the centre, attacked from both sides. It’s that the policies it’s chosen to adopt are rubbish. The carbon dioxide tax is a rubbish fix to a rubbish beat up. The Malaysian people swap is a rubbish fix to problem created entirely by Labor’s rubbish moralising. Labor’s failure to get any kudos for economic management is caused by it’s blowing billions on yet more rubbish.

The centre is in fact a good place to be in Australia, a country that hates extremes. If Labor didn’t serve up so much rubbish, it would be triumphant. Bad policies, not bad positioning, are the problem. And it takes remarkably bad leaders to have have put Labor in this fix.

Conclusion: it’s not ideologues who will save Labor, but practical, pragmatic and competent people who understand that policies are best judged by their consequences.

Kind of rules out Rudd.

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Greens prefer their Aborigines to be authentically poor

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (07:59 am)

Greens supported “self-determination” when they thought Aborigines would choose to live poor, authentically tribal ways, dependent on white handouts:

ONE of Australia’s most respected indigenous leaders has accused green groups of reneging on a deal in which they promised to respect the decision of local Aborigines if Woodside’s $30 billion Browse Basin gas hub was confined to a single site on the pristine Kimberley coast.

In a withering attack on anti-gas protesters and their “blow-in” supporters from around Australia, Wayne Bergmann, the former head of the Kimberley Land Council, also claimed those against the project wanted local Aborigines to “stay stuck in poverty”.

He said not only had green groups ignored the wishes of Kimberley Aborigines who had voted for the project to go ahead, but they were “openly campaigning against” them - after signing an agreement saying they would “support indigenous decision-making and self-determination in return for a single hub”.

UPDATE

Others have seen poverty being willed onto Aborigines by those who don’t have to live it themselves:

The late author Shiva Naipaul visited the Northern Territory in the mid eighties and was appalled by what he described as this ‘confining of the Aborigine in his aboriginality’:

‘… the escape into an adventure playground of timelessness, of goannas and kangaroos and red earth, the running off into a world of unalterable Aboriginal essences ... is a condescending and profoundly flawed prescription for regeneration‘ he said - and followed up with the challenge: ‘ Either the Aborigine is, or is not, a citizen of Australia. And if he is (which he is) he must face the consequences.’

(Thanks to reader Brian.)

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Locking up writers in racial ghettos

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (07:05 am)

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The ludicrous new racism of our intelligentsia stops writers from even daring to imagine what another individual thinks - if that individual does not share their “race”:

Have we reached a point, then, where Aboriginal stories can only be told or approved by the people themselves? The answer is complicated: Scott (above) is a Noongar man but he went to elders for stories that weren’t recorded in white history for his Miles Franklin-winning novel That Deadman Dance. It’s impossible to imagine anyone but Scott writing this book, just as I can’t conceive of anyone but Alexis Wright, from the Waanyi people, producing Carpentaria.

Scott shared a panel with Kate Grenville and Vogel winner Rohan Wilson at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival, where they discussed writing fiction about encounters between indigenous and settler Australians. Grenville wouldn’t try to get inside the head of an Aboriginal character and wouldn’t even attempt Aboriginal dialogue. We had stolen enough from them already, she said; we shouldn’t also steal their stories.

This labored insistence on stressing trivial, and sometimes almost indistinguishable, differences of “race” makes us strangers to each other. It denies our common humanity and is a betrayal of not only the Englightenment, but of the Christian heritage on which so much Western culture is based.

(For legal reasons I cannot expand my argument as I would wish.)

UPDATE

At least the Melbourne Writers Festival is taxing the stupidity of the intelligentsia:

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(Thanks to reader Darlene.)

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I cannot comment

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:51 am)

Unfortunately, for legal reasons I cannot comment on Larissa Behrendt’s defence of free speech - even when that speech is offensive:

I am not arguing for regulation or restrictions on free speech about these matters.

(No comments for legal reasons.)

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Yes to Palestine seems to mean no to Israel

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:44 am)

I suspect that recognition of a Palestinian state is meant as one more step towards wiping out Israel:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, accusing Israel of engaging in ethnic cleansing in his United Nations speech…

On Friday afternoon, Abbas said he was adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.

“They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state,” Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

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Crying rape too soon

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:38 am)

THE more Archbishop John Hepworth talks, the more it seems a great wrong has been done. But perhaps not to him.

Hepworth is the primate of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion who claims he was raped by an Adelaide Catholic priest, who we will call X.

Since his allegations were made public three weeks ago, much of the media has treated them almost as proven already.

The headlines give the flavour: “One man’s life, and how the church he loved let him down”, “Clergyman’s long road to resolution” and “Abused Archbishop John Hepworth ready to forgive”.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon seemed so sure of Hepworth’s story that he was the first to name the alleged rapist—in the Senate, which means he cannot be sued for defamation.

And that may have been the smartest thing Xenophon did.

I don’t say Hepworth hasn’t been sexually abused. The Catholic Church has already paid compensation for the abuse he suffered from two priests, both now dead, when he was a teenaged seminarian in Adelaide.

But the allegations made against X are different.

Let’s first remind ourselves that “rape” generally means the victim was forced to have sex against their expressed will, usually because they were too weak to resist. The rapist must also know that the victim was objecting.

It’s a terrible accusation, and X has now had his reputation trashed. Who believes a Catholic priest is innocent when the hostile press brays that he’s a rapist or might be?

Yet even the most basic facts of this case raise grave doubts.

Hepworth says he was at least 24 years old when X allegedly raped him; X was one year older. This is not the stereotype of an older priest intimidating a boy.

Nor is it obvious that X could have overwhelmed Hepworth with his strength. Hepworth is 1.88m tall—or six feet two. X is shorter.

Hepworth doesn’t claim he was drugged or drunk, either.

He told The Australian he’d been invited to the beach one night by two priests, one of whom “stripped off and began wrestling with me”.

“He was stronger than me,” Hepworth said. “Or perhaps I was just weary of it all ... I remember cold, wet sand and forced sex.”

But then comes a caveat: “I want to state quite clearly that I never fully consented to sexual activity ...”

Never “fully” consented? What does that mean?

In fact, Hepworth describes his reaction hours later as not one of anger, but guilt: “I had an awareness of the illegality of homosexuality, a sense of gross sinfulness, but also a sense of the glamour of the group with which I had been involved.”

Couldn’t this suggest that Hepworth’s “no” was a quiet no from his conscience, not a loud one to his “rapist”? Indeed, Hepworth claims he was sexually assaulted by X up to seven more times, yet not once did this tall man forcefully resist. He says he felt “so weakened physically and emotionally” by his past abuse that he just gave in.

To the ABC, Hepworth told a similarly ambiguous story.

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We fiddle while our future burns

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:36 am)

Michael Stutchbury is right about Australia’s political decline, of course:

THE global economy’s dangerous new phase should provide a warning that the China beast that has fed us so well will come back to bite us.

.... the real test is likely to come when China’s own growth cycle turns down in the next five years or so, suggests Don Stammer, one of Australia’s true economic doyens.

Stammer’s warning should be a wake-up that Australia is using our China luck to underwrite a decline in political quality.

A weak minority government and power-hungry opposition are locked in brutal struggle, transfixed on second-order issues such as asylum-seekers, and incapable of dealing with a host of pressing policy demands.

An example of our short-sightedness:

GENNADIY Bogolyubov, the globe-trotting Ukrainian billionaire who controls Australia’s biggest manganese mine, ... (is) on his first trip to Australia since he visited in the weeks just after his Palmary Enterprises acquired Perth-based Consolidated Minerals…

In his first interview in Australia, he warns the Gillard government that investment in the resources sector is being held back by difficulties in accessing the railways and ports needed to export commodities, and that the nation’s reputation for suitability is being damaged by the planned mining and carbon taxes. Even Africa is becoming a more attractive place to do business, he suggests....

“Up to now I felt (it was stable). But now everyone is talking about the new (mining and carbon) taxes and about big changes…

“Australia is a good country but production has become more expensive. So my investments will concentrate more to Africa. Maybe capital will move from here to there.”

UPDATE

The Gillard Government is destroying itself by pushing a carbon dioxide tax that will cut our growth to “save” the planet. Meanwhile, the global economy is about to cut our emissions by slowing our growth in a more brutal way:

The global tide of panic selling again sparked a selloff of Australian shares, taking the losses this week to $70 billion. The local bourse slumped 1.6 per cent to a fresh two-year low and the dollar briefly hit a 10-month low below US97¢.

The sharemarket has now plunged more than 20 per cent since its high in April...

More proof that a carbon dioxide tax is a z-order issue.

UPDATE

Another warning:

THE world’s largest aluminium company, Rusal, has launched a scathing attack on the Gillard Government’s carbon tax and emissions scheme, saying it puts its key Queensland project at risk…

Rusal owns 20 per cent of the giant Queensland Alumina Refinery (QAL) at Gladstone, the second-largest alumina refinery in the world, which employs 1800 people and ships alumina to Siberia for smelting.

(Thanks to reader John.)

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Teach that truth was stolen, too

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:34 am)

FOR once I agree with the National Sorry Day Committee. Yes, let’s teach children more about the “stolen generations”. And teach more about this sorry committee, too.

Its complaint is that the new national history curriculum ordered by the Gillard Government insults indigenous people and should be rewritten.

Co-chair Helen Moran, billed by the ABC yesterday as “a survivor of the stolen generations”, says children should be taught about the “stolen generations” from grade three.

I agree that one lesson in the stolen generations story should indeed be taught much earlier than it is now, in year 10. It should be taught around the time children are taught the fable of the emperor’s new clothes.

For a start, they should be taught that a co-patron of this same National Sorry Day Committee, Lowitja O’Donoghue, once claimed to have been stolen herself, until she admitted her Irish father had in fact put her in an orphanage. Not stolen, but abandoned.

They should be taught that we have a National Sorry Day even though no one can name even 10 Aboriginal children stolen from their parents for racist reasons.

They should be taught how this lack of victims hasn’t stopped us from creating an industry of victimhood.

For example, the Stolen Generations Taskforce set up by the Bracks government admitted there had been “no formal policy for removing children” from Aboriginal parents in the state.

It also failed to find one truly stolen child, even though it ran advertisements pleading for them to come forward.

Yet it counted 36 organisations helping the state’s “stolen generations”, and on receiving the taskforce’s report the Bracks government created one more—Stolen Generations Victoria, which blew its budget and was wound up after the auditors checked out its questionable spending.

Even Moran herself, now demanding more teaching on the “stolen generations”, could become a classroom exhibit to show how loose the definition of “stolen” is.

She was taken from her white mother and Aboriginal father at just 18 months.

But was she “stolen” for being part-Aboriginal, or was she rescued from neglect?

Here’s how she once described her removal to the ABC:

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I’d tip Barnaby any time

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (06:14 am)

A beat-up? I cannot believe National MPs really are so silly as to want to thwart the rise of Barnaby Joyce by putting some bloke few have heard of ahead of him:

Senior Nationals have been sounding out a deputy premier for a move to Canberra in an effort to head off maverick Queensland senator Barnaby Joyce from taking the party’s federal leadership.

New South Wales Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner is being courted for a move to Federal Parliament to take over as leader from Warren Truss and become deputy prime minister in an Abbott government.

The push comes as Senator Joyce told The Saturday Age he wants to move to the lower house and possibly challenge key independent Tony Windsor in New England, which also positions him for the leader’s job.

Mr Stoner, who is leader of the NSW Nationals, is being urged to quit state politics to run for the federal seat of Lyne, currently held by another independent, Rob Oakeshott.

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Labor MPs write off Gillard

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (05:48 am)

So much for my tip that Julia Gillard could be gone by September. Labor MPs says its probably November instead:

LABOR MPs are insisting Julia Gillard’s leadership is terminal and will face a challenge within a few months, despite Kevin Rudd’s clear declaration of support from New York yesterday…

A growing band of federal Labor MPs is pessimistic about Labor’s prospects of re-election if Ms Gillard remains in the top job, and is starting to campaign for a change back to Mr Rudd.

Labor MPs told The Weekend Australian dissatisfaction was growing because of Ms Gillard’s “poor judgment” in handling her plan to send asylum-seekers to Malaysia and insisting on introducing legislation that would lose and only reinforce all the arguments about government incompetence.

MPs critical of Ms Gillard said they were shocked at the speed and extent of the reaction to their arguments that Ms Gillard’s leadership was terminal… ALP members are saying they do not expect any leadership challenge “until November or early next year”.

And a correction that just makes things worse:

A letter from Ms Gillard, not her chief of staff Ben Hubbard, to Mr Rudd’s chief of staff, Phil Green, queried the $77,706 cost of a European trip, including a $1700-a-night stay in Stockholm.

I did warn a couple of months ago that it was Shorten or Crean then, or Rudd later. They are missing their chance, and Rudd is fast becoming irresistible.

Laurie Oakes:

DON’T laugh - but Julia Gillard is staking her leadership on her abilities as a salesperson.

The Prime Minister is gambling that she can sell voters on the idea that all asylum seeker boat arrivals from now on are Tony Abbott’s fault.

She thinks she can be more successful at this than Mr Abbott will be in trying to foist the blame on to her and the Government every time another group of boat people disembarks on Christmas Island.

But sadly, if Ms Gillard’s performance since she became PM is any guide, she is dreaming.

UPDATE

The discovery of a secret deck on one of the two boats intercepted yesterday brings the tally of passengers on them to 175:

Two boats - one with a secret deck hiding 49 people - were intercepted yesterday by border protection officers.
The second boat sent out a distress signal after passenger concerns about overcrowding and had to be rescued by Indonesian and Australian authorities.

UPDATE

Paul Kelly:

The three problems Gillard inherited from Rudd and pledged to fix on becoming leader - the carbon issue, the boats and the mining tax - remain unresolved 15 months...

Says plenty, right there.

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Solar fries Queensland’s network

Andrew Bolt – Saturday, September 24, 11 (05:48 am)

The solar balloon leaks even more air:

THE solar power revolution is in danger of stalling, with the State Government admitting the electricity grid is failing to cope with its green vision.

Energy Minister Stephen Robertson confirmed new applications for rooftop solar systems were being rejected in areas where Queensland’s high uptake threatened the safety and reliability of its network.

Thousands of homeowners hoping for promised power savings of up to $540 via a 1.5kW system are in limbo, with those wanting larger systems even being asked to pay more than $20,000 to help cover local upgrades.

(Thanks tor readers John, Michael, Victoria 3220 and others.)

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In his essay that I addressed yesterday, Pat Buchanan writes:

You cannot have a rising standard of living when your highest-paid production jobs are being exported overseas.

I suspect that the above sentence strikes most readers as merely stating an obvious, indeed trivial, truth. But it’s wrong. And understanding why it’s wrong – why it’s wrong beyond its use of the familiar yet misleading notion that jobs are “exported” – is necessary to any informed discussion of trade.

Of course, what Buchanan means by writing “your highest-paid production jobs are being exported overseas” is that valuable tasks once done for domestic (say, American) consumers by fellow citizens are now done for domestic consumers by foreigners. And Buchanan likely agrees that the reason for such a switch ofwho performs these tasks is that foreigners can now perform these tasks at lower costs than can Americans.

Let’s call the good that high-paid American producers once produced, but are now imported from low-paid foreigners, a “doohickey.”

Americans can now get the same quantity of doohickeys that they value by at least $X per unit – where $X is the price they paid for each doohickey when fellow Americans produced doohickeys – for a price of less than $X. So Americans asconsumers of doohickeys are clearly better off.

Also better off are those American producers who now sell more – or who fetch higher prices for their outputs – because at least some of the money American consumers now save when buying doohickeys is now spent on these other American-produced goods and services.

But there’s a deeper, more important, and less obvious point to grasp.

The reason Americans now import doohickeys is because Americans no longer have a comparative advantage in doohickey production. And the reason Americans no longer have a comparative advantage in doohickey production is because their cost of producing nondoohickeys – goods and services other than doohickeys – has fallen relative to foreigners’ costs of producing nondoohickeys. This is another way of saying that American labor applied to the production of nondoohickeys now generates more value than that labor would generate were it kept artificially in a protected American doohickey industry.

Americans’ comparative advantage at producing nondoohickeys – which is another way of saying Americans’ comparative disadvantage at producing doohickeys – means that the same amount of American labor previously used to produce only Y-amount of doohickeys can now produce enough value to allow Americans to acquire Y-amount of doohickeys plus even more doohickeys (or more of other goods or services that previously would have been unaffordable).

Looked at differently, suppose the Portuguese invent a revolutionary process for producing doohickeys – a process that now allows one unskilled worker in Portugal to produce the same quantity of doohickeys that once required the full-time work of 5,000 MIT-trained engineers. (Note, by the way, that the essence of the situation doesn’t change if an American had invented this new process and commenced to employing a single unskilled worker in America to produce the doohickeys.)

Should we lament this development? Would Americans really become poorer by importing low-cost doohickeys from Portugal? (Or: Would Americans really be kept rich, and the American economy keep growing, if Uncle Sam slaps a prohibitive tariff on doohickeys and, thus, protects high-paid doohickey production jobs in America?)

Clearly not.

It’s true that 5,000 MIT-trained engineers would lose their high-paid jobs in the U.S. doohickey industry. But is their labor so robotic, so narrow, so inflexible, so specific to doohickey production, that they have no other ways to earn good incomes? No other way to produce other outputs? Clearly not – for if it were, this labor’s opportunity cost would be near-zero. And if this labor’s opportunity cost were near zero, it would be extremely unlikely that these workers would ever have been able to command high pay for producing doohickeys.

…..

In sum, paying people high wages to help the domestic economy cope with artificially created scarcities is not a recipe for economic growth.

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And What are “Proper Wages”?

by DON BOUDREAUX on SEPTEMBER 23, 2011

in CIVIL SOCIETY, COMPETITION, IMMIGRATION

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Criticizing your support for more open immigration, David Maughan – assuming that most “illegals” work in agriculture – notes that “the differential in labor cost to the price of food on our table” is “tiny” (Letters, Sept. 23). So he concludes that it’s “well worth paying proper wages and hiring legals” (Letters, Sept. 23).

Suppose government were to limit the number people with freckles allowed to seek paid employment. No employer could lawfully hire a freckled person unless that person documents that he or she has formal government approval to work. But people being people, many unscrupulous employers nevertheless hire undocumented freckled folk.

If some scholar then presents evidence showing that the employment of undocumented freckleds lowers the prices of consumer goods by only a “tiny” amount, would Mr. Maughan conclude that the economy is well-served by government’s policy of protecting us non-freckleds from competing in the labor market with our freckled cousins? More significantly, would he insist that the prices of consumer goods are an appropriate metric by which to assess the morality of government using its muscle to arbitrarily prevent some adults from voluntarily accepting employment with some other adults who would voluntarily hire them?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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Dan “Bulldog” Mitchell has a few questions for protectionists.

CEI’s Ryan Young looks back even further in time at a Sears catalog.

In my latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I argue that neither vulgar Keynesianism nor academic Keynesianism supplies as sound an explanation for the inadequacy of investment spending as does Bob Higgs’s theory of regime uncertainty.

AEI Resident Scholar Philip Levy made some important points about international trade in his Congressional testimony earlier this week.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, PERC’s Terry Anderson calls for a Green Tea Party.

Writing a few years back in London’s Sunday Times, Jamie Whyte made the case that “human rights” often lead to human wrongs.

Over at EconLog, Bryan Caplan argues that “that immigration increases diversity, which undermines solidarity, which mutes public support for the welfare state.

The doorbell rings. (HT Mike Stetson)

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Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on SEPTEMBER 23, 2011

in LAW, POLITICS, SEEN AND UNSEEN

… is from page 17 of Robert Higgs’s remarkable 1987 book Crisis and Leviathan:

Note that once constitutional barriers have been lowered during a crisis, a legal precedent has been established giving government greater potential for expansion in subsequent noncrisis periods, particularly those that can be plausibly described as crises [original emphasis].

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Rich druggie
www.news.com.au
AS fallen AFL star Ben Cousins reportedly celebrates the birth of his first child, his friends fear that fatherhood will not save him from increasingly dangerous drug abuse.
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Have the dead people spent it?
A retirement fund for federal workers improperly paid out an average of $120 million annually over the last five years, a new inspector general's report has revealed.
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Smaller government is better
The 249-169 vote sent the legislation to the Senate, where Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Barbara Boxer vowed to defeat it
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I say he was and is the son of God.
People must seek out are those elements of self that define them as individuals—who they really, truly, finally and irrevocably are, deep inside.
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My wife is demanding her missing rock
For years, Arkansas historians have searched for a valuable lunar rock from the Apollo 17 mission, one of the moon rocks NASA presented to each state in the 1970s.
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But there was consensus ..
Leading scientists said on Friday the discovery of sub-atomic particles apparently traveling faster than light could force a major rethink of theories on the makeup of the cosmos if independently confirmed.
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Hippy lifestyles don't seem like fun
It may not come as too much of a shock that hippie goddess and “Laugh-In” star Goldie Hawn
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Why do Democrats love arming criminals?
Despite recent personnel changes at the Justice Department, Rep. Lamar Smith told Holder in a letter Friday the department cannot "pin this scandal on a few individuals and expect it to be forgotten.
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Seriously overhyped. Gore must face inconvenient truth.
Climate Reality Project, the online home of Al Gore's recent "24 Hours of Reality" broadcast, recently claimed that the event was a whopping success, with 8.6 million viewers. That number might have been the real whopper, however.
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The white elephant is neither wanted nor needed
Like many Republicans, Atlanta's Stella Lohmann -- a blogger, teacher and former journalist -- is fed up with mandates, funding requests, lawsuit avoidance and a one-size-fits-all approach to education and says the federal government has undertaken a massive overreach.
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The cowards were getting paid? That isn't how blogging works ..
www.news.com.au
A LEGAL showdown between Google and a Gold Coast entrepreneur could set a precedent that helps lift the veil from anonymous online commentators.
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Thank you projectionist .. for not following the rules.
video.news.com.au
One of the earliest films by Alfred Hitchcock 'White Shadow' is shown in Los Angeles after the prints were recovered in New Zealand.
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Rudd never understood.
www.news.com.au
FEARS of another global recession have prompted Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd to dub the international economy a "wild beast''.
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Criticism of the Pope sounds overstated
GERMAN Protestants are disappointed that Pope Benedict XVI has not done more to bridge the rift between them.
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Why won't he embrace peace?
PALESTINIAN president Mahmoud Abbas made history when he formally asked the UN to admit Palestine as a full member state overnight.
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Garrett supports HSU style corruption in NSWTF
THE state plan to give government schools limited autonomy is under attack from Federal Schools Minister Peter Garrett for sending out "mixed messages".
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ALP fail. People not animals.
STATE opposition leader Jeff Seeney has risked the wrath of animal activists after saying rogue magpies should be "shifted or shot".
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The children can't appeal
TRIPLE-CHILD killer Robert Farquharson will be allowed to argue that a jury should have had the option of convicting him of manslaughter when he makes his latest appeal bid.
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Irony
FOREIGN Minister Kevin Rudd has told the United Nations world leaders need to look beyond the next election cycle and take the measures necessary to rebuild sustainable economic growth.
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Modeling behavior
A PERTH mum has pleaded guilty to punching a 13-year-old girl and spitting at the deputy principal of her children's Mirrabooka school.
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Hysterical PM urges calm
UPDATE 5.13pm: PRIME Minister Julia Gillard today urged Australians not to be spooked by the turmoil on international markets.
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I'm glad they survived the journey
A FURTHER 49 asylum seekers have been discovered hiding from border protection officers under a false deck of a vessel intercepted by the Navy off Christmas Island.
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A nice gesture, but of little consequence
BUREAUCRATS working nine to five almost put an end to Dolly Parton's blockbuster tour of Australia in a row over her huge bus.
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We live in hope
IT IS a split-second decision, a heartbeat, barely even a breath. There's a stranger in your house or in your shop. On your property.

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