Stealing a page from Carpe Diem’s Mark Perry, let’s re-write the opening paragraphs of this Wall Street Journal report:
For years, economists have told Americans worried that
cheap Chinese importslow-cost technology will kill jobs that the benefits of trade with Chinatechnological advance far outweigh its costs.
New research suggests the damage to the U.S. has been deeper than these economists have supposed. The study, conducted by a team of three economists, doesn’t challenge the traditional view that
tradeeach labor-saving advance in technology is ultimately good for the economy. Workers who lose jobs do eventually find new work or retire, while the benefits from tradetechnological advances, such as lower prices, remain. The problem is the speed at which Chinatechnology has surged as a n exportercreator of goods and services, overwhelming the normal process of adaptation.
The study rated every U.S. county for its manufacturers’ exposure to
competition from Chinatechnology, and found that regions most exposed to Chinatechnology tended not only to lose more manufacturing jobs, but also to see overall employment decline. Areas with higher exposure also had larger increases in workers receiving unemployment insurance, food stamps and disability payments.
This WSJ report contains – and reports on – many errors other than the unmitigated mistake of singling out one incredibly narrow, particular way in which consumer sovereignty and economic change affects workers and then assumesthat there is something economically special or significant about this particular way that distinguishes it from the countless other ways in which economies change. (The incredibly narrow, particular way singled out in the report is the trade of people located in the geographical region of the earth conventionally today called “America” with people in another region of the earth conventionally today called “China.”) Time allowing, I’ll address some of those errors in future posts (although it’s not as if readers who go to the “trade” category here at the Cafe won’t find many earlier posts that deal with these same errors that pop up like whack-a-mole).
… is from the 16th-century English theologian Richard Hooker:
Laws are not which public approbation has not made them so.
(Quoted on page 27 of Will & Ariel Durant’s 1961 book The Age of Reason Begins.)
Translation: laws are not made by sovereign rulers such as legislatures or city councils; all that these bodies can do is to construct legislation and hope that such constructions are able to borrow the respect that is due to genuine laws. Laws are, instead, the emergent rules of social behavior; laws are no more consciously made than are, say, prices in competitive markets.
Jeffrey Sachs doesn’t think much of the Stimulus I or Stimulus II (HT: Nate Silver). And echoing the sentiments of many posts here at the Cafe on the CBO, he recognizes the falsity of the CBO’s claims that the stimulus created jobs:
One of the common errors of our recent policy debate has been the belief that various studies of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “prove” that the stimulus measures have raised employment and output. Careful readers of the CBO reports know that the CBO has proved nothing of the sort. The CBO reports have assumed that the stimulus works, relying on multipliers found in its mathematical models of the US economy. The CBO hasn’t in fact re-examined its model for purposes of estimating the impacts of the stimulus policies.
Yet the actual outcomes of the US economy have been far worse than were expected. Unemployment, of course, remains above 9 percent when it was expected in early 2009 to fall to below 7 percent by today. There is, alas, no reason to believe that the stimulus packages have done much of anything to stimulate the economy even in the short term, much less to bridge the gap to the revival of sustained growth.
There is an even deeper reason for the public’s disorientation over Obama’s rhetoric. President Obama repeatedly and rightly discusses the longer-term prerequisites for restoring competitiveness: investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, job training, and quality education. Yet these alluring long-term visions are almost completely disconnected from Obama’s actual budget policies, which are relentlessly short-term and without strategies beyond a year or two. This disconnect between Obama’s soaring rhetoric and lack of long-term plans was on display in the jobs speech this week.
He then goes on to say that the Republicans’ ideas of lower taxes, reducing regulation, and shrinking government are “the road to ruin.” What does America need:
America requires at least a decade of well-designed and well-executed national investments in people, infrastructure, and innovative technologies, in order to boost competitiveness and renovate the economy. Yet such an effort requires serious plans, careful deliberation, and higher taxation on deadbeat corporations and the super-rich. (Obama’s endorsement of lowering corporate tax rates in return for ending loopholes augers poorly once again, since it invites yet another gimmicky tax negotiation in the interests of the rich.)
At least a decade? How about six months? When was the last time America had well-designed and well-executed investments in people, infrastructure, and innovative technologies? Who would do the designing? Who would do the executing? How would that group differ from the current crew? You mean they’d be even smarter and wiser than Larry Summers, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Alan Krueger?
And at least two of those three goals–investments in people and innovative technologies we can do fine our own, thank you very much. Just stop spending so much money badly.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (04:32 pm)
The crew of an asylum seeker boat telephoned West Australian police to alert them to the vessel’s imminent arrival at Christmas Island…
“Initial indications suggest there are 75 passengers and two crew on board,” Mr O’Connor said in a statement.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (01:09 pm)
I am very grateful to all the readers who have offered me support and sympathy. I’m afraid I cannot respond or comment further for now. But I can’t tell how moved I am. And how sad, but not just for myself.
I am sorry to the hundreds of people who’ve responded on this thread. I am extremely touched by your support, but the moderators obviously need to get guidance on what we dare publish. Such are the times.
Andrew Bolt lost his case in the Federal Court today. Today’s decision means that the right to not be offended is more important than freedom of speech.
I want to publish a major statement standing up for freedom of speech in The Australian newspaper. We need to send the message that we will not tolerate these attacks on our freedoms. If we don’t stand up, I fear that no one else will speak out against these laws.
But I need your help to do it. I need your donation of $250, $100 or even $25 to help get this statement published in the paper. Click here right now to be transferred to our donation page. (Contributions to support the publication of this statement are not tax deductible.)
If we raise more money than we need to fund the publication of the statement we’ll devote every extra cent to the IPA’s work defending freedom of speech.
You are less free today than you were yesterday.
The laws that allowed this to happen are a disgrace. All Australians should be outraged.
We can’t sit by and let our freedoms be abolished like this. Australia is still a free country – and we want it to stay that way.
The IPA is a not-for-profit think tank funded by the contributions of our members. We can’t afford to publish this statement without your support.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (09:28 am)
Labor’s attack on a free media is frightening, with the Communications Minister even leaving open the idea ofrequiring newspapers to have a licence to print. But even worse are the schemes of British Labour:
Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.
It is astonishing that censorship should be once again so in vogue in the Left.
The Gillard Government is also proposing a single regulator of all journalism, able to punish and to censor.
BBC director general Mark Thompson is alarmed by similar sinister proposals in Britain:
The Daily Mail adds that Mr Thompson also backed self-regulation of the Press. It says he was “sceptical” that newspapers should be regulated in the same way as broadcasters. The paper quotes Mr Thompson: ”To put all journalism under a single converged regulator would potentially mean that, if ever the state wished to limit media freedom, it would have a single lever with which to do so.”
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (07:08 am)
LOVELY days for Kevin Rudd, these, when even his mistakes are gold.
Take yesterday, when he tried so helpfully to dismiss talk that he’s plotting to snatch back his old job from Julia Gillard.
“I’m a very happy little Vegemite being Prime Minister,” he insisted.
Oops. A mistake, the Foreign Affairs Minister guffawed: “You’ve caught me getting off the plane, jet lag.”
But if he’d done it deliberately, he couldn’t have got a better result.
This was all he needed to set off another day of media chatter about Gillard’s polling woes - another day of debate about how Rudd could yet rescue Labor if only his colleagues listened to the public’s clamour for a wronged man’s return.
After all, which TV and radio news editor could resist that bit of audio from Rudd’s interview with ABC Central West, in Orange?
Hold it. ABC radio where? In Orange?
Now, normally a frantically busy Foreign Affairs Minister, especially one from Queensland, would not have time to yak to some local radio station - especially when that station’s HQ is in a seat safely held by the other side.
But Rudd is campaigning even harder than ever. He really, really wants to be that happy little Vegemite again in The Lodge, triumphant over those plotters who so humiliated him last year.
In fact, he and his allies are talking to all kinds of people, even Labor heavies who’d thought they’d deep-sixed him last year. And ominously for Gillard, his unofficial emissaries include independent MP Bob Katter.
Why does Katter matter? Well, consider the latest strife to hit Gillard - the brawl over poker machines that she’s managed to start with not just the NRL clubs, but now AFL ones as well.
The clubs are screaming they’ll lose millions of dollars if she keeps her promise to independent MP Andrew Wilkie to make them install technology that switches off a machine after a gambler loses a pre-set amount.
If Gillard keeps her word, furious clubs with hundreds of thousands of Labor-voting members will make some Labor politicians pay with their seats.
But if she breaks her promise, Wilkie says he’ll tear up his agreement to keep Gillard as Prime Minister. He could force an early election in which Labor would be smashed.
A dilemma, you’d conclude. But here comes Katter, who never supported Gillard, urging Labor powerbrokers to give Rudd another go.
It is almost inconceivable that Katter would not back a man he’s described privately as his closest friend in Parliament, if Rudd once more got the job.
Lose Wilkie, but gain Katter, is Rudd’s pitch. Labor could then scrap the pokies promise, without Wilkie forcing it to the polls.
Of course, as Rudd grows stronger, his Labor opponents grow more strident.
On Sunday, on The Bolt Report, I showed Kristina Keneally the infamous footage of Rudd treating her like dirt when, as the then NSW Premier, she welcomed him last year to their talks on a health agreement.
As Keneally spoke to him, Rudd shuffled his papers and studiously refused to look her in the eye, and when she finished he banged the table, and still ignoring her, snapped: “Yeah, well, let’s get on with some health reform.”
On seeing it all again on Sunday, Keneally said: “That picture says a thousand words. and it really goes to why the caucus is going to stick with Julia ... People can work with her quite readily.”
But not with Rudd, the first prime minister to ever be dismissed by his colleagues on the grounds that he was a bastard and completely out of control.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (07:06 am)
MY wife and children are just back from another typical Australian holiday. You know the kind.
They went to Sea World, on the Gold Coast, where the queues were long and rides were shut.
They ate food that tasted like some of the acts had been deep-fried, and stayed at the four-star resort, with a buffet each night that was merely adequate.
For a break, they went to Wet’n’Wild to find even longer queues and more shut rides - and yet more of the same takeaway stodge you’ll find blocking bowels from Perth to Cape York.
So nothing out of the ordinary, then.
After all, in other years we’ve stayed at lovely Couran Cove, where we were fed depressed main courses by young staff apparently distracted from more important duties elsewhere.
At Surfers Paradise, we’ve threaded past the tattoo parlours that fester on the edges of one of the world’s best beaches, and at Cairns we motored to the Great Barrier Reef on an ageing boat to reach a tired platform still moored to a deader part of what is actually one of the world’s great wonders.
Back on land, we dined at yet another restaurant where we had to whistle for a waiter. Couldn’t tell you what we ate.
Sometimes it’s as if we’ve paid guides to kill the fun. At Uluru I’ve been pestered by overly sensitive rangers not to climb the very thing that everyone on the bus had travelled days to conquer.
Or we’ve been left to make our own fun. At Victor Harbor, in South Australia, we took the horse-drawn tram on the jetty to Granite Island, and got off to see—er, not much.
In Phillip Island, we’ve seen the penguins and also the . . . um . . . well, I guess we could go stare up a tree for another hour to find a koala.
And almost everywhere outside of some tightly defined regions - the biggest cities, our wine districts - you tend to get much the same dull service: here’s your table, can I get you drinks, here’s the bill and there’s the door.
Don’t mistake me. I’m not whingeing. I can enjoy almost anything, including my birthday dinner on Monday at a Greek restaurant run by a woman so bored that when asked what fish was on the menu, she replied “fish”.
However, I can’t help but notice the difference in some places overseas.
For instance, in Italy I’m yet to eat one bad meal, or wait more than five minutes for a waiter to bustle up.
Anything not run by the Government is run efficiently, and every tourism opportunity exploited. Go to a resort town such as Taormina in Sicily, supposedly a poor island, and you’ll see what a scandal it is to have let Surfers slide. Even the trash there is classy.
My point is not that I’m complaining, but that many others are - people who leave tourism operators asking: “Huh? Where did everyone go?”
Take the latest TTF-MasterCard Tourism Industry Sentiment survey.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (06:46 am)
Costello is right on the economics, but Abbott is probably right on the politics:
PETER COSTELLO has accused Tony Abbott of Democratic Labor Party tendencies after his reluctance to embrace industrial relations deregulation.
Writing in today’s Herald, the former treasurer takes issue with Mr Abbott’s pledge not to reintroduce statutory individual workplace agreements.
He suggests that the lone DLP senator, John Madigan, be left to ‘’run the case for protection and regulation’’ and it is the duty of Coalition leaders to ‘’promote and implement Liberal policies like freedom in the workplace, open trade, lower tax and careful spending of taxpayers’ money’’.
‘’Liberals believe that our economy can be more productive and create more jobs with higher wages if we promote freedom and flexibility all round,’’ he says....
Mr Costello says Mr Abbott cannot afford to rule things in or out because if he becomes prime minister, he ‘’will inherit a bad debt and fiscal position’’ and need a range of policy options to restore productivity.
First, Abbott will feel stung, but should remember that being criticised is the surest way to advertise your virtues. Being criticised repeatedly by allies for not wanting anything like a return to WorkChoices is the best proof he can offer that a return to WorkChoices is not on his mind.
Second, his Liberal critics seem to suffer from a litlle hubris, by assuming that the Coalition’s huge poll lead now will remain until the next election. Take Peter Reith:
I mean, look, we’ve got a bit of capital to spend here and I think it should be spent on good policy, quite frankly.
But election campaigns inevitably tighten a contest. What’s more, Newspoll suggests that if Labor changes to Kevin Rudd it will probably win with that sugar rush. In those circumstances, Abbott and the Liberals will be desperate for every vote they can scrabble together, and a battle on individual contracts and a “return to WorkChoices” may prove fatal.
Bottom line: is Labor desperate for Abbott to advocate the line Costello recommends?
If so, beware.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (06:33 am)
Love drives them, and that is admirable. But it’s not helpful, serving to underline how desperate Gillard’s plight now is:
At their modest home in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, John and Moira Gillard yesterday downplayed a series of damaging polls…
Asked about the polls, Moira said: “She’ll cope.”
Moira also pleaded with the nation not to abandon her daughter.
“Trust her. Why not? She’s done a lot of good things already,” she said.
“Just trust her. She’s a hard worker.”
Mr Gillard also pushed her case, saying: “Our economy is the envy of the Western world.”
(No comments to avoid the risk of some people being mean.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (06:29 am)
THE first indigenous woman elected to any Australian parliament will today announce her resignation after being vilified as a “toxic coconut” over her support for Woodside’s contentious $30 billion gas hub proposal near the West Australian resort town of Broome.
Labor MP Carol Martin, 54, yesterday told the party’s West Australian leader, Eric Ripper, she would not contest the next election in March 2013…
Ms Martin has repeatedly urged opponents of the Woodside development to respect the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr people’s right to do a deal with the company for the gas hub. In June, they voted 60-40 in favour…
Ms Martin was named last week in an anonymous 10-page newsletter as “brown on the outside and full of the milk of white man’s money” on the inside for not opposing the proposed gas hub.
Her name appeared on a list of nine Kimberley Aborigines, including former Australian of the year Patrick Dodson, under the heading “toxic coconuts”.
Ms Martin said it was the worst slur against her in public life… “I feel that after three terms it is time to move on, and things like that shit from last week I just don’t want to put up with any more,” she said.
(Thanks to reader CA.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (06:24 am)
The Labor brand has gone toxic everywhere. Labor’s new class has brought the party to its knees:
ANNA Bligh is facing a landslide defeat at the Queensland election next March, with the latest Newspoll showing Labor’s primary vote has slumped to almost half that of the Liberal National Party…
Labor could be left with as few as 13 seats in the 89-seat parliament. After the distribution of preferences, the LNP is on 61 per cent against Labor’s 39 per cent.
And yet more proof that disenchanted Labor voters do not flee to the Greens, which remains a party of the extreme - further from most Labor voters’ values than the Liberals:
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (06:11 am)
They are desperate:
A PLAN to foil a Kevin Rudd comeback with a third challenger has been canvassed among senior right MPs in the event Julia Gillard’s leadership comes under threat.
In a sign that even key backers of Julia Gillard are concerned her leadership could soon be in jeopardy, discussions have taken place over running Defence Minister Stephen Smith as a rope- a-dope candidate against Mr Rudd. The suggestion is that Mr Smith might be a more acceptable candidate to many members of the party’s dominant right faction, should the caucus decide on a change.
Has he got voter appeal?
Has he got a track record on leadership?
Is he a man of vision?
None of the above? And you guys think this will work?
Let me repeat: it is either Simon Crean (or, bigger gamble, Bill Shorten) now, while there’s still time left to demonstrate sensible, competent leadership, or it’s Kevin Rudd later. Every week that goes by is a lost opportunity that makes Rudd more inevitable. Every week that goes by also makes it that much harder to dump not only Gillard, but the carbon dioxide tax that so potently symbolises Labor’s betrayal of the electorate.
(Thanks to reader CA.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (05:59 am)
Rafe Champion, summarising Matt Ridley, sums ups the glonal warming scares:
Sea level. The prediction is for about 1 foot per century of rise. Coastal flooding will increase slightly in some places but other places will gain more land from siltation then they lose by erosion. The Greenland icecap may retreat, if the glaciers continue to melt at the recent rate approaching 1 per cent per century. Relax Tim Flannery and enjoy your seaside home!
Fresh water. The bottom line, allowing for some variablity around the globe, is that, “all other things being equal, warming will itself reduce the total population at risk from water shortage”.
Storms. All the trends are positive, most striking being the 99% reduced death toll from weather-related natural disasters since the 1920s – from 242 per million people to 3 per million in the 2000s.
Health. Cold is a bigger killer than heat by a factor of five. There is no reason to expect malaria to become a bigger problem with warming. Other claims linking deaths and disease to climate change have been disproved on further investigation.
Food. Quite simply, mild warming plus more CO2 means more food.
And so it goes… Sometimes you really have to wonder what the fuss is about.
Treasury head of macro-economic modelling Meghan Quinn on August 10:WHAT we are assuming is that there are mechanisms in countries to achieve emissions that result in an implicit or explicit carbon price based on those economies. It does not mean it specifically has to be an emissions trading scheme.
Treasury response to questions from Henry Ergas, September 22:
THE modelling undertaken in the Strong Growth, Low Pollution report does not rely on an assumption that there is a perfectly harmonised global emissions trading scheme. It does, over time, assume that countries take on emissions reduction targets through some mechanism. It also assumes that, over time, countries allow individual firms or governments themselves to trade abatement with firms/governments in other countries through some mechanism.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, September 28, 11 (12:02 am)
Since when do governments and councils use taxpayers’ money to hire people to effectively be missionairies - and proselytise for a faith?
An opportunity exists within the Community Planning Partnerships and Performance Department for a motivated Project Officer. This is a temporary, full-time (38hrs per week) position....
You will be responsible for implementing the Salam Alaykum -Darebin’s Muslims Reaching Out project, funded by the Federal Attorney General’s department.
You will be responsible for:• Working in partnership with the Islamic Society of Victoria to strengthen its role and effectiveness in organising events, dealing with the media, resolving conflicts, and managing stakeholders
• Developing and implementing activities that assist the Islamic Society of Victoria to dispel myths and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims
• Organising a series of seminars and events around interfaith and intercultural dialogue targeting community members to learn about Islam and its practices
Does any council hire a Catholic to help the Catholic church spread the word?
(Thanks to reader Sharon.)