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Monday message board

July 10th, 2006

It’s time, a bit belatedly, for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. Apollo
    July 10th, 2006 at 09:36 | #1

    Anyone want to discuss Gender Bias in Taxation?

  2. July 10th, 2006 at 09:37 | #2

    Azurri v/s Le Bleu… But at least tey did score some decent goals.

    At least the game was really entertaining, even if there was way too much acting. I don’t know if they deserved to win… For my taste the French were lucky to get that penalty but probably deserved another. And they had a great second half, but couldn’t show that difference with goals.

    And damn those italians! ;-) What a header! Great goal and there could have easily been a few more.

    But they were softer than jelly… Like one of my Judoka-RealRugby-loving friends says: “you can’t fake physics and hard knocks. Those refs are sh*t!” An dthat Argie Ref was probably one of the very best we’ve seen in this WorldCup.

    Yet Zizou should know better, sad way to go. He will now retire with all the pain of the what ifs. :-(

    At least we can say that the top team (ie: “the Italian World Champions”) still could not score a goal againsnt OZ!
    See?!?!?! That could have been us! ;-) (ok, maybe not)

  3. still working it out
    July 10th, 2006 at 10:56 | #3

    Makes me wonder what we could have done. We really pushed Italy, and who knows what we could have done if Emerton and Kewell were available.

    Congrats to Italy.

  4. still working it out
    July 10th, 2006 at 11:25 | #4

    Some points on the Costello/Howard deal controversy.

    1. Its probably the most damaging thing ever done to Howard’s credibility. He’s got away with a lot of very careful weasel words on previous dicey occasions and managed to keep his credibility with most people intact. One of his own pretty much outright calling him a liar looks like a bridge too far.

    2. Costello does not look too good either. If he had a deal to get the leadership after two terms and has still done nothing about it after 4 then he looks like a wimp who does not stand up for himself and cannot convince even his own party of his leadership abilities.

    3. Even with a golden story like this Beazely still sounds hopeless. Consider his quote from The Age

    “Australians are sick of these two, their growing arrogance, and their outright hostility to each other,” Mr Beazley said. “Middle Australia is the casualty of the war between Howard and Costello — a war at the highest levels of the Government that is all about self interest”.

    Let me re-write that as
    “Australians are sick of Beazley telling them what they think,” Australia said. “Middle Australia is the casualty of Beazley losing elections by continuing to be an out of touch, policy free, lecturing windbag”.

  5. stoptherubbish
    July 10th, 2006 at 13:36 | #5

    SWIO,
    Well said! Beazley is just so patronisingly out of touch. Unfortunately for the rest of the country who are itching to dump this mob, Beazley’s lifetime habit of blocking or stopping any fresh ideas coming out of his own base, has fatally compromised his capacity to lead strongly and effectively. He is so used to delivering ‘for power’ that he has no idea how to lead ‘against power’. It is a tragedy-because he has no intention of vacating the leadership to permit anyone else to lead, and the whole ship will go down weighted with the ballast of his windbaggery..

  6. crocodile
    July 10th, 2006 at 15:35 | #6

    It was a non-core promise

  7. Bemused
    July 10th, 2006 at 16:33 | #7

    Crocodile, don’t miss the cartoon in today’s FinReview. Makes your point exquisitely.

  8. Steve
    July 10th, 2006 at 17:02 | #8

    John, its a couple of months old now, but I wonder if you saw the April 2006 report “The business case for early action” prepared by the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change”. Its available here:

    http://www.businessroundtable.com.au/

    The roundtable consists of CEO level involvement from BP, IAG, Origin, Swiss Re, Visy, Westpac, and the ACF.

    You had an earlier article on carbon prices and quantities that touched on the theme of risk for business and the cost of not acting early.

    Now that we are moving beyond the science debate and are getting into the practical end of implementing emission reductions, will you be thinking/writing more about what climate change means for business and the economy in practice, and different approaches to mitigation eg. emissions trading vs carbon tax vs technology subsidies?

  9. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 10th, 2006 at 22:40 | #9

    Can John Quiggin or one of the other resident economists have a crack at explaining what is going on with US tax revenues.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/09/news/deficit.php

    On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that tax receipts will be about $250 billion above the level last year and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago.

    The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts and making it easier for both the administration and Congress to finesse the big run-up in spending over the past year.

    Tax revenues are climbing twice as fast as the administration predicted in February, so fast that the budget deficit could actually decline this year. The main reason is a surge in corporate tax receipts, which have nearly tripled since 2003, as well as what appears to be a big rise in individual taxes on stock market profits and executive bonuses.

    On Friday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that corporate tax receipts for the nine months through June hit $250 billion – nearly 26 percent higher than a year earlier – and that overall revenue was $206 billion higher than at this point in 2005.

  10. SJ
    July 10th, 2006 at 23:21 | #10

    There’s no mystery, Terje.

    From Brad DeLong:

    Last winter, Stan Collender wrote:

    BUDGET BATTLES: Wolf! (01/17/2006): The Bush administration held a conference call with reporters last week to say that the 2006 deficit would be $400 billion or more. As the White House hoped, the media dutifully reported that number. But, as it almost certainly did not want, the media also reported that this latest Bush administration budget pronouncement should be treated with doubt, skepticism, and perhaps even outright contempt. The reason is that this president has a well-established history of overstating the deficit early in the year and then taking credit when it turns out to be lower than projected, even if it has done nothing to make that happen…

    Today, the usually-reliable Edmund Andrews obligingly falls for the administration’s trick:

    Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit – New York Times: By EDMUND L. ANDREWS: WASHINGTON, July 8 — An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief. On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that the tax receipts will be about $250 billion above last year’s levels and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago. The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts and making it easier for both the administration and Congress to finesse the big run-up in spending over the past year. Tax revenues are climbing twice as fast as the administration predicted in February, so fast that the budget deficit could actually decline this year…

    Two things are going on: approximately $60 billion of real good news on the revenue side for the 2006 deficit, and an approximately $60 billion highballed overstatement by the White House last winter about what the deficit was likely to be. Yet Edmund Andrews treats all $120 billion as if it were genuine good news–generating a bunch of high fives in the White House press office.

    Why does the White House lie all the time, about everything? Because the press corps lets them get away with it.

    And according to Brad Setser:

    As DeLong notes, Andrews over-states the amount of good news by accepting the Administration’s inflated baseline forecast. But he also highlights one issue that I think deserves a bit more attention.

    Tax revenues increasingly are a function of stock market moves, which influence things like amount of income CEOs get from exercising their options. That seems likely to be one reason why tax revenue volatility has increased over the past decade.

    Over the past decade, tax revenues have become much more volatile, alternately soaring and plunging in the wake of swings in the stock market and repeatedly defying government projections.

    Worth remembering. Some of the gains that the US is now enjoying may prove rather ephemeral.

    Oil states have long had to manage oil-related revenue volatility. The United States’ finance-driven “intangible” economy — some might say that is just a fancy way of labelling an economy specialized in exporting debt — may have to learn how to manage revenue volatility that stems from financial volatility. Just a thought.

  11. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 10th, 2006 at 23:44 | #11

    SJ,

    Thanks for the articles.

    The bit you quote from the first article seems to say more about the Bush administration spin and about deficits than it does about tax revenues. Although it does confirm tax revenues are growing strongly.

    The bit you quote from the second article offers a theory as to why tax revenues are strong this year. In essence the theory is that the rise is an aberation created by a momentarily strong stock market. I think this theory needs a little more work before it can be said to have legs, although I don’t dismiss it.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  12. SJ
    July 11th, 2006 at 00:02 | #12

    The bit you quote from the first article seems to say more about the Bush administration spin and about deficits than it does about tax revenues.

    By this you make it quite obvious that you didn’t even read DeLong’s post, much less understand any of it.

    It must be particularly difficult for you when reality doesn’t conform to the Laffer curve nonsense you believe in.

  13. Terje (say TAY-A)
    July 11th, 2006 at 00:17 | #13

    SJ,

    DeLong makes one statment that alludes to tax reveues:-

    approximately $60 billion of real good news on the revenue side for the 2006 deficit

    The rest of his article is about the deficit, the previous over estimate of the deficit, and the way the Bush administration tells lies and the way the media fails to hold the Bush administration to account.

    I read it and understood it. Clearly you have some trouble separating the points that are relevant to tax revenue from the points that are not. DeLong makes no attempt to explain the source of the increased tax revenue which is fine because that is not his central point. However my inquiry was after the cause of the increased tax revenue so offering me DeLongs post is only of passing interest.

    You offer laffer curve effect as a second theory (which you disparage). So now we have two theories on the table:-

    1. A momentary increase in the stock market.
    2. A laffer curve effect.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  14. gordon
    July 12th, 2006 at 11:22 | #14

    The Wicks report on UK energy options is available for download here.

    A Guardian Unlimited article reporting Wicks as forecasting a carbon tax to pay for it all is here.

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