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Monday Message Board

June 15th, 2009

Its time once again for Monday Message Board, assuming the server stays up long enough :-(. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

I probably won’t have time for a full scale response to the end of Peter Costello’s political career, so I’ll just offer two words. “No Loss”. Feel free to give your own more detailed, and perhaps more charitable views.

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  1. Chris Warren
    June 15th, 2009 at 18:15 | #1

    Just how much subsidy does this capitalist system need?

    Bloomberg (12 June) moved a story by Merra Louis (Click for story) indicating that Europe’s Banks have now been bailed out by $US5.3 trillion.

    Add this to the US bailout of 12.8 trillion plus Japan, India, Canada and China, and we get 20 trillion.

    This is utter madness. Even if you saved $4 every day since the Big Bang, 13.5 billion years ago, you still would not have enough cash to subsidise and prop up capitalism.

    What mathematical model explains this?

  2. nanks
    June 15th, 2009 at 18:27 | #2

    Chris Warren :
    Just how much subsidy does this capitalist system need?

    It needs everything

  3. JB
    June 15th, 2009 at 19:57 | #3

    Costello’s departure is no great loss. He was a lucky treasurer that reaped the benefits of Keating’s hard work. Swan may not have the gift of the gab, but he actually understands what is needed to get Australia out of the mess caused by the collapse of the financial markets. I’m afraid Costello would have taken the Andrew Mellon (US Secretary of Treasury 1921-1933) line of liquidate everything!

  4. June 15th, 2009 at 22:02 | #4

    The Senate Select Committee on Climate Policy and the Senate Economics Committee have both released their reports and made them available on the interwebs.

  5. June 15th, 2009 at 22:59 | #5

    The BCA have a great economic plan – increase the GST and halve their tax.

    This is what we need – disinterested policy formation.

  6. Jill Rush
    June 15th, 2009 at 23:36 | #6

    Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd have indicated disgust at a bank raising interest rates at a time when the Reserve Bank is holding rates steady.

    It is hard to believe that this is not confected as they have the power to do something about their rage such as make it unlawful to charge fees that aren’t commensurate with cost and yet this is not legislation that is even mentioned.

    The Australian people are providing a firm base for the banks which have been consolidating the market.

    Peter Costello didn’t do much when he was Treasury and won’t be missed once he decides to exit staged right.

  7. June 15th, 2009 at 23:39 | #7

    Even if you saved $4 every day since the Big Bang, 13.5 billion years ago, you still would not have enough cash to subsidise and prop up capitalism.

    That’s not a valid conclusion. It has not been 13.5 billion years to the day; that’s an approximate figure. Therefore, the correct conclusion to draw is that it would take around $4 per day every day since the start of the universe to save up enough money to prop up capitalism.

  8. June 16th, 2009 at 02:14 | #8

    Jill – the CBA’s rates are still lower than the rest of the big four. Storm – meet teacup.

  9. Alice
    June 18th, 2009 at 18:29 | #9

    I sort of think no loss as well. He was a man unable to stand up to Howard (despite professing at times wanting too…) I prefer the contribution of his brother. I also dont truck too well with any of the architects of “workchoices”. This legislation put equal pay back three decades and has made a lot of women’s working lives very very precarious – and by that I mean women work 70% of the casual part time jobs and it was these people that lost choice under workchoices – a bludgeon to many women in the labour force. So from a feminist point of view I wont ever forgive Costellos for that. Now he wants a cushy diplomatic posting like they gave Downer to retire into while still working….just fade away.

  10. Donald Oats
    June 18th, 2009 at 21:49 | #10


    Alternative Medicine confusion

    One look and WTF? Oxymoron comes to mind.

  11. Ken
    June 19th, 2009 at 17:41 | #11

    Alice, are you saying that you really did not like Costello, his beliefs and his actions?
    I would never have guessed that.

  12. Alice
    June 19th, 2009 at 17:58 | #12

    Nope – I didnt

  13. Alice
    June 19th, 2009 at 18:04 | #13

    Ill go further than that in my criticism of Costello if you really want me too Ken. Another coalition arrogant white male who thinks they know best what the labvour force should be like (for businesses)…disposable nappies. We all know what disposable nappies are used for …just so happens women are playing that labour force role more than men. Flexibility they call it. Being screwed I call it.

  14. Ken
    June 19th, 2009 at 18:56 | #14

    Ah, OK, that’s clear.

  15. June 19th, 2009 at 20:30 | #15

    Even if you saved $4 every day since the Big Bang, 13.5 billion years ago, you still would not have enough cash to subsidise and prop up capitalism.

    Surely you are ignoring the wonders of compound interest.

  16. David Douglas
    June 19th, 2009 at 21:46 | #16

    Compound interest?
    Get real! (interest wise that is)
    Inflation is driving the expansion of the universe in much the same way as debt drives the inflated asset bubble. Just keep pushing the money supply for fear of the asset pie and your universe imploding.

  17. Ian Gould
    June 19th, 2009 at 23:44 | #17

    “This is utter madness”

    I agree the figure you quote for the US bail-out is, indeed, utter madness.

    From the article you cite:

    “EU governments approved about 311.4 billion euros for capital injections, 2.92 trillion euros for bank liability guarantees, 33 billion euros for relief of impaired assets and 505.6 billion euros for liquidity and bank funding support, a total of 3.77 trillion euros, the document shows.”


    “The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve had spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, as of March 31.”

    Do you actually understand the difference between a loan, a cash bail-out and a guarantee?

    Can you grasp the majority of that $5 trillion plus figure is the potential cost if EVERY SINGLE BANK in the EU were to go bankrupt with not a single euro of moeny recovered?

  18. Chris Warren
    June 20th, 2009 at 08:49 | #18

    Ian Gould wonders whether I know the difference between a loan, a cash bail-out, and a guarantee?

    Derr – this is my left hand, and derr… this other one must be my right. If I can sort that out presumably I can move onto other things.

    Really Ian is just spreading smoke.

    But the real prize for laughter has to go to Tristan McLeay (above) who from the sky heights of his knowlege tree, told us, “It has not ben 13.5 billion years to the day”. !!!!!

    So Tristan how many days has it been, and how do you account for the leap years?

    Then TerjeP wants to apply compound interest – which misses the point – I am not suggesting the God should have issued bonds from day one so we could have saved up the cash to save capitalism.

    Now the news wires are humming with stories that companies are asking workers to work without pay to save their jobs.

    So nanks is right – capitalism needs everything (and will take it too – eg Commonwealth Bank).

    The next Fair Wage determinaton will be very interesting if capitalism gets a discount on Australian Minimum wages to (so the chant goes) “protect jobs”.

    The bottom line is we need an alternative to mad-growth based, free-market nonesense, debt-ridden, climate-destroying, world-dividing, capitalism.

    The many trillions of resources being spent or mortgaged into propping up today’s capitalism only makes it harder to fund a bailout for the next big recession.

    So we have to find an alternative.

  19. Socrates
    June 20th, 2009 at 08:51 | #19

    There was a very good summary speech on the GFC by treasury economist David Gruen this week:

    Ignoring debates about just how many trillion have been wasted on this mess, as Gruen’s speech says, the “efficient markets hypothesis”, at least in the macro policy world, is dead. Like Costello, I won’t mourn its passing.

  20. Salient Green
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:14 | #20

    “The bottom line is we need an alternative to mad-growth based, free-market nonesense, debt-ridden, climate-destroying, world-dividing, capitalism.”
    Well said Chris Warren.

    The highlight of my week was Christine Milne’s speech at the National Press Club.

    She was appropriately scathing of Wong and the Government for their weak targets, lack of vision and what amounts to no committment to realistically tackling AGW.

    She and the greens clearly understand that Australia needs to change the way it does business, as Chris Warren’s line illustrates. The task of converting Australia to a low carbon economy can be a nation building project, with everybody inspired by the goal as in the USA when the goal was to put a man on the moon.

    In answer to a question as to how Australia could achieve such deep cuts as the Greens (and the scientists) want over the next ten years, she said by ending de-forestation, replanting forests and a nationwide effort on energy efficiency are the low hanging fruit which would achieve the most, as well as creating thousands of jobs.

  21. nanks
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:23 | #21

    @Salient Green
    salient and chris – the time for dicking around is well and truly over as this report shows
    announcement –
    here is the report itself –

    Christine Milne was excellent – my son and I were very impressed by her grasp of the material and straight talking.

  22. nanks
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:27 | #22

    and for those who haven’t seen it


    that’s all it takes – understandable human action

    “There is another world and it is in this one” Paul Eluard

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