Home > Economic policy, Environment > Believing Barry O’Farrell could cost you “up to” 100 IQ points

Believing Barry O’Farrell could cost you “up to” 100 IQ points

August 4th, 2011

The NSW government has released a a frothing at the mouth press release claiming that a carbon price will devastate the economy. As Mary McCarthy would say, every single word in it is a lie, including “a” and “the”. Top billing has to go to that old favorite of shonky advertisers “up to”, as in a carbon price will ” force up electricity prices for NSW households by up to $498 a year.” The Commonwealth Treasury modelling, which I’ve checked, gives an average cost increase of $3.30 or about $170 a year.

Although the analysis is attributed to NSW Treasury, they apparently weren’t hackish enough for the government, which had to go to Frontier Economics to get the answers they wanted. I’m waiting to see the report, but in the meantime, my reactions to the press statement are over the fold

*A $3.7 billion annual hit to the State’s economy: No time scale is given for this claim, but it is certainly invalid as regards the short run, when the entire revenue raised by a carbon price in NSW will be lower than the stated amount. The only plausible interpretation is that it refers to projections for the long-term, probably by 2050. NSW State Gross Product is currently $400 billion per year, and is expected to double by 2050, so the claimed reduction would reduce 2050 state product by less than 0.5 per cent, from around $800 billion to around $796 billion

* It will also force up electricity prices for NSW households by up to $498 a year. This is a use of the “up to” trick that would lead to criminal prosecution if it were tried in a commercial advertisement. The Commonwealth Treasury estimates an impact of $3.30 a week for the average household or $171 a year

* Businesses will pay $927 to $4191 more a year, depending on usage: These (absurdly precise) figures are bizarre and nonsensical. The Commonwealth Treasury estimates suggest an electricity price increase of around 10 per cent for small users, so business that spend less than $10 000/year on electricity (the vast majority) will pay less than the bottom of the suggested range. Even on the government’s claimed figure of 15 per cent, the estimates are unbelievable

* The job loss figures do not represent an actual loss of jobs, but a reduction in jobs that would otherwise be created. Moreover, they take no account of the larger number of jobs likely to be created in industries that will expand as a result of the carbon price. As a a result, the estimates are essentially meaningless.

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  1. Freelander
    August 4th, 2011 at 22:08 | #1

    It now seems that there is a clear coalition strategy at State and Federal level to ‘tea party’ Australian politics. Given journalists inability to differentiate between easily verifiable facts and easily identifiable lies, or is that simply laziness, or between well respected experts speaking in their field of expertise, and the ‘not-quite-rights’ who behave like escapees from the Cartoon Channel, political debate has descended into the same sort of ‘He said, she said’ that is bringing the US to its knees.

    In some ways, it is amusing that the looney right seems to have adopted some of the extreme ‘facts are simply a social construct, a matter of opinion’ positions that got the looney left into all sorts of trouble.

    Maybe you should claim that reading your blog will increase your IQ by ‘up to’ 100 points. Then reading your blog could constitute a remedy for believing O’Farrell.

    Depending on usage, which, to some extent, depends on the size of the business, the cost of a carbon tax ‘could be’ astronomical. Get out your telescopes everyone!

  2. fred
    August 4th, 2011 at 22:10 | #2

    Whereas I’m sure Tony’s scheme will cost us as ‘little as ” thruppence ha’penny” a decade, or ‘less than’ a cuppa tea [not latte coffee] a year.

  3. Freelander
    August 5th, 2011 at 02:38 | #3

    Tony has the Magic Pudding; it won’t cost us n’out.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 07:26 | #4

    I found it truly rib-tickling to watch the Rightwing MSM portray Barry O’Farrell as a ‘moderate’, before the NSW election. Anyone with any memory of O’Farrell’s political career knew this to be bollocks, but it is eerily akin to the ‘re-branding’ that PR balderdash and MSM complicity achieved with Camerons’s Tories. Still, in the UK you had really entertaining humbug like ‘Red Toryism’, which had me in stitches, particularly when Geraldine Doogue took it up as one of her pseudo-intellectual grand follies. Of course, once in power, with their LibDem fags, the Tories revealed themselves as unreconstructed, hereditary, class thugs and far, far Right bully-boys, with uber-Thatcherite policies that Maude, a leading Tory head-kicker, contemptuously declared had been long and carefully planned.
    O’Farrell has a huge majority, thanks to the Labor Party’s auto-euthanasia, a death by poisoning with ‘economic rationalism’ and class treachery. I confidently expect his regime to grow more and more extreme, as the ‘real Barry’ grows in confidence. The use of ‘reports’ that invariably (can anyone think of a single exception?)provide ‘answers’ or ‘findings’ that suit the sponsor’s pre-determined intentions, is long past the point of being laughable, even contemptible. Who they are meant to impress, God only knows. The use of what you call ‘absurdly precise’ figures is more and more common, and, of course, is designed to impress those of low intellect. The rise of the Dunning-Kruger-Joyce rabble to power, electrified by talk-back and tabloid rabble-rousers who foment and stoke their ignorance and rage at ‘losing’ in our dog-eat-dog economy, presages, I believe, a real social debacle, particularly as it appears that the implosion of market fundamentalist capitalism is reaching a new stage of intensity and rising social viciousness and sadistic cruelty. It looks like the times will suit the O’Farrells (and Baillieus and Abbotts) as much as they did John Howard.

  5. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 07:28 | #5

    And unremedied global climate destabilisation could cause the deaths of ‘up to’ all the human species. And that’s not bollocks.

  6. Ikonoclast
    August 5th, 2011 at 07:43 | #6

    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    Mulga, you are absolutely right in both posts above. Well written, well put.

    I always say the anti-green lobby simply don’t understand the plain fact that;

    “Once the environment is wrecked, there will be no economy.”

  7. Hermit
    August 5th, 2011 at 08:48 | #7

    This could have something to do with the need to build 4 GW of new baseload capacity in the Hunter Valley http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2010/s2837783.htm

    I believe they want to use either supercritical coal with 20% CO2 savings over conventional coal or combined cycle gas with CO2 savings of up to 60%. The carbon tax impost will be less with gas but the raw fuel cost is greater and highly uncertain in the future. Either way NSW emissions are likely to increase long term which suggests a cap based ETS may be the better way to go.

    The likely path seems to be an efficiency scramble and showpiece renewables for a while then building the coal plant anyway. Some kind of weasel clause could be used to justify a coal station, for example ‘world’s best practice’ or ‘carbon capture ready’.

  8. Freelander
    August 5th, 2011 at 08:55 | #8

    Have to agree with that. So far we have something like 0.7 C increase in the global average temperature and we are already wearing some rather expensive extreme weather events. I am not looking forward to the rest of this decade of even worse as the average continues to increase. The destruction and disruption from extreme events can leads to political instability which brings its own problems. Short term worries, like the GFC and extreme events also distract from finally doing something serious about climate change. We are running out of time to wake up.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 09:57 | #9

    Freelander, we ran out of time, in my opinion, at least ten, maybe more years ago. And, of course, ‘we’ ie those of us not deracinated by Rightwing ideology and visceral hatred of the Left, particularly environmentalists, nor fundamentally unequipped intellectually or morally to comprehend our position, had ‘woken up’ years ago. Unfortunately we woke to a living nightmare of a world totally dominated by the psychopathic Right, whose long, subconsciously, lusted for Gotterdamerung is reaching its climacteric. I thought that this country had reached a nadir under Howard, but then Rudd and now Gillard proved even worse if only because John Howard delivered as advertised throughout his political life. The other two were unpleasant surprises, but not so great considering the realities of our morally and intellectually corrupt politics. And now we must contemplate the rise of Abbott, who will lead the country in an age of ecological collapse, resource depletion, economic implosion and increasingly frantic and brutal geopolitical contest between a decaying West led by the moribund brute that is the USA and the rest of the planet. ‘May you live in interesting times’.

  10. ajwak1
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:28 | #10

    It reminds me of a mascara ad.
    Get 300% bolder lashes for a thicker, bolder, longer lash look.

  11. Jim Birch
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:38 | #11

    @Ikonoclast

    @Mulga Mumblebrain
    …Well written, well put.

    Perhaps. Adding the odd paragraph break to draw breath might make it more argument less rant.

    Reminds me of this:

    http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/book/?GCOI=15647100273550&fa=customcontent&extrasfile=A126232F-B0D0-B086-B60AEA9B32ABDFDD.html

  12. Hristos
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:39 | #12

    Unfortunately, voters are rather irrational. And fear gets their attention more than words of comfort.

    Its smart politics. Puts more pressure on an government that is incapable of articulating its own policies.

  13. Michael
    August 5th, 2011 at 10:48 | #13

    @Freelander
    Tony will pay for it with tax cuts for high income earners. I’m surprised he hasn’t pushed the tax cuts will pay for themselves line harder. I’m sure The Australian would back him if he did.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 11:30 | #14

    Michael, don’t forget that Julie Bishop pushed that hoary old favourite the Laffer Curve, some months back. As I’m rather sure that no more than two of her no doubted ‘beautifully turned-out’ neurons are ever in active, ahem, ‘congress’, I wonder which of her controllers put that ‘idea’ into her pretty little head. It is good to remember that history comes first as tragedy, ie Howard and his ‘Labor’ clones, then farce, and an Abbott/Bishop regime will be a real rib-tickler. ‘For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful’.

  15. Fred
    August 5th, 2011 at 11:42 | #15

    Look on the bright side: when Julia runs at the next election there will be nutty Liberal premiers in the four most popular states. Big turn around from last election. That should be bad news for Tony.

  16. Ikonoclast
    August 5th, 2011 at 11:50 | #16

    @Mulga Mumblebrain

    The Limits to Growth (1972), Club of Rome Report sounded the original warning. The central argument is simple, elegant and irrefutable. The average fifteen year old, if adequately educated in language, maths and some basic demonstrative exponential growth experiments, could understand LTG and its implications. This is probably why 60% of the population don’t understand the simple empirical reasons for limits on all growth. I mean their inadequate education coupled with the cornucopian propaganda of late stage corporate capitalism.

    LTG predicted, not collapse by 2000 (that is a furphy promoted by oppenents), but collapse by 2050 if we did not change direction by 2000. Subsequent events have essentially validated their modelling. We are now on track for collapse and have been so since about 2000. In any case, it was obvious as early as 1980-1990 that we were doing nothing to change the direction of endless growth capitalism. This means the oncoming disaster has been inbuilt (inherent) in the system for at least 30 years. We are now well into overshoot territory. The collapse will be rapid and devastating and indeed earlier than predicted by early LTG modelling. I see it commencing by 2015 and being unavoidably obvious by 2020. In fact, I have predicted World GDP in 2020 to be no greater than in 2010.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 13:07 | #17

    Jim Birch, I don’t exhale until I’m finished. I find the rising blood pressure assists the mental processes by churning through the synaptic sludge. And, I must confess, these are rants-I gave up rational argument years ago because it proved futile. This is therapy, nothing more.
    Ikonoclast, you are certainly correct concerning the LTG and Club of Rome. The Club, always referred to by Rightwing cretins as ‘discredited’, has been proved quite correct. Peak Oil was about Thanksgiving Day 2005, give or take an hour or so, and Peak Oil, Peak Gas, Peak Phosphate, Peak Water, Peak Topsoil, Peak Debt, Peak Human Decency, Peak Everything, are nigh. I actually think that the collapse is already underway. Any return to normal levels of demand in the West will send oil prices north of $150, agricultural production has peaked, the unwinding of leveraged financial debt is clearly impossible, the US has plainly decided to grind 90% of its population into the mire to preserve the military Empire, US Special Forces death-squads are operating in 120 countries, the global public is growing restless at being pauperised, climate destabilisation is causing weather disasters around the planet etc. And these are all synergistic, with drought and flood devastating agriculture, imperial overreach provoking more resistance, popular indebtedness (itself the result of deliberately contrived inequality)leading to consumption collapse etc, etc. The system is crumbling because its basic neoplastic nature has produced a host of metastases in every vital organ, all of which are compromised, and all of which must work co-operatively and effectively if the whole is to survive.
    However, the prospects are good. ‘The situation is hopeless-we must take the next step’. The system, being inhuman, anti-life and innately evil, had to collapse at some stage. That it does so now is not as good as if it had done so in 1968 say, but better than in ten or more years, when the damage would be that much greater. Unfortunately the evil ghouls who benefit from this system will fight to the death to defend their unmerited privilege. If the system goes on much longer the collapse must, I believe, lead to global war between and within nations. Norway was just the prelude. The Right are just itching to solve the world’s problems by direct measures and a Malthusian cull of ‘useless eaters’. We may be going down the toilet, driven by the worst amongst us into that ‘universal silence’ that so puzzles the SETI crowd. Perhaps ‘intelligent’ species simply must destroy themselves when the worst among them seize power, and seek to crush the better. It certainly seems that evil has more weight in human affairs than good. It is unquestionably so under free market capitalism, that advantages the greedy, unscrupulous, deceptive and, inevitably, violent and destructive.

  18. Hristos
    August 5th, 2011 at 13:26 | #18

    well, I better go fishing now then, before all turns to dust.

  19. J-D
    August 5th, 2011 at 14:25 | #19

    Freelander :It now seems that there is a clear coalition strategy at State and Federal level to ‘tea party’ Australian politics. Given journalists inability to differentiate between easily verifiable facts and easily identifiable lies, or is that simply laziness,

    I suppose both of those things may have something to do with it. But if I can believe what I’ve read, it’s possible that there’s another part to the explanation: journalists’ continued employment depends on their continuing to fill up the space between advertisements, and proprietors see no percentage for themselves in providing the resources (mainly, the number of journalists) required for that function to be discharged without relying on recycling releases from PR flacks.

  20. Catching up
    August 5th, 2011 at 16:54 | #20

    “Tony has the Magic Pudding; it won’t cost us n’out.”

    He can also perform the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

    Clever man our Tony.

    Maybe we are wrong, pids can fly.

  21. Ratee
    August 5th, 2011 at 17:34 | #21

    Arguement from incredulity. Humans are too small to impact on the planet therefore pollution doesn’t exist and AGW is bollocks. Anyway I saw a program that showed if you collapsed all atoms of all the humans down to the density of a neutron star they would only make a small rock the size of your thumb, so there.
    A colourless, odourless, weightless gas indeed.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 19:22 | #22

    But which is more dense-a neutron star or Abbott, Joyce, Minchin, Jones, Bolt, Albrechtsen ad pandaemonium. Or are they simply feigning imbecility and end-stage paranoia?

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 5th, 2011 at 20:47 | #23

    I’ve been thinking (and it brings me no pleasure). If a citizen what voted for Fatty O’Barrel, drops 100 IQ points, does that not put them into the negative? What, in life, does the possessor of a minus IQ resemble?

  24. John Bennetts
    August 7th, 2011 at 17:12 | #24

    Mulga, that was the best rant of my day’s reading. It being a wet sunday, that encompasses many, many rants, (“up to a zillion”), every one of them not reaching your standard.

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain
    August 8th, 2011 at 11:58 | #25

    John, I’m gratified to know that I brightened your day. I’ve not been myself these last few centuries, what with my Creation being destroyed by those upright, uptight, upstart pseudo-chimpanzees, and wannabe bonobos who had the gall to re-create Me in their image. Oh dear-wrong delusion. Somebody’s been tampering with my medication. Again!

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