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Monday Message Board

October 29th, 2012

Back on air with another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language. Lengthy side discussions to the sandpits, please.

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  1. MG42
    November 2nd, 2012 at 08:17 | #1

    Graeme Bird :
    ” …… 1. this Labor government doesn’t make me happy, and ……….”
    Its good to see that you are only human. Party allegiance ought not remain untarnished in the face of the relentless stupidity displayed by Labour since Kim Beazley left town? What a talented lineup Labour used to have? By the late Hawke era they must have had more talent then any other workers party around. This was back when they were a workers party. Rather then a public servant and bankers party. Now they have a lineup with little brains, almost no relevant experience, and no loyalty to their worker constituents.

    There is a simple reason for that. The issue is that the “left” has to appeal to a more diverse group of voters than the “right”. The platform of the “right” is generally bimodal – it appeals to the social conservatives and/or the wealthy. Their platform is very simple: lower taxes, government is always bad, what’s-good-for-business-is-good-for-you, welfare-cheats-are-ruining-the-country, etc. The “left” needs to gain the support of more factions and varies their offerings into a mishmash that hopefully strikes a chord with the majority. They have to appease, among others, the environmentalists, the unions, the poor, the middle class, the social progressives, intellectuals……..

    The big tent nature also makes policy formulation more nuanced – as an example off the top of my head, the “right” is extremely likely to reject out of hand, on “moral” grounds, a recommendation for higher transfer payments, while the left is more likely to consider other factors, such as deficit growth, poverty reduction and potential economic growth in their assessment.

  2. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    November 2nd, 2012 at 09:44 | #2

    As I’ve deleted the comment to which this replies, it’s only fair to delete the response as well – JQ

  3. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    November 2nd, 2012 at 09:54 | #3

    Meanwhile over at Quadrant, Keith Windsock takes a very different view of Hobsbawm’s work, in the process informing us that Barack Obama and Julia Gillard are “radical leftists” and bearers of Hobsbawm’s baleful influence.

  4. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:46 | #4

    @Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy on Barack Obama and Julia Gillard being radical leftists, I am sure not a single exaggeration or insult has been uttered about Abbott or does hansard say otherwise:

    Tony Abbott is a hack. A dog. An aggressive, carping, bitter, mindless, deceptive, dodgy, mendacious, rancid, negative, nasty, muck-raking, untruthful, obstructionist, opportunistic, sexist, political Neanderthal. He is unfit for high office. He cannot control his temper. No trick is too low for him. No stunt is too wild. He is a bully. A thug. A snake oil salesman.

    A poster child for vile bully-boy values. He has repulsive double standards. He hates women. He stands for nothing. He has unhealthy obsessions. He is nuts. Abbott behaves like Jack the Ripper. He is Gina Rinehart’s butler. He is Nancy Reagan without the astrology.

    ”Tony Abbott is the poster child for the vile, bully-boy values.” Swan, on Twitter, September 19. There are worse twitts by Labor MPs about abbott, but this blog prohibits coarse language. unlike Keating, none of the above insults were witty.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-suffering-a-labor-party-stoning-20121014-27krw.html#ixzz2B1OC1asI

  5. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 10:48 | #5

    bring back birdy, on Barack Obama and Julia Gillard being radical leftists, I am sure not a single exaggeration or insult has been uttered about Abbott or does Hansard say otherwise:

    Tony Abbott is a hack. A dog. An aggressive, carping, bitter, mindless, deceptive, dodgy, mendacious, rancid, negative, nasty, muck-raking, untruthful, obstructionist, opportunistic, sexist, political Neanderthal. He is unfit for high office. He cannot control his temper. No trick is too low for him. No stunt is too wild. He is a bully. A thug. A snake oil salesman.

    A poster child for vile bully-boy values. He has repulsive double standards. He hates women. He stands for nothing. He has unhealthy obsessions. He is nuts. Abbott behaves like Jack the Ripper. He is Gina Rinehart’s butler. He is Nancy Reagan without the astrology.

    ”Tony Abbott is the poster child for the vile, bully-boy values.” Swan, on Twitter, September 19. There are worse twitts by Labor MPs about abbott, but this blog prohibits coarse language. unlike Keating, none of the above insults were witty.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-suffering-a-labor-party-stoning-20121014-27krw.html#ixzz2B1OC1asI

  6. David Irving (no relation)
    November 2nd, 2012 at 11:35 | #6

    Jim, I think Swan was actually quite measured in those quotes. On the other hand, anyone who confuses either Obama or Gillard with a lefty is clearly delusional.

  7. Katz
    November 2nd, 2012 at 12:29 | #7

    And Neanderthals enjoyed larger cranial volumes than homo sapiens.

    If Tony Abbott were a disciple of the late Arthur Jensen, he’d be gratified by the compliment.

  8. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:09 | #8

    @David Irving (no relation) manners are the glue of society. There are few politicians these days who are witty. Swan was plain rude.

    Political discourse would be considerably poorer without the right to be rude.

    Robust political debate is bound to produce speech that is critical of those who hold public office or public figures involved in the resolution of important public questions or, by reason of their fame, shape events of concern to society at large. The criticism will not always be reasoned or moderate: there will be vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks.

    Rudeness is no substitute for having the better arguments. Swan was rude because he has no answer to the great big new tax argument. Labor’s case for reelection is they are not Abbott. Voters do not retain governments because of the qualities of the opposition leader.

  9. Julie Thomas
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:27 | #9

    Katz, all conservatives are disciples of Jensen I thought?

  10. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 13:53 | #10

    @Julie Thomas who is Arthur Jensen?

  11. Tim Macknay
    November 2nd, 2012 at 14:26 | #11

    Rudeness is different from misrepresenting your opponents. Calling Gillard or Obama a “radical leftist” is misrepresentation, the equivalent for Abbott would be accusing him of being a f*scist or neo-n*zi. One might expect this sort of deluded misrepresentation from conspiracy nuts on the fringe. But Windshuttle, allegedly a public intellectual, and Quadrant, allegedly an intellectual magazine, ought to exhibit higher standards.

    Political discourse may or may not be poorer without rudeness – it would certainly be less colourful. But political discourse without outrageous misrepresentation and lies would be considerably improved.

  12. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 14:53 | #12

    @Tim Macknay misrepresenting your opponents is a rather low bar.

  13. JB Cairns
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:23 | #13

    Jim,

    Swan is a hopeless politician but a very good treasurer..
    His answer should have been what is tax as a % of GDP.

    how any people who sprout how can we have a deficit in a commodity boom actually know how small the figure is.

    By the way you do now know Australian GDP fell in 1932 it didn’t rise. No expansionary austerity then either.

  14. David Irving (no relation)
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:28 | #14

    “Voters do not retain governments because of the qualities of the opposition leader.” I think you’re mistaken, Jim. For instance, Howard kept government because of the perceived qualities of Latham.

    As to rudeness, yes, political discourse might be better if it were more civil, but the main offenders here (in Australia) are in the Liberal and National Parties.

  15. Tim Macknay
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:31 | #15

    @Jim Rose

    True. I’m sure you’d agree though, it’s unfortunate how difficult so many participants in the process find clearing it.

  16. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 15:34 | #16

    @David Irving (no relation) the main offenders are whomever is the government of the day because they can say suchas what I listed above about Abbott without being suspended from the house or sued outside of the house.

  17. rog
    November 2nd, 2012 at 16:04 | #17

    Having adopting failed policies of attacking minority groups, manufacturing fake scenarios and denying reality the only avenue left to the Jim Roses of the world is pedantry and faux outrage.

  18. Jim Rose
    November 2nd, 2012 at 22:03 | #18

    see http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/11/rowan_atkinson_on_insulting_free_speech.html for a great 9 minute speech of the importance of robust free speech and the use of wit to make arguments.

  19. zoot
    November 2nd, 2012 at 22:36 | #19

    Jim, it sounds like you’re one of those PC types who hate free speech.

  20. rog
    November 3rd, 2012 at 05:44 | #20

    @Jim Rose One flaw in your argument is that you are saying speech can only be free if it contains wit and only the Jim Roses of the world can determine what is/what is not wit.

  21. Jim Rose
    November 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 | #21

    @rog if you watched the podcast, you will notice how Rowen Atkinson used wit with great skill and under-statment to make his arguments. Many of his points echoed those of J.S. Mill.

  22. rog
    November 3rd, 2012 at 16:47 | #22

    @Jim Rose Another flaw in your argument is that you appear to overlook untruths, fabrications, deceptions and lies yet argue that the perception of lack of wit is a defect.

  23. rog
    November 4th, 2012 at 05:30 | #23

    While King Coal does provide jobs jobs jobs it does so at a cost,

    http://media.beyondzeroemissions.org/coal_health_Report_FINAL.pdf

  24. Tom
    November 5th, 2012 at 12:20 | #24

    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/ideology-over-reality/?partner=rss&emc=rss

    Looks like “Freedom of Speech” is important, only if it suits Republicans, my advice to them is to just change the Constitution of the United States so that people won’t even know these reported existed in the first place in the future.

  25. Katz
    November 5th, 2012 at 12:56 | #25

    Serial god botherer Billy Graham and Republican shill declares that Mormonism is no longer a cult:

    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/189908/billy-graham-removes-mormonism-from-cult-list-just-in-time-for-the-election/

    And then croaks soon thereafter.

    Coincidence, or not. You decide.

  26. November 6th, 2012 at 17:29 | #26

    Warning: Preemptive Gloat

    Just checking in to remind everyone that back in Nov 2008 I stated that Obama would win two terms. mainly due to the voters wanting someone to stick around long
    So either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”. to clean up the colossal Bush mess, a task I described as “janitorial” rather than “messianic”.

    I followed up in Apr 2010 when I predicted that the Tea Party would  ”burn out” and Obama would win the 2012 election “comfortably”. I also argued that Obama needed to focus on winning a bigger share of the “white working class” vote. It looks like the auto bailout has swung working class white Ohio into the DEM column.

    In conclusion I would also like to point out that everyone goes on about Ray Fair, Doug Hibbs and Nate Silver in the US and Possum Polytics, Poll Bludger and Mumbles in AUS. They are all great quants but I am now sitting on a 6 on 6 winning streak picking US/AUS federal elections through the naughties. With a good chance of making it 7 on 7 with Obama.

    Its still possible for an upset Romney victory to spoil my winning streak. Especially if base turnout favours the REPs. If the poll goes as I predicted then I would be interested to see

    Either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

  27. November 6th, 2012 at 17:56 | #27

    Warning: Preemptive Gloat

    Just checking in to remind everyone that back in Nov 2008 I stated that Obama would win two terms. mainly due to the voters wanting someone to stick around long enough to clean up the colossal Bush mess, a task I described as “janitorial” rather than “messianic”.

    I followed up in Apr 2010 when I predicted that the Tea Party would  ”burn out” and Obama would win the 2012 election “comfortably”. I also argued that Obama needed to focus on winning a bigger share of the “white working class” vote. It looks like the auto bailout has swung working class white Ohio into the DEM column.

    Everyone goes on about Ray Fair, Doug Hibbs and Nate Silver in the US and Possum Polytics, Poll Bludger and Mumbles in AUS. They are all great quants but I am now sitting on a 6 on 6 winning streak picking US/AUS federal elections through the naughties. With a good chance of making it 7 on 7 with Obama.

    Its still possible for an upset Romney victory to spoil my winning streak. Especially if base turnout favours the REPs. If the poll goes as I predicted then I would be interested to see if any other psephs can top that.

    Either I am very lucky or as Jack Nicklaus once remarked, “the more I practice the luckier I get”.

  28. Katz
    November 6th, 2012 at 18:49 | #28

    Strocchers’ record of prognostication is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he is probably not genetically coded for making correct predictions.

  29. Fran Barlow
    November 6th, 2012 at 19:19 | #29

    @Jack Strocchi

    Predicting a second term for a President is not all that hard. You could pick Clinton, Bush, and Reagan. Three terms for a party is about it, which explains Bush Senior and to some extent Gore’s failure. Also both of them were wedged to some extent and there was some hanky panky around Florida in Gore’s case. Carter was a dead man walking so he was a gimme. LBJ pulled out. Kennedy was shot dead and Eisenhower and Truman got two terms.

    More impressive would be predicting the ECV margins and the states that would flip.

  30. November 6th, 2012 at 20:27 | #30

    Katz said @ #23

    Strocchers’ record of prognostication is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he is probably not genetically coded for making correct predictions.

    I share a disproportionate genetic overlap with the first and greatest political scientist. Niccolo Machiavelli, Mach the Nice, as I fondly think of him. If I have any chops in this game its in good part because I feel his stern countenance peering over my shoulder.

  31. November 7th, 2012 at 11:48 | #31

    Jack, since you are probably not controlling the elections behind the scenes I’d say you were lucky. Before a horse race it is possible to guess which horse is mostly likely to win, but it’s not possible to actually know which horse will win as there is a substantial amount of randomness that can’t be accounted for. And we know it can’t be accounted for on account of how the betting industry still exists. Similarly, in elections there is a certain amount of unaccountable randomnes. So unless you have supernatural abilites, it’s luck. And it may not have been all that lucky, as I don’t know how close those elections were. Also, humans have a tendency to think their track record at prediction is better than it actually is. Sort of like how the majority of people think they are better than average drivers. I’m not saying that you have forgotten about the times you were wrong, I’m just saying that forgetting about the times they were wrong is a very common occurance among humans.

  32. MG42
    November 7th, 2012 at 15:06 | #32

    Good news: Obama won a second term thus keeping fringe nutjob policies off the table

    Bad news: Republicans seem set to hold the House of Reps, hence carry on with their highly destructive partisanship (one example of which was the threatened US Government default on it’s debts in July-August last year, a move unprecedented in history, which caused a collapse of confidence. Way to go, guys!)

  33. Tom
    November 9th, 2012 at 13:08 | #33

    The University of Western Sydney have (seems this is true) proposed to axe Bachelor of Economic and BoE (Honors) due to “the reduced funding from the government”. In my opinion, this is an extremely disappointing decision made by the univerisity considering the economic department at that university is quite good, with units which explores different theories other than the mainstream neoclassical synthesis (Neo-Keynesian) such as post keynesian and neoclassical.

  34. Graeme Bird
    November 11th, 2012 at 10:51 | #34

    I think the Tobin tax, properly applied, may be more in keeping with free enterprise values, in the current context, then its absence.

    Consider investing in silver with the Perth Mint versus investing in a gold ETF (or fresh air). A seller of fresh air IOU’s, indexed to a warped price for gold …. warped largely by the very existence of the ETF … Well the seller doesn’t have to incur storage costs, fabrication costs, and transport costs, because he’s selling a bunch of promises. By whacking a big Tobin tax on the non-100%’ers we would be giving the potential for the building of real wealth as opposed to paper castles in the air.

    Now I’m not saying that gold accumulations alone are “real wealth”. Because by investing in one monetary metals you take this metal out of the productive process. Giving them fiat and derivative characteristics. But if you can have people accumulating and lending at interest, a wide range of durable metals (Tungsten, silver, gold, chromium, titanium, copper, paladium, platinum, and so forth) under these conditions the cost of any one of these isn’t blown out as much. And the extent that their cost is blown out, it merely amortizes the extraction costs of base metals. The focus on gold alone would impose great costs on the economy. But the focus on a broad base of metals wouldn’t really do this.

    Now there is nothing wrong with government cash money. If this cash money isn’t pyramided on and this cash money gets its value from being a tax voucher. So initially monetary reform would be getting rid of the bank ponzi money and replacing it with cash money. But the provision of paper money involves costs. To have other money’s available it is important that these costs be recovered. So that its only fair to have a Tobin tax on bank transactions involving this government money. Would we be right to maintain 100% government cash money without metal competitors? No I don’t think so. I think we need alternatives to stop abuse of the cash money.

    For the moment the Tobin tax would be a good reform measure for all sorts of abuses in our capital markets. For front-running trades using high-frequency algarithms just for example. It would put the focus on long-term value, and make the capital markets a bit more efficient at allocating resources then they are now. Which would not be hard.

    The thing is that positive inventories speculation is a social good. But our modern system is overwhelmed by negative inventories speculation aka phantom supply. Negative inventories speculation is anti-social. The Tobin tax could target this form of speculation. It ought to be applied so as to leave the positive inventories speculation alone if possible.

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