Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link
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38 thoughts on “Monday Message Board”
The benefits-cost analysis of public transport expansion needs urgent attention. Too many cars on roads cannot be optimal.
“Our conservative estimates put the value of the average great whale, based on its various activities, at more than $2 million, and easily over $1 trillion for the current stock of great whales.
“The carbon capture potential of whales is truly startling. Whales accumulate carbon in their bodies during their long lives. When they die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean; each great whale sequesters 33 tons of CO2 on average, taking that carbon out of the atmosphere for centuries. A tree, meanwhile, absorbs only up to 48 pounds of CO2 a year.”
Ready for new tax thread – who will do this for Australia?
“using a newly created dataset of ALL IRS publications EVER released, along with an existing dataset of court decisions.”
“A substantial academic literature considers how agencies should interpret statutes. But few studies have considered how agencies actually do interpret statutes, and none has empirically compared the methodologies of agencies and courts in practice. This Article conducts such a comparison, using a newly created dataset of all IRS publications ever released, along with an existing dataset of court decisions. It applies natural language processing, machine learning, and regression analysis to map methodological trends and to test whether particular authorities have developed unique cultures of statutory interpretation.
“It finds that, after Chevron, the IRS has increasingly made rules on normative policy grounds (like fairness and efficiency) rather than merely producing rules based on the “best reading” of the relevant statute (under any interpretive theory, like purposivism or textualism). Moreover, when the IRS does apply interpretive criteria, it has grown much more purposivist over time. In contrast, the Tax Court has not grown more normative and has followed the same trend toward textualism as most other courts. But although the Tax Court has become more broadly textualist, it prioritizes different interpretive tools than other courts, like Chevron deference and holistic-textual canons. This suggests that each authority adopts its own flavor of textualism or purposivism. ”
An Empirical Study of Statutory Interpretation in Tax Law
Posted: 30 Sep 2019
Jonathan H. Choi
NYU School of Law
Anonymous, at the very least, during periods when public transport is mostly empty, the cost of a ticket should be extremely cheap to keep as many cars off the road as possible. I’d expect the loss in revenue for public transport would be more than made up by decreased congestion and there would be environmental and health benefits on top of that. But less revenue does make public transport had to privatize, which seems to be its only purpose in the eyes of many politicians.
(Ideally public transport would be free during periods where there is spare capacity, but those in charge may want to train people to pay every time they get on public transport, even if it is a pittance, to reduce fair evasion. Of course, fines for fare evasion during low cost periods should be trivial if they exist at all.)
“Anonymous, at the very least, during periods when public transport is mostly empty, the cost of a ticket should be extremely cheap to keep as many cars off the road as possible.”
Absolutely. And it may not seem that way. But wear and tear on the roads is still an issue. Clearly off-peak train transport ought to be vanishingly cheap. Particularly for the unemployed. There are natural forms of welfare being insufficiently utilised.
“Our conservative estimates put the value of the average great whale, based on its various activities, at more than $2 million, and easily over $1 trillion for the current stock of great whales.”
I see myself as ultra-green. A biodiversity fetishist with a sentimental affection for big brained mammals. But don’t believe everything you read. For though I love the idea of these big boys out their floating about, the economic calculations are probably being made on the grounds of some sort of proposed carbon trading regime. They will credit so many dollars every time the great whale takes a crap that isn’t a floater.
Our job is to get out there and become more and more sophisticated with the creation of artificial reefs. Artificial habitat. Artificial breeding grounds for sea live. The photic zone in the sea has all the energy you could ever want. And it is a mineral bath, full of negative ions. The micronutrients of the sea are unbelievable as to their potential productivity. Give them the breeding grounds and they will breed. Build it and they will come. Just providing habitat ensures an explosion of sea life. Miracles of production are possible, EVEN EASY.
The Randian thinking left some of us believing that the free enterprise model was good everywhere. Sure its appropriate to sole traders. But we find many areas where thats not the right model. For fisheries its communist habitat production that is needed, and combined with controlled hunter-gathering. The free enterprise model is not the right model here, for the most part.
Plus if I cannot get a job in terrestrial manufacturing, I’m an ex-swimming champ with some Scuba experience in Thailand, who is happy to work minimum wage for any sort of communist habitat creation project. We unemployed people need to network around the clock.
Some strange math(s) here.
$2million dollars per whale, 5 million whales (if restored to pre whaling numbers) = $10 million dollars. Is this per year? Say 100 year lifespan = $1 billion.
A trillion is 1000 billion.
Andrew, they are throwing in all sorts of things in there. Mainly increased plankton thanks to many whales eating at depths and then pooping at the surface. (I suppose it makes sense to poop at the surface before going for a dive.) But they are also adding the value of things like ecotourism. Interestingly, if I am reading it right, they are using a reasonable carbon price of around $50 US a tonne. But take their headline dollar figure with a grain of sea salt.
Andrew, 2 million x 10 million = 10 trillion, not 10 million.
Oops… 2 million x 5 (not ten) million = 10 trillion.
Serves me right for correcting someone’s maths on the internet!
The calculation is simply a category error. Money measures prices, not value. You can’t sell (or buy) whales, nor an ecosystem (to whom do you sell it?). There is no money created when a whale poops, nor lost when it dies. It’s not possible to have a sensible conversation about the state of the world while this delusion persists.
“The benefits-cost analysis of public transport expansion needs urgent attention. Too many cars on roads cannot be optimal.”
I haven’t looked at cost-benefit analysis of public transport expansion. However, too many cars on roads has something to do with the cost-benefit analysis of road projects, at least those I looked at not too long ago. The road c-b analysis assign a positive value for travel time saved but they do not assign a negative value for negative externalities such as air pollution, noise pollution, ghg emissions. The term ‘value’ refers to monetised quantities. That is, dollar values are assigned per unit of measurement, which are not exchange values but rather administrative prices, often related to monetary exchange values such as average income of the people who use the transport mode.
“The road c-b analysis assign a positive value for travel time saved but they do not assign a negative value for negative externalities such as air pollution, noise pollution, ghg emissions”
This is not true. The cost benefit manuals published by the state road agencies have formulae for assigning negative values to externalities, based on Austroads guidelines. For example, Chapter 7 of the Technical Guide on CBAs published by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads has the title “Externalities”. It assigns values for Air Pollution, GHGs, Noise, Water, Nature and Landscape, Urban Separation and Upstream and Downstream Costs. There are different values for different types of vehicles (cars, buses, light commercial and heavy commercial), differentiated again for urban and rural environments.
D’oh! Thanks Tim.
George, it’s Ernestine 😉
Here is a example of that in practice:
Click to access E2G-cost-benefit-analysis-summary.pdf
The externalities you listed – air pollution, GHG emissions, nature etc – were calculated to be 0.4% of the overall project benefits.
Doesn’t that suggest external costs, using the recommended formulae from the government guidelines you’re referring to, would rarely if ever prevent a road project from moving forward?
Maybe. Depends on the case. If all a new road does is shift traffic from other roads then there won’t be many if any additional GHGs, particulates etc, so that might explain why externalities are estimated to be small.
I was in any event responding to Ernestine’s claim that estimation of externalities is not part of the process, which is obviously false.
Click to access Attachment-F-Economics-Assessment-Reportv12-redacted.pdf
This one puts externalities at 2.7% of overall benefits.
I’d be interested if there’s ever been a road project where externalities were estimated to be >10% of overall benefits. I guess my point is that they pretty much still don’t seem to be part of the process.
Click to access Technical%20paper%202%20-%20KPMG%20WestConnex%20economic%20appraisal%20-%20November%202015.pdf
After reading a few of KPMG’s reports it’s fairly clear they routinely calculate externalities as *positive*. For some reason, every road project they’re hired to do a CBA for turns out to be good for the environment…
As discussed with Ernestine a few years back, I’d seriously question the assumptions they’ve made in arriving at those figures.
eg. “If all a new road does is shift traffic from other roads”
How about in 15 years time when the population along the freeway has increased, and new and existing suburbs are developed precisely because of the upgrades? Is that part of the analysis? Or are they only factoring in current road users, and estimations of their behaviour during construction/after the road is complete?
The common refrain against renewables “when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow” now has an apt response “when the rain does fall on the plain”
Andrew Davidson, Peter T, not to worry. I got out a calculator to check my m’s 000 b’s 000,000 & t’s 000,000,000.
I happened to discuss the whales (sequester after death and sinking + externalities) with an devils advocate playing an anachist – my point right or wrong was (I’m not sure either re value vs $’s – ala Peter T) “I’m just amazed we may trade dead whales with a carbon tax” – then I strained my brain re opportunity cost! (JQ over to you).
An excellent conversation starter.
“Unlike on purchases of most goods, there is no tax on purchases of stocks, bonds or other securities.
“Critics of an FTT [financial transaction tax – Tobin?], such as mutual fund industry representative Investment Company Institute, have predicted that the tax would hurt all investors “especially middle-income Americans workers saving for retirement.”
“We find this claim to be unfounded.”
“Critics of proposed public investments – such as those to improve the nation’s health, increase access to education, and address climate change – often base their opposition on affordability grounds. A financial transaction tax would offer a way to make a down payment on long-term investments in the nation’s welfare that would be paid almost entirely by those who clearly can afford it.”
A gobsmacking WOW! Just a faction or will this be LNP Qld policy please???
“Nuclear killed by LNP Qld ‘Queensland LNP breaks with federal branch to oppose nuclear power
“Queensland LNP says it supports a greater focus on energy efficiency measures
“But in a move which has surprised [understatement of the year] their federal counterparts, the Queensland state LNP spokesman for energy, Michael Hart, made a written submission to the inquiry, announcing his arm of the party’s opposition to any attempt to allow nuclear energy generation, citing the risks to the communities and the environment.
“Instead, Hart said the Queensland LNP supports “greater focus” on “energy efficiency measures, along with encouraging investment in renewable energy options like wind and solar, in combination with battery storage when it is technologically and economically feasible to do so”.
“It is considered that Australia’s rich renewable energy resources are more affordable and bring less risk than the elevated cost and risk associated with nuclear energy,” Hart submitted.
“The LNP encourages additional jobs and investment in Queensland’s renewable energy industry, while also supporting resource jobs and exploration which provides baseload power and employment for thousands of Queenslanders.
“In addition to the possibility of accidents and operational failure, nuclear facilities can be a potential target for terrorists. Securing insurance around such possibilities would be virtually impossible.
“In conclusion, the commercial, as well as the political risks, associated with nuclear energy are substantial. To this end, the LNP is strongly committed to an energy policy that delivers safe, affordable and reliable energy to consumers, while fulfilling Australia’s international emissions reduction obligations.
“We believe this can be achieved without lifting the moratorium on nuclear energy generation. Accordingly, we would encourage the committee to ensure an increased emphasis is placed on measures to encourage investment in renewable energy that creates green jobs and lowers electricity bills, for both consumers and industry, which does not (underlined) include nuclear energy”.
Submissions below with interesting juxtaposed submissions – to me anyway – JQ followed by Terje P…
16 – Professor John Quiggin (PDF 104 KB) Attachment 1 (PDF 62 KB)
17 – Mr Terje Petersen (PDF 186 KB)
… and submission re articles…
132 – Mr Michael Hart MP (PDF 495 KB)
So I just saw an aritcle that stated in early or mid Sept. 2019 a group of a few dozen former US Generals and Admirals, including Colin Powell, signed a letter that was sent to Congress urging the Congress to pass a bill requireing Trump to get congressional approval before he orders any attack on Iran.
So far so good. But get this…….the reason that the letter stated about why Trump should not launch an attack on Iran is because it would weaken the ability of the US to confront Russia and China.
Hahahahaha. Damn how warped can the leadership of a nation be before someone other than me in the USA would notice?!.
Ok I can understand that these signatories wanted to use an arguement that they though would be effective. But the fact that they could not just come out and state the truth, which is that such an attack would be a blatant war of aggression since Iran is not doing anything wrong under international law while the military of the USA is waging war on all of the people of planet, shows how corrupt the system is that these senior officers spent their lives supporting.
These manipulators clearly value thier reputations very highly. Of course on could say that they could not do their job unless they protect their reputations. I guess that when forced to choose between their reputations and their integrity the professional confederate officer chooses reputation every time.
I wonder if there are any military people in Australia with a shred of integrity left?
if you live in the US, a nation where fear (of germs, communists, stained teeth, failure etc) is pumped out at you 24/7, then this is a reasonable response.
Don’t let other people make you fearful.
I fear confederates masquarading as real Americans by inpersonating real Americans by wearing the uniform of the Union Army. That actually makes them guilty of breaking the laws of land warfare. Confederates are counterfits.
On another subject I just learned that half of the Canadian army and three fourths of the air force never Canada during WW2. I find this an important fact. In the past I charged that the governments of the UK and US deliberately failed to defeat Nazi Germany in the fastest possible manner. Anyone with even a small sense of military strategy who spent just a little bit of time actually thinking about this would come to the conclusion that if these governments really wanted to end the war before tens of millions of people died they easily could have and should have occupied Sweden and cut off the crucial supply of Iron ore from Sweden that the German war machine needed to carry on the war.
If someone claiming to be a military strategist starts bringing out excuses as to why this would have been difficult they are not doing anything other than throwing up a smoke screen to protect the image of their profession. For much of my life I was under the impression that the reason this obvious measure was not carried out was becasue Sweden was a neutral country. But then I learned that the allies really did not have any moral problem with invading neutral countries during WW2 because they invaded and occupied Iran during WW2.
The idea that Germany and or Sweden could have prevented, or that the Sweds would have even wanted to prevent an allied landing is Sweden is preposterous. The German Navy had a surface fleet so small that had it tried to interfer with a landing Sweden it would have been swept away by the largest navy on the planet in 10 minutes.
What about the German submarines and air force. Well they could not prevent the allied landing in North Africa which was thousands of milies away from England how in the hell would they have stoped an invasion when the RAF had bases in Scotland that could have provide air cover to the invasion fleet for almost half the way and that would have left only a few hundred kilometers in which the carrier based aircraft and AA guns would have had to have done the job. But even that would have been only for a short time until a provisional air base had been set up in Sweden which could have happened very quickly. Then land based air craft could have provided air cover for the entire trip.
Well what about the German Army in Norway. Well first of all if it would have wanted to oppose the landings in Sweden they would have had to leave Norway. That would have left Norway undefended or at least less defended.
But more importantly how were they going to get to Sweden? That would have required fuel. But with no surface navy how would Germany have resupplied it forces in Norway?? Furthermore those German forces could have been harrassed by partisants and air attacks the entire trip on the way to Sweden.
By the time they would have made it to Sweden they would have walking with out food and have run out of ammunition by the time they met the forward units of the Commonwealth forces.
Why did the allied leadership let Sweden get away with selling iron ore to Germany? Why did the allies let Spain and Portugal and Turkey get away with selling other crucial war supplies such as chromium and nickle to the Nazis? How much imagination does it take to realize that the reason was that they were helping the Germans to kill more Russians and more Ukrainians and more Georgians, and more Armenians, and more Azeris, and more Cossaks, and more Germans who had defected to the Soviets and were fighting against the Nazis.
So even if it would not have been easy or even possible for the UK and Canada to occupy Sweden before May of 1940 just imagine how much easier it would have been in May of 1942!! A whole shit load of additional aircraft carriers would have been available for the operation. But instead the allies were more concerned with North Africa and Italy. This strategy clearly shows that they were more interested in fighting communism than Naziism. In case you did not know it Italy is where the communists were. (And France too)
But if Sweden had been occupied it could have been used as a spring board to launch an invasion of the continent against northern Germany. Then Berlin would have only been a few hours away……..by jogging. To top that the invading allied armies could have beat the Germans in to the unoccupied maginot line type fortifications that they had built along their western and eastern borders and the German Army would have had to have fought through their own Siegfried LIne to get back in to Germany. They would have had to fight with out much ammunition as their supply lines would have been cut as well.
The shit heads Eisenhower and Montgomery (Roosevelt and Churchill) might try to defend themselves by claiming that communism was the bigger threat. If they did that they would just be digging their graves even deeper.
Now back to Canada. The Canadians suffered really heavy losses during the raid on Dieppe. But as of now I think that the real reason that this attack was ordered was to give the impression that Germany had built up a ferocious war machine that needed a lot of preperation to defeat. What a crock of shit.
Who had the Germans actually defeated in WW2. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, and then France. Wow that is such an impressive list of of victories over countries that had such potent military potential at that time. And the Germans needed the help of the Soviets to beat the Poles to anyways. If the Poles had not needed to fight a two front war they would have eventually kicked the asses of the Germans all the way back to the Rhein.
Lots of Canadians died at the hands of manipulators from the US and the UK trying to disquise the truth. The truth that Germany could have been defeated in weeks which would have resulted in the German Army being captured intact. Which could have then been offered a deal. Go to Asia and free Asia from Japan to restore your honor and your freedom. We will provide the navy to get you there.
Well that explains the allied bombing campaign. They weren’t hurting the Germans. They were dropping tens of thousands of tonnes of steel on them to aid their war effort. They would have got away with it too, but they made one mistake. They agreed to go to war for Poland. They must have felt really stupid about that. They must have been like, “Oops! Our plan was to make Germany and the USSR fight. Why didn’t we just say screw you Poland and stay out of it? We are so stupid! So stupid!”
So you are trying to say that the leaders of US and UK really were trying to defeat Nazi Germany because they drew a red line around Poland and then they bombed German cities from the air for 5 years once that line was crossed??
Wow what an effective plan! Our wartime leaders really deserve our admiration. The blood that their subordinates shed was really an appropriate sacrifice to the Gods.
I am such at genius at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels that it immediately occurs to me that, if one’s goal is to kill people in the USSR, it makes more sense to drop bombs on the USSR itself rather than drop them on the enemy of the USSR. But I guess I can’t be blamed for being smarter than the entire Allied Command. I’m just that good.
Yes you are clearly a genius in surface naval wellfare. Which reminds me. WW 2 ended just as the Spanish civil war was wrapping up. The Germans were also getting Iron ore from Spain though not as much as Sweden. But they were getting other crucial war materials from Spain and Portugal. I have mentioned before else where how easy it would have been for the UK and the USA to simply to outbid Germany for these raw materials and combiine that offer with threats of retaliation after the war if war materials were delivered to Germany. But perhaps more importantly the end of the civil war resulted in a large number of republican refugees fleeing Spain. How easy it would have been to round up 10 or 12 or these men, give them money and titles and begin to form a guerrilla army if Franco did not respond well.
When one considers what could have been easily done and would have easily been known by people in charge because they have demonstrated this kind of knowledge and thinking in other circumstances how can one draw any other conclusion than the allied leaders were deliberately sabotaging the war against Nazi Gemany. The only question is to figure out why they did that.
Offgrid update: Western Australian utility Horizon has disconnected a number of remote farms from its grid, replacing miles of vulnerable poles and wires by local solar generation, backed with batteries and rarely-used diesel generators.
The same logic applies to vast swathes of lightly populated rural Australia. Microgrids might finally do something about Australia’s unique combination of German electricity prices with America levels of unreliability.
That’s good news, James
Curt, if you believe Sweden could have been invaded so quickly and easily by the Allies, why didn’t Germany see the need to occupy it in the first place? Why did they conclude Denmark and Norway would be enough?
“The Germans were also getting Iron ore from Spain though not as much as Sweden.”
German iron imports from Spain were negligible. German iron imports from France, though, were roughly the same as Sweden during the early 40s, and well in excess of Sweden in 1944. See table 8C:
That’s an informative document btw. Worth a read.
“Curt, if you believe Sweden could have been invaded so quickly and easily by the Allies, why didn’t Germany see the need to occupy it in the first place? Why did they conclude Denmark and Norway would be enough?”
There is a few things to consider here because under mainstream assumptions decision-making in World War II seems to be mysterious. I think most wars since 1913 have been carefully managed acts of genocide rather than traditional war. Thats one thing. The second thing is we have to consider that its at least possible that Hitler was a traitor acting as deep cover by throwing up this extremist anti-commie nationalist smokescreen. These two may be very speculative assumptions but the third assumption I think is proven is the “icebreaker” hypothesis. The idea that Stalin was using the Germans as an icebreaker and was gearing up for an aggressive takeover of Europe.
If Hitler was the nationalist he appears to be it implies to me that he didn’t think the English would go through with their threats. After all it was always next to insane that the Germans and the British were ever fighting in the first place. But once he found himself fighting the French and the British his strategic necessity was simply to stop the gargantuan British Empire from being able to operate on the continent. He may have been an aggressor to Poland. But from Poland onwards they were desperately fighting for mere survival.
“Why did they conclude Denmark and Norway would be enough?”
If you look at the map you see that controlling Denmark and Norway is enough to keep the British off the continent. So when you are in that sort of a mad panic because these crazy British aren’t acting rationally, you don’t have resources to go beating up on third parties.
“With solar panels, batteries, inverters and back-up diesel generators, the standalone power systems not only reduce grid infrastructure spending but reduce the chance of bushfires caused by lightning strikes and of accidents caused by farm machinery operating near overhead lines.”
I like this stuff from the point of view of resilience. There could be war being waged in Australia and these remote farmers would still have electricity. I hope that this forms some sort of trend. Think of the rest of us under war-time conditions? A few bombs here and there and the grid is down. We are way too vulnerable.
Sweden is probably a great defensive bastion if you think you are going to be invaded by Santa Clause. 🙂 – Ikonoclast.
I have read about the long discussions that the German leadership had about whether or not they needed to occupy Sweden or if Norway and Denmark would be enough. It was a really really long time ago so I do not remember the details any longer. But I could easily surmize that the reason they went with invading Norway instead was that it was easeir in that Noway was practically an undefended country. And if they had invaded Sweden the Swedes would have sabotaged their iron mines which would have then taken quite a while to bring back in to production.
I seem to recall that the occupation of Denmark and Norway was meant more to impress the Swedes than the Brits. If they really thought that they could prevent an invasion of Sweden by the Uk it would show how really really stupid the people were who were at the top leadership level in Nazi Germany.
It would not surprise me a bit if it were to come out that there were some secret communication from the leadeship of the UK to the leadeship of Sweden to sell the Germans all the iron ore that they want.
Now one point about your comments seem to be quite true. It has been reported that Hitler did not really believe that France and the UK would go to war over Poland. But then everything that gets reported is suspect. But such an outlook on Hitler’s part seems to make sense.
Sounds pretty right to me. So looking at the map, you’d keep Britain off the continent at that point by occupying both Norway and Denmark, and probably best to try and deal with Sweden diplomatically. All these countries would have felt menaced also by the Soviets. They had witnessed the earlier economic miracle of the Germans and had not witnessed their later extraordinary crimes. So they may not have felt the need to put up much of a fight.
CK – “When one considers what could have been easily done and would have easily been known by people in charge because they have demonstrated this kind of knowledge and thinking in other circumstances how can one draw any other conclusion than the allied leaders were deliberately sabotaging the war against Nazi Gemany. The only question is to figure out why they did that.”
Why no mention of Vatican goals and plans to end the festering sore of the Great Schism by a Roman Catholic managed conquest of Russia to the glory of the one true faith? Why no mention of Vatican diplomatic networks? Of concordats with Rome? The numerous highly placed clandestine SMOM business, government, and military officials buried deep within the power structures of the major belligerents except Russia? The nasty fates suffered by many of the Orthodox persuasion in Eastern Europe at the hands of local roman catholics under nazi occupation or alignment gives a taste of what was planned for Russia. Before the Putin turn-around the rapidity, scope, and determination of the Vatican invasion of Russia during the Yeltsin years clearly shows again how strongly motivated Rome is to achieve subjugation of Russia and bring it into the fold. Here B. A. Santamaria’s persuasive support of the Vietnam war arose from his stated view that it was but a stepping stone on the way to Rome’s conversion of China then Russia and that Australia would have the glorious role of being in the service of that conquest. Santa didn’t live to see an Australian concordat with Rome, but in the last twelve years such a goal has moved markedly closer…