Tuesday, 4 November 2008

"Whatever happened to the white NZ male?"

Libertarian Sus, whom many of you will have heard communicating with Leighton Smith on Newstalk ZB, is now in print as a regular columnist in Franklin's "E-Local" magazine. 

Her first piece: Whatever happened to the white NZ male?  Another victim in the box.

If you like it, then vote for her on Saturday.  :-)

The Government is eating the economy

To paraphrase Bryan Spondre's own cyber slacking, "The Government is Eating the Economy

“Treasury has released the New Zealand Government’s accounts for the first three months of the 2008/09 financial year, which show the government falling into an operating deficit of NZ$757 million from a forecast of a NZ$943 million surplus.” - Bernard Hickey

And if you've seen the economic disaster coming and read the so-called "rescue" plans of either party -- of which, if you've read one you've read the other -- you'd know that scary number is only going to get scarier.

Rugby Gods speak and the message is: "No poofters!" [updated]

Both Russell Brown and Cactus Kate point out the obvious about yesterday's Michael Jones/Inga the Winger endorsement of John Key and their much-publicised visit to South Auckland:  It's about religion, stupid. Says Cactus:

They [the rugby Gods] criticised Labour, saying they had undermined the moral values of Pacific people by decriminalising prostitution and allowing civil unions.
As much as you would like to blame Labour for everything including undermining the morality of New Zealand society ... this reeks of the very sort of nonsense that two role models in a minority community should know better than to fuel.

Too right. And there's something of a double standard that allows them to get away with it: they're not just sporting Gods, which gives them a well-deserved pass card for most things, but they're also, ahem, brown -- which these days delivers double-plus immunity to serious criticism.

In effect they've made a statement here that Polynesians should vote National as Labour endorses those horrible immoral homos and hookers. I would imagine no one of a lighter-skinned race could get away with such a comment. It was big news when Lockwood relayed on employers' comments relating to the size of Asian hands and Polynesian toilet habits...

Because essentially, outside the 'no homos and hookers' lark -- which, let's stress, Key is happy to channel for electoral benefit without any commitment, thank goodness, to alter -- there's no difference in what either National or Labour promise for South Auckland: which is more of the same welfarism that's killing it

No place in the country gets more government money and government 'interventions' poured into it than South Auckland – yet no place in New Zealand has worse social statistics.
    The only answer you will get from National, Labour or any other government party is more money, more programs, more social workers. And then they shut their eyes to the inevitable crime blow-out and blame it on … the weather.  Or the moon. [See for example my earlier articles on this].

Michel and Inga can talk all they want about wanting "our people" to be not just working in factories but owning those factories, which outside the overt racism is a wonderful sentiment, but there's nothing in National's toolbox that will make it any easier for that to happen, no sign they're any more aware than Labour of the welfare mountain on the horizon, and in any case it wasn't the primary reason for their endorsement: It was always all about religion, stupid.

UPDATE: Canterbury Uni economist Paul Walker points out that it's not just National's toolbox is empty, there's but it's actually destructive. "It won't help anyone own more factories, it could however put people off wanting to try to own them." Which, he says, raises serious questions about John Key's much vaunted economic understanding.  Read his piece in full at his Anti Dismal blog: Key's economic understanding.

Check out Liberty Scott on the election(s)

Liberty Scott has some great commentary this morning on the debate, the election(s) and John Key's groupies. 

You have to get up early to make your points before he gets to them first.  :-)

Cheering economic dictatorship

It's been said that when nationalisation comes to America, first in line to praise it will be the conservatives.  Case in point: an article in this week's Wall St Journal by a so called economic historian, who praises the current regime's plans to nationalise the financial markets by assuming stock ownership in banks, and cheers plans to appoint the US Treasury secretary as the nation's first financial dictator. He thinks this will finally, at long last, achieve the dream of a "unified and coherent regulatory system free of undue political influence." 

Unbelievable.

But as economics professor Thomas DiLorenzo points out,

The system of financial regulatory dictatorship that [the article's author] praises, and which is about to be forced down the throats of the American public, has been tried before in other countries. During one of its own periodic financial crises, Italian government officials complained bitterly, as Gordon does, of regulation that has been "disorganic" and "case by case, as the need arises." The Italian regime altered its regulatory system so that it could pursue "certain fixed objectives," just as Gordon argues for a "unified and coherent regulatory system." This highly centralized or even dictatorial regulatory system, the Italians argued, would supposedly "introduce order in the economic field" and achieve the goal of "unity of aim" with regard to government regulation of industry.

All of the words in quotation marks in the preceding paragraph, except for the last ones, are the words of Benito Mussolini. The "unity of aim" phrase was from Mussolini apologist/propagandist Fausto Pitigliani. There is, after all, a very keen similarity between Hamiltonian mercantilism — or an economy directed and controlled by government, supposedly "in the public interest" but in reality for the benefit of a privileged few — and the economic fascism of Italy (and Germany) of the 1920s and '30s.

These are dangerous times indeed.

McBama versus America

barack-obama1 VoS-Rand Barack Obama appears to know his Ayn Rand better than his Republican opponents, hurling the title of one of Rand's best-selling books at the McCain-Palin ticket in the closing stages of the campaign, saying he didn’t know when "they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."

If only.

Remember, when Barack Obama says he "wants to spread the wealth around," he doesn't want to share his toys or his sandwich or his wealth -- he wants to take yours. He wants you to sacrifice for the sake of others: and he intends to make you.  In all the calls for "change," this is the change he's after.

The problem with his latest attack however is that invocations to sacrifice are just as much a part of the Palin-McCain campaign.  McCain wants Americans to sacrifice to country; Obama wants Americans to sacrifice to the whole world. But they do both demand your sacrifice.

"The point is, though, that -- and it’s not just charity," he said yesterday of his plans to "spread the wealth," and he sure as hell got that right.  Taking at the point of a gun sure as hell is not charity -- a simple check of a dictionary will tell you precisely what it actually is.

"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic," Obama continued. "You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness." 

Since Rand is being invoked, let's see what Rand herself said about selfishness, and see if any candidate understands that what's evil here is all not selfishness, but all the calls to sacrifice:

    The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word “selfishness” is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual “package-deal,” which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
    In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
    Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.
    This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions...
    There is a fundamental moral difference between a man who sees his self-interest in production and a man who sees it in robbery. The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value; not in the fact that he wants to live, but in the fact that he wants to live on a subhuman level (see “The Objectivist Ethics”).
   
If it is true that what I mean by “selfishness” is not what is meant conventionally, then this is one of the worst indictments of altruism: it means that altruism permits no concept of a self-respecting, self-supporting man—a man who supports his life by his own effort and neither sacrifices himself nor others. It means that altruism permits no view of men except as sacrificial animals and profiteers-on-sacrifice, as victims and parasites—that it permits no concept of a benevolent co-existence among men—that it permits no concept of justice.

That is the great twofold tragedy here: that the popular idea of "selfishness" rules out concern for one's own interests as any sort of moral ideal, yet rational concern for one's own interests is the only rational basis for life on this earth; and that neither side understands the harmony of interests among free men, but it is only among men and women left free to pursue their own interests that such a harmony can exist. Instead, both sides oppose the concept of rational selfishness and seek to reduce real freedom -- Obama knowingly and on secular grounds; Palin-McCain out of ignorance, on religious and "patriotic" grounds.

Far from having "decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness," instead they offer no fundamental objection at all to Obama's prescription -- they differ instead only on the nature of the sacrifice they demand.

That's the greatest tragedy, says American Objectivist Paul Hsieh, that "the kind of selfishness that Ayn Rand advocated (and which Obama apparently opposes) is a completely noble and moral American virtue," yet most Americans are themselves unwilling to identify the fact, or to defend it as a virtue.

    This country was founded on the principle that men and women had the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" free from government interference and tyranny.
Many immigrants (such as my parents) came to this country precisely to be able to work hard, prosper, and give their children a chance for a better life. They came to this country with little more than the clothes on their back, but did well over the years, sent two children to college and medical school, and are now enjoying a well-earned and comfortable retirement. Their lives have been a real-life embodiment of the American dream.
    If we want America to remain a beacon of hope to millions around the world, we should re-affirm our commitment to free markets and capitalism, and reject calls for more socialism and "redistribution of wealth."
    This country is great precisely because it allows people like my parents to attain selfish goals such as their lives and happiness. Americans should be proud of that fact, not condemn it.

So they should, if they were able to consciously understand and articulate the point.

NB: Hat tip to Craig Biddle for the title to my post, which reflects the point he made  himself some months ago: "As the 2008 presidential election nears, and while John McCain and Barack Obama struggle to distinguish themselves from each other in terms of particular promises and goals, it is instructive to observe that these candidates are indistinguishable in terms of fundamentals."

UPDATE: On a related point, Lindsay Perigo points out "the likely victory of socialist Barack Obama in Tuesday's presidential election is an indictment of Airhead America."

Quote of the day: Guess who?

Said last night, apparently oblivious to the irony:

"I'm a free spirit and don't like people telling me how to live my life. I would never accept a government telling me how much water to have through a shower."

Guess who?                                                                                     

Montessori evening in Hamilton

It's not every night you have the chance to hear a presentation from a world-leading Montessori speaker, so this Thursday make the most of the appearance of world-leading Montessori teacher trainer Cheryl Ferreira, who'll be presenting a public evening on 'The Child: A Social Being.'

Said Dr Maria Montessori, "The first step, is then to help the child develop all his functions as a free individual and to foster that development of personality that actuates social organisation."
But what exactly does that mean?

This is your opportunity to find out more and ask questions from one of today's foremost Montessori minds.

Remember, the Montessori philosophy of education offers much more than a philosophy of education: It is an essential aid to life.

And Montessori education -- education for the mind -- is an essential starting point for any sort of real change: a change to a culture that values reason.

This is your chance to find out more.  Why not get along.

*PUBLIC ADDRESS Thursday November 6th @ 7.00 -- 9.00p.m*
*Venue - Student Common Room*
*Silverdale Normal School**, **62 Silverdale Road**, **Hamilton*

Download the flyer for more details.

Nepali Baby - Susan Stephenson

NepaliBaby

Montessori trainer Susan Stephenson also paints. Nepali baby is part of a series Susan painted during her 2003 Asian trip, the artistic fruit of time spent with children and Montessorians in Kathmandu.

Susan has donated a signed limited edition giclee print of Nepali Baby, with the proceeds going to NZ's Maria Montessori Education Foundation to help raise funds for the first teacher training course, due to start in February.

Head over to TradeMe for more details of the painting, and to bid on the signed giclee print.  Good luck.

Monday, 3 November 2008

TV3 leaders debate drinking game

I'd just begun sketching out a drinking game for tonight's TV3 'Leaders Debate' when I noticed Dim Post's Daryl had done one way better than what I was working on.  Here's what I started with.

Take a drink every time John Key...

  • advances a policy that Labour wouldn't
  • uses the words "change" or "ambitious"
  • mentions the Maori seats
  • says "we have no bottom lines"
  • firmly commits to changing a Labour policy he's just been bagging
  • mentions the words "helicopter"

Take a drink every time Helen Clark...

  • says "It's time to move on"
  • mentions Roger Douglas
  • mentions Lockwood Smith
  • mentions the Maori seats
  • uses the word "trust"
  • calls Winston Peters "a hard-working and honourable Minister"
  • calls Judith Tizard "a hard-working and conscientious MP"
  • calls John Campbell a little creep

Take a drink every time John Campbell:

  • says "it's really good to have you both here"
  • asks a question that takes him less time for him to ask than it does for them to answer
  • asks a searching follow-up question that can't just be answered with spin

And now you've seen my own pissweak effort, you can print off Daryl's decent one to keep by your couch.

UPDATE:   This is pathetic.  John Campbell has simply forgotten the word "Debate" that  was used to sell these ninety minutes, or what the word actually means.  He's forgotten he's not the main event.

Extreme tree-huggers

If you're wondering what sort of people outside of Nick Smith's office get so upset about exotic plantation pine forests being converted to productive dairy farms -- upset enough to do this, and this --  then here you have the answer; it's the sort of people who do this:

                        

Reminds me of this Nick Kim cartoon:

                      Socialist_Wildlife

UPDATE: Jeff Perren reminds us that tree huggers grow up to be coal industry destroyers.

The global financial/economic crisis: causes & solutions

Sovereign Life's David McGregor has penned a great summary of the global financial and economic crisis: it's real causes and the only long-term solution.

If you're looking for some clarity as to why the current financial crisis has happened - and what needs to be done to not only fix it, but to ensure such events need never happen again -- then I urge you to read and reflect -- and to download the quoted publication at the conclusion.

The Global Financial/Economic Crisis:
The True Causes And Only Long Term Solution

    As financial and market instability persist, as governments flail and fumble, one thing is for sure - we're on the brink of a most serious economic event - a "depression" which is the BUST component of the typical "boom/bust" cycle.
   
Popular criticism is centred on blaming the bankers, the financiers, and to some extent the politicians, and the overall lack of "regulation." And above all there is a consensus emerging that it is ultimately the fault of the free market, of capitalism - and that what is needed to "fix" this problem is more regulation, more easy credit (debt), and ultimately more government.
   
Nothing could be further from the truth.
   
The cause of the "bust" is the same as the cause of the previous "boom" - the willy-nilly creation of credit out of thin air, for the purposes of creating political and economic advantage in the short term.
   
To understand the root cause of this crisis you need to understand the root cause of "boom and bust". Contrary to popular opinion, this is not the result of capitalism or the free market, rather it's caused by the nature of the banking and monetary system itself - the way it operates.
   
The boom cycle is achieved by the three pillars of the global financial system - the "Trinity" of the banking "religion" - which are fiat money, fractional reserve banking, and central banks. When the pyramid of debt generated by this unholy Trinity gets out of control, it must be liquidated, creating what we call the "bust."
    Consider these facts:

  1. Banks lend out more than they take in. The reason banks
    can and do fail, is because if all depositors ask for their
    money back at the same time, the bank is unable to meet such
    a demand. The money is simply not there.
  2. Banks employ what is termed a  "fractional reserve" policy,
    which means they can literally take in $1 on deposit and
    lend out $10. Thus the basis of the banking system we all
    take for granted is fundamentally fraudulent. The money you
    think the bank has on your behalf is in fact not there. The
    business of fractional reserve banking is based on faith and
    confidence. In other words, it's a CONfidence trick.
  3. It's fraudulent because banks are lending out money held
    on deposit which is supposed to be "on demand" and are
    effectively making money on money they do not have, and
    have no right to use.
  4. Because of this fractional reserve system, and the essentially
    fraudulent nature of it, it's always possible that banks can
    fail - if enough depositors suddenly show up to withdraw all
    their money. And to avoid this "ugly" scenario, central banks
    were created to be "lender of last resort"  - in other words to
    provide the money (out of thin air) the banks don't have, in
    order to make good on their bogus promises. This is designed
    to maintain the "faith" in banks.
  5. Central banks manipulate the money supply at will, by
    controlling all elements of the fractional reserve process,
    by altering the reserve requirements and the total money
    supply as and when deemed necessary. Operating under a state-
    granted monopoly, central banks wield enormous "hidden"
    power.
  6. Governments love fiat money, fractional reserve banking
    and central banks, because it allows them access to "free"
    money with which to bribe the electorate and carry out their
    objectives. It allows governments to appear "generous" by
    over-promising on social welfare - and to take aggressive
    actions by financing wars and mayhem out of the same
    store of "funny money".
  7. Money can be manipulated in this way because it is money
    by edict/command - or what is called fiat money. Fiat money
    is paper money without any true or inherent value - and is given
    "value" simply by government command, via the legal tender
    laws in each country. Unlike the money which naturally evolved
    during history - gold and silver - fiat money has no natural
    constraints and no historical precedent for long term success.
    When the state inflates the fiat money supply ad infinitum, then
    such money simply loses its purchasing power, becoming a
    stealth tax on the people. And when the end-game arrives it
    becomes as valuable as toilet paper (but not as absorbent!).
  8. Governments and bankers love fiat money and fractional
    reserve banking because they are "partners in crime" and
    co-conspirators in the business of engaging in fraudulent
    financial transactions - at the expense of the rest of us.
  9. The current financial/economic crisis has its roots in
    the expansion of easy credit (debt) - which creates the boom
    and bust cycles. This is made possible by loose monetary
    policy as initiated by central banks and endorsed by their
    political masters - using the mechanisms of fiat money,
    fractional reserve banking and central banks.

The only solution to all these shenanigans is to unwind the CONfidence trick, and de-nationalise the world's money:

    1. Abolish fiat money and reinstitute sound money, backed by
      real commodities.  Ideally, make all currency backed once
      again 100% by gold - the only money that has evolved over time via
      the true free market in money. [George Reisman explains very simply how to go
      about it
      .]  Note that gold (and to a lesser extent silver)
      is "market" money, whereas as fiat money is government
      money - backed by force.
    2. Change the laws so that banks must hold 100% of all
      demand deposits in reserve - and put an end to all fractional
      reserve banking. Make banks behave like any other business
      - and to ensure no fraud takes place.
    3. Close down/abolish all central banks.
    4. Remove the issuance of money from the government's
      hands - because as long as they control its issuance, either
      directly or via their central bank proxies, they can and will
      manipulate it to their own political advantage.
    5. Allow private banks to issue money -- 100% backed by
      gold -- and keep them in line via anti-fraud legislation,
      i.e. legal provisions to ensure they do not lend any more
      than what they have on deposit. In other words, end fractional
      reserve banking.
    6. Do away with national fiat currencies and floating exchange
      rates. Instead, allow gold to become the naturally evolved
      global currency - a money fully backed by something which
      cannot be manipulated by banks OR politicians.
    7. Establish a free banking, non-fractional reserve, 100%
      gold-backed global monetary system - the only monetary
      reform that attacks the problem at the root, and the only
      reform that will not only abolish boom/bust, but will bring
      about a rational international system of exchange.
    8. Abolish the "boom and bust" mentality and reality, and
      allow purchasing power to increase over time, as production
      grows in relation to the gold held as currency backing.

Any monetary "reform" that does NOT attack the cause of the
problem - fractional reserve banking and monopolised banking
using fiat money - is doomed to failure.

Don't let those who have caused the problem in the first
place be the only ones writing the "rules" of reform - because
you can bet your bottom dollar, it will not be the reform we
need or want.

If you think the proposal is crazy, or that commodity-backed or gold-back money doesn't work, or leads inevitably to instability,  then just see how things worked out in New Zealand and Britain in the nineteenth-century, back before our money was nationalised.  What you see below (which shows The Course of Prices in NZ, 1960-1910) is a stable currency in both countries, gently easing prices and increased purchasing power for every pound in your pocket-- which effectively means increasing real wage levels and more prosperity for all -- with no great schocks or monetary booms and busts -- and this is despite the over-borrowing by the likes of Julius Vogel:

Gold-Century-web

And compare that to all the ups and downs in the price levels over the twentieth century once the gold standard was abandoned in 1914, and money was finally completely nationalised in 1936, two years after the Reserve Bank's founding in 1934 [graph courtesy Bryce Wilkinson from Wellington's Capital Economics Ltd, referenced in Frederic Sautet's article: 'The Disastrous Effects of Central Banking: Let’s Get the Story about Inflation in New Zealand Straight.']

6a00d83451eb0069e200e55074d96c8833-800wi

Anyway, David McGregor concludes (and I thoroughly approve his recommendation):

    For a complete theoretical and practical exposition on all of
the above - and a rigorous assertion of the viability of a 100%
gold backed currency and non-fractional reserve banking, I
recommend you download the following e-book. At 876 pages
it's not your average bedtime read, but if you have any interest
at all in where all this is headed, then you owe it to yourself
to discover why it has happened and the only sure way to prevent
it happening over and over again in the future.

    "Money, Bank Credit And Economic Cycles"
    By Jesus Huerta de Soto

    Published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and available for
free download here: 
http://mises.org/books/desoto.pdf

Like I said, it's a BIG book - but even if you only read
certain chapters, the ones that immediately interest you,
you will already be better informed on this crucial subject
than all your "leaders" put together!

To get a heads up on the brilliance of De Soto's analysis, listen to this richly explanatory recent interview while you sort out your download, and check out his article: Financial Crisis & Recession.

Take the nutbars off the air

I've heard the much vaunted 'independence'of state-run radio pointed out many times.  The reality of course is very different -- most employees of State radio are of course big supporters of state radio.

Take state radio's political reporter Liz Banas for example, who Friday's release of Libertarianz' 'Take the State off the Air'  broadcasting policy went bananas and responded with the view that the Libertarianz are "nutbars."

Liz seems to have forgotten who pays her wages, and how those wages are collected.  In any case, this  shows the absolute fraud that is the 'independence and impartiality' of state radio, which is only interested in respecting the view that it continue to suck on the state tit, whether people listen to it or not.

"Banas is entitled to her personal opinion," said Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton in response, "but it is unacceptable for a broadcaster we are all forced to pay for to have a political editor who isn't willing to treat all political parties in an independent, impartial and balanced way."

"What other political parties does Liz Banas dismiss as nutbars? How does that influence her editorial decisions about who to interview, what policies to profile and the time given to different politicians?"

"All parties other than Labour ought to be concerned when a week away from the election, it is clear the RNZ political editor isn't afraid to let her political views get in the way of her job."

National confirm sell-out on Maori seats

What price power?  What price policies?

The National Party manifesto makes a firm commitment to abolishing the Maori seats. "At the conclusion of the settlement of historic Treaty claims," says National's policy, "National will begin a constitutional process to abolish the Maori seats. National wishes to see all New Zealanders on the same electoral roll."   They've abandoned last election's commitment to One Law For All, but the headline policy to abolish the Maori seats still remains.

Except it doesn't, does it.

We already know John Key was talking out of one side of his mouth to voters, and out of the other side to the Maori Party ("Don't worry Pita, we can drop that").

But now?  Far from abolishing the racist seats, Key confirmed this weekend he won't rule out entrenching them.  "I'm not ruling it out," says John Boy, "but I'm not ruling it in."

I know he wasn't interested in the Springbok tour twenty-seven years ago, or about apartheid in South Africa, but surely he's interested in apartheid right here and now?

Apparently not. Apparently his policy to abolish the Maori seats is just words without commitment.

Makes you wonder whether they have any real commitment to any of their policies, or whether they too would wither under multi-party scrutiny. 

Let all of you thinking about voting National because they might be promoting your favourite policy think about that.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

"Salvationist zeal" too blinding for rational thought? [updated]

KeynesMagician The Herald has more than one journalist utterly ignorant of the basics of his trade -- ie., knowing something of the subject on which he writes.  Take this paragraph from young Matthew Dearnaley for example ripped from this morning's rag:

    Transport is a beneficiary this election season of a salvationist zeal for infrastructure spending to maintain the country's money-go-round against global economic contractions.
   
"We're all Keynesians now," was one National MP's quip to an Auckland regional councillor seeking a commitment to rail electrification from the party of free enterprise.
   
The reference was to a growing acceptance across the political spectrum of a need for Governments to be more interventionist in tough times, in line with American economist John Maynard Keynes' pump-priming prescription for recovery from the Great Depression and subsequent world war.

How many errors in just one short piece of writing!

It is not "salvationist zeal" that motivates the promises to borrow for a government spend-up, a giant bureaucratically run consumption binge, but just a nasty combination of political log-rolling and economic ignorance. 

And it will only prove destructive: all that spending has to be financed from somewhere and, since the programmes for "salvationist zeal" promise tax cuts with spending increases, 'somewhere' means either the Reserve Bank printing money, or else borrowing from the capital markets to make up the gap -- in either case, depleting the pool of real savings and bidding resources away from genuine productive activity.  So much, so stupid.

"We're all Keynesians now," quips the National Party moron, apparently unaware -- as is the braindead reporter -- that the ghost of Keynes has for decades ruled us from the grave.  "It is extraordinary," says economist Frank Shostak, "to suggest that Keynes's ideas are now coming back to save the world.

"Keynesian ideas have never left the rooms of government and central-bank decision makers. The essence of the thinking of the most influential economists was and still is Keynesian. So various stimulus packages that are now introduced are a continuation of the same Keynesian policies we have been subjected to for many decades. The present economic crisis is the outcome of the large dose of Keynesianism we have been given over many decades."

"...a need for Governments to be more interventionist in tough times"?  But it's precisely at such times when producers need certainty, not governments who meddle with the rules.  Has the "political spectrum" across whom this acceptance is apparently growing never heard of "regime uncertainty," one of the key reasons the Great Depression continued so damned long?

And National is "a party of free enterprise"?  When exactly did that happen?  For goodness' sake, has Mr Dearnaley ever actually read the National Party manifesto? (And have any National Party MPs ever read the 'principles' section?)

It's clear in any case Mr Dearnaley has never read any history, or any Keynes, else he would know the Keynesian prescription delayed recovery from the depression in those countries (such as America) that applied it. He would know that "pump-priming" is simply another word for inflating the money supply -- ie., decreasing the purchasing power of money -- and if that could make countries rich Zimbabawe would now be fabulously wealthy.  And he would know that far from being an American economist, John Maynard Keynes was "born to the purple": he was precisely the kind of bossy, overweening, born-to-rule aristocratic Englishman who deservedly give the idea of a 'ruling class' a bad name.

Would it be too much to ask that Mr Dearnelay and his colleagues actually do their job, which involves not just reporting on politicians' errors but pointing them out -- all the while not making egregious errors of their own.

And in answer to the implicit question: Do We Need More Keynes Now?  No, we sure as hell don't.  One century of the economic charlatan was more than enough, thank you.

UPDATE: Or as Russ Robert advises politicians in the Wall Street Journal: Russ Roberts has a new piece in the Wall Street Journal, Don't Just Do Something. Stand There.  [Hat top Anti Dismal]

Friday, 31 October 2008

Best of NOT PC this week, to 31 October

Another good week here at NOT PC, but sadly another week in which scandal outdid substance on the campaign trail, even as out in the real world the chickens of political economy were vividly coming home to roost. Here are the posts from this blog that rated best over the last seven days:

  1. REISMAN: It's Not Laissez Faire, Stupid!
    By far the most popular post was not mine, but my link to George Reisman's outstanding article on the economic crisis:
    The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis.
    People said, "that's the definitive article on the US economic woes for me, thus far." "Superb." "The greatest economist since Mises strikes again." "WOW! Reisman hits it out of the park!" and "The sad thing is that those who need it most won't read it..." All of these things are true, so don't let that stop you putting it in front of those who need to read it most.
  2. Stossel's Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics
    This is making me look lazy. Another post, another set of links, this time to a superb John Stossell television special. Start here: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Politics, Part one.
  3. The best garden shed in Hamilton
    Some say that architecture is just for cathedrals and public buildings. Bollocks. Good architecture is for every building, no matter how apparently humble.
  4. Greens: Vote for [.........]?
    Why not make up your own Green billboards? I did. They're a lot more honest than the ones asking your vote to impoverish someone else's kids.
  5. "So, are you going to vote for yourself this year?"
    Helensville Libertarianz candidate Peter Osborne asks punters the question at the Titirangi markets.
    So, are you? Or are you going to vote to make someone else's kids poorer instead?
  6. F*** fireworks fun
    Nanny's war against fun on fireworks night continues apace.
    For years now we've been banned from buying anything that goes BANG!
    And this year we're being all but banned from being able to buy them at all.
  7. John Maynard Keynes: The destroyer of monies
    Deborah Hill Cone confesses in this morning's Herald to "swotting up on John Maynard Keynes."
    For Galt's sake woman, why!? You'd be better off using his writing to light this year's bonfire.
  8. WSABHD?
    What Should Alan Bollard Have Done? Sure as hell not what he did do. When it's time to stop spending and replenish the pool of real savings, what effect do you think dropping interest rates will have? Answers on a postcard, please.

Lots of good reading there -- and let let me leave you with a question: Whom should we string up on our bonfire tomorrow night? Any bright ideas for our guy? Suggestions so far include Helen Clark, John McCain, John Key, John Maynard Keynes (in the future, all arseholes will be called John), Barack Obama (got to be careful about the proximity of burning crosses though), Winston Peters and Alan Greenspan. And depending on how the Wallabies do, there might even be a late call for Dingo Deans. Post your ideas in the comments.

Cheers, and enjoy your weekend,
Peter Cresswell

Beer O’Clock – Lagunitas

RealBeer's Neil Miller returns with his best and brightest beer post since Noah was a drinker, and the very best excuse for failing to hand in his homework last week ...

It’s ten o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on a horse saddle, and that is not even the most  interesting part of this story. The saddle is actually the top of a bar stool and I’m contemplating a bristling 8.3% Double American Pale Ale which weighs in at a staggering 100 units of bitterness. To put that in perspective, most New Zealand mainstream beers would be in the teens or early twenties on that bitterness scale.

This monstrous “hop bomb” has been poured by one of the self-proclaimed “old hippies” who run the Lagunitas Brewing Company in California, USA. While my erstwhile companions have elected to start with the more approachable Pilsner or even the recommended Saison, I’ve headed straight to the hop. I detect a hint of approval at my order.

The beer is Hop Stoopid (8.3%) and it throws a massive juicy hop nose. My notes record that it is “full bodied, resinous, thick, gummy, big grapefruit notes, deep and such a very long bitter finish.” It’s a simply stunning way to start the day.

Named after an old stagecoach town, Lagunitas is a unique brewery with an irreverent attitude. Their bottle labels and website are famously funny. They make beers to honour Hunter S Thompson (appropriately called Gonzo Ale) and the walls are covered with anti-Bush posters and stickers.

One of their beers is now known as Censored Ale. It had always been called Chronic but after many years of high sales the Government suddenly banned them from using the name. When asked about why it was suddenly unacceptable, the agency admitted it had hired a couple of young surfer dudes and they were able to detect a whole lot of drug-related references in product names the older agents had missed. Here is how Lagunitas responded on their website:

“Anyway, we were going out to, uh, the ,uh, you know, thing, and all, and when we got there, well, uh, the dude was, like- "whoa man!" I mean, and we were all, uh, you know - "whoa!" and stuff, and when I said to him, like, you know, "hey man", and all they, I mean he, was all "what?" and stuff- and I just told him what you said and all and they were all man- "not cool dude", but whatever- so, uh, we split and went back to my lair and just hung out and whatever, but the whole thing was, like, just SUCH a bummer and all but, you know, it was cool and stuff, but you just gotta, you know, about the dude and all, like, it's cool and all you know, but what's up with that "blah blah blah"? Whatzit got to do with beer and all? I mean, really, dude, whatever...but, it's cool and all...”

After starting off Stoopid, the Czech Pilsner was always going to struggle to keep up. I thought it was pleasant beer – crisp and dry and nicely made with Saaz and Cascade hops. If Hop Stoopid was a party in my mouth, this was a pleasant afternoon tea.

Looking round the rambling brewery, we learnt that Lagunitas took their virtual brewery off their website after it cost them $30,000. Apparently, an operative from the American equivalent of OSH was browsing their website (during work time), took the virtual tour and noticed a couple of sheets of safety glass missing and hit them with a safety and health audit. It probably goes down as the most expensive virtual tour ever.

I was doing the beers backwards. I finished with the Saison which was yeasty, fresh, fruity with a touch of coriander and pepper. On the newly-minted mouth party scale, it was a catch-up over coffee -– perfectly appropriate in certain circumstances but hardly a rave.

The brewery has been going since 1993 and recently expanded from 3 to 5 brewing vessels. Though huge by New Zealand standards, it still has a presence in just 26 states.

Lagunitas Brewing Company is magnificent – a gust of fresh air in a stifling corporate age. You could happily spend days trying their huge range of wicked beers and just talking with the staff. I virtually had to be dragged onto the bus which was heading to another brewery.

My consolation heading to the bus was a box of Maximus tucked under my arm. This 7.5% American Pale Ale boasted that it was so bitter that it “may remove the enamel from your teeth.” This party is just getting started.

Cheers, Neil

Links
Realbeer www.realbeer.co.nz
Lagunitas www.lagunitas.com

Better training. Better teachers. Better get onto it.

New Zealand needs better schools.  And it sure as hell needs better teachers -- and let's face it, it won't be getting either of these out of the government, no matter which of them is voted in next weekend.

The Maria Montessori Education Foundation (MMEF) is on to it.  In February next year they open in Mt Eden with the first internationally-accredited Montessori diploma course to be offered in New Zealand.  This is where the great teachers will come from that will open those better schools.

RingMyBell-MMEF If you know someone who has a love of teaching, but who's appalled at the political correctness of mainstream education -- someone who loves education, but whose common sense would make years at the state's teachers colleges a misery -- then why not send them a flyer [pdf], point them to the MMEF blog, or just get them to check out the neat PowerPoint slideshow that's just been put up at the MMEF website* -- where they can also download an application form.

You owe it to those future generations.  ;^)

* To check out the slideshow, head to the MMEF website and click on 'Montessori: A Career For You.'  It could be, you know.

Sacrificing industry to ignorance

Both major NZ parties plan to throttle New Zealand industry with an anti-industrialist's wet dream: retention of the Resource Management Act, which makes it all but impossible to build anew for industry, and imposition of an Emissions Trading Scam, which will all but throttle existing industry.

At back of the flat-out insane Emissions Trading Scam is the flat-out wrong global warming scam. 

With parts of the northern hemisphere now under several inches of unseasonable global warming (in other words, snow), Christopher Monckton's timely open letter to John McCain is just as much an open letter to every western politician who wishes to sacrifice industry to ignorance:

Sir, every one of the reasons that you have advanced for alarm and consequent panic action has been demonstrated to be hollow and without any scientific foundation or merit. Yet, if your proposal to close down three-fifths of the economy of the United States is to be justifiable, then not only the false scientific propositions but also the false policy propositions that you have advanced must be shown to be true. Here, then, are ten propositions, with each of which you appear to agree, each of which is actually false. All of these propositions must be proven true before any action is taken to tamper with the climate, still less the fatal, self-inflicted wounds that you would invite your nation to make to her economy...

[Hat tip Owen McShane]. Read on here for the best summary of the collapsing warmist science you'll see this side of thirty-years of static temperatures and increased Arctic sea ice.

Ask Jeanette Fitzsimons about it alll next time she accosts you in a shopping mall.

Larry Sechrest, 1946-2008 [updated]

SS354 Free Radical and NOT PC readers who've enjoyed the writing of economist and enthusiastic human being Larry Sechrest will, like me, be tremendously saddened to hear news that he died this morning of heart failure.

You can read his obituary here at the Mises site.

Larry was a stalwart and engaging pillar in the battle for liberty, and a tremendous supporter of The Free Radical magazine, for which he most recently wrote these remarkably prescient lines on the illusory idea of "price stability, "pointing out that "as long as there is continuous monetary equilibrium" -- for which we he maintained we should remove the Reserve Bank's monopoly powers, and denationalise the currency -- "all other desirable monetary goals become superfluous."

   Mark this well. Central banks are the source of both inflation and business cycles. Tragically, many people seem to believe that both inflation and boom-bust cycles are somehow an intrinsic part of a market economy. They thus turn to the central bank to solve the problems that the central bank itself created. I might add that the very existence of a central bank introduces into all markets pervasive “regulatory risk” that would not otherwise exist. That is, market participants expend real resources in an attempt to forecast---and then cope with---the manipulations of money, credit, prices, and interest rates undertaken by the central bank. It all sounds frighteningly familiar...

But he wasn't just an economist.  Read Larry's magnificent speech on the nature and motivation of capitalism's enemies (or watch or listen to it).  Or read his thoughts on 'Violence, Virtue and Vice.'  Or simply enjoy and reflect on his ebullient 2005 toast to The Wonderful Life :

    Raise your glasses. Let us drink a toast to the essentials, those things without which life becomes tepid, tasteless, colorless, and silent. Of course, some of us are too blind—or too repressed—to recognize that these are the essentials. Do not heap scorn upon those who fail to see. Chide them if you must, but do it gently if you can.
    What are these "essentials"? Ever the analyst, I will offer you a taxonomy...

His list of the essentials of life is not just a taxonomy of all the good stuff that makes life worth living, it's also a clue to understanding Larry Sechrest's life, and the man he was.

R.I.P Larry.  You'll be missed.

NB: For those who want to explore Larry's work and his many enthusiasms, the Mises archive has much of the former; the SOLO site much of the latter.  Enjoy!

UPDATE: Lindsay Perigo pays tribute to his friend: Larry Sechrest Dies. This Renaissance Man, says Perigo, "was the sweetest of souls, an elegant and witty speaker, and a braveheart."

Hot female candidates

768340 Not, I'm sure, that any of you will be interested at all, but I feel obliged to point out that Cactus Kate and UnPC Lesbian have ranked the female candidates at this election for hotness -- from two different perspectives, of course. 

A few surprises in both lists.  The most surprising to me is seeing Nanaia Mahuta appear on such a list. 

I'd always thought she was a man.

And since there's another election next week, and I point this out purely as a public service you understand, why not check out the hottest candidate for President: Paris Hilton

Paris for President.

Fed up with central bankers

Former leader of the National Party Don Brash talks exclusively to political editor of the Sunday Star Times  Ruth Laugesen about life after politics and the direction he plans to take now that his marriage has broken up and he lives alone in a bachelor apartment in the Viaduct, Auckland.
Pic:Lawrence Smith/Sunday News 200508 Bill Ralston interviewed Don Brash a couple of nights ago on the back of news that the US Federal Reserve has essentially given NZ's Reserve bank a 'letter of credit' for up to US$15 billion, apparently to help America's "liquidity trap" by distributing credit more widely to so called "emerging countries" like ours to assuage our potential inability to draw down foreign currency reserves given our rapidly falling dollar.

Ralston asked one acute question of Brash: "Where do they get these billions to spray around," to which Brash essentially replied that both the Reserve Bank and the Fed can print as much of their own currency as they wish -- "without limit" --  in other words, it's credit produced out of thin air -- but that's alright, Brash hastened to add, since "no one's worried about inflation at the moment."

He'd be wrong about that -- just as he's wrong, still, about inflation.  Just as all central bankers have been for decades.

If this is nothing to worry about, then I'm a Muslim.  As I've tried to explain before, the central problem the central bankers create is not price inflation, but monetary inflation -- ie., not inflation of prices so much as inflation of the money supply, which is generally the cause of price inflation, and much more else besides.  The US now has negative real interest rates (don't mention the moral hazard: with government guarantees, that means you can't afford not to borrow) but the Fed chairman still continues to inflate the money supply in the blind hope that debasing the currency, diluting the pool of real savings and reducing the purchasing power of your money will, somehow, fix the problems caused by decades of the self-same approach. 

tms-9-11 From 2001 to 2004 now-disgraced Fed chairman Alan Greenspan inflated the money supply to "ease" the US economy through 9/11 and the collapse of the Dot.Com boom (see right).  He added $1 trillion plus to the money supply in that period, "slashing the federal funds target from 6.5% in January 2001 down to a ridiculous 1% by June 2003." [See 'Did the Fed Cause the Housing Bubble?'] At that time, no one was worried about inflation either, but that didn't stop Greenspan's monetary pumping setting off the housing bubble, the boom and now the dramatic collapse.

And the Dot.Com boom itself was caused by the double digit growth rates of the MZM and M3 measures of money supply during the late 1990s to get them through an earlier crisis -- a crisis that was caused by a relaxation of the money supply from 1994 to get out of that crisis -- which was caused by the monetary pumping to rescue the economy from an early crisis ...

Crisis after crisis after crisis, the seeds of each of them planted in the "rescue" from the preceding crisis. 

And people wonder where the so called "business cycle" comes from?!  Better to call it a "Federal Reserve" cycle. [See 'Yet Another Boom?' for similar thoughts.]

So "no one's worried" about inflation, says Brash the former central banker, except several years later when the malinvestments propped up by decades of monetary pumping finally start falling over -- and even then central bankers are too blind to see it for themselves.

No wonder central bankers still read Keynes.  About the long run, they're all braindead.

No thieving, we're Libertarianz

I've been asked numerous times why people aren't seeing Libertarianz ads on your TV screens, or hearing Libertarianz ads on your radio.

Simple answer: the law doesn't allow our ads on radio or TV unless we take your money to screen them and produce them.  It doesn't allow us to use our own money to pay for our own ads -- it demands instead that the taxpayer dole out largesse. 

So much for free speech.

We say that's obscene.  We don't want to send you the bill for our opinions.  Hell, you might not even agree with them!

No such compunction holds back any other party however. Every other party is more than happy to  steal form you to tell you what to believe -- every party from ACT to the Workers' Party is happy to steal from you to promote themselves.  Which means, get this, that every time you hear or see a political party ad, that party has put its hand in your pocket to pay for itThis is how much they're all stealing from you.

So where's our money going instead?  Simple answer again: It's going on good causes -- which according to TV3's Ali Ikram includes propping up the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.  And it's going on grass roots stuff like print advertising, brochures and flyers, covert campaigning, signs and billboards, and these simple YouTube ads you can check out at LIBZ TV.

So now you know.

Feel free to help us out.  Unlike all the other parties, we ask for your money nicely.

Portrait - José Manuel Capuletti


Portrait of the artist's wife, Pilar.

More about Capuletti at new website Radicals for Happiness, "a blog devoted to spreading the word about sources of joy" -- and don't we all need more of that at the moment.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Who says men can't multi-task?

When did grass become a pollutant?

SaveTheHumans (that's the local SaveTheHumans, not the American brand) wants to know when grass became a pollutant, and dairy farming became a "climate crime."

TWO QUIZZES: Which president "should" I vote for? [updated + video]

I JUST TOOK TWO ONLINE quizzes to see which presidential candidate I "should" vote for [hat tip No Minister].  The results demonstrated most of the flaws with online quizzes -- including the overly concrete nature of the questions,  no reference at all to the principles of candidates (if in fact they have any), and the tacit assumption that the default position for voters is that one should cast a vote no matter how poor all the candidates are, instead of the default position being that one shouldn't vote at all unless candidates give you a good reason to vote for them. 

Oh, and it told me who I should vote for -- and if I believe the quizzes, I have a problem.

You see, the MyFox Candidate Matchmaker told me that not one of the candidates were more than 50% matched with me.  The best was Bob Barr, with just 40%; then came John McCain with just 33%, which means I disagreed with the grinning moron 67% of the time; and  Obama was down there with just 20%, meaning I disagreed with the lying phony 80% of the time.

All very interesting.

Except the GlassBooth Election Guide  gave me a different result altogether. They told me that Obama agreed with me 66% of the time, McCain 55% and Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate, just 48%.

Obama agreed with me most on the issues of Abortion, Immigration and Medical Marijuana, and least on Environment, Energy and Trade & Economics. No surprises there, I guess.  McCain agreed with me most on Iraq and Trade & Economics, and least on Abortion, Education, Medical Marijuana and Environment & Energy.

Make of that what you will.

LIKE I SAY ABOVE, if you expect too much out of quizzes like this, you have a problem.  It might tell me for example that I agree with six things Obama said, but it doesn't tell me very much at all about stuff I know is important,and the quiz just ignores. 

Here's one of the many things it ignores, and as Jeff Perren argues, it's crucial. The US Constitution is the fundamental chain around US politicians -- a handbrake on the Leviathan -- it sets out the individual rights the Government is supposed to protect, and (despite many flaws) it tries to chain them up to do just that.  Now, all those holes that have been driven through the US Constitution could not have been driven through without the help and assistance of the justices of the US Supreme Court. And the President gets to appoint justices to the US Supreme Court -- and these appointments can outlive a presidential term.  In other words, if justices are appointed who are fundamentally opposed to the rights enshrined in the Constitution then the evil of the POTUS can live on at the SCOTUS.

Berack Obama is fundamentally opposed to the rights enshrined in the Constitution.  He's made clear he wishes to replace justice with empathy, and rights with "entitlements."  This would effectively kill the Constitution as effectively as if it were simply annulled.  And since the next president  might be in a position to appoint up to four new justices of which he approves, he might just be able to do that.

Listen to this discussion by US radio host Glenn Beck of Obama's 2001 comments on what he would like to do to the US Constitution.  Read and reflect on Jeff Perren's discussion of those comments.  And if you're voting in the US this election, give them some weight.

I would.

UPDATE:  This is the most crucial election for decades.  I agree with all the commentators who've said that.  But it really is depressing watching two pygmies at war which each other with no clue between them of the fundamental issues at stake, and no interest in discussing them.  As a commenter says at the Mises Economics Blog, their real agenda is to sell the gullible by getting in their quick, cute little talking points and soundbites: "95%", "middle class", "my friends", "tax rebates", "war on terror", blah, blah, blah. Neither Obama or McCain want to discuss how to really repair the economy, because neither one of them have more than a high school level understanding of economics (OK, I'm being generous). Neither one of them want to discuss a manageable foreign policy (the status quo is fine, right?). Neither one of them are committed to other sound government policies ("Just give me more, and more, and more Executive power!").

Sad.

By the way, if you missed the presidential election debates and you don't have time to catch up, don't worry.  You can see them all online, and in fact you can see them all together in just five minutes.  You see, the candidates used the same soundbites every time.  WATCH HERE.

Scandal shmandal

Neutron bombs, consulships in Monaco, treason, TVNZ and where John Key was in 1986.  Looking at what politicians and media consider important just nine days from an election, you wouldn't think the world economy is looking worse than at any time since the mid-thirties, would you.

I don't care at this stage about Winston Peters' baubles, his suspension, his censure by the Privileges Committee, what he said to Owen Glenn and when ...   At this stage all of that stuff is just sideshow without substance.

I don't care about Chinese immigrants donating to political parties -- except to the extent that the parties donated to are bloody thieves anyway, which of course we already know.

I don't care about who bought lunch for John Key when he was 26, or where he was working  -- or which drugs Matthew Hooton was killing his brain cells with at the same age -- and as "neutron bombs" go, even Russell Brown concedes this particular one was more fizzer than most.

I couldn't care less about how many shares Gerry Brownlee owns, or owned.  Frankly, I'm surprised he even knows how to buy them.

I don't care about Helen and Peter's marriage, and whether or not he can make a cup of tea -- either after sex, or before.

I don't care about who sacked whom at the Department of Conservation, or which scampi lawyer Ian Ewen-Street slept with.

I don't care about the frankly childish claims of "treason," or how "TVNZ has entered the 2008 General Election campaign on the side of the National Party," or the Herald has entered the campaign on the side of Hard Labour.

Here's what I do care about:

  • I do care about the worldwide economic disaster and how NZ's politicians can make it worse.  I have no confidence at all that any of the major party politicians has the faintest idea how to confront it. All we can hope for it seems is they don't make things worse.  A vain hope, I suspect.
  • I do care that at a time of "low unemployment" most of New Zealand's working middle class is now on welfare -- and happy about it -- and there are now 182,091 people  (and rising) receiving DPB and Invalids Benefits -- and this is before the full effects of the economic storm hits New Zealand (and before John Key's promise to cover the expenses and mortgage payments of all New Zealanders who lose their jobs in the current recession.)
  • I do care that under constant nannying New Zealanders are turning more and more into sheeple.
  • I do care that two in five young New Zealanders leave this country's factory schools functionally illiterate and all but innumerate.  And I care that good people like Anita McCall continue to die in the country's die-while-you-wait hospital system. And I'm dismayed that in the face of these calamities, both politicians and public seem utterly unwilling to confront the fundamental fact that socialised medicine and socialised medicine are a disaster, and they seem to think instead that the answer is Tony Ryall.
  • I do care that New Zealanders' property rights have been taken away by the Resource Management Act and given wholesale over to town planners, and not one major party shows any intention of recognising them ever again.
  • I do care that when the world's perfect economic storm is about to hit, both major parties, and most of the minor ones, want to shackle agriculture and industry for the sake of a climatic delusion.
  • I do care that the Electoral Finance Act has taken free speech away, yet we've seen no indication from the party who says they plan to "replace" it what exactly they're going to replace it with.

There's more than enough happening right in front of our faces that needs to be addressed --stuff that genuinely affects all of us -- without going through people's garbage to find stuff that doesn't. Stuff that I just don't care about at all.

No spending? More spending. [updated]

Helen Clark said a week ago there's no more spending to be promised in this campaign.

Yesterday however she promised to spend $150 million of your money on some train tunnels on the Kapiti coast so Wellingtonians can get their imports into the city by rail, and Otaki voters can get into Wellington by rail 3 to 5 minutes faster.

Liberty Scott has the details: Vote Labour for your taxes to subsidise importers.

UPDATE: And more spending just promised from "no new spending" Helen on more middle class welfare:  "Labour says it will give workers who are made redundant during the recession a job search allowance for up to 13 weeks... Labour estimates the policy will cost no more than $50 million a year."

Is anyone keeping score of all these "not spending" promises?

Quote of the day: On Greenspan

    "No sympathy should be wasted on Alan Greenspan. He did what John Galt in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged refused to do even at the point of a gun and under physical torture: he agreed to become an economic dictator of the country...
    "Of all the economists who have advised various administrations over the last century, Greenspan had the least excuse for advocating statist economics.
    "When he accepted the appointment by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan "legitimatized" or sanctioned the idea that the government should "manage" the economy with "rational" interventions. Now he may see the true "flaw" in his "good intentions" and what those intentions have inexorably wrought: a greater destruction of freedom and wealth than he admits he could have imagined. "
    - Edward Cline: Alan Greenspan vs. Capitalism

Stop worrying and learn to love bankruptcies

ManWearingBarrel A few weeks ago I suggested you stop worrying and learn to love economic depressionsDepression, I reminded you, is another word for recovery:

"This is a highly important point to grasp, the depression is the "recovery" process, and the end of the depression heralds the return to normal, and to optimum efficiency. The depression, then, far from being an evil scourge, is the necessary and beneficial return of the economy to normal after the distortions imposed by the earlier inflationary boom."

Now here's another piece of related advice: time to stop worrying and learn to embrace bankruptcies (just as long as they're not yours, of course).  Explains economist Henry Thompson, :

Bankruptcy is a normal part of economic life, covered by laws that guarantee stockholders will be compensated as much as possible. More efficient firms move in to take over what is left of bankrupt firms, buying what can be put to productive use. There is no crime in bankruptcy and, if handled quickly, little economic harm. The present financial problems would disappear quickly if the government let the markets operate and let inefficient firms go bankrupt.

Oh, and "deflation"?  For all the scariness that's attributed to deflation, that's just another word for "increased purchasing power." See, not so scary at all, huh?  Especially when you see what the Fed's been doing to combat deflation, which really is scary.