Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quote of the day: “If you are an economist and did not see this coming . . . “ [updated]

The Key Government has continued to signal that they are going to backtrack on the tax cuts that were at the centre of their platform in the recent election campaign – and the mainstream media has continued to ignore this broken promise. 

As I’ve said before, to say now that you didn’t know last October that the world’s economies were collapsing is a sign of either abject incompetence then or cynical dishonesty now.  Bluntly, Bill English is either a liar or a loser.

Sure, there were plenty of trained economists who didn’t know at the start of 2008 what was about to happen (though there was little enough excuse for that abject ignorance), but you’d think that by the 9th of October, when the Dow Jones had dropped by nearly half what it was the previous October, even a prospective Minister of Finance might have noticed something was up?

And what about all those “trained economists” who never saw the train wreck coming?  A commenter on a housing blog, Patrick.Net, wrote recently that economists did a worse job of forecasting the housing market than either his father, who has no formal education, or his mother, who got up to second grade. And his comment, which has now gone around the world, is my quote of the day:

"If you are an economist and did not see this coming, you should seriously reconsider the value of your education and maybe do something with a tangible value to society, like picking vegetables."

UPDATE: As always, Susan makes a comment worth repeating:

    Not going ahead with promised tax cuts signifies that the govt believes that *its* spending requirements are more important than those of taxpayers.
    Thus, I think it's right and proper to henceforth refer to John Key as John Keynes.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Sus said...

Not going ahead with promised tax cuts signifies that the govt believes that *its* spending requirements are more important than those of taxpayers.

Thus, I think it's right and proper to henceforth refer to John Key as John Keynes.

5/13/2009 11:06:00 am  
Anonymous twr said...

Not to mention the fact that for some reason it's ok to break promises to productive people who pay income tax, but not ok to break unproductive promises like the ones for maintaining all the profligate spending.

5/13/2009 12:23:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

Yes, that is odd.

An example:- Recently Leighton Smith was making excuses for English and Key breaking their word re tax. When a caller challenged him about that he claimed that no-one could have realised (last October) how bad things were going to get. Thus the promises offered last Oct could not be honoured now.

He did accept that there were commentators such as Peter Schiff, George Reisman, Thorstein Polleit, Franks Shostak etc. etc. etc. who had done realised and publically explained exactly how serious things were last October and even before that time. Then he retreated to more excuses along the lines that such information as provided by the various Austrian commentators were mere opinion. He stated that anyone could equally have obtained opinion claiming everything was AOK and rosy nice at the time. Therefore no-one could expect professional politicans to have realised how serious things were last October.

When the caller further explained that the stock market's spectacular slide and the collapse of powerful finanical institutions was already being well covered in the international media by October 2008, he repeated that no-one could have understood how serious the situation was. Apart from going around in circles he seems to rely on a version of the old can't-be-certain-of-anything argument.

Now this fellow is understood to be a well read man; ahead of most of the media in regard to intelligence and understanding. Still here he is accepting the notion that it OK for the proclaimed leaders to either lie or to be incompetant to the point of insensibility so long as there is an excuse (and it doen't have to be a very good one).

It is difficult to accept more from the rest of the media if this is what passes analysis and comment by the better among them.

In the end it would appear that:

1/. the word of a politician only ever holds until it doesn't

2/. a convenient excuse is available to excuse whatever requires excusing when excusing is required

3/. so long as excuses are not examined in any serious way they are convenient to excuse that which needs to be excused.

4/. that's acceptible policy for the NZ media.

LGM

5/14/2009 12:17:00 am  
OpenID robincapper said...

"Bluntly, Bill English is either a liar or a loser"

Or a politician...

5/14/2009 12:38:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tax cuts - National hasn't given us any fucking tax cuts - we still pay far more tax than we did even in 2005!

The so-called second round cuts were just pathetic.


What is needed most of all is spending cuts: at least 50% off welfare (including health and education). Doesn't really matter where: I'd go the whole hog, terminate "free" schooling and healthcare overnight; and also zero all benefits.

Unless we do this, any other considerations are just pissing in the wind.

5/14/2009 08:40:00 am  

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