Friday, 3 September 2010


It’s the week that bailouts came to New Zealand, a week when taxpayers lost out three times over—one when our money was spent on stuff that’s worth less than what we paid; once when our payout ensured that the stuff would never fall to its real value; and once again because its apparent that neither politicians nor media have yet got their heads around the Broken Window Fallacy. It’s not like it’s complicated.


Because as Henry Hazlitt used to say, “the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”  Sadly, it’s an art that is all but dead.

So as a homework exercise, work out what our economy will be now be short of because of that $1.7 billion given to people who haven’t earned it. When you do, you’ll be brighter than all those know-nothings writing about that payout as a “stimulus.”

And once you’ve done that. here’s your Friday morning roundup all ready for some good weekend reading. 

But first, Neil Miller has a suggestion: “The Pakistani Ambassador who claims the cricketers were 'set up' might be an ideal candidate for the Investor Relations Manager role which was advertised on the South Canterbury Finance website.” And, for similar reasons, maybe Bernie Madoff really does need to be appointed to the Fed.

Okay, on with the show!

  • Entitleitis is alive and well at TVNZ
    TVNZ's culture of extravagance – KEEPING STOCK
  • “No self-respecting NGO and campaign group would be seen these days without a Twitter account to spread the word (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF have over 200,000 followers between them for example). But last week's day of mass action by British “Climate Camp” protesters showed just how badly Twitter can backfire.”
    Twitter backfires for Climate Camp – GUARDIAN
  • Maurice Williamson announces the bleeding obvious.  “Opposition to foreign investment is more about racism than overseas ownership, the minister charged with deciding whether a Chinese company can buy a large chunk of New Zealand dairy farms says.”
    Minister accuses Kiwis of racism - STUFF
    In response, Greens fail to see past the end of their nose.
    Williamson and English running racial interference on foreign investment - FROG BLOG
  • Since it’s the season to talk constitutions again in Wellington, allow me to re-post the contributions of myself and my colleagues to constitutional conventions past—including explanations for why a proper constitution is so important, and what one should look like. Why is it so important?  If I may quote myself: ”Government in essence is like a guard dog: it is there to protect us from being done over by others. However, if that dog is badly trained and it gets off the chain, we can be badly savaged -- more than we would have been without the dog. A constitution is our means of chaining up the government and training it to act only in our protection… As history demonstrates however… a bad constitution poorly written can give the erstwhile guard dog control of the back yard and the house, and rather than protecting us it then has no impediment to doing us over. Liberty, as Thomas Jefferson suggested, requires eternal vigilance.”
    Cue Card Libertarianism: Constitution – NOT PC
    A Constitution for New Freeland – LIBERTARIANZ
  • Best quip after the enviro-kook taking Discovery Channel staff hostage is shot: “Thank Gaia, they got him.”
    Objective Standard - FACEBOOK
  • “Toronto this week became the first city in the world to formally endorse the Vienna Declaration that states that war-on-drugs-style prohibitions are a costly failure…”
    The rising trend against the war on drugs - Canada – Blair Anderson, CANVASSING FOR OPINION
  • How do officials from the ruling Palestinian political party react to the murder of four Israeli civilians?  Why, they celebrate and hand out candy, of course.
    Gaza Celebrates Jewish Deaths with Candy – ARUTZ SHEVA NEWS
  • Why are so many Palestinians still locked up in squalid refugee camps? Simple: The Arab world doesn’t give a shit about them, except as cannon fodder in their anti-Israali jihad. [Hat tip Thinking man's guide to the world]
    Why Are The Palestinians Still Refugees? – Gina Bublil Waldman, THE PROPAGANDIST
  • The only lower price than today’s closing price on a ton of carbon at the Chicago Climate Exchange is ZERO. Which means the scam artists hoping to set that up and get rich have been discovered for what they are and the investors are fleeing. [Hat tip reader Keith P.]
    Chicago Climate Exchange still flatlining – employee cutsWATTS UP WITH THAT
    Carbon Dioxide Riches Disappear – CANADA FREE PRESS
  • “There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking concludes in a new book.” [Hat tip Per-Olof Samuelsson]
    Creation was Godless says Hawking – BBC
  • There’s no need for the God hypothesis in biology. Nor is there any need for it in physics.
    Hawking: God did not create Universe – RICHARD DAWKINS.NET
  • The Times pits Richard Dawkins against their religion editors in arguing the implications of Hawking’s statement.
    Transcript from The God Debate – Richard Dawkins, TIMES ONLINE
  • Naturally, however…
    Hawking can't possibly be right until his results have been confirmed in an online poll - PHARNGULA
  • Why is anyone still listening to this guy:

  • Sadly, despite his manifest failure, Ben Bernanke is cranking up for Quantitative Easing II (QEII)—it’s inflation like you’ve never seen it before.
    Will the Fed Save the Day? – SEEKING ALPHA
    Former Fed Vice Chairman vs. Mish: Is the Fed Out of Ammo? – MISH’S ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
    The Fed Can't Solve Our Economic Woes – Gerald O’Driscoll, WALL STREET JOURNAL
    Quantitative Easing Ahoy! – Axel Merk, EURO PACIFIC
    Bernanke Out of Bullets, But Not Bombs – Michael Pento, EURO PACIFIC
  • And Ben knows he can always rely on Paul Krugman to sell his schtick.  And all Paul needs is a little sleight of hand with a graph…
    Proof" that the "Stimulus" Worked? – William L. Anderson, KRUGMAN IN WONDERLAND "Spending" versus Consumption: Does Economic Theory Actually Assume People are Human? – William L. Anderson, KRUGMAN IN WONDERLAND
  • Summer of recovery?  No, it’s the …
    Summer of Economic Discontent – WALL STREET JOURNAL
  • “It should be obvious by now that these economists only have the capacity to describe where the economy is moving in the short-term...they have no ability to explain the reasons behind the macro trends or make predictions that go beyond the next data release….
    ”The major mental block is that most economists believe that an economy grows as a result of spending. Any policy that encourages spending and discourages savings and investment is considered beneficial. Unfortunately, these policies, which only succeed in growing debt and government, act more as an economic sedative than a stimulant.”
    Flying Blind – PETER SCHIFF
  • Reader Daniel A. recommends this 46-minute doco narrated by Johan Norberg. “In times of crisis people seek strong leaders and simple solutions. But what if their solutions are identical to the mistakes that caused the very crisis? This is the story of the greatest economic crisis of our age, the one that awaits us.”
    Overdose: A Film about the Next Financial Crisis – CATO
  • Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. [Hat tip Terry V.]

 T_Quotehe moral contradiction between the biblical mandate of
self-sacrifice and the factual need for human beings to pursue and
protect their life-serving values is destroying the Republican party. Republicans face a decision. They may conclude that they have
failed their faith and that they must seek redemption by injecting
religion more deeply into politics. Or they may realize that their faith has failed
them and that they must abandon the crusade, commit themselves to
individual rights, and set forth to defend freedom, limited
government, and capitalism.
    - John Lewis, “Reason or Faith: The Republican Alternative

  • And God, this symphony’s good.  Just listen to how the cellos and basses start going wild about seven minutes through this last movement.  It sounds like John Cale is back there!

That’s all for today.
Have a great weekend!

PS: It’s the first week of finals footy in the AFL this weekend—with Geelong lining up against St Kilda tonight in the first Qualifying Final.  Go the Cats!


  1. The new documentary "Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis" has to be on this post:

  2. the 'land of the free' the laws say what flags are permissible.

    Peter, you might get a laugh out of this: Blowing up a spider

    The four posts prior to the one about the spider might interest you - see the right hand sidebar.

  3. The big bang is in trouble, quantized redshift, quasars with higher redshift than galaxies with which they are associated or in front of!
    A huge assortment of unobserved phenomena needed to prop the theory up.
    The whole of cosmology pretty much ignores the fact that the universe is composed +99% of plasma.
    It does look like we have a big bang religion that has little more evidence in its favour than the big god one.
    That the catholic religion supports the big bang does not do it any favours either.

    Go the tea-party, at last, our very own "useful idiots" , what a treat.

  4. Good article by Alan Caruba of Canada Free Press - stating the obvious (to some of us) but stating it well.

  5. In case you missed this clanger from Krugman:

    1938 in 2010
    Published: September 5, 2010

    "Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections.

    The president in question is Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the year is 1938. Within a few years, of course, the Great Depression was over. But it’s both instructive and discouraging to look at the state of America circa 1938 — instructive because the nature of the recovery that followed refutes the arguments dominating today’s public debate, discouraging because it’s hard to see anything like the miracle of the 1940s happening again.

    Now, we weren’t supposed to find ourselves replaying the late 1930s. President Obama’s economists promised not to repeat the mistakes of 1937, when F.D.R. pulled back fiscal stimulus too soon. But by making his program too small and too short-lived, Mr. Obama did just that: the stimulus raised growth while it lasted, but it made only a small dent in unemployment — and now it’s fading out.

    And just as some of us feared, the inadequacy of the administration’s initial economic plan has landed it — and the nation — in a political trap. More stimulus is desperately needed, but in the public’s eyes the failure of the initial program to deliver a convincing recovery has discredited government action to create jobs.

    In short, welcome to 1938."

    And it goes on..


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