Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wow, the ACCC responded to my inquiry.

I am impressed, I received a prompt response to this inquiry I made last week. Of course, the RBA is granted impressive powers that private enterprise is not allowed. And they can not be prosecuted by the ACCC.

Predictably, there is a clause to cover them - Section 51 of the Trade Practices Act states:

(1) In deciding whether a person has contravened this Part, the following must be disregarded:

(a) anything specified in, and specifically authorised by:

(i) an Act (not including an Act relating to patents, trade marks, designs or copyrights); or

(ii) regulations made under such an Act;


The person on the phone from the ACCC also explained to me that they cannot prosecute the "private" member banks if their interest rates arise from anything relating to a government body like the RBA.

So it looks like our banking cartel is entrenched, with the power to inflate and debase our money supply, fix the price of interest, and to commit fraud through fractional reserve lending.

Mystery of Banking

I finished reading Murray Rothbard's illustrative primer on our modern banking system last night. (available for free download from here) The final chapter deals with the era of the Federal Reserve, since 1913.

The book was only written in 1983, yet it is more relevant than ever. Here is a paragraph that really left me wondering about where we are today.

"The Fed tried frantically to inflate after the 1929 crash, including massive open market purchases and heavy loans to banks. These attempts succeeded in driving interest rates down, but they foundered on the rock of massive distrust of the banks. Furthermore, bank fears of runs as well as bankruptcies by their borrowers led them to pile up excess reserves in a manner not seen before or since the 1930s.

Oh yeah ! We're witnessing it right now.

I wish Rothbard were around today to tell us what he thinks of this mess.

He would definitely be drawing parallels between the efforts of the Fed, Hoover and Roosevelt and today's efforts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hello tax-payer ? You've been robbed

Hank Paulson told tax-payers they were getting a good deal when they bought these "illiquid" assets.

Taxpayers were forcibly robbed, to buy assets that were described as "illiquid" which turns out to be a euphemism for assets that have lost half their value and that Wall Street doesn't want to sell and realise the loss.

Paulson assured the media that the public might even make a profit on these assets. Where is his apology for this ?



American International Group Inc. ... sold residential mortgage-backed securities with a face value of $39.3 billion to a facility funded by the Federal Reserve.

AIG will receive about $19.8 billion for the assets ...

Victoria: Where selling stuff to customers can be a crime.

This story is concerning, because a man's life has been destroyed by criminal charges and he did not engage in violence, theft, coercion or even make the threat of violence to anybody. All he did was provide goods in exchange for money.


A PHARMACIST caught selling more than 100 cold and flu tablets to undercover police has pleaded guilty to trafficking a drug of dependence.

Noble Park pharmacist Morimer Kham, 29, was arrested in August this year after he agreed to sell 112 boxes of pseudoephedrine type medications to an undercover agent between July and August this year.

The Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard for two months Mr Kham agreed to sell the officer multiple boxes of the drugs for a cash exchange at his father's Jacksons Road pharmacy.

Senior Constable Roz O'Grady told the court Mr Kham sold the agent enough pseudoephedrine to make 196 grams of pure methylamphetamine valued at $31, 500.

Police allege Mr Kham, of Flemington, is the first pharmacist in Victorian history to be charged with a trafficking offence.

Mr Kham pleaded guilty to trafficking a drug of dependence and was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month community based order.

He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work.

Defence lawyer Phillip Dunn QC said Mr Kham had resigned as a registered pharmacist and his life had "gone down the toilet" since his arrest.

He said the son of Cambodian migrants Mr Kham had worked for eight years to acheive his goal of becoming a pharmacist and his mistake had cost him his career.

Mr Dunn said at the time of offending Mr Kham was suffering depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of two armed robberies at the pharmacy.


The war on (some) drugs is entirely misguided. What people do in the privacy of their own homes, bars, nightclubs or businesses now suddenly becomes the concern of police. People have always been capable of making all kinds of stupid decisions, like eating KFC every dinner, or drinking 5 bottles of wine, and you simply cannot expect nor demand police to intrude into everybody's lives and private property to prevent self-harm.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The imminent collapse of the US dollar

Peter Schiff was right (look it up on Youtube). His timing was dreadful, but his message is spot on. The folks at The Daily Reckoning have clearly summed up the inescapable conclusion of this economic crisis. The theme of the Obama presidency, no matter how the media spin it or ignore it, will have to be one thing - DEBT.


According to the latest estimates, the U.S. Treasury is expected to borrow $1.5 trillion nest year - in addition to the existing debt it rolls over. This puts a huge supply of new debt on the market. Will there be new demand to meet it? Not likely. In fact, the demand is probably going to drop. One reason: the foreigners are borrowing too - hugely - for the same reason. They want to bail out their own economies. Another reason: Americans are spending less on foreign goods - putting less money in the foreigners' hands that they could lend back to us.

Of course, the feds are ready with a solution...and as usual, the fix will make things worse. Fearing a loss of private demand, the feds are already talking about selling Treasury debt directly to the Fed. But that brings us right to the other way Treasury values can go down - the dollar can lose value too. Not only are bonds themselves subject to the law of supply and demand, so is the currency in which they are calibrated. The more dollars; the less each one is worth.

Normally, it is a no-no for central banks to buy Treasury bonds directly. "Monetizing the debt" is what it is called. It inflates the money supply directly and immediately. So, while Fed buying of Treasuries would help support the market for treasuries, it would undermine the value of the dollar itself.

Thats it. Game over.

America cannot delay its day of reckoning for much longer. It is burdened by a mountain of debt, and its credibility and ability to repay that debt will not only be brought into question, but simply destroyed as they continue to pile up new debts to bail out collapsing industries.

The only way to service such a huge debt, running into the trillions, is to make it worth less - destroy your currency and print more dollars. The only other approach would be for the American government to immediately cut spending in half and use its tax revenues to pay down debt for the next decade.

Have you ever met a politician who would cut spending in half ? Obama and his administration are looking to double it, even in the worst of times.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The ACCC fines Qantas $20m. What about the RBA?

For something called 'price fixing' and engaging in 'cartel like behaviour'. In plain English, it means for "setting their own prices the way they bloody well please and ought to be entitled to do in a free society".


The Federal Court of Australia has ordered national carrier Qantas Airways to pay $20 million in pecuniary penalties for breaching the price-fixing provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings in October 2008 alleging Qantas had reached an understanding with other international airlines in relation to the imposition of fuel surcharges on air cargo across its global networks between 2002 and early 2006.

The ACCC said Qantas admitted to making and giving effect to the understanding, repeatedly exchanging assurances among airlines in the implementation of fuel surcharge increases and reaching local agreements in certain Asian countries collectively.

...

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said today the penalty reflected the seriousness of the contraventions and Qantas' large share of the market.

''Cartels - particularly those that are engaged in by large businesses with broad application over a period of time - have a significant effect on consumers,'' Mr Samuel said.

Wow.. price fixing is a criminal act for businesses like Qantas. So I wrote the following letter to the ACCC on their complaints website.

I recently noticed that Qantas was fined $20m for price fixing and cartel behaviour. I would like to draw to your attention that The Reserve Bank of Australia is engaging in cartel-like behaviour with its member banks, setting the price of interest for the entire Australian banking system. By setting a cash rate target and engaging in open market operations whereby it purchases securities of varying durations, it is trying to fix and control interest rates. This is plainly admitted by the RBA on their website:

http://www.rba.gov.au/MonetaryPolicy/about_monetary_policy.html

Setting interest rates is the most substantial form of price fixing in Australia's history. Interest rates are also known as the cost of acquiring money itself, and the RBA should be heavily penalised. In fact, in recent months, the RBA has been trying to force interest rates in a downward direction, by injecting money and purchasing securities. By pushing rates below the market price, they are certainly engaging in the criminal act of predatory pricing.

There is no need to guess what the RBA's intent is, they openly admit it at their meetings and all statements made by the RBA governor. Seeing as the ACCC has a responsibility to prosecute these criminal acts, it will be interesting to see if they carry this out or if they set themselves a different set of rules for the private sector whilst government bureaucracies are free to do as they please.

I eagerly await your response.

Somehow I doubt the ACCC will take on the RBA. One illegitimate bureaucracy is not going to take on another.

By the way, this is not the only approach that can be used to attack the RBA. For example, there are incredibly harsh laws against counterfeiting. I could ring the police and notify them that the RBA is continually issuing new currency. Or that banks are engaging in fraud by issuing deposit receipts well beyond their actual reserves.

It falls upon politicians with a bit of brains and backbone to abolish our central bank and restore a free market in banking. None seem to be up to the challenge.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Australia: Where communication is a crime.

It seems that the Labor Party hates free speech. In Victoria, they passed draconian anti-free speech laws otherwise known as the Racial and Religious Vilification Act. Then at a federal level, they want to censor all pornography and profanity and force every ISP to implement filtering.

And in Queensland, police raided the home of a 60 year old man who had re-uploaded video footage of a baby being shaken by a man, which ends with the baby laughing and seemingly unharmed.


Chris Illingworth, 60, a father of four from Maroochydore, thought he would share it with fellow users of Liveleak, a site similar to YouTube but focused on news and current events. In two years, he has uploaded hundreds of videos to Liveleak.

His home was raided on Sunday, November 30, by Queensland Police from Task Force Argos, which specialises in combating child pornography and child groomers.

He was charged with accessing, downloading and uploading child-abuse material with the intent to distribute and is scheduled to appear in court in Maroochydore on December 18.

It is understood that he had no involvement in the creation of the video, which cannot be published on this website for legal reasons.

The baby is laughing and smiling at the end of the clip, but the video has attracted criticism from child-welfare advocates because of how vigorously the man swings the baby by its arms.

In a phone interview, Illingworth described the clip as a "common interest story" and rejected any suggestions he was a child abuser or interested in such material.

He said that since being charged he could not eat, sleep or work and was worried his children and people in the local community would think he was a pedophile.

"I've had to go down to the hospital, my blood pressure is 160/108 and I'm on blood pressure pills and valium - all because of this," he said.

"Do they realise what pain they put someone through? I could fall over dead over this. I can't even get the office work done. I'm just a zombie."

Queensland Police refused to comment, saying it would be inappropriate as the matter was before the courts.

Illingworth said his life changed the moment two officers - a detective chief inspector and a detective chief constable - banged on his door and demanded they search his house.

"I went to turn on the laptop and they got stinking mad, as if I was trying to delete something I guess, and I was just trying to be helpful," he said.

The officers plugged a small black box into his computer and proceeded for an hour and a half to analyse the contents of his hard drive in a search for child pornography.


Thanks to laws like these, we are all soon-to-be-criminals now.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Do most people think about the nature of money ?

Heres the reality; Every single modern nation defines money as debt, pyramided upon a base of central bank reserves, and implemented through a private banking cartel where a central bank and its member banks are free to engage in fractional reserve lending, usually with some required reserve ratio, leading to a never ending process of inflation (growth in the supply of money) as prices steadily (and sometimes not-so-steadily) grow year over year.

It seems like a rhetorical question to ask if people think about money. Only the most hardened communists and agrarians contemplate living, trading and working without the use of money.

But the question actually is - "do you think about the nature of money ?"

I'll be adding a poll for this question in the sidebar.

We all carry those coins and notes, and keep bank accounts. We all earn dollars and spend them. And this aspect of our behaviour seems a natural and free outcome, ever since man traded food for cattle, worked hard to build things, and thought of ways to get food and shelter.

It wouldn't take much effort or thought to say that we naturally view money (notes and coins and deposit receipts with banks) as a medium of exchange, a store of value and a unit of account.

We can swap them, we can "price" them, we can store them for the future, borrow them and repay them and every party involved in the trade knows exactly what they are getting in to.

A $50 note is a $50 note. All of them do the same thing, none of them rot away, everybody accepts notes to settle payments, and they are easy to carry around.

If you don't want to carry around all your wealth with you, for practical and security reasons, we approach banks to store and safeguard our money. But banks don't quite do that, at least not for the past 200 years.

Things are more complex, as plainly admitted by one of the left's favorite economists:


"The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it (Galbraith, 15). The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled." (Galbraith, 29)"

Your newly deposited money at a bank does not get stored in a vault or set aside in your name.

Instead, it gets used a reserve for the creation of new money when another person applies to borrow money from that bank. This process is called fractional reserve, and its been around since the early 19th century thanks to the Bank of England.

Basically, when you deposit $5000 to a bank, they issue you with whats known as a deposit receipt, saying you can redeem on demand, the $5000. But the process doesn't stop there. Banks then use that $5000 base, to lend out a few more thousand, say $4000 or $4500 to somebody else, and they issue the borrower with deposit receipts for that amount.

And you've suddenly got a bank with more deposit receipts than actual reserves. There are more liabilities than assets, and if people only demanded redemption and payment of their liabilities (i.e went to a bank to withdraw their money), then the bank would declare bankruptcy.

This is the unavoidable reality in Australia, America, Europe, Asia .. anywhere you'd care to look. Every bank is vulnerable to a bank run and every bank cannot afford to pay out all of its liabilities.

If you care to quibble or think this is outrageous, ask yourself - why is it, that banks in the news are always reported as collapsing or failing when there is a "bank run" - i.e when a large number of customers queue up to get their money ???

Simple - because they don't have enough reserves to pay them out !

The reason banks play these games, and lend more than their actual reserves, is because after years of experience, they noticed that most people leave the vast majority of their wealth in the banks. Depositors are either "confident" or blissfully unaware of the risks involved.

The whole banking system and economy is based on confidence/ignorance these days. Firstly, people do not carry around a big portion of their wealth as notes/coins to carry around with them or lock up at home in a safe. Customers with savings leaving most of their money in the bank, and they've lived most of their lives comfortably and practically using electronic banking and demand deposits to pay their bills and transfer funds.

So here's the question - what do we do about it ? The system "works" after all, doesn't it ? Well for practical purposes, and as far as the eye can see, it has indeed worked so far. But you'll have to apply your mind a bit and go beyond what is visible. The argument that "if it aint broke don't fix it" must be done away with, because unseen aspects to the money and banking system are no less real or tangible than the plainly visible ones.

For example, if I ran a hidden printing press in my basement and printed myself millions of dollars, that would "work" too, and to most people's eyes, the system would still function. But it would be a gross form of theft for me to counterfeit money that wasn't earned through productive efforts of mine. If everybody did it, then there'd be a lot of money going around, which would dilute the value of every existing dollar, yet not a single ounce of extra wealth, goods and services is created (good old Scrooge Mcduck explains this in a fun youtube video).

Well today banks do just that. They conjur into existence, new demand deposits when a person applies for a loan. They put an entry into their accounts which is a new liability, yet they don't have a corresponding asset. This is how new money is created. The supply of money is a lot more than coins or notes, its also deposit receipts with banks. These days we use our bank deposits for the most part, to pay bills and transfer funds. So if you woke up tomorrow with an extra zero in your bank account balance, then its as if you'd counterfeited real notes and coins.

Counterfeiting money is plain theft - from everybody else who has money. You dilute the value of their holdings. Yet our entire banking system has been doing it for decades, acting as a cartel, expanding the deposit receipts and liabilities, a major part of the supply of money. Its no wonder
that we see prices rising. Goods and services are hardly more scarce than they were 20 years ago, after all, our economy grows and we become more productive and efficient at producing things. But there is so much more money chasing those goods and services.

The supply of money in Australia more than doubled between 1996 and 2006. And we saw shares and real estate prices follow.

Another issue to consider - if all these deposit receipts are created when new loans are made, what happens if everybody repaid their loans instead of just carrying them for decades and re-financing them ? ? The answer - huge amounts of money would be destroyed.

This leads to another phenomena, passionately investigated by the Austrian economists, known as the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. All this new money creation profits certain people at the expense of others, which leads to the cycle of booms and busts. And we've certainly seen our fair share of them in the last century, since the Federal Reserve bank was created in 1913. So perhaps this theory has some substance to it.

Read more here. Or print out a free copy of Murray Rothbard's "The Mystery of Banking".

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Age cartoonists are mentally ill

(via Slattsnews) - yesterday's Sunday Age had this dreadful piece of garbage from Age cartoonist Matt Golding, who believes that the 2003 invasion of Iraq gave birth to Al-Qaeda and Jemmah Islamiyah.

I expect this cartoon would have been under their "Insight" section.



Those 1993 bombings of the World Trade Centre, and attacks throughout Africa and the Middle East by Al Qaeda were done in response to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Its as if all leftists, especially those working for Fairfax newspapers, believe terrorism didn't exist until the point in time where Western governments started responding to being attacked (basically 9/11 for most of us, but since the 1972 Munich Olympics for the Israelis).

And their line of reasoning goes as follows - if responding to the initial acts of terrorism causes further terrorism ( even the initial acts of terrorism were caused by the response !!), then we shouldn't respond to terrorism to end further terrorism.

Is your brain bleeding yet ? This is like Orwell's 1984 - war is peace, freedom is slavery. Keep repeating the doublespeak through your mind and you too may be enlightened enough to draw cartoons for The Age.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

United States of Funny Money

Zimbabwe here we come !! Right back where I started from:

Weimer style hyper-inflation is a heartbeat away !

Bailout pledges have reached a maximum limit of $7.7 trillion US !

No scratch that !!

The Fed just pledged another $800b in new schemes to bring the grand total to $8.5 trillion !

Where does all this money come from ?

a/ The printing press
b/ Taxes

See those greenbacks in your pockets and bank vaults that you worked so hard for ? Either Americans will be taxed directly (which could pay for a small part of this) or the easier option, is the Fed will run the printing presses and send the supply of money soaring, which makes every existing dollar lose its value.

This has precisely the same impact as a tax for dollar-holders, but with the added benefit of the public being mostly unaware of whats going on until its too late and prices start soaring.

The only guaranteed way to avoid the tax is to dump your dollars early and buy gold.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Un-Change

President-elect Obama now promises the same kind of 'change' that Bush delivered after Clinton.

He promises to get rid of all that harmful 'Bush-era deregulation' that caused the crisis. The only problem with that idea is that Clinton actually delivered more deregulation in the 1990's, whilst Bush added strict accounting regulations for Wall St after the collapse of Enron.

For those clueless pundits (most of them working for the ABC and Fairfax) who still think Bush and Republicans somehow represent 'extreme market based capitalism', maybe they should google "Sarbanes Oxley" and see how the heck more regulation = deregulation.

These same clueless pundits mistakenly assume that the US somehow represents a free market and capitalism in all industries, like health, education, welfare and foreign policy. It would be equally wrong to assume China still represents pure communism.

Reason Magazine has a great piece titled "Obama's Clinton Problem"

When it comes to overall regulation, as my Competitive Enterprise Institute colleague Wayne Crews notes in his study "10,000 Commandments," the Bush administration has set records with the tens of thousands of pages it put in the Federal Register. So to the extent that Obama has said he would reverse financial deregulation, what he would largely be overturning are the financial modernizations Bill Clinton signed into law and that Clinton administration officials agree led to the ‘90s prosperity.

....

To the extent that Obama's campaign attacked the specific deregulation policies that McCain backed, Obama ended up doing more than just running against McCain and his advisers, such as the much-vilified former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm. Obama was also campaigning against Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers and virtually all of the Clinton administration's economic officials. The same folks, it's worth nothing, that now often surround Barack Obama.

Friday, November 21, 2008

When governments build cars

Watch out. The Soviets tried it. Crappy cars had to be rationed out to the citizens, whilst people in West Germany were enjoying new BMW and Mercedes cars.

As much as Lenin decried the materialism of Western capitalism, and as much as the elite intelligentsia always (and still do) tell people that the pursuit of happiness is not a noble goal, or that happiness can only be acheived if you follow their plans of one big totalitarian government ruling over all of us... people always fled towards free capitalist economies for the opportunities and prosperity.

Decades have passed and our brains have turned to mush. American car companies like GM, Ford and Chrysler are dying. The Congress approved a $700bil bailout package for the banks, and now senior Democrats Pelosi and Frank want the money to be used to bailout (i.e nationalize) the car industry.

The same thing just happened in Australia under Rudd. Taxpayer funds were thrown at failed enterprises so that these walking zombies can continue to roam the earth and employ workers in their existing role. With strings attached of course - car companies are going to need to build efficient or "environmentally friendly" (a.k.a inefficient to produce and inefficient to convert fuel to energy) cars.

Iowahawk has the best parody of this madness - the Pelosi Lemon

It's in the way you dress. The way you boogie down. The way you sign your unemployment check. You're a man who likes to do things your own way. And on those special odd-numbered Saturdays when driving is permitted, you want it in your car. It's that special feeling of a zero-emissions wind at your back and a road ahead meandering with possibilities. The kind of feeling you get behind the wheel of the Pelosi GTxi SS/Rt Sport Edition from Congressional Motors.

All new for 2012, the Pelosi GTxi SS/Rt Sport Edition is the mandatory American car so advanced it took $100 billion and an entire Congress to design it. We started with same reliable 7-way hybrid ethanol-biodeisel-electric-clean coal-wind-solar-pedal power plant behind the base model Pelosi, but packed it with extra oomph and the sassy styling pizazz that tells the world that 1974 Detroit is back again -- with a vengeance.

We've subsidized the features you want and taxed away the rest. With its advanced Al Gore-designed V-3 under the hood pumping out 22.5 thumping, carbon-neutral ponies of Detroit muscle, you'll never be late for the Disco or the Day Labor Shelter. Engage the pedal drive or strap on the optional jumbo mizzenmast, and the GTxi SS/Rt Sport Edition easily exceeds 2016 CAFE mileage standards. At an estimated 268 MPG, that's a savings of nearly $1800 per week in fuel cost over the 2011 Pelosi.

Even with increased performance we didn't skimp on safety. With 11-point passenger racing harnesses, 15-way airbags, and mandatory hockey helmet, you'll have the security knowing that you could survive a 45 MPH collision even if the GTxi SS/Rt were capable of that kind of illegal speed.

But the changes don't stop there. Sporty mag-style hubcaps and an all-new aggressive wedge shape designed by CM's Chief Stylist Ted Kennedy slices through the wind like an omnibus spending bill. It even features an airtight undercarriage to keep you and a passenger afloat up to 15 minutes -- even in the choppy waters of a Cap Cod inlet. Available a rainbow of color choices to match any wardrobe, from Harvest Avocado to French Mustard.

Inside, a luxurious all-velour interior designed by Barney Frank features thoughtful appointments like in-dash condom dispenser and detachable vibrating shift knob. A special high capacity hatchback holds up to 300 aluminum cans, meaning fewer trips to the redemption center. And the standard 3 speaker Fairness ActoPhonic FM low-band sound system means you'll never miss a segment of NPR again.

Best of all, the Pelosi GTxi SS/Rt is made right here in the U.S.A. by fully card-checked unionized workers and Detroit's famous visionary jet-set managers. Even if you don't own one, you can enjoy the patriotic satisfaction that you're supporting the high wages, good benefits, and generous political donations that are once again making the American car industry the envy of the world.

But why not buy one anyway? With an MSRP starting at only $629,999.99, it's affordable too. Don't forget to ask about dealer incentives, rebates, tax credits, and wealth redistribution plans for customers from dozens of qualifying special interest groups. Plus easy-pay financing programs from Fanny Mae.

So take the bus to your local CM dealer today and find out why the Pelosi GTxi SS/Rt Sport Edition is the only car endorsed by President Barack Obama. One test drive will convince you that you'd choose it over the import brands. Even if they were still legal

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where's my bailout, dude ?

2008 is a year of bailouts.

First the banks, then the insurance companies, then the car-makers, even some childcare centres. And this is before the first year of the depression is over !

Here is a simplified illustration (hat tip: Liberty Papers) of the concept for your education:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Attention Australia :Don't install solar panels !

Solar energy is, at least for now, nothing more than a feel-good alternative where you don't actually generate any decent amount of electricity after paying tens of thousands to install expensive equipment in your home.

Firstly, if you live in a city area, you cannot install solar energy as a stand alone option. It is banned, and besides, you would not have any electricity when it is dark (and barely any during the day).

Secondly, you need to install 6-16 expensive panels on your roof, and connect them to an inverter which feeds the solar energy into the grid. You never actually use the energy you create, you always buy and source your energy off the existing grid.

Thirdly, a recent report shows that manufacturing of solar panels creates global warming:


Atmospheric concentrations of nitrogen trifluoride — a gas used in the manufacture of liquid crystal flat-panel displays, thin-film photovoltaic cells and microcircuits — are at least four times higher than previously estimated, reports a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Fourth, the solar panels don't last forever. Here in Australia, they come with a 10 year warranty, but they aren't expected to last for more than 20-25 years.

And last but not least, the inverters they use actually consume power themselves, as revealed with wind energy (via Greenie Watch ):

The October edition of Which? Magazine [in the UK] reported on domestic wind turbines in an article entitled 'Wind turbine blows cold.' Which? installed one in a house and monitored it from December 2007 to June 2008. The result was that it used more electricity than it generated. This is because the turbine includes an "inverter" that converts the energy into electricity to go into the mains, and the inverter needs power which it draws whether the wind is turning the turbine or not. If the 'greens' want to 'save the planet' with domestic wind turbines, then they will have to make sure that they live somewhere very windy. Given the energy used and costs involved in manufacturing, installing, maintaining, plus eventual decommissioning - there may not be anywhere that is windy enough!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Central planning for failure, bad forecasts and bad decisions

I keep laughing/crying at the irony of it all. The more that central planning fails, the more that the "planners continue to plan" (to paraphrase Reagan).

In a time where budget forecasts are proven to be wildly inaccurate, where the governments plans have to finally be revised, and where the public get to see how wrong they were, it seems that Kevin Rudd is boastful and proud. Only days ago, he promoted the idea of central planning on the radio.

To summarise the latest developments:


FUTURE tax cuts, major road and rail projects and the reform of federal-state relations are on the budget chopping block as the world financial crisis strips $40billion from Rudd government revenue.

Only pensioners will be spared in next year's budget, with the Government's commitment to raise payments to them threatening to push the budget into deficit.

Now if you take a look at past budget's, especially 2005-06 and 2007-08, you can see all kinds of reports that were eagerly reproduced in the media, predicting a steadily growing budget surplus. Those forecasts aren't worth the paper they're written on, yet Canberra plans to splurge $200b a year based on them.

And when the forecasts fail, governments never slash welfare or spending on arts, culture, sports, but instead they abandon the tax cuts and spending on areas which even I approve of, like roads and rail,


Treasury estimates that the surplus will drop from a budgeted $19.7 billion next year to just $3.6billion, and will fall to $2.6billion in 2010-11.

"If international conditions were to deteriorate further, then there could be more to come," Mr Swan said.


Reagan himself told Americans that they were forced to choose, between self-government and between a system where we elect a group of elites in a far-distant capital to make decisions for us. Central planning is a dirty word. It is the reason the Soviet states all collapsed after 30 years of experimenting with it (and it had nothing to do with a lack of elections or democracy).

Ask yourself, are you too stupid to decide for yourself ?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Change your dog can roll in

Obama wins. I really don't care.

Since WW1, America has been growing its government.

You want more government, you're going to get more government.

See you at the polling booths in 4 more years where you vote for the next person to grow government.

The word democracy is about as substantial as mini-umbrellas in your cocktail. Democracy does not correspond with liberty.

If you want to study a great example of capitalism and free markets in the real world, you'll have to start reading the history books.

Fact of the day

For people watching the economic collapse unfold who have a sudden interest in markets, exchange rates, economic indicators and historic trends, there has been a change in people's understandings.

We no longer accept the 'conventional wisdom' of the earlier part of this decade:

  • Property doesn't "always go up"
  • Shares don't "always go up over the long run" (i.e long run = 20 -30 year periods)
  • Governments can't fix, manage or guide an economy to produce economic growth and stability.
Here's some wisdom from the folks at Daily Reckoning, who continue to promote their "trade of the decade" otherwise known as: Buy Gold on the dips, Sell Stocks on the rallies.

In 1982, briefly, you could have bought every one of the stocks in the Dow index for a single ounce of gold. But by the time the stock market finished its epic rise, in January 2000, (while gold was doing an epic fall!) you would have needed 44 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. Now, that ratio has come down considerably. You only need about 13 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. And as stocks come down, the ratio is likely to fall below 5...and eventually back to 1 to 1 (at which time, remember, it will be time to sell gold and buy shares).

Monday, November 03, 2008

How to reduce your carbon footprint to zero

Buy a gas powered car:

The businessman thought that he was saving money and the environment by switching to a car that ran on liquid petroleum gas, which is cheaper and less polluting than petrol or diesel.


And reduce your carbon footprint:

... his gas-powered car exploded when he lit up at the wheel. Peter Tidbury, 50, had a "miraculous" escape when his Peugot 607 blew up after he lit a cigarette.


A suspected leak in the vehicle's pipes led to an explosion that blew the windscreen 50ft down the road and forced the evacuation of nearby houses. The incident happened after Mr Tidbury, who works for an energy-saving company, stopped at a service station in Barnsley to fill up with gas. He said: "I was doing about 30mph and as I lit the cigarette there was an almighty explosion. The windows went out, the bonnet went up and the boot went up just as you see in the Hollywood movies."

Mr Tidbury, who was treated for flash burns at Barnsley District Hospital, is now looking for another car. It will be a diesel.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The big government mess in Victoria

Today saw over 300 reports filed in State Parliament, which must be some kind of record. The opposition are describing it as a joke. The reports cover all kinds of issues, from ambulances, to police corruption, to water usage.

Let me start by gloating - this is what you get with big government. If you think government can manage, regulate and improve things better than the individuals could do it, just remember that governments have to make decisions for the entire population.

If you think government is generally sound and sober, is responsible and well informed, in its decision making, then just look at all the reports that are generated by the institutionalised departments and bureaucracies ! Ask yourself - how can any human analyse this information and make a decision for the entire 'public system' (i.e the whole population) ??

If you think elections determine what kind of government and policies you get, then you better check your premises. Look at all these things that are done by the state government, and ask yourself - were these all clearly presented as part of the election promises or are they now permanently built in to our system of growing bureaucracy, always adding new regulations but never getting rid of old regulations, more public servants and more departmental mess ?

Under free markets, all the individuals analyse the information to the best of their abilities and make a snap decision based on their preferences. This applies from what you eat for breakfast, to the house you live in and the car you drive, and the job you work in.

Under central planning (Kevin Rudd's favorite word), the government starts taking away your responsibility and freedom to make many decisions that it considers too important - like whether you use plastic bags for groceries, whether you should not install expensive solar cells on your roof, how the entire medical system has to run, how to run a grand prix once a year, what should be taught in schools etc etc.

Warning - this is going to be a long post, I'm going to list all of the "etc,etc" that the government decides and regulates for us - and this is just at the state level !! Enjoy:
---------------------

  • Accident Compensation Conciliation Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Adult Community and Further Education Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Adult Parole Board of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Alexandra District Ambulance Service - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Alexandra District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (three papers).
  • Alpine Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Altona Memorial Park Trustees - Report, 2007-08.
  • Ambulance Service Victoria - Metropolitan Region - Report, 2007-08.
  • Architects Registration Board - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Austin Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Australian Grand Prix Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Bairnsdale Regional Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Ballarat Health Services - Report, 2007-08.
  • Barwon Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Barwon Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Bass Coast Regional Health - Report, 2007-08 (three papers).
  • Bayside Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Beaufort and Skipton Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (three papers).
  • Beechworth Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Benalla and District Memorial Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Bendigo Cemeteries Trust - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Bendigo Health Care Group - Report, 2007-08.
  • Boort District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Casterton Memorial Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Central Gippsland Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Central Highlands Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Cheltenham and Regional Cemeteries Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Child Safety Commissioner - Report, 2007-08.
  • Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • City West Water Limited - Report, 2007-08.
  • Cobram District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Cohuna District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Colac Area Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Coliban Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Commissioner for Law Enforcement Data Security - Report, 2007-08.
  • Community Visitors - Report, 2007-08.
  • Confiscation Act 1997 - Asset Confiscation Operations, Report to the Attorney-General, 2007-08.
  • Consumer Affairs - Report, 2007-08.
  • Corangamite Catchment Management Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Country Fire Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Dandenong Development Board - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Dental Health Services Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Dental Practice Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Disability Services Commissioner - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Djerriwah Health Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Dunmunkle Health Services - Report, 2007-08.
  • East Gippsland Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • East Grampians Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • East Wimmera Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Eastern Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Echuca Regional Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Education and Early Childhood Development Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Emerald Tourist Railway Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Emergency Services Superannuation Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Environment Protection Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Essential Services Commission - Report, 2007-08.
  • Fawkner Crematorium and Memorial Park Trust - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Fed Square Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Geelong Cemeteries Trust - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Gippsland Southern Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Goulburn Valley Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Goulburn Valley Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Goulburn-Murray Rural Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Health Purchasing Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Health Services Commissioner - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Hepburn Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Heritage Council - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Hesse Rural Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Heywood Rural Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Human Services Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Infertility Treatment Authority - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Inglewood and Districts Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Innovation, Industry and Regional Development Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Judicial College of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Justice Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Keilor Cemetery Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Kerang District Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Kilmore and District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Kooweerup Regional Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Kyabram and District Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Kyneton District Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Legal Practitioners Liability Committee - Report, 2007-08.
  • Legal Services Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Legal Services Commissioner - Report, 2007-08.
  • Lorne Community Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Lower Murray Urban and Rural Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Maldon Hospital - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Mallee Catchment Management Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Mallee Track Health and Community Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Manangatang and District Hospital - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Mansfield District Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Maryborough District Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • McIvor Health and Community Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Medical Radiation Practitioners Board - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Melbourne Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Melbourne Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Members of Parliament (Register of Interests) Act 1978 - Cumulative Summary of Returns, 30 September 2008.
  • Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Metropolitan Waste Management Group - Report, 2007-08.
  • Mildura Cemetery Trust - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Moyne Health Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Mt Alexander Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Nathalia District Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Necropolis Springvale Trustees - Report, 2007-08.
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • North East Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Northeast Health Wangaratta - Report, 2007-08.
  • Northern Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Numurkah District Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Nurses Board of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Office of Police Integrity -
  • Report on the Armed Offenders Squad a case study.
  • Report under section 30L of the Surveillance Devices Act 1999, 2007-08.
  • Omeo District Health - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Orbost Regional Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Optometrists Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Osteopaths Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report
  • Otway Health and Community Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Parks Victoria - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund - Report, 2007-08.
  • Peninsula Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre - Report, 2007-08.
  • Pharmacy Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Physiotherapists Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Planning and Community Development Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Podiatrists Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Police Appeals Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Police - Office of the Chief Commissioner - Report, 2007-08.
  • Port of Melbourne Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Portland District Health - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Premier and Cabinet Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Preston Cemetery Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Public Prosecutions Office - Report, 2007-08.
  • Public Transport Ticketing Body - Report, 2007-08.
  • Queen Elizabeth Centre - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Queen Victoria Women's Centre Trust - Report, 2007-08.
  • Radiation Advisory Committee - Report, 2007-08.
  • Regional Development Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Roads Corporation (VicRoads) - Report, 2007-08.
  • Robinvale District Health Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Rochester and Elmore District Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Rolling Stock (VL-1) Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rolling Stock (VL-2) Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rolling Stock (VL-3) Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rolling Stock Holdings (Victoria) Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rolling Stock Holdings (Victoria-VL) Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Royal Children's Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Royal Women's Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rural Ambulance Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Rural Northwest Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Seymour District Memorial Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Shrine of Remembrance Trustees - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Small Business Commissioner's Office - Report, 2007-08.
  • South East Water Limited - Report, 2007-08.
  • South Gippsland Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • South Gippsland Region Water Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • South West Healthcare - Report, 2007-08.
  • Southern and Eastern Integrated Transport Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Southern Cross Station Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Southern Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Special Investigations Monitor's Office - Report, 2007-08.
  • St Vincent's Health [incorporating the financial statements of Caritas Christi Hospice Limited, St. George's Health Service Limited and St. Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne) Limited] - Report, 2007-08 (four papers).
  • State Electricity Commission of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • State Owned Enterprise for Irrigation Modernisation in Northern Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • State Services Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • State Sport Centres Trust - Report 2007-08.
  • State Trustees Limited - Report, 2007-08.
  • Stawell Regional Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Surveyors Registration Board of Victoria - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Sustainability and Environment Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Swan Hill District Hospital - Report, 2007-08.
  • Tallangatta Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Templestowe Cemetery Trust - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
  • Terang and Mortlake Health Service - Report, 2007-08.
  • Timboon and District Healthcare Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Tourism Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Transport Accident Commission - Report, 2007-08.
  • Transport Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Treasury and Finance Department - Report, 2007-08.
  • Treasury Corporation of Victoria - Report, 2007-08.
  • Tweddle Child and Family Health Service - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Upper Murray Health and Community Services - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • V/Line Passenger Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • V/Line Passenger Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • VicForests - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victoria Law Foundation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victoria Legal Aid - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victoria State Emergency Service Authority - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victoria Trade and Investment Office Pty Ltd - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Electoral Commission - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Funds Management Corporation - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Government Purchasing Board - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Health Promotion Foundation - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Institute of Sport Trust - Report, 2007-08 (two papers).
  • Victorian Institute of Teaching Council - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Managed Insurance Authority - Report, 2007-08, together with 2007-08 Financial Statements for Housing Guarantee Claims Fund and Domestic Buildings (HIH) Indemnity Fund.
  • Victorian Rail Heritage operations Pty. Limited - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Rail Track - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Skills Commission - Report, 2007-08.
  • Victorian Veterans Council - Minister's report of receipt of 2007-08 report.
UPDATE (3/11): There seems to be confusion (from The Age writers) whether it is 300 or 200 reports that were released.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letter to our meddling politicians

The following letter was sent to the Dept of Primary Industries Victoria, Dept of Environment and Dept of Climate Change.

I would like to bring to your attention another piece of evidence that the solar rebate should be abandoned. The manufacturing of solar panels involves the use of the compound nitrogen trifluoride which is a greenhouse gas 17,000 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Thus the entire rationale for using solar energy is proven to be completely wrong and even counter-productive for those who want to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Australian government should certainly not be subsidising a product which contributes to global warming. I hope you consider this information and end all solar rebates.

It does not seem prudent, fair or just to use taxpayers money to fund a rebate for the few homes that install solar energy.

Ultimately it should be up to each individual to judge their own energy needs and balance them with their concerns for the environment. And as shown in this case, it is best that each individual is left to make their own judgement rather than allowing government to judge for the entire population, seeing as governments can make mistakes just like people.

-------------

Potent Greenhouse Gas More Prevalent
in Atmosphere than Previously Assumed


Compound used in manufacture of flat panel
televisions, computer displays, microcircuits, solar panels
is 17,000 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide
....
....

Emissions of NF3 were thought to be so low that the gas was not considered to be a significant potential contributor to global warming. It was not covered by the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed by 182 countries.

The gas is 17,000 times more potent as a global warming agent than a similar mass of carbon dioxide. It survives in the atmosphere about five times longer than carbon dioxide.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bail-outs are bad for you and me

When politicians and central bankers of all stripes and nationalities rush to provide "liquidity", and "secure" or "stabilise" the economy, it is best that you don't take their word for it.

These rushed emergency measures always involve giving new powers to the central bank, transferring taxpayer wealth to financial markets, or transferring some of the risks from financial markets onto the taxpayer.

In March, Bear Sterns collapsed - due to their balance being sheets full of derivatives ($13.4 trillion!) and they had a leverage ratio of 35 to 1.


On March 14 2008, JPMorgan Chase, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, provided a 28-day emergency loan to Bear Stearns in order to prevent the potential market crash that would result from Bear Stearns becoming insolvent.[23] Two days later, Bear Stearns signed a merger agreement with JP Morgan Chase in a stock swap worth $2 a share or less than 10 percent of Bear Stearns' market value.[24]

This sale price represented a staggering loss as its stock had once traded at $172 a share as late as January 2007, and $93 a share as late as February 2008. In addition, the Federal Reserve agreed to issue a non-recourse loan of $29 billion to JP Morgan Chase.

The Fed intervened to broker the acquisition by JP Morgan of Bear Stearns for $10 a share, and made a non-recourse loan to JP Morgan of $29b. This was secured by $29b of so called 'assets'.

Idiots like Christopher Cox from the SEC always suggest the deal is necessary and wise. The typical 'crony capitalists' (who are not capitalists in any sense of the word!) always support these bailouts, they put out the line that taxpayers might stand to profit from these deals because the assets should be worth more in the future! Hank Paulson and Bernanke themselves used this reasoning when putting forward their proposal for the recent $700b bailout package.

But they aren't serious, and there is no way they would put their own wealth behind their words.

Calculated Risk was very astute to observe that American tax payers just lost $2.5b this week as the Fed wrote down the value of Bear Sterns assets from $29.5b to $26.8b.

I will end this post with one last request.

Whenever you hear presidents, prime ministers and central bankers reassure you that providing guarantees, liquidity and bailouts are a good thing, just remember Henry Hazlitt's words about credit, from his book "Economics in One Lesson".

Government "encouragement" to business is sometimes as much to be feared as government hostility. This supposed encouragement often takes the form of a direct grant of government credit or a guarantee of government loans.

....
....

But there is a decisive difference between the loans supplied by private lenders and the loans supplied by a government agency. Each private lender risks his own funds. (A banker, it is true, risks the funds of others that have been entrusted to him; but if money is lost he must either make good out of his own funds or be forced out of business.) When people risk their own funds they are usually careful in their investigations to determine the adequacy of the assets pledged and the business acumen and honesty of the borrower.

If the government operated by the same strict standards, there would be no good argument for its entering the field at all. Why do precisely what private agencies already do? But the government almost invariably operates by different standards.

The whole argument for its entering the lending business, in fact, is that it will make loans to people who could not get them from private lenders. This is only another way of saying that the government lenders will take risks with other people’s money (the taxpayers’) that private lenders will not take with their own money. Sometimes, in fact, apologists will freely acknowledge that the percentage of losses will be higher on these government loans than on private loans. But they contend that this will be more than offset by the added production brought into existence by the borrowers who pay back, and even by most of the borrowers who do not pay back.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Socialist America

We already know America has socialised banking, socialised education, socialised disaster relief and emergency response, and of course, the very expensive socialised foreign policy and warfare.

Don't forget that America is a textbook example of socialised medicine. The government spends 14% of GDP on healthcare. Yet Australian socialists seem to point out that all the obvious failures of the American health system are evidently because it is a 'user-pays' system.

Forget any efforts to analyse the policy regime in the U.S.....If America was really a user pays free market, then how can this happen ?


In the US, we don't have prices, and so don't have a market.

The following is a transcript of conversations I very recently had with some U.S. health care providers, written down during or immediately after each conversation:

Conversation with Stanford Hospital:

Me
My wife needs a colonoscopy: Could you give me a price on it?

Stanford Hospital: (businesslike tone)
Twenty five hundred to thirty five hundred.

Me
You do this all the time. Can't you give me a specific price?

Stanford Hospital: (cooler tone)
Sorry

Me
Is $3500 the all up, all included price to both myself and my insurance?

(Previous research shows that mystery surprise additional charges are usually around a thousand dollars)

Stanford Hospital: (businesslike tone)
It only includes the doctors fee, and does not include any additional services

Me
So after I have this done, any number of people could then charge me any fee they like in addition to the thirty five hundred?

Stanford Hospital: (distinctly chilly tone)
I am afraid so.

O'Connor Hospital

Me
My wife needs a colonoscopy: Could you give me a price on it.

O'Connor Hospital
Do you have a primary physician.

Me
Yes, my primary physician has advised this procedure, but it seems expensive. I am looking for a price.

O'Connor Hospital (indignantly)
We don't give out prices.

Mercy General Hospital

Me
I am looking for a price on a colonoscopy.

Mercy General Hospital hangs up without a word.

Saint Joseph's medical center of Stockton:

I am transferred to financial counselling, who
transferred me to "Estimates" The estimating lady
appreciated my problem and made sympathetic noises.

She then asks me for a CPT code. I then research what CPT codes are, and discover that a colonoscopy can result in any CPT, and any number of CPTs. I discover that no matter what CPT I give, it is unlikely to be correct or sufficient, that additional CPTs can show up any time. A CPT would only be useful if it was possible to know in advance what CPTs would result from a colonoscopy, but the CPTs are only decided after the colonoscopy, usually long after the colonoscopy.


A better example of a free market in health is Singapore, which only spends 1.3% of GDP

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alcohol is a drug

Yes, from a public policy viewpoint, the effects of alcohol on society are pretty similar to some banned narcotics.

Obviously some substances are more harmful than others, and quantities/doses are a huge factor as well, as is so often mentioned with alcohol.

Some moralisers and public do-gooders are unsatisfied with heavy taxes on alcohol, and suggest we treat alcohol the same as banned narcotics.

They're half right. Sure they both should be treated in a similar manner, but that doesn't mean they both should be prohibited. We all know about America's short-lived disastrous experiment with prohibition in the 1920's, but in case some people need a reminder, take a look at Russia's wonferful experience:


Gorbachev's original theory was that the socialist system was in good working order, but the people, the cogs in the communist machine, had taken to laziness, drunkenness, and were accumulating "dishonest income" in violation of socialist ethics. His first reform was to call for "a restructuring of people's thinking."

The anti-alcohol campaign began right away. Party bosses sternly announced that they didn't want any "drunks" in their country. Their enforcers began a concerted effort to discover anyone with the smell of alcohol on their breath and haul them into the police station. When the police stations became overcrowded, it became routine practice to drive thousands of people about fifteen miles out of town and drop them in the cold and dark. Nearly every night, you could see armies of so-called drunks walking miles back to town in the middle of winter.


Over 90 percent of liquor stores were closed. The Party bosses did not anticipate what happened next: sugar, flour, aftershave, and window cleaner immediately disappeared from the shelves. Using these products, the production of moonshine increased by about 300 percent in one year.


The nanny-statists have to acknowledge the reality - that people ultimately are going to need to employ their judgment, as to which substances and which quantities are safe to use.

Even with a tax on alcohol, and barbaric laws against drugs, people use and abuse them.

Police have better things to do with their time.

Prisons are expensive to fill.

Legalizing drugs and removing taxes from alcohol does not actively encourage a single person's decision making process. It won't encourage increased drug abuse or alcoholism.

So its time to end the war on drugs and the war on booze.


'Public health' is an oxymoron

The Liberty Papers has an excellent and thorough post highlighting all the problems with using the state to provide health to the public, instead of the free market.

The only valid criticism of the free market approach is that those who cannot afford health services ( without enough assistance from families or private charities) will not have access to them.

The valid criticisms of public health seem to outweigh the problems with private health.


We can see that far from being heartless, the supporter of free markets is really attempting to make medical care cheaper and more widely available, and that the advocate of government involvement is inevitably arguing for a system that is inefficient, not innovative and that in the long term will do a poor job of extending quality care to the poor who cannot afford it today. While in the short term, the state can commandeer impressive resources and make massive strides towards acheiving some goal, in the long term such actions can be very detrimental.

Go and read the full article.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our public servants and world leaders are lying fools

Rudd:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today blamed "extreme capitalism" for the global crisis and said the seed for the economic meltdown was sewn in the United States' reaction to the bursting of the dotcom bubble at the beginning of the decade.

Rudd is officially the most arrogant misguided socialist around, except for Chavez and Castro.

Governments look for any excuse to grant themselves new powers in a crisis, that they themselves caused. How did capitalism (i.e freedom) cause this crisis ? Since when does capitalism consist of:
  • a central bank setting the price of money for the entire economy?
  • a banking system based on fractional reserve lending ?
  • a compulsory medium of exchange for the entire economy?
  • massive financial and accounting regulations which change with the whim of each government ?
  • government endorsement or outright compulsion to invest in share markets for retirement purposes (401ks, superannuation) ?
  • American GSEs to sponsor home-ownership ?
  • The US gov't passing the CRA to pressure banks to take on risky loans.
  • Australian state governments, and the UK gov't, heavily restricting the use of land for new property development thus massively increasing demand and prices for existing homes ?
  • Generous welfare programs throughout the entire western world to attract millions of new migrants further placing pressure on the existing supply of housing ?
  • Australian grants and subsidies to first home buyers ?

Get government out of society, let it enforce contracts and uphold rights, and let people solve their problems.

As John Galt said in Atlas Shrugged - "Get out of my way !"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sometimes Labor is more liberal than Liberal

I hate the Labor party manifesto, and its general attitude towards seeking out "a balance" and compromising between thieves who want to steal your money to help the poor, and thieves who want to steal your money to help families, and thieves who went to steal your money to help Gaia.

But I'll always give credit where it's due. Hawke-Keating made some great achievements, by cutting income tax and deregulating our economy for the better. Howard wasted a decade fiddling around.

The new NSW Labor Premier Nathan Rees has seen the looming bankrupcty of their state, as predicted by the brilliant ex-treasurer Michael Costa in recent months, and has decided to stop the rot and cut off the looters from the public purse:


A FIFTH of NSW public service fat cats face the axe as NSW Premier Nathan Rees struggles to drag the state budget back into the black.

Mr Rees told a budget estimates committee hearing this afternoon the Government will slash 117 senior executive positions in the state's public sector, saving $120 million over four years.

...

Last month, Mr Rees announced $1.9 billion worth of payroll tax cuts, promised in the June state budget, would survive the mini-budget process, despite a projected $1 billion turnaround in NSW finances courtesy of the sluggish property market.

The public sector job cuts announced today amount to 20 per cent of NSW government senior executive positions.


Good.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Quote of the Day

From economist Arnold Kling:

"Instead of thinking of the pending bailouts and financial regulation as a new era of government supervisions of markets, think of it as preserving the system in which a Harvard elite controls other people's money. In fact, very little is likely to change. Reading the news stories about how Secretary Paulson plans to implement the bailout, it seems as though the same people will be in charge of the money. Print some new business cards, change the logo on the front from "Goldman Sachs" to "U.S. Treasury," and everything else continues as it was. It's just that it becomes a lot more difficult for ordinary people to opt out of using the elite's money management services."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Wisdom of Reason Magazine

From Ron Bailey, editor of Reason Magazine:

Europe Under-Regulated Too?


As European stock markets tank, the Irish government guarantees bank deposits, the Benelux countries nationalize Fortis bank, Germany bails out Hypo Real Estate Holdings, and Denmark also guarantees bank deposits and dismally so forth, the question arises: Who knew that Europe, of all places, was so under-regulated?

Or maybe de-regulation is not the chief cause for the outbreak of financial chaos? Just wondering.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Our Prime Minister hates liberty

The sad reality has dawned on me. Kevin Rudd is much worse than John Howard.

During his 10 year as Prime Minister, Howard actually made very little moves to enhance freedom, deregulate and lower taxes, and he was actually responsible for establishing new bureaucracies, new welfare payments and doubling the number of public servants.

Perhaps he deserved to be thrown out after so long because he was just playing with the existing system and not cutting taxes or deregulating seriously. I could safely suggest it was because of our alarmist and hysterical media and opposition who predicted an apocolypse at any move towards freedom and deregulation. Howard faced the fiercest opposition for some small moves like privatising Telstra and trying to de-regulate (re-regulate) industrial relations slightly with WorkChoices.

But at least he never went about expanding the regulatory powers of ACCC, introducing FuelWatch, FoodWatch and other price controls, introducing new environmental regulations and carbon taxes. And despite not getting rid of the income tax, he would at least make big budget day announcements about reducing it gradually.

Howard always spoke favorably of all moves towards free trade, deregulation, lower taxes.

Rudd has never done such a thing. He has grudgingly endorsed cutting the number of public servants and deregulation, but in effect, he hasn't outlined one single way he will acheive this.

Today, he has revealed his socialist stripes in full activist mode, and blasted capitalism as a "greed is good" ideology. This is one of the most offensive speeches to come from a world leader, and is worthy of a thug-in-chief like Castro or Chavez:

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We’ve seen the triumph of greed over integrity; the triumph of speculation over value creation; the triumph of the short term over long-term sustainable growth,” Mr Rudd said.

“It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn thefull lessons of the greed-is-good ideology. And today we are still cleaning up the mess of the21st-century children of Gordon Gekko.”

Mr Rudd said such ideologues always argued that the market knew best except when there was a crash and then “the self-same ideologues argue, having privatised their profits, we should socialise their losses - and, by the way, having demanded lower and lower taxes all the way through”. [ !?!? just exactly which part of capitalism requests that private losses are socialised by the tax payer ?!?!]

“This culture was never challenged by a political and economic ideology of extreme capitalism,” he said. “And this crisis bears the fingerprints of the extreme free market ideologues who influence much of the neo-liberal economic elite. [ And of course government hasn't left its fingerprints on this mess and has made no mistakes at all ?!?!]

“Free market ideologues who have a naive belief that unrestrained markets are always self-correcting and that markets left to themselves will always achieve optimum outcomes.” [ Since when is the U.S Housing market, and the banking system unrestrained and regulated l ?!?!]

Friday, October 03, 2008

Just how socialist is America ?

I'm not sure what the "Freedom Index" is based on, but where else in the world does the government grant itself the power to run financial markets ?

And this is despite the restraints clearly spelt out by their constitution, which forbids government from doing just about everything it gets away with today.

This bail out will be the nail in the coffin for American liberty. You could call it the New New Deal, a profound change in the nature of American markets, a severe blow to the principles of free markets, the emergence of widespread moral hazards, corruption and conflicts of interest in Washington.

Reason Magazine has a devastating summary of what shall come to pass once the bail out has been approved, and the sheer recklessness of the current crop of American politicians who are backing it, including both Obama and McCain. This first paragraph alone will have you reeling in shock:


The Senate is overly fond of referring to itself as the “world’s greatest deliberative body.” Barely 48 hours after the House rejected the Treasury’s bailout plan, the august body took a previously passed House bill mandating that insurance companies cover mental health benefits, added in the core $700 billion bailout, laced in money for rural school districts and disaster relief, expanded FDIC deposit insurance coverage, and topped it off with over $150 billion in old and new tax breaks for businesses, individuals in high-income states, individuals living in states without an income tax, and various interests such as wooden-arrow makers and film production crews. GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, almost choking back tears after the Chamber passed the 451-page monster, said it was the Senate “at its finest.”

The Age of Pericles this ain’t.

Now I'm usually the last person to claim conspiracy and corruption behind unwise or unpopular government actions, especially in Western democracies. I would have typically suggested incompetence, inability and a misunderstanding of economics is behind the abysmal state of public education and health.

But the banking and finance industry has no right to call itself a free market. It is a cartel, operating through lobbying efforts, political favors and by institutionalising their interests and profitability in government (see The Fed, the Community Reinvestment Act, the FDIC, the SEC, the NRSRO).

We are definitely approaching "peak insanity":

Let’s remember, this is one of those rare cases where the “victims,” the bankers and investment bankers, are the very people who made the mistakes. It is possible that, absent government intervention, we can get through this upheaval with no one else actually getting hurt. This isn’t like the former Enron employees who lost their life savings through no fault of their own. This is financial institutions failing because of the very specific mistakes they made.

....

Remember, wrongdoing at Enron wasn't uncovered by regulators. It was uncovered by the market, as analysts realized that much of the company’s story was fiction. Markets with free flows of information are the best guard against meltdowns. The slightly less free market we are entering will make them more common.

Also, while I have no real reason to question Hank Paulson’s motives in his rampant cheerleading for a bank bailout, I would feel a whole lot better if he weren’t sitting on a few hundred thousand options to buy shares in Goldman Sachs.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blog List added in sidebar

I will build the list up when I have time later.
Enjoy !

Yeah, what he said !

I try to keep a cool head and clean language when writing. But Tex at WhackingDay deserves recognition for his excellent summary of the hyped-up presidential elections:

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My message to the world: shut up and get a fucking grip will you?

In the worst presidential choice Americans have faced since Nixon diced with McGovern, Sarah Palin gets picked as McCain's veep candidate, causing complete and utter derangement in leftists the world over.

Meanwhile, conservatives are hyperventilating themselves to death over Obama supposedly going to turn America into the USSR.

For fucks sake you tools: calm down . Does anybody with an ounce of common sense think McCain is remotely capable of being an effective president? Do any of you Obama-The-Messiah crowd actually have any idea on how this "change" bullshit will manifest itself?

Here's the horrible truth people, and there's no way out of it:

Both of these morons will fuck the USA royally in their upcoming term.

Either way, we're going to get an economically incompetent clown who will do nothing to reverse Dubya's appalling financial direction, and someone who will fight the war against terror in a completey half-arsed manner which will achieve little except costing the USA a lot more money and soldiers' lives.

But hey, let's not worry about this stuff eh? It's clearly much more important to talk about Obama's stage props at the convention, or who Trig Palin's real mother is, or if Obama is "really a Muslim", or all those non-existent books Palin didn't ban, or some 5-second soundbite of some candidate saying something stupid. You partisan types can wank yourselves to death over believing this choice in November actually matters.

So, blogosphere and media, unless you have something substantial to say about how the candidates actually differ, in actual real policy and results terms, then SHUT THE FUCK UP you fucking tedious useless arsecunting wankers.

I'm sick and fucking tired of listening to your idiot, insubstantial, blithering, childish partisan crap about nothing. There are real issues at play in an American presidential election, so why do all you fucking fools concentrate on the goddamned circus as if it actually matters?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bailout was defeated by Congress ! Suck on that Rudd !

Victory for free markets today, as the proposed $700b Wall St bailout was voted against by Congress.

This is despite many meddling world leaders, eager to look concerned and discuss government actions and put forward new interventions and proposals at each concerning development, put forward supportive statements suggesting the bailout is vital to stability.

One typical example is our dud PM, Kevin Rudd, who was disappointed by the fact that American tax payers were not robbed of a further $700b USD. An online video just showed him looking "deeply concerned and distressed", so my mood is further improved at seeing this thieving bureaucrat have his hands slapped as government was blocked from picking yet another pocket.

Stock markets have obviously been hammered, but this is going to speed up the recovery instead of prolonging it. Bad investments were made over the past decade, we must live with it and liquidate them before moving on. This means pain in one way or another. Government cannot, and should not even think about, waving its magic wand to "stimulate or stabilise financial markets".

Its a shame so many people were caught unaware by this collapse, people who had their life savings and superannuation in shares (down nearly 40% in the last 12 months) or property (only starting to come down now). But we live in a financial system where the central bank is a monopoly, and sets the rule of the game.

And here is the problem with the system:

They tell us we can only use Australian dollars as a medium of exchange, to settle payments and debts, to save money, to bank, to earn, to trade with.

Central banking, via fractional reserve, accomodates the banking cartel to expand credit at a sharp pace, and the supply of money continues to double every decade. This is concealed sneaklily by government engineered statistics relating to CPI and GDP, to reassure us that the economy is healthy when a terrible storm is brewing.

And it should be no surprise that as the storm strikes, it is central banks and the US government who make the biggest noise and try to rush through legislation to give them new expanded powers. I guess its a way of distracting attention from the serious issues that should be discussed, and the media are all too happy to dance to their tune.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The New New Deal, socialism wins in America

The US government is doing the unimaginable and going ahead with a $700b+ bail-out package of troubled Wall St giants. The cost will actually go into the trillions, as the $700b limit is on the rolling size of the fund, which can be used to purchase up to $700b of mortgage related, "illiquid" (i.e garbage) assets at a time, and then sell them off on the market.

Basically, the U.S taxpayer has to open their pockets and fund the loss on these crappy assets that sit on the balance sheets of a whole lot of banks who made the stupid decisions in the first place.

This is the biggest nationalisation in American history and is an affront to freedom, capitalism and the constitution (where does it mention Congress having the power to buy mortgage related assets)

How did this come to pass ? There was a massive public uproar over this proposal and it looked like a few brave congressman and senators would resist this unprecedented expansion of government. But of course, the Dems could easily be bought by inserting their populist agenda into the details of the bail-out package. Just staple on some limits on CEO salaries, a moratorium on foreclosures and other sweeteners for home owners and presto, it looks like a "balance was struck".

The idiotic media commentary has been enthusiastic for this scheme, and as usual, very myopic and focussed only on the hear and now. Here are some problems, and predictions I have about this disaster, that the media should take heed of.

  • This is not going to end the credit crunch. This is going to cause it to spread, so that even the credit rating of the US government will be brought into question. Sovereign US debt has never been backed up by any tangible assets like gold bars, its always been resting upon "the full faith and credit of the US government". And there is no way that such an empty guarantee will maintain a AAA credit rating in the coming years.
  • This will boost the sharemarket - for the coming week. Volatility will remain, many more companies will collapse. The bear market is far from over.
  • This will absolutely destroy the US dollar. Where is the US government getting the trillions of dollars to fund this scheme when they are already running a massive deficit ? Creditors will soon question the ability of the US government to repay its obligations and dump their holdings of US dollars.
  • This will be very inflationary, as the Fed and Treasury will try to expand the supply of money and credit, and the price of all real assets, in terms of $US, will shoot up. Watch gold in particular. Oil may suffer downwards effects of an impending global economic slowdown, but gold will only go up in inflationary environments.
  • This will NOT be the last bail out, this will NOT bring stability to financial markets.
  • The US government will be unable to pay for its massive budgets, and will need to slash expenditure. Abolishing social security and medicare are the only viable options, as well as cutting back on their military expenses, which include operating bases in 130 different countries.
The parallels with this story and with Atlas Shrugged are too strong to ignore. Socialism is here and the U.S.S.A will collapse as a super power if they do not end the statism in Washington and return to their tradition as a free, capitalist society.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No new road regulations ! A letter to VicRoads !

VicRoads is the Victorian government authority in charge of roads, road laws, speed limits, regulations and traffic signal timing. There has been a huge protest over the State Government's proposal to extend clearways in commercial areas to 6am-10am, and 3pm-7pm.

Angry traders and residents took to the streets at Bridge Rd in Richmond, High St in Armadale, Toorak Rd in South Yarra, High St in Prahran East and St George’s Rd in North Fitzroy around 9am.

The latest protests come as the Herald Sun revealed VicRoads received 783 submissions about their plan to extend clearways. Only 20 or 2.6 per cent, declared support for the State Government's proposal.

I encourage all readers to leave VicRoads a complaint on their feedback form.

Let them know that the roads are already over-regulated, that we need less restrictions, less parking and speed regulations, and certainly congesting the road with more mobile barriers (a.k.a trams) is not going to alleviate congestion.

VicRoads use false reasoning to suggest that extending clearways will benefit half the galaxy:
Clearway changes will benefit over 300,000 tram and bus passengers and over 250,000 private vehicle road users in Melbourne every day – this is not reflected in the submissions received.

Thats it.. thats the only reason provided for the clearways which has angered so many local businesses and traders. Here is my letter to VicRoads.

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I am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed extension of clearways. The reasons given for the extension of clearways are very superficial, they are based on assumptions that do not hold up to scrutiny and they do not present a strong case for the new regulations.

On your website, the only defence of the clearway extension was as follows:

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/RoadsAndProjects/RoadAndTrafficManagmement/KeepingMelbourneMovingClearwaysUpdate.htm

"Most submissions were critical of the decision to change clearway times, but it is important to note that the ‘silent majority’, who may be pleased with, or indifferent to, a particular issue, may not be motivated to respond to a call for submissions. Clearway changes will benefit over 300,000 tram and bus passengers and over 250,000 private vehicle road users in Melbourne every day – this is not reflected in the submissions received."

Firstly, those figures and the benefit they convey are grossly overstated. Will every single motorist and public transport user, regardless of what time of day they use the roads, benefit ?

And what is the value of the benefit ? Is the reduction in travel time significant ? Is it negligible due to other bottlenecks in the road system ?

Secondly, it is downright dishonest to assume and declare that the silent majority are most likely supporters of whatever legislation is being implemented.

There is not one public statements where VicRoads has even acknowledged the costs of this new legislation.

Obviously there is the loss of revenue to traders and businesses. There is also the cost of new signage, additional parking enforcement and probably some advertising costs in some "public awareness campaign" to explain the changes.

Then there is the cost to motorists who are looking for parking during these extended times, as well as the threat of being penalised with huge fines at specific times of the day, even if they make an informed judgement that there is very little traffic flow and that parking would be a good use of the public land. The hardship and burden placed on many motorists alone would outweigh the small benefits in travel times.

As it stands, our roads are already over-regulated.

Another aspect that shows that the legislation will not accomplish its so-called intention is the focus on supporting trams and increasing the number of trams in service as a method of reducing congestion. Common sense dictates that trams cause massive congestion, perhaps more than any other vehicle. Trams effectively occupy 2 lanes of traffic, especially when they stop or when they turn corners. They never travel at a speed that matches the flow of traffic, and they seem all too keen to observe the timetable regulations and arrive at a specific time, even if it means travelling at half the speed limit when no traffic is in front of a tram.

The amount of congestion that can be seen behind a tram is astonishing, and I cannot see how more of these mobile barriers can solve congestion when they are the problem itself.

Putting aside the astronomical cost of tram infrastructure, tracks, electrical cables and stops, there is absolutely no justification for the continued use of trams except perhaps in the Melbourne's inner CBD.

The glaring reality is that every single tram can be immediately and easily replaced by a bus service, with not one significant drawback to any commuters.

Buses do not cause congestion, are cheaper, do not require tracks and overhead grids, and do not cause massive blockages when stopping for passengers.

I hope somebody in VicRoads does a serious consideration of these suggestions, and that they consider simplifying our road system, removing trams, and allowing a free community where commuters use their own discretion and judgment to determine the when/how and where of each journey they undertake. Parking restrictions have absolutely no benefit, and a huge cost to society. The idea that employing an army of public servants to impose fines on parked cars, and that society is more prosperous as a result, is yet another underlying assumption that needs to be examined.