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:

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

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

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

Stanford Hospital: (cooler tone)

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

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

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

O'Connor Hospital
Do you have a primary physician.

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

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


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.


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:


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:

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?