Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Greatest hits. My most clicked-on twelve in 2011

1 Why we need a carbon tax, by the Coalition's environment spokesman March 07, 2011

In 1990 Greg Hunt co-authored a university thesis entitled A Tax to Make the Polluter Pay. His conclusion: "Ultimately it is by harnessing the natural economic forces which drive society that the pollution tax offers us an opportunity to exert greater control over our environment."

2 Lib costings debacle - "auditors" fined December 01, 2011

The two Perth accountants who costed the Coalition’s 2010 election policies breached professional standards and will be fined, a disciplinary tribunal has ruled. The ruling is an embarrassment to the Coalition which claimed during the campaign the costing was “as good as you could get anywhere in the country, including in Treasury."

3 Super is a con, perpetrated by people who con themselves November 16, 2011

Whatever happens in Europe we can take comfort from the knowledge that our money is being handled by professionals - experts who’ll know what to do. They do, don’t they? It’s about to become more important. Wilful blindness by the government and spinelessness by the opposition have ensured the amount of compulsory super we are forced to hand over to money managers will climb from 9 per cent to 12 per cent of our salaries by the end of the decade. Many of us will have to take out larger mortgages than we would have and hold them for longer in order to feed the money management machine.

4 The carbon tax, the mining tax, they'll kill mining right? May 27, 2011

Neither the mining tax nor the prospect of a carbon tax has made a dent in mining expansion plans with the industry reporting plans that would double spending in the year ahead. Capital expenditure plans collated by the Bureau of Statistics show mining companies intend to lift spending from $35 billion in 2009-10 to $51 billion in 2010-11, an increase of 45 per cent. Plans for 2011-12 suggest a further boost of 63 per cent to a record $83 billion, a figure economists say is almost certainly an underestimate.

5 Abbott needs our help. We need to help him. February 09, 2011

Tony Abbott would make an awful CEO. If he put before a board the "budget cuts" he yesterday put before the public it would throw them back in his face. As a means of funding his determination to abandon the flood levy his cuts would increase the budget deficit in 2011-12 and scarcely change the budget outcome in 2012-13. He told the public his cuts were on top of $50 billion of savings and cuts outlined last year. His board might tell him the correct number is $11 billion, outlined to the public on election eve.

6 News Limited doesn't like ads made by millionaires May 30, 2011

If they are about climate change. Michael Caton is seething inside his two bedroom Sydney flat. “I have a gas heater and two fans - that is me,” he told the Herald after reading the pro carbon tax advertisement in which he features rubbished because it also features a multi-millionaire, the more famous actress Cate Blanchett. Like Blanchett, the star of the The Castle and Packed to the Rafters agreed to front the ads for free. They will air for a week as part of campaign that cost a coalition of groups including the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Council of Trades Unions around one million dollars.

7 Budget reality check. Is $150,000 typical? May 12, 2011

Anyone would think the budget had frozen the income limits for getting family tax benefits at $150,000. Talkback radio was alive with calls about it the day after the budget. Was a family income of $150,000 high or typical? Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey thought it was typical. “$150,000 a year for a family is certainly not rich Australia, it is very much middle Australia,” he told the ABC. “Besides I want people to aspire to earn $150,000 or more.” What the budget doesn’t make clear - but should - is that these cut-offs are already frozen.

8 The Economist broadband survey is a disgrace February 10, 2011

On a few grounds. The graph below understates the present target speed by a factor of 10 and is presented as if the size of public expenditure on the project meant something. In terms of value for money it needn't matter whether the company that is building the thing is publicly or privately owned. What matters is that the project is not a dog.

9 Easy listening. Why power prices are really climbing March 09, 2011

10 We think the rich are too rich, but they're even richer August 29, 2011

When it comes to wealth even the richest among us think the rich have too much - but we’ve no idea of how skewed the distribution really is. A new study finds Australians of all incomes believe the richest 20 per cent of us have around 40 per cent of the wealth. We think that’s too high. The survey finds us oblivious to the far more skewed truth that the best-off 20 per cent have 60 per cent of the wealth and the worst-off 20 per cent a mere 1 per cent.

11 You think the summit's over? The good stuff is just beginning October 19, 2011

Wayne Swan may yet go down in history as the father of a monumental change to the tax system. Not merely the far-sighted, poorly-sold and now emaciated mining tax applying to just four of the originally planned twelve or so commodities, but a truly massive change with the potential to set up Australia for decades to come.

12 Abbott. Economists vote. July 13, 2011

Tony Abbott’s already low opinion of economists is about to sink. Asked a week ago why he thought it was that most economists supported a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme rather than his own “direct action” plan to tackle climate change he replied: “maybe that's a comment on the quality of our economists rather than on the merits of argument”.

Thanx for reading.

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