New Zealand leads house price to income ratio across the OECD

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Source: IMF Global Housing Watch

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One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is in denial about the facts of climate change

The Logical Place

The Conversation

John Cook, The University of Queensland

The notion that climate science denial is no longer a part of Australian politics was swept away yesterday by One Nation Senator-Elect Malcolm Roberts.

In his inaugural press conference, Roberts claimed that “[t]here’s not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere, anywhere, showing that humans cause, through CO₂ production, climate change”.

He also promoted conspiracy theories that the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology are corrupt accomplices in climate conspiracy driven by the United Nations.

His claims conflict with many independent lines of evidence for human-caused global warming. Coincidentally, the University of Queensland is releasing a free online course this month examining the psychology and techniques of climate science denial. The very first video lecture addresses Roberts’ central claim, summarising the empirical evidence that humans are causing climate change.

Consensus of Evidence (from Denial101x course)

Scientists have observed various human fingerprints in recent climate change…

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Central Banking Round-up

Cherokee Gothic

A couple of interesting papers on the evolution of central banking as well as a fun WSJ piece on how bombastic metaphors have taken over discussions of CB actions.

Calomiris, Charles ; Flandreau, Marc ; Laeven, Luc, “Political Foundations of the Lender of Last Resort: A Global Historical Narrative.” 

“This paper offers a historical perspective on the evolution of central banks as lenders of last resort (LOLR). LOLRs established prior to World War II, with few exceptions, followed policies that can be broadly characterized as implementing “Bagehot’s Principles” : seeking to preserve systemic financial stability rather than preventing the failure of particular banks, and limiting the amount of risk absorbed by the LOLR as much as possible when providing financial assistance. After World War II, and especially after the 1970s, generous deposit insurance and ad hoc bank bailouts became the norm. The focus of bank safety net policy changed…

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David Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith: Liberals at war

The History of Parliament

Inspired by the political upheaval in many of our political parties after the Brexit vote, we’ve been looking this summer at some historic party splits. In today’s blog we move into the 20th century, and the personal and political rivalry between two Liberal Prime Ministers that pulled their party apart…

At the declaration of war in August 1914, Herbert Asquith had been Liberal Prime Minister for six years. Together with his ‘fiery’ Chancellor, David Lloyd George, his government had passed the ‘People’s Budget’, introduced old age pensions and had reformed the House of Lords, in spite of troubles over Irish Home Rule, industrial unrest and electoral reform (in particular the campaign for votes for women). The government’s two leading figures were very different characters: Asquith the accomplished legislator, Lloyd George the populist, radical Welshman. By the end of the war, Lloyd George was Prime Minister leading a coalition…

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Bulk Battery Storage of Wind Power a Myth

STOP THESE THINGS

mythbusters2

In the fall-out over South Australia’s wind powered economic and social calamity, the line has been repeatedly spun about fixing the mess with ‘rapidly improving battery storage technology’.

It is little more than a ‘smoke and mirrors’ pitch by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers, designed to deflect attention from the fact that wind power is meaningless as a power source, abandoned centuries ago for very obvious reasons – eg, SA’s wind power output during July:

SA Jul 16

Even if storing Terawatt/hours of electricity produced by these things – when it wasn’t needed, in order to deliver it when it might be – was technically possible the cost of the power delivered would be astronomical, as this little Mythbusting analysis makes plain.

The Holy Grail of Battery Storage
Energy Matters
Roger Andrews
18 August 2016

A recent Telegraph article claims that storage battery technology is now advancing so fast that “we…

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What price should be put on proposed government projects?

croaking cassandra

Professor Miles Kimball from the University of Michigan recently spent a few weeks at The Treasury. Kimball has written a lot about the need for central banks and governments to be more active to overcoming the technological and/or legislative constraints that have allowed the near-zero lower bound to become a major constraint on monetary policy in much of the advanced world.  Weak demand has been a major constraint in much of the West in recent years, and the limits on monetary policy have been a material part of that story. (Monetary policy mistakes, by central banks in places like the euro-area, Sweden and New Zealand haven’t helped.)

We had a good conversation about the ZLB issues while Kimball was here.   My sense is that the ZLB issues are again becoming more pressing globally. That makes it highly regrettable that our Reserve Bank has done no pre-emptive work, and appears uninterested in…

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Apple Tax and Double Irish

econfix

I blogged on the ‘Double Irish’ in 2014 and that this tax arrangement would be ended fully within four years.

Yesterday the European Commission ruled that a tax deal between the Irish government and Apple amounted to illegal state aid with Apple being ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (NZ$20bn) in back taxes to Ireland. Apple, the world’s biggest company, was paying a tax rate of just 1% and in 2014 was paying 0.005% when he usual corporate rate in Ireland is 12.5%. This equates to €50.00 tax for every €1 million earned.

The commission said Ireland’s tax arrangements – Double Irish – with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits. See below:

Corporate Tax rates

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Double Irish is a tax avoidance procedure that some multinational corporations use to lower their…

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Revolver Turns 50!!

Dogs and Avocados

revolver

There is a case to be made for Revolver as the greatest album The Beatles ever made.  It sounded unlike any Beatles record before or since.  Their seventh studio album arrived on August 5, 1966; eight months after Rubber Soul and nine months before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandRubber Soul was the record where the Beatle boys became Beatle men…as artists anyway.  It’s the point where they began writing weightier lyrics, as well as incorporating different sounds into the mix.  Of course Sgt. Pepper’s legendary music was extremely ambitious, top to bottom.  It changed the way we consider rock albums.  Sgt. Pepper’s, concept, the cover art…every facet of it made a statement of artistic expression.

But Revolver showed the band to be at full throttle; virtually bursting with excitement, cocky confidence and creativity.  This record rocked with the exuberance of what it must have felt like…

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A Left-Wing Tax Victory that Is Actually a Triumph for Supply-Side Economics

International Liberty

Our statist friends like high taxes for many reasons. They want to finance bigger government, and they also seem to resent successful people, so high tax rates are a win-win policy from their perspective.

They also like high tax rates to micromanage people’s behavior. They urge higher taxes on tobacco because they don’t like smoking. They want higher taxes on sugary products because they don’t like overweight people. They impose higher taxes on “adult entertainment” because…umm…let’s simply say they don’t like capitalist acts between consenting adults. And they impose higher taxes on tanning beds because…well, I’m not sure. Maybe they don’t like artificial sun.

Give their compulsion to control other people’s behavior, these leftists are very happy about what’s happened in Berkeley, California. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, a new tax on sugary beverages has led to a significant reduction…

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