The Battle of San River – Winston Churchill Gets Fired I THE GREAT WAR Week 43

Fiscal policy is as significant as, and sometimes more important than, monetary policy in determining the price level and, therefore, the dynamics of inflation

From https://www.dallasfed.org/~/media/documents/research/eclett/2014/el1406.pdf

Cavalier policy and disconcerting projections

croaking cassandra

From a macroeconomic point of view, that title for this post really sums things up nicely.

Take policy first. The government has brought down a Budget that projects an operating deficit (excluding gains and losses) of 1.7 per cent of GDP for the 2022/23 year that starts a few weeks from now. Perhaps that deficit might not sound much to the typical voter but operating deficits always need to be considered against the backdrop of the economy.

Over the last couple of years we had huge economic disruptions on account of Covid, lockdowns etc, and fiscal deficits were a sensible part of handling those disruptions (eg paying people to stay at home and reduce the societal spread of the virus). Whatever the merits of some individual items of spending over that period, hardly anyone is going to quibble with the fact of deficits.

But where are we now (or, more…

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David Niven on How The Queen Mary Accidentally Sank The HMS Curacoa In WWII | The Dick Cavett Show

War of the Cliques – Warlord Era 1922-1928

Create a Black Market the Easy Way!

Free Public Transport: Why Now of All Times?

Pedestrian Observations

This is the second in a series of four posts about the poor state of political transit advocacy in the United States, following a post about the Green Line Extension in metro Boston, to be followed by the topics of operating aid and an Urban Institute report by Yonah Freemark.

There’s a push in various left-wing places to make public transportation free. It comes from various strands of governance, advocacy, and public transport, most of which are peripheral but all together add up to something. The US has been making some pushes recently: Boston made three buses fare-free as a pilot program, and California is proposing a three-month stimulus including free transit for that period and a subsidy for car owners. Germany is likewise subsidizing transport by both car and public transit. It’s economically the wrong choice for today’s economy of low unemployment, elevated inflation, and war, and it’s…

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How to Waste Money on Public Transportation

Pedestrian Observations

This is the fourth in a series of five (not four) posts about the poor state of political transit advocacy in the United States, following posts about the Green Line Extension in metro Boston, free public transport proposals, and federal aid to operations, to be followed by a post about how to do better instead.

I think very highly of Yonah Freemark. His academic and popular work on public transport and urbanism ranges from good to excellent, and a lot of my early thinking (and early writing!) on regional rail and high-speed rail owes a debt to him.

But I think he’s wrong in his proposal for a Green New Deal for transportation. This is a proposal by the Climate and Community Project (not the Urban Institute as I said in previous posts – sorry) to decarbonize transport in the United States, through fleet electrification and…

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Just the usual double standards and hypocrisy

No Minister

It would not be politics otherwise.

So are calls to arms when a government decision doesn’t go your way. Next thing you know you’ll have people accusing you of causing an insurrection.🥺

Given how deep she is in the shit as Mayor of Chicago you’d think she’d be focusing relentlessly on that, starting with her reelection, but like most of these grifters she’s probably aiming at some future “activist” position. Certainly fixing the city she’s done so much to wreck is not even on the list.

Or how about having the new Presidential Press Secretary turn out to be a purveyor of dangerous disinformation that could destroy American democracy by tricking people into losing faith in elections.

Then there are the grifters like Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin (the “conservative” voice at the WaPo). After crying for years that his movement away from the GOP was all because of Bad…

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The Queen’s speech, the Johnson government, and the constitution – lessons from the 2021-22 session

The Constitution Unit Blog

As a new session of parliament commences, Lisa James discusses what constitutional lessons can be learned from its predecessor. She argues thatthe government’s legislation and its approach to parliamentary scrutiny in the 2021-22 session suggest that a disregard for checks and balances, a tendency to evade parliamentary scrutiny, and a willingness to bend constitutional norms are fundamental traits of the Johnson premiership.

A new parliamentary session began last week, with a Queen’s speech that laid out a highly ambitious volume of new bills. Many of these are likely to prove controversial – including planned constitutional measures.

To assess how the government might proceed, and how this might play out in parliament, it is useful to look back at the 2021-22 session. This was the first of Boris Johnson’s premiership not wholly dominated by Brexit or the COVID-19 pandemic – offering insight into both the government’s constitutional agenda, and…

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Coal Hard Fact: Fossil Fuel The Central Foundation For Modern Human Civilisation

STOP THESE THINGS

The miserable misanthropes and neo-Marxists reckon that fossil fuels are an evil to be driven back to the depths from whence they came. Except, of course, when it comes to their own selfish energy needs.

Spend a week gathering dung and twigs to cook meals over a smoky fire in an unlit hut, and you’ll soon be screaming for fossil fuels.

A propane-burning stove soon eliminates the smoke, soot and particulates that cause lung disease and more.

Cheap and reliable electricity is better still. For development economists, it’s seen as the catalyst for modernity, paving the way for the mechanization and industrialisation that allows the impoverished to escape the daily drudgery and misery of a life without reliable energy.

As Alex Epstein explains below, human existence would be all the poorer without the benefits of fossil fuels.

Earth Day truth: Fossil fuels make Earth BETTER
Substack
Alex Epstein
23 April…

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What NZ can learn (is Greenpeace listening?) from Sri Lanka’s blundering to combat climate change by going organic

Point of Order

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis in decades, facing depleted petrol reserves, food shortages and a chronic lack of medical supplies.

More than a month of mainly peaceful protests against the government’s handling of the economy turned deadly last week when supporters of the former prime minister stormed an anti-government protest site in the commercial capital Colombo.

For New Zealanders, the troubles being experienced by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people might trigger humanitarian concerns but – at first blush – have little to teach us about good policy.

Kiwis therefore may shrug  off Sri Lanka’s plight as the consequence of incompetence by the governing Rajapaksa brothers, one of whom has resigned as prime minister, the other whose job as president is under threat.

But the policy blunders that precipitated the crisis should be studied by policy wonks in this country 

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In Defense of Bill Clinton

International Liberty

More than 10 years ago, I narrated this video showing how the United States benefited from spending restraint under both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Since today’s topic is Clinton’s policies, pay attention starting about 4:00.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, I hope you will at least pay attention to this chart, which appeared near the end (about 6:00).

It shows what happened to domestic spending (entitlements plus discretionary) as a share of economic output during the Reagan years, the Clinton years, and the 2001-2010 period under Bush and Obama.

Reagan was the runaway champion, but it’s worth noting that the burden of domestic spending also declined during the Clinton years.

But it wasn’t just that Bill Clinton was good on spending. Good things happened in the 1990s in other areas as well, especially trade.

In a column for the Wall…

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Science explained

Two key economic issues that should be tackled in Budget 2022 – but don’t hold your breath, folk

Point of Order

Two  of  New Zealand’s principal economic    issues   are  its  low  productivity and  high effective   corporate  tax  rates.

So will the  Ardern  government  tackle  these   issues   in  Budget  2022?

Finance  Minister  Grant  Robertson  could   write  himself   into   NZ’s  economic  history  if  he  did  so.

Sadly,  Point of  Order  suspects  he  might  go  for  what are  quick-fixes  (if he  does  anything at all)  that  do  little  to  raise  investment levels  and  lift  productivity  to stop NZ  falling   further  behind other  advanced  economies..

The  OECD in  its annual  review   of the  NZ  economy attributed  the low productivity rate  to muted product market competition, weak international linkages and innovation, and skills and qualifications mismatches.  

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