Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ten years after…

Both the horror and the loss of that September day ten years ago were brought back to all of us by the recent commemoration. The simple nobility of the ceremony and memorial at Ground Zero made the tragedy much more real again.

And with that, much more bitter.

Because the tragic site at which speeches were made and wives and children mourned was the scene of mass murder. Of a declaration of war. Of an intentional, ideologically motivated mass killing. Yet a decade after the greatest peacetime attack since Pearl Harbor, western troops are still carrying out “peace keeping” missions in its name in places that don’t want peace, put in harm’s way by leaders with no idea what they are really there for. 

Why this agonising slow bleed? Because if American (and western) reaction to it over the last ten years could be summed up in one sweeping leitmotif, says historian John Lewis, it would be this: Apologetic self-abnegation.

Attacked on our own soil and across the globe, we have refused to accept that the cause of the slaughter is the openly stated commitment of clerics, pundits, and political leaders to a barbaric ideology of religious war…
    To explain [the] aggression we search doggedly for evidence of our own malfeasance. We atone for our alleged sins by showering foreign dictatorships with money and the sanction of diplomatic discussions. We apologize for every dead civilian, even as the enemy hides behind defenseless children and flees into safe havens across foreign borders. We offer constitutional protections to murderers pledged to destroy our Constitution.
    Why are we doing this? What has brought us to this state? …  [Because] self-abnegation is the new path to atonement.
    This is the intellectual climate we have steeped in for decades. Is it any wonder that we are acting as these ideas demand?
    This is why, ten years after 9/11, we have not defeated the enemy that used hijacked airliners to murder thousands of Americans before our eyes…
    The deepest cause of this malady oozes out of the ideas that permeate our culture. Intellectually, we have refused to face the fact that we are at war and should act to end it quickly. Morally, we have denied all principles except one: moral goodness means self-sacrifice. Psychologically, we lack confidence in our efficacy, and have murdered our self-esteem by leaping into the quicksand of sacrifice. Politically, we are at perpetual war, because to win decisively would be an act of self-interest—and that is the one action we dare not take.
    These are the fruits of the philosophy of self-abnegation.

Self-abnegation is the west’s default position today.

Government fiddling while house-buyers burn

Before the last election, National were going to “take aim” at house prices. They spent $10,000 on an overseas study on ways to “solve the problem.”  National's housing spokesman, Phil Heatley, “went to the United States and UK to study ways of resolving the predicament of steeply rising house prices blocking many people from owning a home.” Heatley identified “tight land supply” as “one of the factors which had driven up prices,” and said he “favours re-zoning more rural land for urban development.” All good stuff.

But this was before the last election.

Since then? Nothing.

Since then, we’ve had a Prime Minister confiding he’s quite happy about house prices becoming rapidly less affordable, because the price inflation problem (which he can control) will “fix” the leaky house problem (which he can’t).

Since then, we’ve had everyone from Canterbury to South Auckland still struggling to find serviced land on which to build a new house—and with tight land supply and rapidly increasing levies, charges and “contributions” forced on them by council, land developers have been unable to provide it.

Since then, we’ve discovered the National Government is a pack of lying hypocrites taking voters for fools, and Phil Heatley is a  blubbing woosie limpdick more interested in the baubles of office than battling for would-be new home-owners.

Since then, even Phil Goff has conceded that the single biggest cause of the affordable-housing problem is tight land supply (conceded reluctantly, under pressure, under questioning form a journalist who obviously gets it, bit concede it he did)—and relieving this supply stoppage is the best way to get earthquake-ravaged Cantabrians into new affordable homes.

And meanwhile, we have a Prime Minister who can offer only weasel words on Christchurch housing and land supply.

Prime Minister John Key responded by saying the government was dealing with the issue well.”

What a cock.  What an absolute weasel.

[Hat tip Hugh Pavletich]

Montessori education is cool!

Montessori education is cool!  How cool? Well, here’s a smart new (short) video from “that FastDraw bloke” that does a pretty good job of explaining it. It’s all about following the child …

[Hat tip Maria Montessori Education Foundation]

ECONOMICS FOR REAL PEOPLE: Are we nearing the end game of paper money?

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Here’s tonight’s invitation for you from our friends at the UoA Economics Group:

Hi all,

With Europe’s debt problems growing worse by the day, the prospects 
for Europe are bleak. Not that they are any better over the Atlantic 
where President Obama has just put forward a job’s plan that will 
only increase the massive deficit and add to its debt mountain.
    So where is all this headed?
    Tonight we will look at a view that this is the end game of the 
forty-year experiment with paper (fiat) money.
    What economic ideas lead to this view and if true, what should we 
expect over the next few years.
    Join us tonight as we discuss what is one of the most important 
topics of the year.

        Time: 6:00pm
        Date: Tuesday 13 September
        Location: Case Room 1, Level 0, UoA Business School

See you tonight!

Monday, 12 September 2011

A tale of two parties [updated]

Guest post by Julian D.

What a night!

200,000 revellers filled downtown Auckland last Friday. They danced. They cheered. They were filled with life and spirit and the thrill of just being here!  This couldn’t be New Zealand, I thought, joining in. Surely a carnival in Brazil, or a World Cup victory party in Spain or Italy.

Have we ever seen such grand displays of joie de vivre in these normally stoic isles? Have we ever seen New Zealanders so thrilled—so openly excited—about being just being here. At this time. At this place. At this event.

These were people out making their own fun. I’m not talking about the folk in the government’s Slug (Cloud) on Queens’s Wharf or drinking down at the Viaduct. No, we were out there waving flags in Queen Street or dancing with random strangers in Quay Street--banging drums; waving whichever flag we found in our hands; dancing in the streets, or on tops of our cars, or on the roofs of bus shelters. It was entirely spontaneous. There was no outside organisation needed, just the freedom to get out and celebrate life.

What a sight!

After three years of depression and a year of hell for many, it sure as hell felt for a moment like this was nothing but the very best of times.

It was also the worst.

Because Friday’s story is a tale of two parties:

It was fun, it was excitement, it was dancing in the streets. And it was also people stuck in trains, closed off behind  red gates, and being rescued from ferries that failed to go. On the streets and in the city’s bars it was people organising their own pleasure and negotiating with  others of a similar mind. And elsewhere it was the incompetence of government to organise anything—even when they’ve got umpteen years and several hundred million of our dollars to do it with.

Something went wrong on Friday night, and something also went happily, gloriously. thunderously right. What went right was what you and I and every other private person and organisation put together. What went wrong is what always goes wrong: the stuff that governments tried (and failed) to organise.

The trains failed. The ferries failed. The “park-and-rides” and “fan zones” failed. Party central wasn’t big enough. The World Cup stadium wasn’t close enough. All of them failed because of decisions and blunders made by government. Let’s mention just some of them.

AUTHORITIES BACKED A STADIUM in the middle of a residential suburb-- far from the central city, away from its transport hub, miles from motorway connections and car parking facilities. A stadium at Carlaw Park close to the centre of the city and with plenty of room to expand would have had access, parking, and transport options aplenty (as was pointed out at the time here at Not PC).  A bedpan at the waterfront wouldn’t (as we saw from how poorly the waterfront handled Friday night’s throngs.  Eden Park couldn’t. It never could.

The disaster was predictable as soon as you realise the chosen location of the World Cup stadium—a 60,000-seat stadium surrounded on all sides by private houses—a situation deemed unsuitable worldwide for great stadia--was the decision that generated so many of the problems. But don’t expect the bureaucrats to consider the location of the venue away from the CBD and transport centres as a contributing factor when they write their promised reports.

AUTHORITIES ENCOURAGED FANS AND REVELLERS to take public transport. Encouraged? They made it a matter of national importance that everyone use public transport (everyone except for Mayor Len Brown, of course, who elected to drive to Eden Park so he “could be sure to arrive on time” with all the other car-using big-noters who helped pull the shambles together). At the same time, they discouraged individuals from using private transport by closing roads and imposing severe parking restrictions. This meant that a time-tested method of transport to Eden Park was foregone. Witness the lack of cars around Eden Park on the Friday night and near-empty car parks around Eden Park. (In one instance, a car park for 30 vehicles harboured one car only!). And yet this was not the biggest rugby crowd ever at Eden Park. That honour belonged to the 1956 All Blacks v South Africa game when 61,240 fans crowded into the park. I don’t recall hearing of people having problems getting to that game on time.

And it wasn’t even the biggest crowd at a central city event. We’ve had several hundred thousand enjoying Symphonies Under the Stars at the Domain, with all their friends and family around them, and getting there and home quite peacefully.  Or the Santa Parade in downtown.

Mind you, most of them went home in their own cars.

What failed was the authorities and their transport plan. It was a “plan,” if we can use that word, to use a rail network that struggles most days to move a few thousand folks over the whole day to move several tens of thousands of  fans –every single one of them desperate to get to the park on time. And yet, any train passenger in Auckland you ask knows that even the smallest incident often brings that network to a standstill. It was inevitable that with the pressure on the network in Friday a few problems would occur, and any one of those problems would cause havoc. Why are they so surprised by what happened? Are they that incompetent? And why did so many Aucklanders believe the bureaucrats when they said they’d have it all sorted?

WE SHOULDN’T EXPECT TO see any of these points mentioned in the official report.

We shouldn’t expect them to mention the empty motorways that meant it took just minutes to drive from one side of the city to another, while it was taking hours to move just one-hundred metres on the main rail line from Newmarket. 

We shouldn’t expect them to mention the privately-owned taxis, which whisked people to the game when the publicly-paid-for trains and buses couldn’t. We shouldn’t expect them to talk about the privately-owned downtown bars and bottle stores where you could easily get a drink, while people struggled to get near one in the government’s Slug—or you could easily find a TV screen to see the festivities, while they struggled in The Slug to see anything at all on the large screens that went resolutely blue screen for most of the hours of the game.

We won’t see any intelligent discussion at all, because any report that does eventually emerge (if isn’t suppressed altogether) will just be an exercise designed so bureaucrats can cover their arse, and the scum who were responsible for the shambles can use it as an excuse to pick our pockets again. (In fact, Len Brown already sounds positively excited knowing that he can use this shambles as justification to build a bigger train set in Auckland, even if he himself has no plans at all to use it when it matters.)

Of course they will ignore the most important lesson from Friday. And that is this: it seemed that wherever the government was, so were the problems. Wherever they were not, there were none.

That’s the real moral from Friday’s Tale of Two Parties. A Friday night that (for good reasons and bad) most of us will remember for the rest of our lives.

UPDATE: Owen McShane makes points in the comments worth noting:

This classic “group think” behaviour and decision making reflects the rail worship documented in “The Mythical Conception of Rail in Los Angeles.”
Rail mythology leads people to believe that rail solves all problems. It is a short trip from Len Brown saying of airport rail links “Build them and they will come” to “use rail and rail can respond”. There is no way a rail system can operate efficiently at one set of volume and then respond immediately to a four fold increase in demand. Trains are not silver bullets that can work miracles at the wave of a want. IT would take years to increase the capacity of the current network fourfold.
Any modelling of the convergence of people arriving into Britomart in huge numbers while huge numbers were trying to leave for Eden Park would have revealed that the rail system would fail. But the “mythical concept” is that rail solves all problems, and to admit doubt is a heresy. The Taxis of Auckland carry more public transport trips per year than rail ever will, but they were told they were not needed because rail and buses would cope.
Taxis are cars and hence ‘unblessed’.
Rail systems are inherently fragile and only seemed reliable were cars and buses weren’t.
Visions and Myths are no substitute for sound analysis.
The normal pattern is that the actual analysts and engineers etc. sound all the warning about the weakness of rail but are over ridden by the “myth makers”.. But when their predictions prove correct the engineers get the blame.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The state looks after its own

The state forces children to leave their homes every weekday morning and be placed in institutions of the state’s choosing, amongst people with whom the children have no choice about associating.

And then it doesn’t even bother to look after them—even when children of Mongrel Mob members torture children at school, including sexually violating them with screwdrivers, scissors, pencils, branches and drill bits

Disgusting.

Just another reason to hate the State.

The BBC does a great 9/11 series

Ahead of the tenth anniversary of the outrage of September 11, 2o01, the BBC has put up a neat mini-site about the Twin Towers—their construction, their design, their stories, and what’s happening now.

Very cool.  [Scroll down for the full series]

Click the image to go to the first slideshow: How the towers were built.

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“Are we really thinking about selling 49% of our SOEs to pay for 1 year’s worth of tax cuts?”

How often have we seen quick asides on Twitter reveal the implicit assumptions on which certain commentators base their pronouncements. Take this exchange on Twitter yesterday about the partial privatisation of SOEs, which speaks volumes.

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First of all, what’s with the “we” white man? What’s with the “our”?  Since when did you or I or your interlocutor have any actual control or real ownership stake in these government monopolies? (Most of which, by the way, are power companies that should never have been placed in government hands in the first place).

Second, what’s this with the fixation on dividends? “They’re certainly generating a pile of dividends for someone?” Silly me. I thought the primary purpose of power companies (for example) was to generate power—you know, the lifeblood of an industrial economy.  The stuff that keeps the wheels of industry turning. The stuff we’ve got too little of due to lack of real investment..

Power companies, sir, are primarily there to generate power not to fund a dying welfare state.

Or election bribes.

THIS IS NOT JUST an academic argument. In simple terms (which is clearly all Mr Hickey understands now he’s had his lobotomy) the power that power companies make effects every single company in New Zealand--which is to say, it effect the lives, wealth, wellbeing and wages of everyone in the country.  That is a far more tangible thing than talking bollocks about “our” power companies at the Grey Lynn cocktail parties Mr Hickey now attends.  The more cheap power we have (and instead of cheap and abundant power, we’ve been  going headlong in the other direction) the more wealth New Zealand business will be able to generate. And the more capital that is invested and reinvested in power companies, the more cheap and abundant energy we might have.

And to put it bluntly, but not as bluntly as the blunt object Mr Hickey deserves for running with the statist ball, the more capital that foreign owners invest (since there’s blessed little real capital around “our” way to do anything with), the more power there is for New Zealand producers to use to produce things.

That’s a good thing. A very good thing. More foreign owners, more capital, more power. (I keep it simple so Mr Hickey can catch up.)

Now Mr Hickey and his ilk bleat about “foreign ownership” as if Genghis Khan will be coming down from the hills to ravage our cities, and “we,” i.e., “real” New Zealanders, have no power to stop him.  Quite apart from this petty small-town provincialism (which is what this moron’s xenophobia amounts to) this is just more abject bollocks.  The fact is that if left free to make their own decisions (an unfashionable notion, I’ll admit, amongst the people with whom Mr Hickey now sips his lolly water) the “mum and dad” investors in the first public offering of these shares will be able to choose to either keep their shares or sell to a higher bidder. Which means that the decision about foreign ownership is actually in the hands of real New Zealanders. i.e., the New Zealanders who are prepared to put their money where other people’s big mouths are, and to make these SOEs their own.

Moreover, if New Zealand investors in that initial 49% float are bought out by foreign owners, as is likely to happen when or if the shares are allowed to end up in the hands of those who value them the most (as they will if markets are kept free of interference) then those New Zealand investors in receipt of this subsequent windfall are not going to take their money and just bake it into pies, are they. They’re going to reinvest it. They’re going to start new businesses. They’re going to recapitalise existing ones. Which means we, i.e.,  you and I and Bernard Hickey (even though he wouldn’t deserve it) would be better off than we are now from this “second wave” of capital.

We’d all be better off because the country’s businesses would be getting a double bonus of two capital injections: one of which is flushed out by the first, and the first of which helps all our lights stay on. (And as far as dividends go, what do you think NZers would be receiving from their “second wave” of investments? Cookie crumbs?)

So everyone’s better off. Businesses, investors, wage earners. Even the people at Grey Lynn cocktail parties. Everyone, that is, except the moaners.

All very straightforward, really.

Now it might be objected however that any major improvements in power generation would only come about if we could harness the expertise of big overseas players. And we could only harness their full and  undivided interest if they could buy more than the derisory 10% which our sad excuse for a Finance  Minister will allow them to buy. Which is of course an argument not just for the pathetic partial privatisation proposed by this pussy, but for the fully-fledged full-blooded proper privatisation in which all the shares of all the government “assets” (sic) are allowed to find their way into the hands of those who value them the most.

But the Finance Minister is a moron too.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Sheats/Goldstein House: John Lautner

xeog07Photo by Kaimar

"The purpose of Architecture is to improve human life. Create timeless, free,
joyous spaces for all activities in life. The infinite variety of these spaces can
be as varied as life itself and they must be as sensible as nature in
deriving from a main idea and flowering into a beautiful entity."

John Lautner

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John Lautner’s Goldstein house demonstrates his idea. The house cantilevers from its clifftop site out towards Los Angeles. Its spaces blur inside and outside; its materials complement the materials and flora of its site.

To blend with the raw expression outside, the interior of the house has been constructed from all-natural materials, glass, concrete, wood, steel and leather. The house does not contain any painted items, and there are no 90-degree angles in the furniture or in the house design. Even the bed in the master bedroom fits into the angular theme of the house.
    The living room [top] is lit in daylight hours by hundreds of small skylights made from inverted glasses impaled in the roof. 
    A large glass skylight opens over the dining room table [above], and in some places, entire glass walls, rather than windows, may be opened electronically. Shades for the translucent walls are hidden in the ceiling and are lowered with the flip of a switch.

Photos: arcspace

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Are you ready for the paper money collapse [updated]

Stimulus was supposed to reduce unemployment. But all it did was produce whopping deficits and a once-in-a-lifetime expansion of debt.

 As bad as America’s situation is post-stimulus, Europe’s is worse.  Stock and bond markets are just starting to realise that, as European banks face collapse under debts. It’s like 2008 all over again—but this time with a new depression recession inside  the existing one.

The power governments have to print money is killing us. The power governments have given banks to create credit out of thin air   is killing us.

Detlev Schlichter was, until last year, employed as the Head of Fixed Interest at the London office of WAMCO—i.e., Western Asset Management Company, one of the world's leading fixed income managers. Previous to that he was their European Fixed Interest Portfolio Manager. In other words he knows what he is talking about. 

And he is worried.  He is convinced that our historically unprecedented forty-year experiment with paper money is over. Indeed, he left WAMCO last year to write a book titled Paper Money Collapse.

A crisis can no longer be prevented [he says], and in any case, politicians are not listening. Try and protect yourself. That's the only sensible thing to do.

And as paper money loses its value by the day, his views and those like them are going mainstream. Here he is on Reuters the other day (and you don’t get more mainstream than Reuters) putting a timeframe on the collapse. [Click through for the interviews. NOTE: At the 2.05 minute mark you need to click play again as the video will pause for some reason.]

Detlev Sclichter interviewed on Reuters television

Detlev Schichter interviewed on Reuters Television - click image to view interview.

Second half of interview here:

Screenshot of Detlev Schlichter interviewed on Reuters

Second half of Detlev Schlichter on Reuters Television

3.      If you get time have a listen to him talk here. This is the first part of five so click on additional links if you want to hear more.


And if Reuters isn’t mainstream enough for you, here’s the Gold Standard discussed on CNBC—CNBC for Chrissake!—with participants who almost (in the absence of some sound history of the nineteenth-century) know what they’re talking about.

UPDATE: There is no way out: Why policy advice is futile, and what you should do instead.

I agree with John Minto.

There, I said it. I agree with John Minto.

I also agree with Annette Sykes, Tamati Kruger, Barry Wilson, Keith Locke, Pita Sharples, and the lawyers for Tame Iti and the rest of the ragtag  “terrorists” caught red-handed running around the Ureweras practicing armed atrocities.

I agree with them that justice has not been done in the case of the ‘Urewera 18.’ I agree with them that the four-year wait for justice is a farce. I agree with them that if charges against 11/15 of the crew are to be dropped, then an apology is probably warranted for the way the arrests were carried out—and not just to the (now former) defendants, but to the people in Ruatoki whose homes and families were invaded based on charges that were never tested in open court.

JUSTICE HAS NOT BEEN DONE.  Evidence suppression and the lack of any real trial in four years has seen to that. Were the 11 no acquitted totally innocent of all wrong doing?  Given what little we’ve been allowed to know, that’s unlikely. Given the Supreme Court has now ruled off-limits even discussing the reasons for the charges being dropped, we’re unlikely ever to be satisfied. Any of us. But this group of malcontents were entitled to try to clear their name in open court, if they could. That they haven’t had that right protected is a reflection of the injustice of our  so-called justice system—and of the efforts of their own lawyers, who did all they could themselves to suppress publication of the evidence against their clients. (Which was damning,  as I heard for myself in open court.)  We’ve seen a lot about the ‘Urewera 18’ in the last four years. But justice has not been done, and nor has it been seen to be done.

EXTRAORDINARY POWERS REQUIRE EXTRAORDINARY CARE. The Terrorism Suppression Act was drawn up under the previous government to give the police extraordinary powers—and so poorly conceived and drawn up so ineptly the only power it really gave them was the power to overreach themselves.  Which is what the Supreme Court decided they did. Poor police practice combined with this poorly-conceived and badly-drafted Act gave the Supreme Court grounds to throw out the cases against eleven defendants, not because (please note) that there was no evidence against them, but  because  the way the evidence against them was gathered. This is ineptitude of a high order. It means justice will never be served in this case at all.

JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. It has now been four years since the 18 were arrested. —Four years! Four years in which the crown muddled while defendants and their lawyers and their friends in the media churned out press releases, interviews and media events in their defence. In the absence of a real trial we had instead a trial by media—a “trial” in which defendants were feted while all the substantive evidence against them was suppressed at the behest of their own lawyers! (That their requests for suppression only delayed proceedings even longer puts their crocodile tears now over the delays into damning perspective.) But if a justice system cannot pull together a case in four years, while fending off the shysters out looking for a loophole, that’s a pretty serious indictment of the system’s failure.

Law is the loser today.

It is a farce—especially when all the evidence suppression means we now have no clear idea in law whether the arrests and the way they were carried out were justified or not. Only suspicions.

So I agree with John Minto, Annette Sykes, Tamati Kruger, Barry Wilson, Keith Locke, Pita Sharples and the lawyers for Tame Iti and the rest of the ragtag “terrorists.” Justice has not been done—only not in the way they mean it.

I’ve always agreed as a foundation of justice with the legal principle as formulated by Blackstone :

Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

But at times like this, my commitment to it is somewhat stretched.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The one fact about 9/1 you still need to know

Nearly one decade on from that day when an organised gang of barbarians hijacked civilian airliners and flew themselves and scores of innocents into two of the world’s most famous symbols of capitalism, one wonders what could be said about that outrage that hasn’t already?

Midst all the words of pseudo-sophistication and “complexity,”  Christopher Hitchens repeats boldly the one point that still bears repeating:

Simply evil. A decade after 9/11, it remains the best description and most essential fact about al-Qaida … a particularly odious group (a secretive and homicidal gang: part multinational corporation, part crime family) that was sworn to a medieval cult of death, a racist hatred of Jews, a religious frenzy against Hindus, Christians, Shia Muslims, and "unbelievers," and the restoration of a long-vanished and despotic empire.
    To me, this remains the main point about al-Qaida and its surrogates. I do not believe, by stipulating it as the main point, that I try to oversimplify matters. I feel no need to show off or to think of something novel to say. Moreover, many of the attempts to introduce "complexity" into the picture strike me as half-baked obfuscations or distractions. These range from the irredeemably paranoid and contemptible efforts to pin responsibility for the attacks onto the Bush administration or the Jews, to the sometimes wearisome but not necessarily untrue insistence that Islamic peoples have suffered oppression. (Even when formally true, the latter must simply not be used as nonsequitur special pleading for the use of random violence by self-appointed Muslims.)
    Underlying these and other attempts to change the subject there was, and still is, a perverse desire to say that the 9/11 atrocities were in some way deserved, or made historically more explicable, by the many crimes of past American foreign policy… That this was an assault upon our society, whatever its ostensible capitalist and militarist "targets," was again thought too obvious a point for a clever person to make. It became increasingly obvious, though, with every successive nihilistic attack on London, Madrid, Istanbul, Baghdad, and Bali. There was always some "intellectual," however, to argue in each case that the policy of Tony Blair, or George Bush, or the Spanish government, was the "root cause" of the broad-daylight slaughter of civilians. Responsibility, somehow, never lay squarely with the perpetrators.
   … Al-Qaida demands the impossible—worldwide application of the most fanatical interpretation of sharia—and to forward the demand employs the most hysterically irrational means…
    Contrary to the peddlers of shallow anti-Western self-hatred [however], the Muslim world did not adopt Bin-Ladenism as its shield against reality. Very much to the contrary, there turned out to be many millions of Arabs who have heretically and robustly preferred life over death. In many societies, al-Qaida defeated itself as well as underwent defeat…
    Against the tendencies of euphemism and evasion, some stout simplicities deservedly remain. Among them: Holocaust denial is in fact a surreptitious form of Holocaust affirmation. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie was a direct and lethal challenge to free expression, not a clash between traditional faith and "free speech fundamentalism." The mass murder in Bosnia-Herzegovina was not the random product of "ancient hatreds" but a deliberate plan to erase the Muslim population. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fully deserve to be called "evil." And, 10 years ago in Manhattan and Washington and Shanksville, Pa., there was a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form. Let this and other struggles temper and strengthen us for future battles where it will be necessary to repudiate the big lie.

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR'S: How to stop MPs and immigrants from gouging NZ taxpayers

_richardmcgrathYour weekly prescription of good hard sense from Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath.
This week, how to stop MPs and immigrants from gouging NZ taxpayers.

  • NZ HERALD: “Wong's Taxpayer Spending 'Not Pattern'” - The Auditor-General says National MP Pansy Wong helping herself to taxpayer funds so that her husband could go on a private business trip was not part of a pattern of wrongdoing…
    THE DOCTOR SAYS:  Either the Auditor-General or this piece’s headline writer needs a boot up the arse. The problem is not whether Pansy Wong's troughing for her husband was part of a pattern of such troughing, it's the fact that she was able to trough in the first place.
        It's obvious from this that parliamentarians just can't help themselves—they feel entitled top lap from the trough they see all around them. And who can blame them for indulging in a bit of “self-improvement” at the expense of others when wads of taxpayer money is sloshing around within easy reach?
    THE SOLUTION: Have MPs' remuneration and perks paid for by the political parties to which they belong, and not by the taxpayer. See if the members of political parties are happy to have their donations diverted into the pockets of MPs for their own private gain.
        I think you would find said party members delivering slightly more forceful feedback than the flogging-by-wet-bus-ticket administered by Auditor-General Lyn Provost. Said MPs might find themselves strung up by their own entrails if they tried stealing from their own. Which is how it should be.
  • NZ HERALD: “Call To Sack Academic Over 'Racism'” - Auckland professor of Maori studies Margaret Mutu called on the government to restrict the number of white immigrants to this country…
    THE DOCTOR SAYS:  Hold on to your seats, readers, because I happen to agree with Professor Mutu on this one. With a wrinkle or two.
        I agree with her that the number of white immigrants should be restricted if such immigrants expect to jump aboard the welfare gravy train once they clear Customs. And here’s the first wrinkle: that the same should go for people with darker skin pigmentation.  Or any skin pigmentation.
        The issue is not their skin colour or ethnicity, but their parasitism.
        No-one who immigrates here should expect to receive public welfare payments, including taxpayer-funded superannuation, at any time.  Part of the deal should be that they are self-supporting for the duration. They should, however, be allowed to apply for private assistance and welfare if someone is willing to sponsor them. And you could bet they wouldn't be staying on hand-outs for very long under such a system.
        Nothing wrong with Prof Mutu's utterances then, just as long as they apply equally to people of colour. And to residents as well as immigrants.
        One possible further improvement could be that any New Zealand citizen who received a benefit funded by tax slaves would be ineligible to vote, but those who received private welfare would be eligible. That would encourage people to get off the taxpayer's back, and ask private welfare agencies nicely for help.   
        It's rather telling that Ngapuhi boss David Rankin acknowledges that white immigrants are "most likely to bring employment opportunities for our communities." But this true of all immigrants: to the extent they stand on their own feet, their production provides demand for others’ goods and services.
        And if it was a condition that immigrants remain self-supporting for life, only the most able and talented would come here—and those intend to stand on others’ feet instead of their own would have to look for some other nation of suckers willing to accommodate their blood-sucking tendencies.
    And, as history has shown, the able and talented come in all shades.   

See you next week!
Doc McGrath

ECONOMICS FOR REAL PEOPLE: “Your Grandfather’s Economics”

Here’s your update on tonight’s meeting at the UoA Economics Group:

Tonight at the UoA Economics Group, we’ll be looking at a lecture provocatively titled ‘Why Your Grandfather’s Economics Was Better Than Yours’ – that is, if your grandfather had grown up and learned his economics before the 1930s.

Consider:

Today it is commonly said that recessions are always caused by a deficiency of aggregate demand (including, somehow, the present global meltdown, which featured at its inception exploding consumption). Prior to Keynes however, recessions were understood not in terms of the level of demand but of the structure of demand. The difference could not be more profound.

Keynes wrote that Say’s Law meant that  “supply creates its own demand”—suggesting  (in his interpretation of this important classical proposition) that everything produced would automatically get a buyer. But what was it that Say actually said? Isn't it true that he actually asserted that demand springs from production? The difference could not be more important.

The Keynesian model makes the engine of growth appear to be expenditure—especially government expenditure. In contrast, however, your grandfather considered that growth and recovery relies on new production—which explicitly means production by (and recovery of) the private sector. The difference could not be more germane.

The Keynesian medicine has been tried many times such as in Japan, and also in the U.S. in the Great Depression. Did it work? How did the medicine of classical economics fare in their time? Did it succeed in lifting these economies out of recession and back into productivity? The difference was real.

In other words, what can we learn from the economics of your grandfather (or, more accurately, your great-great-grandfather)?

        Time: 6:00pm
        Date:  6 September
        Location: Case Room 1, Level 0, Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland Business School

See you tonight

Monday, 5 September 2011

Frank Furness, on video!

The HowToArchitect briefly presents one of the architects influential on both Louis Sullivan and Frank LLoyd Wright.

Christchurch one year on

It’s sadly all too appropriate really that we have to commemorate the anniversary of the first Christchurch earthquake last year accompanied by news that land around Christchurch on which Cantabrians might begin rebuilding is still being held up by council planners—not one of whom has had the brain power to realise that (especially) when land is in short supply, they should get their dirty paws off it.

Instead, their District Plans are still making it impossible to build.

Never mind all pseudo sympathy and hand wringing from Christchurch’s dictatoriat. Never mind the fine words.  If results had been as forthcoming as tea, sympathy and ill-founded “visions,” Cantabrians might already have been able to begin putting the disaster behind them. Instead, rather than helping Cantabrians to recover, the authorities have been doing everything they can to hinder them.

Let’s make it simple. Let’s start with a simple goal. Let’s look at one concrete goal they can work towards: Forget the grand plans and the top-down great visions: their first goal for recovery should be allowing the production of $50,000 serviced lots. As Hugh Pavletich has been saying ever since the quake:

The Christchurch earthquake recovery will be ALLOWED to start, when CERA / Central Government sorts out the lunatic land supply situation.
How much longer does this political / regulatory lunacy have to be tolerated? Isn’t in excess of 12 months of dithering enough?
There should have been $50,000 serviced lots available for displaced residents well before now.

He’s absolutely right. Christchurch’s recovery won’t even be able to begin until would-be home owners are able to build on serviced lots costing them no more than $50,000. It’s the only way their finances are going to work—which is to say, the only way the city is going to begin rebuilding: by the people of the city rebuilding.

This is only the bare minimum of first steps. That we are one year down the track and not even on that path at all is killing. I suspect the only way it will ever happen is for town planners to feel Roger Sutton’s boot up their arse, so that land owners can get on with producing the supply to meet the urgent demand unencumbered by ridiculous, anachronistic ideas of town planning that never suited the city when they were first written, and they sure as hell don’t suit it now that city has disappeared.

Get the hell out of their way.

The Point of Maximum Pessimism

_Kris_SayceGuest Post by Kris Sayce of Money Morning Australia

Phew! What an exhausting month.

On the last day of July, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed at 4,424 points.

On 9 August the index reached an intra-day low of 3,765 points.

At the close of trade on Wednesday the index closed at 4,296.

As you can see on the logarithmic chart below, the stock market action this month has been the most volatile this year:

stock market chartSource: CMC Markets Stockbroking

In fact, for a similar sized percentage move you have to go back to April last year. Funnily enough, that too marked the approximate end of a period of U.S. Federal Reserve money-printing.

And now the market is waiting for the next central bank move.

Not surprisingly, the market has gone all topsy-turvy.

What’s good is bad, and bad is good

Economic news that’s normally seen as positive is now seen as negative. Why? Because the market fears it may stop the Fed from printing money.

Not only that, but bad economic news is cheered… because it increases the chances of money-printing… and that’s seen as a good sign for the markets and the economy.

For example, this from Bloomberg News:

The dollar rallied, Treasuries rose and U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses, as the manufacturing report bolstered optimism in the economy while dimming prospects for more monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

It’s crazy. Positive news should be positive for stocks. But these days, that ain’t always the case.

The only explanation we can come up with is this…

A genuinely self-sufficient market will take months and possibly years to recover and grow. But – and here’s the key – it will be sustainable growth.

By contrast, a central-bank-induced “recovery” will hit the markets right now, like a big shot of coffee. But – and here’s another key – it’s not sustainable. Just as the effects of previous stimulus soon wear off, so will this one.

And traders who have gotten into the market on the basis of more stimulus know this. That’s why they’re getting out on any signs of positive economic news.

However, they needn’t be so nervous. Because we’ve got some news for them…

Fed meddling is certain

Action by the U.S. Federal Reserve is almost guaranteed. Meddling is what these guys live for. But we understand traders’ nervousness. When they’re punting with huge leveraged bets the last thing they want is to be in the market while other traders are selling out.

That’s what’s making the market hyper-volatile.

And if you’re in any doubt about the impact of stimulus on the real economy, it’s worth noting the following quote from the Financial Times. Because not everyone is happy about the outlook for the economy:

In many countries, the surveys of purchasing managers produced the lowest readings of manufacturing activity, orders and jobs since mid-2009, when the world economy was crawling out of recession.

To us, the situation is clear: for as long as policymakers continue to meddle and try to boost the economy, the longer the economy will stay depressed.

Yes, it may help the stock market in the short term by artificially inflating prices. But long term, it will do no more than disappoint investors.

And eventually investors will get so used to the post-stimulus disappointment they’ll forget to get excited about the stimulus beforehand. That’s when you’ll know the market is at the depths of the depression.

And that’s when the market will be at a genuine bargain price. Famous investor John Templeton only bought stocks when the market reached “the point of maximum pessimism”.

In 1939 it reached that point. He bought stocks. He made a fortune. But not straight away. It took time. Central bankers aren’t interested in taking time. They’re trying to bag a quick fix.

And that’s what’s creating the volatility and distortions in the market.

So right now, some individual stocks are at “maximum pessimism” prices and are worth buying. But the market as a whole isn’t.

That will only come when investors are no longer fooled by the magic charms of central bankers.

Until then, the action you’re seeing now is nothing more than a trading market. That’s great for traders. And great for punters. But it’s not so good for the conservative investor who’s just trying to save for retirement.

And by our estimates, it seems the market is set to stay this way for a while yet.

Cheers.
Kris
Money Morning Australia

Gibson Guitars attacked

What do Chet Atkins, Duane Allman, Jerry Garcia, Chuck Berry, Charlie Christian, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Al di Meola, The Edge, the Everly Brothers, Billy Gibbons,Dave Grohl, George Harrison, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joan Jett, John Lennon, Alex Lifeson, Lenny Kravitz, Bob Marley, Albert Collins, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, Carl Perkins, Mick Ronson, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Carlos Santana, Eddie van Halen, Neil Young, Frank Zappa and AC/DC’s Angus Young have in common?

Les Paul 2010Answer: They all play (or played) a Gibson guitar. A beautiful thing. The quintessence of Americana.

So how appropriate then that from the United Police States of today’s America, we hear of a “bizarre and disturbing story of a US government witch hunt that threatens to to drive them either out of business, or out of the US.” [Hat tip Jazz on the Tube]

Last week, heavily armed federal agents raided two guitar manufacturing facilities in Tennessee owned by Gibson — one in Nashville, another in Memphis. The feds were not acting on a tip that an al Qaeda cell was holed up in the buildings; or that Mexican drug cartel gangs were lurking inside. It was actually something far more serious; far more serious, that is, to a bunch of federal bureaucrats with nothing better to do.
    The raids were carried out because the Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claim that parts of the iconic guitars manufactured in the plants contained the wrong kind of imported wood…

Fortunately, the boss of Gibson Guitars is no pussy.

In recent days, Gibson’s CEO has gone on a counterattack, telling various talk radio and TV news programs that the raids are an “outrageous abuse of federal power” that have unfairly singled out his company, perhaps for political reasons.
    “There’s no doubt we’re being persecuted,” Juszkiewicz said. “But while I was sitting in my conference room, while agents blocked the door to my office, I decided two things. One, we were going to try and fight this in court. Secondly, we were going to give this issue visibility.”

Keep watching.

Meanwhile, a guitar gently weeps.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Peter Schiff: 'Quantitative Easing is the reason for recession'

“It’s good for Washington, it’s good for Wall Street, but … ”

Nickey Hager’s written another book



So what?

Back when the Sunday Star Slime and Hicky Nager collaborated on the "revelation" of of the SIS bugging Tariana Turia, Justice Neazor descibed it after a lengthy investigation as “a work of fiction." Like so much of his work before and since, really.

So where should this latest tome be filed then?  Under “receiving stolen property”--his other speciality?

Or under “fiction”?

Or both?

Or just straight into the circular filing basket?

Either way, when Murdoch journos do either it’s considered reprehensible. So how come this weasel gets a free pass?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

QE3: Hard to stop. Wrong to start.

_BenYou might have noticed US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke clearing his throat recently ready for the release of another monetary tsunami—a flood of counterfeit capital created out of thin air that will create no real resources, create no real savings, but which will stimulate a falling economy the falling stock market.

It’s just a matter of time. They will call it Quantitative Easing 3. We might call it the ‘Bernanke Put’—an expression of his on-going commitment to protect bankers and share traders from making losses.

Isn’t that nice of Mr Bernanke?

But have you noticed how more rapidly these injections of several trillion-weight of counterfeit capital have been coming?

No surprise, really, because once you’ve let the genie of monetary inflationary out of the bottle, every new injection of the genie’s monetary narcotic needs to keep coming faster and faster. Just like a real narcotic, really.

Every period of monetary inflation has been the same. (For a good account of one such period, the inflationary period that helped to bring on the French Revolution, check out the short book Fiat Money Inflation in France. And for the explanation of why accelerating monetary inflation is necessary once started, despite the dismal prognosis from its repeated application, read Hayek’s short book Tiger by the Tail.)

The present monetary system—a system of fiat money based on the organisation of debt into currency—is collapsing in both Europe and the US. No wonder even mainstream magazines like Forbes are starting to talk about the gold standard—the system maimed by Franklin Roosevelt, brutalised by John Maynard Keynes, and finally taken out the back and shot by ichard Nixon. The writers at Forbes don’t understand the system perfectly, but the system of monetary stability that underpinned the prosperity nineteenth is starting to be talked about again respectfully.

Perhaps in the long term that’s something we will thank Ben’s blundering for.

Read:

Steve Jobs: Genius

SORKIN-tmagSFGenius has often been described as the ability to enter an existing field and, by your contribution alone, change it utterly.

Louis Armstrong did that for jazz. Newton and Einstein did it for physics. And Steve Jobs of Apple? Virtually single-handedly he revolutionised telecommunications, personal computing, the music business, publishing and Hollywood. Not to mention what he did to the computer itself.

Most geniuses only revolutionise one field. Jobs has revolutionised at least three.

But it’s not enough for some folk that his genius has improved the lives of millions. That he’s a genius who’s earned his money. He’ll only get respect at places like the New York Times if he gives it all away.

Never mind that the focus of his wealth and productive genius on production does more for every single person on the planet than if he spent his time and energy giving his money away. He understands this:

Mr. Jobs [told friends] he could do more good focusing his energy on continuing to expand Apple than on philanthropy, especially since his illness. “He has been focused on two things — building the team at Apple and his family,” another friend said. “That’s his legacy. Everything else is a distraction.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 1993 , Jobs said, “Going  to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”

Good for him.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fran O’Sullivan jumps Bernard Hickey’s shark

Every taxi driver, barber and newspaper columnist is the same.

They know how the world works. They know what needs to be done to fix things.  They know, uniquely, what has to happen, and all they need is is big bossy gummint to give them the big stick!

Fran O’Sullivan is no different.

Staring at Christchurch and seeing only months of inactivity brought about by government meddling both central and local (waiting for EQC to sign off houses, builders and buildings; waiting for CERA o demolish what’s left of people’s property in the central city; waiting for council to release its “strategy” for what property owners in the city might be allowed to do;  waiting for government to decide what regulations it might issue mandating how they might be allowed to do it;  waiting (vainly, I might add) to see if council’s District Plan might be relaxed to allow businesses to relocate to new office buildings in different parts of the city, and new housing to be built in places the planners never contemplated) Fran doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion that making the country’s second-largest city a ward of the state is neither sustainable nor affordable.

Instead, she leaps for the same big stick beloved of blowhards everywhere: the gummint must do something! (As if it weren’t already doing enough!)

_osullivan_fran1602091Fran has a plan. It’s not very complicated, or even very well thought out. Specifically, Fran demands the government:

  • nationalise all the private land on the outskirts of Christchurch (i.e,, completing the job CERA have already largely done in the CBD);
  • build houses on it (because the government does this so well); and
  • raid the pocketbooks of everyone in the country able to afford a Rugby World Cup ticket to pay for it.

Simple as that. A plan that every barber, every taxi driver--every blowhard and Bernard Hickey in the country--could agree with and call their own.

Fran O’Sullivan is a business columnist.

But she has no idea, apparently, how business works. She doesn’t realise that regime uncertainty and a loss of property rights between them have barred businesses from doing what they do best.

Fran O’Sullivan writes about politics.

But she has no idea, apparently, that making the city a ward of the state has caused the very malaise she decries.

It can be undone, but not by making the state’s interference even bigger. It can be done very simply: by letting businessmen themselves rebuild the city businessmen created.

Tell business owners they can relocate wherever in Christchurch they want, and that zoning will be relaxed to accommodate that, and watch businesses start to take off again.

Tell owners of stable land that they can build as many houses on their land as they can provide services for, with neither costs to nor charges from council, and watch a festival of house-building take off.

Let those who own their own property determine between them and their insurance company what they wish their building standards to be. Such a system can be set up very quickly as it already exists in government reports. And then watch the festival start producing innovative affordable homes.

Bus Bob Parker, Gerry Brownlee, Roger Sutton and all the town planners--and Fran O’Sullivan--out of Christchurch permanently, get the hell out of the way, and allow the city and the people within it to reinvent itself spontaneously. This would be a wonder to see.  Call it spontaneous order, if you will, since that’s what you’re trying to kick off. Call it crowd-sourcing, if you like, since that’s what markets and entrepreneurial activity like this are really made of.

In fact, call it an Enterprise Zone and allow some enterprise to happen in the city for the first time in nearly a year.

Make it an Enterprise Zone instead of a Ward of the State, get government out of the way (and provide land-owners and businesses some certainty they’ll stay there), and can I assure you you’ll be surprised what might happen. 

Even Fran might be.

Because Fran O’Sullivan is a business columnist. Or was.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

UoA Economics Group: Postponement

If you’re wondering, just like I was, what was happening tonight with the group, I’ve just had this message from the organisers:

Hello all. Due to the mid-semester holiday the university economics group will take a break from our regular seminar tonight. But we will be back next week and looking at a lecture titled "Why Your Grandfather’s Economics Was Better Than Yours." We look forward to seeing you next week.

Cheers
UoA Economics Group

John Boy channels Marx [update 2]

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they
are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled
by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any
intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist…”

-John Maynard Keynes

I’ve never quite understood why the Prime Minister, John Boy Key, is considered some sort of economic guru.  I’ve seen no evidence of it, despite his obvious predilection to meddle as if he knows what’s going on.

He’s certainly got no handle at all on what to do in the present crisis—allowing his deputy to keep borrowing and spending as the economy collapses and NZ’s second-largest city is allowed to die. (He was happy for example to boast about how flush EQC was straight after the quakes, $15 billion of good assets he said; turns out it only has $6 billion, and most of those in the form of IOUs from the government.)

Even in his supposed area of expertise for example, currency trading, I can remember him telling a business journo a while back that the New Zealand dollar would soon decline and “have a four in front of it” in relation to the US dollar—whereupon almost it began its climb to where it now has double that number against the American.

_JohnBoyAnd yesterday he reinforced his credentials as a chap with about as few economic clues as that last big-time economic meddler, Robert Muldoon. Speaking to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking about the minimum wage—the existence of which has driven an explosion in youth unemployment all round the world, not least in NZ—Smile and Wave told Hosking “cutting the minimum wage rate to what the market can bear would lead to some very low wage rates in New Zealand.”

"It's the classic neo-liberal [sic] economic theory that you pay what the market can bear, and I think you would see very low wage rates on that basis," Key said on Newstalk ZB when asked about his view on the ACT Policy.
"You would definitely see some companies that would say, well ok, I'll hire you at two bucks an hour," Key said.

This is ignorant on at least three fronts.

First, this is not “neo-liberal” economic theory, whatever that actually means. (I’ve only ever heard the term used by people forced to study under Jane Kelsey.) It is economic theory reinforced (as all good theory must be) by economic fact: Price things above what people are willing and able to pay for them, and you won’t sell as many as if you lower your price; and when you have a whole lot of things left on your shelf that you simply can’t sell, only a moron (or a Prime Minister) would raise the price.

Second, does he really think that NZ labour is so bad that two dollars per hour is all they’re worth? And if he does, how does he think producers manage to make any profit at all when they have to pay them six times that amount? [What an idiot!]

Third, and most fundamentally, this just flat-out Marxist nonsense. Yes, Marxist. The idea that in the absence of legislation saying otherwise, employers can gleefully exploit workers by paying them whatever they feel like, right down to the level they need to just stay barely alive—i.e., the Exploitation Theory of Wages—was widely promoted by Marx and his followers, even as it was being soundly debunked before that century was even out by that great economist Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk and his [see here and here].

Since the exploitation theory “is one of the most powerful factors that have been operating to lead the world down The Road to Serfdom” it is worse than disappointing to see a Prime Minister lauded (for some reason) for his economic intelligence peddling this particular poison pill.

Especially so since it is so easily debunked, as George Reisman does here in explaining the irrelevance of both worker need and employer greed in setting wages: essentially “the payment of higher wages in the face of a labor shortage is to the self-interest of employers because it is the necessary means of gaining and keeping the labor they want to employ.”

The Marxian doctrine of the alleged arbitrary power of employers over wages appears plausible because there are two obvious facts that it relies on, facts which do not actually support it, but which appear to support it. These facts can be described as “worker need” and “employer greed.” The average worker must work in order to live, and he must find work fairly quickly, because his savings cannot sustain him for long. And if necessary—if he had no alternative—he would be willing to work for as little as minimum physical subsistence. At the same time, self-interest makes employers, like any other buyers, prefer to pay less rather than more—to pay lower wages rather than higher wages.
    People put these two facts together and conclude that if employers were free, wages would be driven down by the force of the employers’ self-interest—as though by a giant plunger pushing down in an empty cylinder—and that no resistance to the fall in wages would be encountered until the point of minimum subsistence was reached. At that point, it is held, workers would refuse to work because starvation without the strain of labor would be preferable to starvation with the strain of labor.
    What must be realized is that while it is true that workers would be willing to work for minimum subsistence if necessary, and that self-interest makes employers prefer to pay less rather than more, both of these facts are irrelevant to the wages the workers actually have to accept in the labor market…

Read on here for the economic lesson that Smile and Wave never got. And then, in the name of every young person out of work and struggling to gain employment at the rates that have been set for them by the ignorance of this Prime Minister, send him a copy.

UPDATE: Eric Crampton runs the rule here and here over the economic facts regarding youngsters being priced out of work—and says:

While we're talking youth unemployment, I'm going to be charitable and interpret John Key's assertion that, in the absence of minimum wages, youth pay rates would drop to a couple of dollars an hour as his just opening up room on the right for ACT. Employers do have to compete with each other for employees.

Indeed.

UPDATE 2: Since we’re talking about morons and the minimum wage, check out the shill for big government Obama’s just appointed as Chairman of his Council of Economics Advisor—a man who made his name faking minimum wage research.

No wonder the union bloggers at the Sub-Standard here in NZ like him.