Socialism

Economic growth is an unnecessary evil, Jacinda Ardern is right to deprioritise it

This was the headline of an article CM spotted today. Of course CM wouldn’t dream of writing something that daft. To think social wellness can be achieved, let alone sustained without attention to economic growth. Magic pixie dust perhaps? Even though CM debunked the relative aspects of the Wellness Budget being considerably inferior to Australia, the left were quick to lavish praise on the the new matriarch of the woke. She is like the Obama of the Southern Hemisphere. Even regressives are progressive in the eyes of the left.

Note the NZ budget forecasts a 25% lift in tax revenues out to 2023. Income tax will rise 29.9% over the same period. Indirect taxes will jump 28.3%. That on a slowing economy and a rising unemployment rate will mean incremental taxes sting at the margin. Their data, not CMs.

Of course if the idea is to de-prioritize the economy, it can only mean that taxes as a % of GDP rise. Indeed they do from 30.6% this year to 31.1% by 2023. Compare that to 25.2% falling to 25.0% in Australia over the same period.

Effectively Australia gets way more bang for the buck on providing wellness initiatives with lower burdens on the taxpayer because that’s what happens when the economy IS prioritized. Spending on social wellbeing rises as the economy expands.

If unemployment rises (as forecast by the NZ budget) over coming years, one can imagine that wellbeing by its strictest definition should fall. One loses a job, household income falls and wellbeing declines with it, unless welfare is on a par.

Presumably if Ardern’s deprioritized economic growth leads to worse economic outcomes, she can be guaranteed that wellbeing won’t be sustainable without more shared misery in terms of debt (rising) and deficits.

As Friedrich von Hayek once said, “if socialists understood economics they wouldn’t be socialists.”

Such is the madness of the left that they believe yet again that feelings are more important than facts. Even though as “woke” as many paint Ardern, her neighbour across the ditch is already there and expected to continue to outperform. That’s because economic growth is the priority. Yet don’t expect Scott Morrison to receive any praise. He is the wrong gender, skin colour and religious affiliation for starters.

Ardern is unlikely to stop the 35,000 odd Kiwis that migrated to Australia last year but she maybe lucky in doubling the 40 (yes, forty) Aussies who left the land down under to live in NZ in 2018.

The Ant and The Grasshopper

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Two Different Versions…. Two Different Morals

OLD VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.  The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself!

MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

Channels 7, 9 and 10, the ABC and SBS show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

Australia is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on the ABC with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s not Easy Being Green.’

The CFMEU stage a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the group singing, ‘We shall overcome.’

The Archbishop of Melbourne then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper’s sake.

Prime Minister Shorten condemns the ant and blames Scott Morrison, John Howard, Robert Menzies, Capt James Cook, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.

Tanya Plibersek exclaims in an interview on Today Tonight that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, Labor in conjunction with the Greens draft the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the night, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorise the ramshackle, once prosperous and once peaceful, neighbourhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY:  Be careful how you vote on May 18, 2019.

No, ScoMo!

For a Conservative party to push a subsidy of up to 20% of the value of a property for first time home buyers shows how bereft of policy it is. When Vic Premier Daniel Andrews raised a similar plan in March 2017 CM trashed it.

Think about it. Home prices have started to fall in major capitals because of a lack of demand thanks to astronomical prices and tapped out borrowers. This is before the Royal Commission puts the brakes on lending.

Why provide a subsidy to first home buyers toward the top of a bubble? It is not the role of the taxpayer to subsidize nor insure the downside risk in the event of the owner going into negative equity. What happened to free market economics?

What will this 20% subsidy do? If a couple go house hunting with a budget of $800,000, they will be able to shoot for a $1mn property. It might end up being the same property, pushed up by the desperate buyer thanks to the subsidy creating a false sense of security. So the reality is the taxpayer and the homeowner may end up in the red the day they move in. What a policy!!

Has ScoMo just called the top of the property market?

The tolerant left protest One Nation

The Socialists were out protesting One Nation’s Mark Latham who took his seat as a member of the NSW Legislative Council today. A bit disappointing that there were so few lefties there to spew profanity.

As ever the quality of the squealing was topped with the repeat of “Mark Latham, f*ck you! We don’t want your sexist views.”

One can read with delight all of their wonderful manifestos on the Redflag link.

Here is what they had to say about the upcoming election.

Coalition

The Morrison government is a mean and environmentally destructive disgrace with a face only a company director could love. Its pitch for re-election involves tax cuts that will benefit the highest income earners 20 times more than those on the minimum wage.”

Labor

Labor offers hopelessly unsatisfactory opposition to this rubbish. ALP leader Bill Shorten is seeking to connect with the prevailing mood by promising some reforms to address inequalityWith Shorten’s charisma having been privatised back in the ’90s, Labor can manage only a pathetically weak lead over a government that should be facing electoral annihilation.”

Greens

In this context, the Greens might be expected to be making gains. But with their focus increasingly on the rebellious mood infesting the tennis clubs and golf courses of wealthy blue ribbon Liberal seats like Kooyong and Higgins, the party is failing to provide credible left wing opposition to the major parties.”

In summary

Red Flag urges people to vote for the Victorian Socialists or other socialist candidates where they are standing, with preferences being directed to Labor or the Greens. The far right should of course be put last.”

STAY IN YOUR LANE!!!

Since when did the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) become an axe on climate change? Next thing we will see is 16yo Greta Thunberg, of school climate strike fame, adorning APRA releases and annual reports. APRA should stay in its lane as the only disaster on the horizon will be self inflicted.

In the AFR today, it was reported that the financial services sector regulator said, “there is no excuse for inaction on climate change, warning there is a high degree of certainty that financial risks will materialize as a result of a warming climate.”

APRA noted that only 1 in 5 companies are meeting voluntary climate risk disclosure targets which are set out by the Task Force in Climate-related Financial Disclosures, a private sector body chaired by none other than global warming alarmist Michael Bloomberg.

What in the world is APRA doing trying to implement guidelines put forward by a body backed by an agenda? Has APRA considered the wealth of literature debunking global warming? The plethora of scandals that have befallen the UNIPCC, NOAA and even our own Bureau of Meteorology! Has it considered the dozens of dud predictions made by the IPCC? The UN climate science body has publicly climbed down from so many alarmist claims, citing no evidence or extremely low confidence. Can APRA put hrs numbers on what global warming might do?

To be honest, APRA should stay in its lane. It follows on from the lunacy spread by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on the same topic. The only “high degree of financial risk” will come from their own terrible stewardship of the financial sector.

As CM wrote late last year Australian banks are in a terrible position financially. CM believes there is a high risk that some of Australia’s major banks will end up all or part nationalized when the property market bursts. To quote some excerpts:

In the late 1980s at the peak of the property bubble, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo was worth the equivalent to the entire state of California. Greater Tokyo was worth more than the whole United States. The Japanese used to joke that they had bought up so much of Hawaii that it had effectively become the 48th prefecture of Japan. Japanese nationwide property prices quadrupled in the space of a decade. At the height of the frenzy, Japanese real estate related lending comprised around 41.2% (A$2.5 trillion) of all loans outstanding. N.B. Australian bank mortgage loan books have swelled to 63% (A$1.7 trillion) of total loans

From the peak in 1991/2 property prices over the next two decades fell 75-80%. Banks were decimated.

In the following two decades, 181 Japanese banks, trust banks and credit unions went bust and the rest were either injected with public funds, forced into mergers or nationalized. The unravelling of asset prices was swift and sudden but the process to deal with it took decades because banks were reluctant to repossess properties for fear of having to mark the other properties (assets) on their balance sheets to current market values. Paying mere fractions of the loan were enough to justify not calling the debt bad. If banks were forced to reflect the truth of their financial health rather than use accounting trickery to keep the loans valued at the inflated levels the loans were made against they would quickly become insolvent. By the end of the crisis, disposal of non-performing loans (NPLs) among all financial institutions exceeded 90 trillion yen (A$1.1 trillion), or 17% of Japanese GDP at the time.

In 2018, Australia’s GDP is likely to be around A$1.75 trillion. Our total lending by the banks is approximately $2.64 trillion which is 150% of GDP. At the height of the Japanese bubble, total bank lending as a whole only reached 106%. Mortgages alone in Australia are near as makes no difference 100% of GDP...

…In Westpac’s full-year 2018 balance sheet, the company claims around A$710 billion in assets as “loans”. Of that amount, according to the latest APRA data, A$411 billion of lending is ‘real estate’ related. Total equity for the bank is A$64.6 billion. So equity as a percentage of property loans is just shy of 16%. If Australia had a nationwide property collapse (we have not had one for three decades) then it is possible that the banks would face significant headwinds.

What that basically says is if Westpac suffered a 16% decline in the value of its entire property loan book then it would at least on paper appear in negative equity, or liabilities would be larger than assets. Recall in 2009 that BoA had over 16% of its residential loan portfolio which went bad.

We ought to be extremely worried if our financial regulators are devoting any time to this utter nonsense. It is highly doubtful that APRA could gain any meaningful insights on climate change even if there was 100% compliance with Bloomberg’s diocese. Utterly embarrassing.

Using Extinction Rebellion for free publicity

How one should take a letter written to the Times with a pinch of salt. When estimates of lost business caused by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) were purported to be in the millions of pounds, the following executives put their names to the following letter saying it was for the greater good. Given that most co-signatories aren’t retail stores that are being inconvenienced in the thick of the protest, the letter appears far more about free publicity than environmental heroics.

We attach their own published business models in brackets below. We also attach the distance of each HQ from the protest epicenter. It’s easy to say how woke you are about impacting local businesses when you’re nowhere near it. Read on

The letter to the Times

Sir, Contrary to belief, there is business support for the Extinction Rebellion (XR) agenda. The multi million-pound costs that the Extinction Rebellion protests have imposed on business are regrettable, as is the inconvenience to Londoners. But future costs imposed on our economies by the climate emergency will be many orders of magnitude greater.

Hard pressure drives change, but even the most committed businesses will need time to respond. We welcome the news that  Extinction Rebellion is evolving a new platform, XR Business, to engage business leaders, investors and advisers. To drive things forward, the idea is to convene a meeting of XR activists and experts with business leaders and influencers.

Most businesses were not designed in the context of the developing climate emergency. Hence  we must urgently redesign entire industries and businesses, using science-based targets. 

To kick start the process, businesses should make a declaration that we face a climate emergency and organise a session at a full board meeting to consider the case for urgent action. We will encourage the senior management teams of which we are part to do likewise.

Signed

Seb Beloe, partner at WHEB

(“WHEB is a positive impact investor focused on the opportunities created by the transition to a low carbon and sustainable global economy.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 1.3km

——

Thomas Bourne, CEO and co-founder, Greenheart Business Ltd

(“Using the B Corp framework to assess, plan for and embed positive social & environmental impact improvements within your business – from specific operational improvements through to comprehensive or transformational (i.e. business model) change.)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 337.6km

——
Amy Clarke, co-founder, Tribe Impact Capital LLC

(“We use the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for uncovering client’s values and to measure and report portfolio performance…To facilitate this we have created four Tribe Themes…we actively select positive investments that directly contribute to global sustainable development and address a social, economic or environmental issue society is facing.)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.5km

——
Chris Davis, CSO, The Body Shop International Ltd

(Social activism has been a part of the Body Shop since 1986 when it proposed an alliance with Greenpeace to save the whales. “Protecting and regenerating habitats is also known as ‘re-wilding’. Find out how you can help us re-wild the world and protect our animal friends by fighting against deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 107.2km

——–

John Elkington co-founder and Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO, Volans Ventures Ltd

(“By conducting inquiries into our planet’s most wicked problems, we help business drive positive change at an unprecedented pace and scale.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km
——-

Brad Frankel, CEO and co-founder, Flooglebinder Ltd

(“Our aim is to inspire students to become changemakers and future leaders through a range of educational programmes that connect young people with the outdoors. Our programmes firmly adhere to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. By understanding, enjoying and respecting these environments through adventure and play, we hope to develop more global citizens and positive ambassadors for our planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 267.2km
—–

Jake Hayman, CEO, Ten Years’ Time

(“Whether the cause area is climate change or economic fairness, mental health, homelessness or education, we work with those who are ready to leave the safe ideas behind and want instead to understand, challenge and do their bit to reinvigorate failing systems.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

——

Jeremy Leggett, founder and director, Solarcentury Ltd

(“We’re in business for a purpose: to make a meaningful difference in the fight against climate change through the widespread adoption of solar power.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 4.8km

——

Charmian Love and Amanda Feldman, co-founders, Heliotropy Ltd

(“We broker partnerships across sectors  to support private sector engagement in social and environmental issues.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

—-
Andy Middleton, founder and chief exploration officer, TYF Group

(“Our mission is to inspire long lives of adventure, and promote discovery and care for nature.We create life changing adventures with a light touch on nature, focus young people’s sight & skills for the future and help organisations with innovation & sustainability. We play for the planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 387.2km

—-
Safia Minney, founder & Former CEO, People Tree Fair Trade group.

(“Fairtrade promotes training on climate change mitigation for farmers. For example, some training offers advice on switching to environmentally friendly practices, such as developing nutrient-rich soils that support healthy plants and encouraging wildlife to help control pests and diseases.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km

—–
James Perry, partner, Snowball LLP

(“Project Snowball LLP is a pioneering investment organisation that targets social and environmental impact alongside financial return.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 60.8km

——
Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever plc

(“The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple our growth from our environmental footprint, while increasing our positive social impact. “)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 361.6km

—–
Samer Salty, co-founder and managing partner, Zouk Capital LLP

(“Zouk’s ESG Policy includes an Ethical Investment Policy for negative screening and an innovative and bespoke methodology for assessing the value creation across Environmental, Social, and Governance principles driven by the portfolio companies…Zouk adheres to and is a signatory of the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and is also fully Carbon Neutral.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 3.2km

—–
Sir Tim Smit, founder of The Eden Project, executive chairman of Eden Regeneration Ltd

(“Get a feel for what we believe in – from the way we run our site to the transformational social and environmental projects that we run on our doorstep and around the world.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 396.8km

—–
Hermione Taylor, CEO and founder, The Do Nation Enterprise Ltd

(“If changing behaviours was easy, we’d all be super-fit with PhDs, empty inboxes and spotless bathrooms. And, what’s more, climate change probably wouldn’t be a problem.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 6.4km

—–
Diana Verde Nieto, CEO and co-founder, Positive Luxury Ltd

(“Fashion recycling has been on the rise in recent years – so how are consumers shopping pre-worn today? To celebrate Earth Day, we investigate the popularity of the more environmentally-friendly way to stay stylish.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 4.8km

—–
Dale Vince OBE, founder, The Ecotricity Group

(“We’ll use the money from your energy bills to develop new sources of green energy. So you can help build a green Britain – just by being with us.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 171.2km

—–
Bevis Watts, managing director, Triodos Bank UK

(“Our bank was founded on the conviction that banking can be a powerful force for good. We offer a range of financial and banking services to savers, investors and entrepreneurs who want to change the world for the better. By connecting these groups, we are building a community of people united in their desire to make a positive impact on society, culture and environment.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 189km

—–
Tim Westwell, co-founder and former CEO, Pukka

(“Doing good things helps make good things happen. We create things that help you, help nature and everything inbetween. It’s called conservation through commerce – striving to positively change the world for you, business and the planet.“)

HQ Distance from XR protest: 182.6km

—–
Gail Bradbrook (co-founder)  Extinction Rebellion
Fiona Ellis (XR Business)

We’ve covered XR in previous posts. They’re leading this disruption.

—-

So there you have it. Every co-signatory has a vested interest with a business model attached to climate change. Many advertise the brands of other collaborators on their respective websites. There is nothing woke about signing a letter which seeks self promotion. Is this about saving the planet or cynically riding off the back of a movement to get press based marketing?
It is so typical of a growing number of companies today. Kowtowing to this politically correct nonsense for fear of being singled out. Look at the corporate virtue signaling from Gillette, Colgate, Starbucks etc etc. In Gillette’s case, post it’s toxic masculinity campaign, a YouGov poll took it from 7th out of 45 health and beauty brands to bottom.
CM wonders whether XR Business will hound corporates into signing up for this nonsense for threat of being named and shamed. Sadly many boards seem too timid to stand up to lashing by social media. So much for looking after shareholders!

Marxism 2019 conference – wait til you see the program

Little surprise that the Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria is set to host a Marxism 2019 conference to extol the virtues of socialism. Oh the irony of having tiered pricing structures to attend. Those pigs more equal than others can show ‘solidarity’ by paying a higher price. The program is so good that it’s worth clicking on. Some spoiler alert topics CM is desperate to attend:

“Do Nothing and Do it well”

“Marxism 101: what is so special about the working class?

“Is there anything good about the United Nations?”

“Being a workplace agitator”

Why go to stand up comedy? This conference will provide days of entertainment. Just wondering how many Marxists will openly admit they are “high wage”? Most likely most will select “unwaged” to live up to sensible Marxist ideology. Will the organizers be forced to pay the police $50,000 for protection against conservative protestors? Of course not. The protestors will be too busy rolling on the floor laughing.