Various subjects

Advance commentaries are appearing about desirable budget outcomes, with Henry Ergas setting the pace below. But most of the commentary seems based on Keynesian analysis with warnings against “large cuts” that would allegedly damage the economy and which have little regard to the likely increase in confidence from such cuts. Rumours that there will be an increase in taxation, possibly a levy on higher incomes, have not been scotched.

More revelations are appearing of favours extended by ministers in NSW to Liberal Party donors and, as Shanahan suggests, that party is “starting to carry the corruption can for the NSW Labor Party”. Today’s session of ICAC confirmed that – and there is more to come.

The Victorian Premier has defended a large government grant to a wealthy owner of a meat works in his electorate by saying that he had “no input into the decision” and that the previous Labor government in Victoria had made similar grants to the same business.

The formal withdrawal by economist Richard Tol from the authors  contributing to the IPCC team – he was a so-called Lead Author of the important just published “Summary for Policy Makers” – exposes the unconvincing nature of the drafting of arguments used in the document. This is reinforced by another lead author who says that government representatives would not adopt texts that were scientific if they were counter to political objectives. These problems with IPCC texts were already known but it is significant that lead authors are “going public” in ways that further reduce the credibility of the IPCC.

The relatively peaceful progress of the election in Afghanistan is encouraging.