On the subject of...

Global Politics

16
Mar
2018

Minimum Wage & S African Unemployment

Among the many important issues which are at present subject to debate in society and the media, there is an inclination to let pass the determination by the Fair Work Commission of the minimum wage. It has received limited attention partly because the body allocated the job of regulating workplace relations has long determined the minimum and even though its analyses have been poor. The FWC has made decisions which have put Australia’s minimum rate at or very close to the highest in the world (over $36,000 pa). But this has not benefited the less skilled because employers cannot afford to pay such a rate for them. Instead of being employed they go on to welfare or crime.
15
Mar
2018

Some Important Policy Announcements

Just announced have been some important policy decisions both here and in the US. The US changes are the most important but Shorten’s proposed changes to restore double taxation are of course most significant too (see Shorten’s Tax Breaks). This shows today’s Letters to the Editor , which include one by former Treasury Head, John Stone and are headed“An attack on hard-working savers and job creators”. I envisage that I will include further comments in due course. As to US developments, as Andrew Bolt points out in the attached (see Bolt on Tillerson Dismissal),
12
Mar
2018

Climate Change Debate on Q&A & in The US

The ABC ‘s Q&A program tonight has a panel discussing global warming and Tim Flannery will be on the panel, but apparently with no skeptics. Below Andrew Bolt suggests some questions that might be posed to Flannery. Also below is a report on a public debate which occurred recently in the US between two experts on climate change with different views. Note in particular the different rate of increase in electricity prices between the US state which has a high usage of renewable and the rest of the US.
10
Mar
2018

Trump Makes Good Deals

The most important development in political relationships and authority is the recognition now being given to changes in the US under Trump’s Presidency. It has taken time for Trump to establish credibility and there is still considerable opposition to accepting him as a leader who can change the course of events in a way consistent with western values/interests (as well as America’s). But, whatever objections may be made to his personal behaviour, there is now little doubt that he has “made it”.
2
Feb
2018

Trump’s State of Union

The annual State of the Union address to Congress by the President is regarded as a fairly formal report on what he regards as having happened over the past year, the accomplishments and the already known policies being pursued (the full text of Trump’s address is attached). The event is however seen as one of the most important in the US political calendar because it is one of the few occasions when all three branches of government are collected under one roof and it has also been used as an opportunity to honor the achievements of some individual Americans.
28
Jan
2018

Trump at Davos & Australian Comments on US Defense Strategy Statement

What with the likely winners of both the women’s and men’s Australian tennis being Swiss and the address by Trump at Davos, the Swiss are in the News. Once again Trump found a phrase which helped rebut the criticism of his “America First” statement by adding “but not America alone” and, with China in mind, emphasising the need for “fair” trade as well as “free” . Separately, it is reported that Trump approved increased duties affecting about $US10bn of imports but it is not clear whether this was “justified” on a fair trade assertion. An article in The Economist, republished in yesterday’s The Australian, says that the actions were “broadly in line with the steer from the US International Trade Commission” and were weaker than sought.
26
Jan
2018

Pence Address to Knesset & Threatened Turkey/US Clash in Syria

Although the Palestinians refused to meet him, US Vice-President Pence’s visit to the Middle East and his address to Israel’s Knesset highlighted a wide range of important issues and explanations of the US’s foreign policy not previously made clear. Considerable publicity has been given to his confirmation that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but his Knesset address (text here) says a lot more than that. As with such speeches, it probably includes statements of policy which may not be achievable: but Pense has made an important US foreign/defence policy statement.
20
Jan
2018

Failure to Assess CChange Threats, Attitudes to Trump

On 19 January The Australian published a half page advertisement on The Next Ice Age by Richard Morgan’s Climate Study Group (the ad was also published in the Herald Sun on 12 Jan and is on my web). This contains carefully considered views by people who are aware of the possible influences on climate. The day before I had sent a letter to The Australian complaining that it had published a letter by Energy Minister Frydenberg criticising an analysis published in the paper by Judith Sloan but had not published any letters critical of Frydenberg even though some had been sent, including by me (see attached Energy Policy Letter Sent to The Australian 18/1).