Monday, June 09, 2008

Great leader Rudd

What a disappointing PM Kevin Rudd is turning out to be. Despite the rhetoric about ‘working families’ and the impression he seeks to create of a diligent, hard-working leadership this guy is not proving to be a particularly competent PM. In part it is presumably inexperience which means that the key resource he needs are those civil servants he has recently been so intent on alienating by accusing of laziness - these guys obviously are not part of the 'working families' brigade.

Rudd has said a profoundly ambiguous ‘sorry’ to indigenous people and has signed a soon-to-be- redundant Kyoto agreement. We should all be underwhelmed by these symbolic actions that do nothing to improve the lot of anybody.

On economic policy Rudd’s decision to encourage middle income earners to abandon private health insurance thereby putting increased pressure on an already overstretched public health system is possibly the most socially destructive policy he has yet undertaken. The move should devastate the public hospital system and will reduce overall standards of community health care. To suggest, as both Rudd and Nicola Roxon did, that the policy can be justified on the basis of the implied tax relief is ludicrous unless you favour the poor paying relatively higher taxes.

I say it is 'possibly' the most foolish policy move since an almost equally foolish policy was to sideline the Productivity Commission in assessing the case for continued protection of the automobile assembly industry by substituting known protectionist and Labor hack Steve Bracks to head an enquiry whose outcome was well understood from the day it was set up. Rudd last week compounded the error by rejecting an opposing view from the Productivity Commission before it had even been publicly released that showed that reducing protection to 5% after 2010 would provide significant benefits to automobile consumers and small gains to the economy. a doubly stupid move since the PC report provided valuable information on how protection might be structured even assuming you did want to continue it.

The FuelWatch policy which essentially tells retailers that they must post prices in advance improves the prospects for coordination among retailers and might therefore increase prices a little – contrary to the stated intention of the policy.

Rudd followed these moves with a scathing critique of the foolish proposal by Brendon Nelson to cut the excise on petrol by 5 cents per litre. But he then reversed his stance by implicitly endorsing Nelson’s foolish populism with a proposal to cut the GST on petrol on the grounds that petrol was already subject to a hefty excise. This is populist backflip nonsense since there are taxes on taxes throughout the economy.

The rhetoric about grocery prices and the proposal for the ACCC to monitor prices will noit help the government repeal the laws of supply and demand with food prices continuing to increase as a consequence of supply shocks and, in particular, increased energy prices. Moreover, there is little the government can do to reconfigure industry structure to drive more competitive outcomes. The horse has bolted in retailing with the large duopoly (Coles, Safeway) established in the field.

The chorus of Labor drones are singing their foolish tunes of hero worship for Rudd but I imagine they simply don’t have the brains to think through these policies or are too committed in their quasi-religious fervour to think about much at all. Mark Banished at LP is now criticising the ABC for being biased about Labor over claims of its pro-Chinese, anti-Japanese biases because it didn’t first check with the Japanese that they had in fact been offended by being overlooked. As if they would say they were offended!

I’ve been banned from LP for suggesting that MB lacks independence of thought. I think I should have been banned for being tediously boring in stating the obvious. On the other hand a ban has commitment benefits for me - my urge to comment on the drivel LP usually offers as social commentary will be diminished. More time for the important things of life.


Anonymous said...

it seems to be that you were banned for being abusive.

hc said...

Mark made the claim that the ABC was 'Pathetic' fot not checking up with the Japanese that they were offended by Rudd's obvious pro-Chinese biases.

My response:

'So are you Mark, truely pathetic. A pathetic apologist for Kevin Rudd. All the time a simple consistent though incredibly stupid line viz: {Rudd = good, Criticisms of Rudd = bad}.

Do you have a brain? Anything approximating an independent mind that can think?

It is a confused pathos too. While you present yourself as a man of the left Rudd is a mealy-mouthed bureaucrat who stands for nothing that you would hold important.

What losers you both are'.

This is an accurate description of a minor ChoirMaster in a minor Rudd Cheersquad Choir. Mark only ever presents one line, has no critical facilities and always seeks to apologise for Labor.

If Labor does something self-evidently stupid then the response is that the Coalition did worse.

There is no analysis IN MB's post not a glimmer of intelligence. What is one expected to say? Gee MB I don't think you got it quite right there.

BTW to post on my blog you need to use an identifiable pseudonymn.

Sinclair Davidson said...

You evil TROLL!! How dare you criticise Dear Leader. He knows what's good for you. Only recalcitrants and anti-revolutionaries refuse to get with the programme.

Getting banned from LP (LoL) - well done.

JC said...

I'm jealous , Harry. Envious rather.

Getting banned from a lefty site is actually a form of honor system.

Enjoy the time in the sun, as it was worth the effort.

John Hasenkam said...


Pack your bags, off to the boondocks for you. There you will be confronted with innumerable pictures and statues of our glorious leader, The Milky Bar Kid. Your future freedom is contingent upon your unalloyed adoration of the MBK. Hop to it.

conrad said...

I agree with you on most of those things. A few months ago, I didn't because I thought you should have given him a chance, but most of what I've seen shows that he's good at being popular, but bad on making decent (real) decisions. Why he even cared about things like the petrol tax I have no idea -- he was so popular, he could have just said "no" and I doubt it would have much difference. In fact he may have gained credibility for such things.

That's very humerous that you were banned from LP -- it's not like you're exactly the rudest guy I've ever bumped into. I also agree that Rudd is not exactly a friend of the intelligent left. He really hasn't done much for the education system, the health system, or the environment. The only thing he's done is pulled out from Iraq a few months before the Americans presumably will. Even then he felt obliged to make excuses like being over-stretched vs. being in a stupid war.

chrisl said...

To see a parallel universe check out Poll Bludger (and LP). They actually think that the ABC is biased to the right!
Something wierd going on.

chrisl said...

By the way has there ever been a politician with as many nick names as Mr Rudd
Dear Leader,Milky Bar Kid,The Mandarin,KRUDD, Tin-tin,The Ruddster to name just a few

jc said...

He really hasn't done much for the education system, the health system, or the environment.

Yea he has, he's thrown about 700,000 people onto the public health system

Tim Lambert said...

Harry, in your comment policy you claim "I will not tolerate personal, abusive language at all". Your comment at LP was purely abusive. So why are you complaining because Mark Bahnisch banned you? Do you expect him to tolerate abuse where you do not?

hc said...

As I have been banned from LP I wonder should I start a weekly feature here that comments on the inanities of the drivelling left. I had thought of titles:

(1) LP megapixels of nonsense
(2) Chronicles of Mark the derrrrr...
(3) Weekly puke from LP.
(4) Further falsetto falseness.

The problem with (2),(4) is that such titles might exclude from any comprehensive analysis such things as LP's apologists for female genital mutilation. Broader titles such as (1) and (3) would include those commentaries on LP that do make sense such as those of Robert Merkel and 'Brian' - that would be unfortunate.

Its a question of how you deal with diseased brains. I'll mull it over - suggestions for titling a review column on the antics of the lunatic left are welcome.

hc said...

Tim L., I think I contributed quite a lot to informed public debate with my carefully worded treatise and critique.

My blog offers refined standards of discourse. LP offers left-wing drivel that is internally inconsistent. On the one hand LP pretends to be left-wing and critical but on the other it offers slavish apologia for whatever the Rudd government does.

You offer a service Tim by providing considered views from the left on such issues as climate change. Many of your arguments I agree with and support.

But you would quickly lose my respect if all you could do was provide excuses for nitwit Labor politicians and that is what LP is doing. They deserve a well considered 'kick in the arse'.

Anonymous said...

I use Google Reader to sort most of my blog reading. I deleted several feeds, including LP and RtS, not because I disagree with them but simply because they got so predictable that it was boring. I've done the same with several right-leaning blogs.

Just don't read blogs that annoy you. There are more than enough enjoyable left and right leaning blogs out there to keep you busy.

JC said...


I ignore Lambert. The only time you ever see him is when he's spitting poison (like now) or spreading misinformation about someone he disagrees with politically. It's just the type of animal he is.

He's an anti intellectual bully that needs to be brought down a peg or two; although any shorter and we wouldn't see him....... like in the movie, "Honey I shrunk the kids".

Anonymous said...

You offer a service Tim by providing considered views from the left on such issues as climate change. Many of your arguments I agree with and support.

harry, it's always best to treat Lambert with all the disrespect he deserves and then some more.

I do and always feel better doing so.

jc said...

last one was me , sorry

hc said...

Come on JC I am not interested in using this blog as a base for attacking Tim Lambert. He asked a question - that's not 'spitting poison'.

The only thing he got wrong was his view that I had no reason to 'complain'. I don't think I did complain - I felt no injury re MB's actions - I just pursued the issue.

On the other hand my comments on MB's lapdog lack of independence in thinking were reasonable. If MB wants to post slurp-slurp-slurp garbage and apologia he is fair game.

Do you have any suggestions for a title for my weekly commentary on LP?

Anonymous said...

latest from Mark Banish

Howard is E-E-E-E-V-V-V-V-I-I-L-L
because he accepted an Order of Australia and Keating didn't.

you're right harry. there are better things to do with your time

rabee said...


What's LP? A popular blog?

jc said...

Come on JC I am not interested in using this blog as a base for attacking Tim Lambert.

harry, I'm offended. I've never ever attacked Tim in my life. Never. He's always shown himself to be an honest straight up sort of guy. : -)

Not for nothing harry, but he accusing you of hypocrisy which is a bit rich coming from him.

Maybe he works on the premise that his double standards don't make him a hypocrite. :-)

Ummm for a name?

LP Watch? It's pretty generic but it does the trick. Always lace it with sarcasm though as it will make it more fun and lefties hate being made fun of.

Tim Lambert said...

Harry, in the light of Joe Cambria's comments, please explain what you mean by "I will not tolerate personal, abusive language at all" in your comments policy.

JC said...


The gotcha question is becoming a little too old, doncha think?

In light of your own comments policy why don't you follow your own standards you expect of others when carousing around at other sites as it would be less hypocritical of you.

Your trolling and flaming is now becoming legendary.

Now I know you're somehow “angrified” with me for some reason:-) but surely you shouldn't be throwing around punches in the dark hoping one will score.

This is especially so when you're miserably trying to point out hypocrisy in others while excusing even worse examples in yourself.

And unless your totally stupid you should have noticed that harry did tick me off for having a go at you.... undeservedly so I might seeing its you.

jc said...

As for being a hypocrite, Tim, well I’m sorry to say you are.

Lambert published excerpts of email correspondence I had with him several years ago on one of Catallaxy’s threads to somehow prove his point that I had been rude to him. I was. He published those emails about a month ago as pay back for writing Lambert Watch, which has become a pet subject of mine.

Surprise, we now find Lambert has been doing the same thing:

And Tim, if you just want to go around putting me down I suggest you give people a bit of a background i.e. just because I carelessly aimed a snark at you once, you sent me not one but *three* abusive emails and have been back to hounding me since. you really are a vindictive little twerp and if you continue this I may just be inclined to publish those emails and tell you boss about them, ok? get over it. I made one snark at you and you’ve been spending the last few months trying to get back at me. get some psychiatric help.

It would better if you simply stopped pretending that having double standards is not hypocrisy, Tim as it’s a better look.

hc said...

JC, I am not interested in getting involved in your dispute with Tim Lambert. I'll delete futher comments along these lines.

That answers Tim Lambert's question too. I'll try to discourage, warn and then exclude if the former actions fail.

derrida derider said...

Well, its a pity you're banned. But there's no doubt that your post was just ad hominenm abuse, and he's not to know that you're actually capable of much better. Mind you, I reckon MB has also shown he's capable of better posts than the one you were commenting on too.

The trouble is, Harry, that by cutting yourself of from alternate views (annoying or even childish as they can be) you may well end up falling into the well-established parallel universe of the RWDBs.

Nick said...

agree with derrida derider.

you're old enough to know better HC.

calling people 'losers' doesn't accomplish much in this world.

Anonymous said...

Harry, you called Mark truely (sic) pathetic, a loser, and asked if he had a brain. This is not only abusive, but childish. One of the good things about LP is that they at least encourage dissenting views, if not abuse. You appear to do the same.

On topic, I think some of your criticisms of Rudd may prove accurate, but we will need to wait for another few months to see what comes out of the machine in terms of policy before we judge too soon.


hc said...

You must sign your name or use an identifiable pseudonymn to post here. applies to LP trolls espreecially. I deleted one post though happy to repost if these conditions met.

The Political Economist said...

Hi Harry, interesting post. I'm wondering if you think there is, at least, some connection between the performance of the Rudd government to date, and the background of the PM as a career bureaucrat? At this stage, there appears to be an awful lot of emphasis on process as desiderata, rather than on outcomes.

Anonymous said...

Mr clarke obviously has no memory of 1996/7.
what was the first legislation Mr howard personally put through Parliament Mr clarke?

Mr howard was either inept or frankly embarassing when he went overseas. He was widley seen as beyond the job.

After time He improved.

It is rather funny to you accuse Mr Banisch of being a Rudd apologist when you do the same to Howard.

He seems to criticise Rudd more than you ever did of Howard

jc said...


just helping you out here seeing you don't like anon comments.

That last comment was Homer's. I smell that rat for miles when he's sitting over a keyboard.

Homer , harry would prefer you identify yourself in future please.

hc said...

Maybe it is Homer. Why is he then being so modest? He still can't spell whoever it is.

Derek said...

Hello Harry,

Did I miss something on the labour change to the medicare levy? The changes now mean that people earning $50K-$100K have a choice about taking out (gov't subsidised) private health insurance. If the insurance is unsaleable without the tax incentive what is the point? Aren't economists normally in favor of consumer choice? What is different about this case?


hc said...

Derek, There is a distortion here because free health services are provided. There are 'second-best' arguments in economics for trying to offset the effects of irremovable distortions with such things as subsidies.

Derek said...

Yes, agreed that there arguments for some sort of a subsidy to offset a market distortion.

But if the same logic and implementation is applied to other areas the results are absurd.

Education: all parents earning above $50K/$100K have to pay private school fees for their children or the equivalent in extra tax.

Transport: all drivers earning above $50K/$100K have to pay citylink fees or the equivalent in extra tax.

Surely this "distortion offset" is already built in to the progressive tax system, and adding penalty taxes is just another distortion?


Derek said...

Hello Harry,

Any thoughts on the education equivalent of private health insurance?


hc said...

Good point Derek, exactly analogous. Getting people into private schools releases resources for public schools. Subsidies for private schools can make sense on equity grounds!

Derek said...

Cheers mate.