8th September. Union Boys & Politics.
Australians do not seem to like it when one party gets too many slots
power structure. My opinion, I think that
Don Chipp had the goods. We like to "keep the bastards
honest". And if it hadn't been for the great betrayal by Meg we
would still have the Democrats in the Senate as a major political
force.That is why Howard stayed in power so
long. Labour dominated State governments, so the Australian
people gave the LCP the Federal slot.
I suspect that the union boys explanation for Rudd's win was that we
ozzie people) didn't like the "work choices" legislation, or maybe we
Kevin was a nice bloke, or perhaps (because they did spend a LOT of
money) we were persuaded by the advertising against "work choices".
Kevin is increasingly being seen as a political ninja. He
disciplined and focussed to kill John Howard (electorally). John
Howard is increasingly being seen after his political demise as one of
greatest Australian politicians (well except for maybe Ming)
But when it comes to governing, Kevin lacks originality. He seems
to be a one shot wonder. This is
no doubt obvious to the front bench union boys. Kevin is not a
union boy, and I suspect that the knives are being sharpened.
On the Federal scene it is difficult to penetrate whether the Sussex
street union boys still pull the strings. Those past union bosses
are now sitting on the Federal front bench. Their motives are
changing from when their meal ticket came from union dues. They
are no doubt
taking note of what is happening to the union boy (Labour) state
governments in NSW and WA.
In WA the labour government opportunistically called a snap election to
take advantage of a new Liberal leader who had thought it was a big
joke to publicly sniff the chair where a hot female had been
seated. This crass behavior did not go well with the
electorate. However the Libs rapidly brought back a retiring
impeccable credentials, and now the Labour party have lost their
majority. Some say the loss was about Labour being too
clever. Others think it might be the Rudd effect.
In NSW the Labour premier (Ioemma) and his treasurer have
NSW union boys (see Iguanagate
are probably responsible.
This confluence of events and Kevin's waning popularity make me wonder
just how long it will be before he is replaced, possibly by Simon,
although there are a few other union boys front
benchers who might fancy their chances. (I think it is probably
too soon, but Simon's star is waning with time.) I think Kevin
will last a bit longer. The economy is degrading rapidly (partly
due to the union boys' legislative initiatives). Most "would be"
leadership challengers would
probably think it would be better to wait till that economic
contraction has run it's course, then take over & take the
credit as the economy stabilizes with higher unemployment (and a more
highly unionised workforce).
15th September. Prediction on Oil & Forex rates.
Back on 15th August I noted that the $AU and the price of oil had
drastically. I reasoned that the fall was due to China's
Olympic pollution cleanup effort. Those Chinese pollution
due to be eased about now.
I am not too surprised that the world's financial journalists did not
a similar explanations for the rising $US and falling oil price.
If you think about it logically,
those movements are exactly what would happen if the Chinese reduced
purchases of oil
with their (export) income,
and instead used the money to buy $US treasury notes. That is
because the oil market is quit
small drops in consumption will produce large drops in price.
Also, as the oil price drops, there is a further positive feedback into
price of the $US. This is because the US imports over 8 million
b/d, so a $50 price drop means that the US saves over $400 million
dollars of foreign exchange each day, which is a saving rate of about
$150 billion pa, or about 1% of the US GDP.
So I predict that, as the Chinese ease the pollution restrictions on
their economy, so the price of oil will rise from today's price of
around $US100 bbl to around $US120 bbl by early October. The
hedges will have
learned their lesson, and are unlikely to again bid the price up.
I also predict that the $US will fall so $AU1 buys around 90 cents US.
23rd September. Financial Institutions.
In the past week
The problem with the world economy is the security of the M1 payment
system. Most business transactions are online. The credit
and payments system of commerce are at risk while banks and other
privately owned financial systems manage everything past M0.
Microsoft could not perform a billion dollar takeover using physical
cash. The international US wheat market could not function on an
M0 (cash) basis. So government must not only manage M0 (physical
cash) but also manage electronic M1 (on demand online electronic
cash). The necessary physical interface of online electronic
accounts with people in the market place could be contracted out to the
existing ATM network. Transfers and storage of electronic credit
information would be in federal government computers, and safe from any
- As predicted on 15th September (above), the US dollar has started
to fall (now around US85c for AU$1),and oil is on it's way up (it's
around US$130 that $130 was a one hour spike, it has since
dropped to $107).
- Merrill Lynch has been absorbed by BOA, Fannie & Freddie and
American Insurance have been bought into by Uncle Sam. US has
agreed to buy the bad mortgages for an amount quoted as near to one
- Lehman has gone to Chapter 11.
- The stock market has gone into reverse. (well duh, thats
because everybody is moving their cash into those CDOs which are now,
courtesy of treasury, about as safe as treasury notes.)
- Warren Buffet is reported as buying equities in a (so far 4%)
falling equities market. No wonder that guy is rich. Let me
pose the question: "when investors have bought those previously junk
status CDOs until the yield is down around treasury bills, when
commerce is, as a result of that boost to business confidence, booming,
what target will the billionaire investment advisers at Merrill Lynch
Pierce Fenner & Smith (and whoever else on Wall Street survived)
suggest that they buy next?"
As it stands, the financial corporations have a monopoly on M1, and in
practice that monopoly is guaranteed by the federal government as the
issuer of M0. The Federal Government should take over electronic
cash M1, offer a free low basic interest rate account to every citizen,
and then let all of the financial institutions (banking, insurance,
etc) sink or swim in the sea of commerce. They would have to
offer a higher M1 and even higher M2 interest rates to beat the M1
system interest rate.
If the above were done, quite a few banks etc. would become
insolvent. My heart bleeds for them. Quite a few (more than
half) federal politicians have lots of money at stake. So it
won't happen. Even though it should.
The long term solution for that, and other problems with the US federal
system, is to introduce something like the "proposition" system that
exists in California.
29th September MORALITY
Let me construct a moral question. Picture two men traveling
through a country where people were starving to death. One man
spies an attractive girl, and offers to take
her with him and feed her if she will give him sex. The other
does not help anybody but goes back home and reports on the man who fed
the girl for sex. He makes a lot of money from the story, and
gives a tithe to a charity that feeds a few of the people who haven't
Who is morally more correct? The man who took selfish advantage
from another's misfortune, or the man who took advantage by reporting
another's selfish trade?
Right now we have the US congress refusing to spend $700 billion (that
is about Australia's GDP) on purchasing bad debt that the boys on Wall
Street advised their customers to buy. Seems like those Wall
Street boys burnt their own fingers somewhere between buying mortgages
and selling CDOs. I suspect that a few of the richer legislators
might lose their pants (or panties) if that $700 billion doesn't
happen. A lot
of Republicans have mixed feelings about saving Wall Street. They
sense immorality, but do not know how to rescue the bank payments
Groucho Marx defined "mixed feelings" as "your mother in law driving
your new car over a cliff".
I believe that the suggestion above (to paraphrase) "that the US
government should offer an electronic alternative to 'on demand' cash
(aka M1)" would stop a recurrence of this liquidity problem. The
FDIC is just too vulnerable as a fall guy. As witness when
Clinton demanded that Fannie May promote mortgage loans to
disadvantaged ethnic groups.