The newspapers have revealed that our four big banks have made a profit
of about $12 billion, of which $4.8 billion was account
keeping fees. $1.2 billions of that was penalty fees
for overdrawn accounts etc. Of course most of that can be
That rort continues despite the fact that our government has guaranteed
all money deposited with those banks in a manner that is detriment to
other financial institutions. My credit union manages to pay a
higher interest for online savings account and still does not charge
any of those account keeping fees.
Our government is not going to challenge that profiteering, because
those banks have paid (and will continue to pay) huge amounts into the
party coffers. Well, I suppose that is how democracy works.
Until somebody makes a fuss. It can be 99% guaranteed that any
fuss will be about something trivial (like individual parliamentarian's
dishonesty, such as in the UK right now) rather than something deep
rooted structural like the system of "lobbying" that permits the
monopolies and oligopolies that are a hidden tax on all Australians.
A-H1N1 aka SWINE FLU
Despite the closing of a couple of schools and reporting of around ten
cases, most Australians around me seem to be blissfully discounting the
danger of the looming pandemic. That is in part because our
government does not appear to be suppressing news for fear of a panic
(although conspiracy theorists could easily make a case that
information is being managed.)
A quick visit to the WHO
site shows alarming figures. Worldwide on 22nd May
there is a cumulative total of 11,034 cases,and 84 deaths. That
figure is misleading, because an unknown proportion of the people who
have not yet recovered. Even if they all recover, that is still
0.76% CFR (case fatality rate), which is very high for a flu.
The problem is more starkly revealed in Mexico, where the disease
started. 3892 infected, 244 dead, giving a CFR of 6.3%.
I find that number to be worrying.
The DJI is not on as strong a bull run as it looks.
Admittedly, the rise in $US terms between 3rd March and about 23th May
is of the order of 27%. However if we calculated the rise in
value to Australian investors of that rise by dividing by the $US/$AU
the increased value of shares on the US market to an Australian
investor would be about 2%, although to a European investor it would be
The predatory actions of the Chinese in buying US bonds to keep
the Yuan low (so helping Chinese exports) is one of the major forces
that brought about the long appreciation of the $US and the consequent
trade imbalance. The US "toxic assets" problem was brought about
by that trade imbalance and the Clinton Government's defective
Now the Chinese appear to have begun to invest in minerals. The
price of minerals is holding to strong, while the $US is falling.
With the falling $US, US products will again become competitive and
equilibrium will eventually be reached when the US obtains a positive
Of course Obama looks to be trying hard to intervene and save union
jobs. Just so long as he does not saddle US industry with
pro-union legislation. For instance, auto workers will have to
take a pay cut or lose their jobs.