13 June 2006

things we said today

The Beazlebomb has taken a punt on taking the fight up to the government on IR. I fall into the camp who says "damn good thing." It is a risky strategy and it didn't take long for the government and its hired henchmen to run all the usual "caving in to the unions" and "return to the past" lines. But better to die on your feet than to live on your knees and I reckon that, on balance, this is as good an issue to run with, and differentiate Labor from the Coalition, as any. Certainly better than foreign affairs/defence or "the economy", whatever one means by that from minute to minute.

Guantanamo - I was as appalled as most by the "asymmetric warfare" and "good PR stunt" comments that oozed from the US Administration. I read a letter to the editor somewhere querying that the three suicides were simultaneous, calling into question whether they were actually individual acts of desperation that were just well timed. Possibly a good point but public opinion is very slowly changing on the US Administration's line on this and moreso, I hope, on David Hicks. I thought David Hicks' father was very measured on TV last night when one can imagine his heart must be breaking. The different stories from the Australian Government and Hicks' lawyer about his health must surely bring his treatment into question. I wouldn't be surprised if the Government would like to get him out and bring him home, but feels it can't back down because of its utterly callous treatment of him (including publicly announcing his guilt before any trial, however lacking, took place) and is painted into a corner. In which case, if true, that treatment is all the more reprehensible as it would confirm a belief that Hicks is a political prisoner of his own government.

Most commentators are still trying to get their heads around the likelihood of governments running budget deficits as the infrastructure 'crisis' bites deeper. Only a few months ago the comments were all about the need to redress the 'crisis' and damn the torpedoes, ie get the money from wherever and, of course, governments should run responsible levels of debt over the business cycle and can borrow more cheaply than business. Maybe if these well-educated types had foreseen this coming 20 years ago - as 'economic rationalism' took hold and the short term drove out the long term, and governments were meant to withdraw from all but securing property rights and the defence of the realm - we wouldn't be in the current situation. Surely economics was an advanced enough 'science' at that time - it was advanced enough for Milton Friedman to be worshipped as having provided the answer for all time. Yeah, well, slight hyperbole on my part but I'm just banging this out and it sounds good in my head, eh?

Same with water - any sensible planning would have catered for future demand and we - here in very drought-y SEQ - wouldn't be in our current pickle. But further to that, there is rarely a single answer to any problem and so, we should be reducing demand as well as boosting supply. And meanwhile having a discussion about population growth (I have to go the Canberras Times online to get regular doses of
Jenny Goldie nowadays) and, further to that....the nature of economic growth as our defining policy objective.

Too big for now, one for another day.


Anonymous said...

on the issue of water.
We continue to export huge amounts of our precious water overseas in the form of many tonnes of woodchips and coal to japan, grain to the middle east, fruit and vegetables to a variety of countries to name just a few.
It has been proven that the human race effects the weather, in as much as the weather patterns have changed due to human activity and is one of the reasons that more rain falls on weekends due to the increase of pollution during the week.
So what effect does the redistribution of the planets finite water supply cause?

phil said...

Dear derf- what a funny foreign name you have! The answer to your question is deceptively simple - a redistribution of wet weather to weekends will result in declining productivit6y, as more people take sikies during the week to take advantage of teh good weather, and declines in the fortunes of gold club manufacturers.

We could redress the imbalance you note in your first paragraph by requiring all migrant to bring water back with them.

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