WORSE THAN WHITLAM

If I hadn’t just listened to Steve Conroy present the Labor side of things on Andrew Bolt, I would not have known that they are even more absurd than you and your national cabinet. But I don’t really blame you since you are an economic simpleton. I blame those buffoons in Treasury who are giving you and your Treasurer this advice. They are your enemies. They are incompetent. Don’t you know that?

The important part of what first needed to happen was to ensure that no one runs out of purchasing power, which means that no one runs out of MONEY. This was not supposed to be an endless supply of cash unbacked by any productive activities. It was only supposed to be a stop-gap of a week or two and only for those who have been caught short of cash to spend.

If you think this kind of funding of unproductive activity can go on for even a couple of months, never mind six, you will go down in history as WORSE THAN WHITLAM.

I understand that such considerations have gone out of fashion, and are never mentioned in an economics text, but have you ever heard of this thing called the private sector? Do you understand the conception surrounding the notion of value added? If you do not do as much as possible to ensure that incomes are related to productivity, you are guaranteed to run the Australian economy off the rails. You will make the Liberal Party poison for a generation if not longer.

I am perfectly aware that governments skim billions that have been earned through actual value-adding work through taxation and other forms of revenue acquisition. I am just as aware that these tens of billions you gather in are spent on producing assets that never have a positive return on funds invested. The NBN, the train lines in Melbourne or the streetcars in Sydney are a sinkhole of loss that must be covered by actual value-adding projects in the private sector. The ratio of wages paid to value produced in the public sector is a massive negative. You guys have never managed a payroll in your lives which shows in almost every economic decision you make.

But to take these stupidities and extend them even farther is gross negligence. To fund the economy’s wages bill while you have shut down productive activity all across the continent is nuts.

We have eighteen dead from the Corona Virus. People are getting sick, and anyone of us, particularly our older citizens, might end up with this disease and some may die. But to crash and burn an economy because there might eventually be a few thousand of us caught up in this medical firestorm is so bizarrely disproportionate as to defy belief. Have you no sense?

Say you are doing everything you can to overcome this virus, and then do everything you can. There are cures coming, vaccines being developed to prevent its spread, forms of isolation and treatment on the way that will limit how much further the disease continues. Common sense ought to be the prime prerequisite for a Prime Minister. That is why we elected you, to make difficult decisions. People will die from the Corona Virus, that is a certainty. They will also die from incompetent economic decisions.

You must open the economy up as much as possible and do it as soon as possible. Everyone now knows they need to be careful of what they do. Everyone is aware of what they must keep an eye out for. But if you do not let us get back to work, you may ultimately be held responsible for the greatest economic disaster in Australian history.

In the time of the Great Plague of London 1665

Above is an adaptation from the Sound of Music which gives a sense of how little actual fear there is at present about the Corona Virus. Very la dee dah. Below are extracts from Pepys diary which was written during the time of the Great Plague in England during the seventeenth century in which a much more sombre tone is struck. There is today almost no genuine fear, although plenty of terror spread, almost certainly by those with an unstated agenda afoot.

Here, in contrast, are Samuel Pepys Diary – Plague extracts. I have just been reading the actual diaries for these dates and what reading only the extracts does is give you a false impression of how preoccupied he or anyone else was with the plague that surrounded them, especially in the year that the plague reached “plague proportions”, in 1665. There was no question that he took these events seriously and solemnly, but they were sidelights to other events, most notably the ongoing war between England and the Dutch. This is from May 24, 1665.

Up, and by 4 o’clock in the morning, and with W. Hewer, there till 12 without intermission putting some papers in order. Thence to the Coffee-house with Creed, where I have not been a great while, where all the newes is of the Dutch being gone out, and of the plague growing upon us in this towne; and of remedies against it: some saying one thing, some another.

This is from June 7, 1665, which also has a sidelight reference to Global Warming as it then was.

… it being the hottest day that ever I felt in my life, and it is confessed so by all other people the hottest they ever knew in England in the beginning of June – we to the New Exchange and there drunk whey; with much entreaty, getting it for our money, and would not be entreated to let us have one glasse more. ….

This day, much against my Will, I did in Drury-lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and “Lord have mercy upon us” writ there – which was a sad sight to me, being the first of that kind that to my remembrance I ever saw. It put me into an ill conception of myself and my smell, so that I was forced to buy some roll tobacco to smell to and chaw – which took away the apprehension. [Houses infected by the Plague had to have a red cross one foot high marked on their door and were shut up – often with the victims inside. Tobacco was highly prized for its medicinal value, especially against the Plague. It is said that at Eton one boy was flogged for being discovered not smoking.]

This from three days later, on June 10.

In the evening home to supper, and there to my great trouble hear that the plague is come into the City (though it hath these three or four weeks since its beginning been wholly out of the City); but where should it begin but in my good friend and neighbour’s, Dr Burnett in Fanchurch-street – which in both points troubles me mightily.

To the office to finish my letters, and then home to bed – being troubled at the sickness, and my head filled also with other business enough, and perticularly how to put my things and estate in order, in case it should please God to call me away – which God dispose of to his own glory.

Nothing much until the middle of August, and then only this:

It was dark before I could get home; and so land at church-yard stairs, where to my great trouble I met a dead Corps, of the plague, in the narrow ally, just bringing down a little pair of stairs – but I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.

This from August 31, which was the peak moment.

Up, and after putting several things in order to my removal to Woolwich, the plague having a great increase this week beyond all expectation, of almost 2000 – making the general Bill 7000, odd 100 and the plague above 6000 ….

Thus this month ends, with great sadness upon the public through the greateness of the plague, everywhere through the Kingdom almost. Every day sadder and sadder news of its increase. In the City died this week 7496; and all of them, 6102 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead this week is near 10000 – partly from the poor that cannot be taken notice of through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for them.

As to myself, I am very well; only, in fear of the plague, and as much of an Ague, by being forced to go early and late to Woolwich, and my family to lie there continually.

September 14, 1665. Total deaths on the way down, although inside London still on the rise.

…my finding that although the Bill [total of dead] in general is abated, yet the City within the walls is encreasd and likely to continue so (and is close to our house there) – my meeting dead corps’s of the plague, carried to be buried close to me at noonday through the City in Fanchurch-street – to see a person sick of the sores carried close by me by Grace-church in a hackney-coach – my finding the Angell tavern at the lower end of Tower-hill shut up; and more then that, the alehouse at the Tower-stairs; and more then that, that the person was then dying of the plague when I was last there, a little while ago at night, to write a short letter there, and I overheard the mistress of the house sadly saying to her husband somebody was very ill, but did not think it was of the plague – to hear that poor Payne my waterman hath buried a child and is dying himself – to hear that a labourer I sent but the other day to Dagenhams to know how they did there is dead of the plague and that one of my own watermen, that carried me daily, fell sick as soon as he had landed me on Friday morning last, when I had been all night upon the water … is now dead of the plague – to hear … that Mr Sidny Mountagu is sick of a desperate fever at my Lady Carteret’s at Scott’s hall – to hear that Mr. Lewes hath another daughter sick – and lastly, that both my servants, W Hewers and Tom Edwards, have lost their fathers, both in St. Sepulcher’s parish, of the plague this week – doth put me into great apprehensions of melancholy, and with good reason.

The plague continues throughout England although in London, due to the Great Fire of 1666, the plague had all but ended. This is the final plague entry, dated April 4, 1667.

One at the table told an odd passage in this late plague: that at Petersfield, I think, he said, one side of the street had every house almost infected through the town, and the other, not one shut up.

Every government’s greatest wish: to spend like a drunken sailor

Next to my own article at Quadrant Online is a new one by Peter Smith, one of the few economists I think of as worth the time to read: This Can’t Go On Much Longer. His point is that you can print money from now until forever, but eventually you will cause enormous damage which will remain unrecognised until the after the deluge has struck.

I will go to economics and ask where is the money coming from and what are the implications of governments spending so much of it. I note that some commentators have referred to Modern Monetary Theory for guidance (watch for lefties coming out of the woodwork to promote it). Consult my article in the last July/August issue of Quadrant if you want to know about this theory; but, sufficient to say, it sheds more obscuration than it does light.

Governments are giving vast amounts of money to businesses and individuals to try and make up for their loss of revenue and income. Is it a good policy? Yes, it is. Governments have shut economies down and, thus, there is no option. Otherwise, people would starve and businesses across the board would collapse. At the same time, the character of giving matters. Some is sensible; some wasteful.

A formula being used in the US, and maybe elsewhere, seems by far the most sensible. Small and medium sized businesses are being given loans to cover their costs, including their wage costs, which will be forgiven if they keep all their employees on. Support to large businesses is also vital to ensure they do not collapse; and support to individuals thrown out of work.

Even on my own high street, there are all kinds of businesses in great difficulty, some even shutting down, never to return again, in many instances because landlords are not reducing their rents. Others will return, but many others won’t. Back luck to them, but also bad luck to you since your personal wealth is being depleted by these typical actions of governments, actions costless to them but not to us. This is how Peter ends:

So, what am I saying? I am saying that the normal implications of government overspending do not apply. This situation is unique. Think of it as an enforced sojourn, albeit on hard rations in solitary confinement. Most everything shuts, we sit on our hands, and the government gives those made destitute free money to pay bills and buy food and medicines. When the sojourn is over, we will have suffered a sharp loss of production but can make up for that over a period of time.

The trick is to ensure that business collapses are kept to a minimum; that most are in shape to start up again, and that individuals are kept whole. Every day will make it harder for some businesses and people to bounce back. This means the sojourn can’t go on much longer; only a few more weeks at most. Trump knows this, and could provide a lead for other countries, including Australia; if the hate-filled American media don’t deter him from acting as speedily as we need. And need it we do. Morrison, in the announcement I referred to, mentioned restrictions being in place for six months.

It’s every government’s greatest wish to throw around money at everyone and everything. Just think of Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama in the wake of the GFC. It then took near on a decade to return to where things had been in the US, and that only because of Donald Trump. Here we never got back to where we were in 2009. If you think this will be different, well good luck to you. We are being systematically robbed, and it will continue right up until the day the community at large finally says they have had enough.

EN PASSANT: From the comments thread at QoL:

Peter,

This is the economic destruction of the West (and Australia) that the globalists, climate Cultists, Fabians, Totalitarians (of every ilk) and Socialists have dreamed about since forever. Greta can now go back to skool as the capitalist world has deliberately suicided at the behest of our politicians.

It appears to be relatively easy to prophesise our future, so here are some of mine in this Orwellian Brave New World:
a. The Chinese are already buying stocks in key American (and Australian) companies.
b. They are offering big loans and support to those supporting their Belt & road initiative – like Victoria. All you have to do is bow and kneel. How easy is it to just bow and scrape in order to be saved?
c. The ‘Oz stimulus package’ will turn out to be a massive ‘hot shot’ heroin overdose that will economically ruin Oz.
d. The Oz $$ will become valueless
e. The Chinese will call in their markers and will take key assets as payment (Ports, Communications, Infrastructure, and whatever else they want that destroys our sovereignty). The Greens, the Left and the ABC will cheer this on as a ‘good thing’.
f. Emergency ‘Social Control’ measures will become more draconian and possibly permanent
g. Pollie pensions and benefits will NOT be cut …

Welcome to the future …

As usual, my solution requires ‘risk-taking’, which my children condemn as cavalier. When their arguments have no effect on me, they then (justifiably) ask, ‘But what about Mum?”
Anyway, I think that applying a harsh Triage approach has statistical merit and would contribute to achieving the prime practical objective of decreasing the ‘Rate of Increase in Infection’ through the period of Peak Hospitalisation Demand. This would maximise the number remaining at work and minimise the permanent damage to business and industry.

However, as we import so much from China our industries will probably collapse anyway as materials are already in short supply. The owner-builder next door has stopped as he cannot get – wait for it – roofing screws.We have destroyed the Australia I knew because 1,800 people are known to be infected and 16 have died.

The look of self-satisfaction on ScoMo’s face at the destruction he and Parliament have wrought on Oz beggars belief. Why not add a super-tax to our last productive industry and finish the job? Kill off mining and we will have destroyed Oz to save the planet.

This is not essential

The video is from Peter Hitchens: There’s powerful evidence this Great Panic is foolish, yet our freedom is still broken and our economy crippled.

Most people will, by now, have viewed the online film of Metropolitan police officers bellowing officiously at sunbathers on Shepherd’s Bush Green in London, energetically stamping out the foul crime of lying on the grass (would they have paid so much attention, two weeks ago, to a gaggle of louts making an unpleasant noise, or to marijuana smokers?).

Others will have seen the films, taken by Derbyshire police drones, of lonely walkers on the remote, empty hills, publicly pillorying them for not obeying the regulations. It is genuinely hard to see what damage these walkers have done.

But as a former resident of the USSR, I can tell you that this sort of endless meddling by petty authority in the details of life, reinforced by narks, is normal in unfree societies – such as we have now become for an indefinite period. It is, by the way, also a seedbed for corruption.

Meanwhile, our economy is still crippled, and the overpraised Chancellor Rishi Sunak, like some beaming Dr Feelgood with a case full of dodgy stimulants, seeks to soothe the pain by huge injections of funny money.

And there is now the great retreat from all the alarmism.

Crucially, those who began by claiming that we faced half a million deaths from the coronavirus in this country have now greatly lowered their estimate. Professor Neil Ferguson was one of those largely responsible for the original panic. He or others from Imperial college have twice revised his terrifying prophecy, first to fewer than 20,000 and then on Friday to 5,700.

He says intensive care units will probably cope. And he conceded a point made by critics of the panic policy – that two-thirds of people who die from coronavirus in the next nine months would most likely have died this year from other causes.

Seriously, if you want this madness to end anytime soon, cut public service wages by 25% so that we can “all share in the sacrifice”.  It would then be over in a fortnight. And if that doesn’t persuade you, it might also be about to come to an end “because of the publication early last week of a rival view, from distinguished scientists at Oxford University, led by Sunetra Gupta, Professor of theoretical epidemiology? It suggests that fewer than one in a thousand of those infected with Covid-19 become ill enough to need hospital treatment.”

If that is really true, we are insane to let this go on for even another day.

__________A bit of personal nostalgia

Shepherd’s Bush is where I used to live when England was still a free country.

Officers approach sunbathers on Shepherd’s Bush Green in London, energetically stamping out the foul crime of lying on the grass (would they have paid so much attention, two weeks ago, to a gaggle of louts making an unpleasant noise, or to marijuana smokers?).

Officers approach sunbathers on Shepherd’s Bush Green in London, energetically stamping out the foul crime of lying on the grass (would they have paid so much attention, two weeks ago, to a gaggle of louts making an unpleasant noise, or to marijuana smokers?).

 

 

The coronavirus propaganda war

If any facts have actually been established they are that the CV originated in Wuhan, China and that the Chinese authorities suppressed all information about its existence and its pandemic potential until eventually it had spread across the world. Another fact I will add is that the Chinese government is a totalitarian state in which all media is controlled. One should also bear in mind China’s social credit system if you are thinking about the way things are done in the People’s Republic. This is from The Age: The war within the war over coronavirus.

Five weeks into the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, the World Health Organisation’s director general paid a visit to Beijing to understand the situation in China.

At the conclusion of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ January 29 meeting with Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese government issued a statement.

“Hailing the high speed and massive scale of China’s moves […] rarely seen in the world, Tedros said it showed China’s efficiency and the advantages of China’s system,” the statement said. “The experience of China is worth learning for other countries…”

The endorsement of “China’s system” was incongruous: the Chinese Communist Party initially sought to hide the outbreak in Wuhan and punish the doctors who tried to raise the alarm.

By the time China’s government admitted the outbreak was happening, it had gone global. Now governments worldwide are on a “war” footing to contain the pandemic that has infected half a million people worldwide, killed more than 23,000 and threatens to destroy economies from the inside.

That is exactly how I understand what happened. The rest of the article is about how China and the US have engaged in a battle to determine who is at fault. As noted in the article:

Beijing has dialled up the volume and variety of messaging on coronavirus through diplomatic channels, state media and social media for weeks, to deflect blame for the outbreak and to try to position itself in the world’s eyes as the competent, generous problem-solver.

A quite interesting article from end to end with this as the conclusion:

Should China succeed in the global propaganda war around coronavirus, as it appears to be attempting, the CCP will have achieved a revision of history in real-time on the screens of social media users everywhere.

But this would be ironic, because as Bandurski says: “we cannot, or should not, forget the fact that the Chinese Communist Party’s obsession with perception over truth was actually how the saga of this global pandemic began.”

An obsession with the perception of truth is the farthest thing in the world from an obsession with actually knowing the truth. News media that present the Chinese side and slag Donald Trump’s efforts in America are no friends of our democratic and open way of life.

Attention Greg Hunt, you should listen to this

Because we are all self-isolating we have been discussing things online, and then suddenly there was this in relation to a post on the Corona Virus by Phil Ruthven. A quite sensible post I might add, but that is, in this case, neither here nor there. In the midst of our online conversation among others was this.

Sue: I told Greg Hunt not to put Covid clinics at hospitals and guess what? Our first two deaths in Victoria were at the Alfred Hospital where they have a Covid-19 unit and they were cancer patients. Three staff so far have tested positive to the virus and 60 are now in self isolation………How can we function with 60 staff away from a hospital???

Always knew staying at home, ringing the Hotline and not going to either the hospital or to a GP was the solution …… We would come to you.

Me: That is an incredible story. I’m afraid I may not understand why you were in a position to tell Greg Hunt anything. How sensible you were. But why were you advising him?

Sue: Sadly I do not advise Greg Hunt but I just email and ring and generally annoy him and his staff constantly. It started nearly 5 weeks ago and it continues.

He is going to get another call on Monday to close down the Covid Clinics (which I also told him to do) because he cannot guarantee the safety of all other patients or the Alfred as I explained previously.

None of this is rocket science just common sense. I know of one girl who went to the Alfred suspecting she had Covid-19 and went through 5 people before she had a swab taken. That is way too much exposure to the staff. So I will be suggesting if you think you have Covid-19 you ring the Hotline, you do not go to your GP or to the hospital (unless you are very very unwell). We will come to you or set up a drive by and you can go there. We need to be smart because with increased exposure the staff can get into serious trouble themselves. (This is well documented internationally)

We also know of a RN from the Alfred who is not at work because she has had too much exposure – she is not happy. We also have a vested interest as we have a daughter who is a Doctor who because she does General Medicine is on the Front Line and we are very mindful of this. Same goes for all the Front Line nurses and anyone who cares for these patients.

All this sounds ultra-sensible. Why is this not being done in exactly the way Sue suggests?

With Paul Kelly in The Oz might as well read The Age

It’s Paul Kelly and he is right up to form: Coronavirus: It’s masks on, gloves off for Trump and Xi. Does he not know that China covered up for more than a month? Does he not know that the US is an open society where the President is surrounded by a media made up of people such as himself who are always on the lookout for something, anything, to criticise? This is how the article begins:

A vicious competition, propaganda war and nationalistic blame game has been unleashed between China and the US as their relations nosedive and the struggle against COVID-19 — affecting virtually every nation — becomes decisive in 21st-century global leadership.

National leaders, China’s Xi Jinping and America’s Donald Trump, have both launched domestic campaigns with megaphones to the world seeking to discredit each other’s countries in a test of their rival ideological systems, ability to save their own people and offer an example to the world.

Current trends suggest more Americans than Chinese will die from COVID-19, a virus that originated in China. It is hard to imagine a more incendiary political package for Trump who brands the pandemic a “China virus” to deflect responsibility as the US health system falters amid a rising death toll.

My disgust level is at near peak level. The final para:

But the ultimate play is China. Every sign is that Trump, from the start, sought an economic confrontation with Beijing but wanted to avoid any military confrontation. Now he has got more than he bargained for — not the military showdown — but a comprehensive contest of political systems. By our standards, America should win. America needs to win. But is Trump the man for the job?

He actually takes Chinese propaganda at face value! It really does disgust me to read such stuff.

SINCLAIR ASKS: “Weren’t you promising to subscribe to the Age? How’s that working for you?”

It’s actually working out quite well. I didn’t cut my sub to The Oz, just added in The Age. I therefore now have three sudokus to do each day instead of just two.

FROM LOUISE AT THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THE OZ: Virtually all of the comments are similar to mine and hers, but this does stand out.

This morning I watched Donald Trump’s press conference on Sky New Live. He gave an informative, measured and statesman like speech. He spoke about the need for global cooperation against a common enemy.

He detailed his conversation with President Xi and stressed that it was in no way combative and they had a good working relationship. They will be exchanging all data for analysis and research in both countries.

He also spoke about the capacity of the US to produce ventilators in large quantities and how they can be used domestically and to assist their friends across the globe.

He had to put up with snide, nitpicking questions from many of the journalists present, and he did this calmly and without losing his temper.

He came across as a man who recognised the gravity of the situation, was concerned for his countrymen, indeed all people, and was doing his very best to keep his country afloat.

Going on the offensive

Speaking of The Midwich Cuckoos, I genuinely do find talking to anyone on the left all too frequently just like talking to a wall. What especially infuriates me when I think I am just chatting, I am often and suddenly told “I don’t want to talk about that” which just comes out of nowhere to me. Not only are these idiots offended when I say something, even obliquely, about something that’s on my mind, but they don’t want to engage and immediately want to end the conversation.

And while on the subject of being offended, I was in a book shop today and I said to the 30-ish chap behind the counter how put off I was by all the titles such as “The Art of Not Giving a F*ck” – and there were quite a number like that – and he was obviously put off by my language. So I said to him, if you are put off by my saying what I said, just think of what I feel by having to read such titles. I think he saw my point but only barely. He can get knotted.

And another thing. I was reading an article on the recessionary effects of the CV and right in the middle was an unintended rhyming couplet.

The deeper they are and the longer they last,
The more ongoing the damage after the downturn has passed.

And so all such recessions seem always to be.

But if you’re going to quote this couplet you’ll have to cite me.