Author: <span class="vcard">Darren Brady Nelson</span>

Trump’s infrastructure plan: making infrastructure great again?

The President of the United States (POTUS), Donald Trump, once again publicly talked about his “bold”, “new” and “transformative” infrastructure plan in his recent State of the Union (SOTU) speech:

“[I]t is time to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. … Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a Bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment — to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. Any Bill must also streamline the permitting and approval process — getting it down to no more than two years, and perhaps even one. Together, we can reclaim our building heritage. … And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”[1]

The SOTU statement above is typical Trump. On the one hand, he … Read the rest

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Finkel’s fake economics 3.0

One can usually expect on most days when the Senate is sitting in Canberra that the ALP, Greens or Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) will put forward for fake debate a so called Matter of Public Importance (MPI) such as the recent one for 9/11:

“Investment in renewable energy, which makes economic and environmental sense.” – ALP Senator Katy Gallagher from the ACT, Manager for Opposition Business (Senate).

As is often the case with those on the Left, this assertion is not just false but the opposite is in fact the truth. This has been shown many times by various LibertyWorks writers including myself earlier this year in both Finkel’s Fake Economics 1.0 and Finkel’s Fake Economics 2.0. I will now complete the trilogy with a this third and final instalment ie Finkel’s Fake Economics 3.0 (noting that, admittedly, I am quite fond of writing such trilogies such as on … Read the rest

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The cost of living: the evidence is clear

This is the third and last instalment of my short series exposing that the high and rising ‘cost-of-living’ in Australia is due to government control not market freedom – ie the ancient human battle of freedom v control. The first piece was entitled The Rising ‘Cost-of-Living’ is a Government Phenomenon and the second piece was entitled The Rising ‘Cost-of-Living’: Why Is It So?. The first one set out the libertarian hypothesis that the culprit is government control like tax, regulation and money which negatively impacts costs (and services) in energy, housing and banking. The second one walked through the economic logic of why the culprit is certainly not market freedom. This third one will provide the statistical evidence from official sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and Parliamentary Library (PL). This evidence is best presented … Read the rest

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Inequality, an indicator in search of a problem

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten made a speech recently in which he claimed to the ALP faithful that inequality was “the biggest threat to our health as an economy and our cohesion as a society”.

In this spirit, the ALP is currently proposing the Productivity Commission Amendment (Addressing Inequality) Bill, which establishes a framework for the Productivity Commission (PC) to regularly report on economic inequality. The stated purpose of this Bill is to improve the quality of information and analysis available about economic inequality in Australia, and to ensure that proper consideration is given to inequality in the public debate about economic policy.

Inequality of wealth is certainly an economic phenomenon worthy of study. However, significant levels of inequality are not an economic problem in itself. One having sufficient and growing wealth ‘pays the bills’, not whether someone else has even more sufficient and growing wealth. This is because … Read the rest

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Big banks and government need each other

On 16 February 2017 the Senate established the Select Committee on Lending to Primary Production Customers to inquire and report on the regulation and practices of financial institutions in relation to primary production industries. This Rural Banking Inquiry is chaired by Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. The Select Committee is currently scheduled to report by 18 October 2017 and submissions are accepted throughout. The Terms of Reference  specify the scope of the enquiry as follows:

“… to inquire into and report on the regulation and practices of financial institutions in relation to primary production industries, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry, with particular reference to:

  1. the lending, and foreclosure and default practices, including constructive and non-monetary default processes;
  2. the roles of other service providers to, and agents of, financial institutions, including valuers and insolvency practitioners, and the impact of these services;
  3. the appropriateness of loan
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The latest fake statistics: this time on faith

The great 19th century American writer and wit, Mark Twain, once said “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Not only has nothing changed since then, statistics have progressively worsened under the auspices of the various government ‘Ministries of Truth’ such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (CBCS) was the first bureaucratic monopoly on statistics in this country. The CBCS was established under the Census and Statistics Act in 1905, and was later replaced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act in 1975.

It was reported widely in the media last month, such as in The Australian, that the 2016 ABS Census reveals Australians are increasingly faithless, with 29.6% claiming no religion.

To be fair to the ABS, they provide a less churlish and disingenuous narrative on their … Read the rest

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The Fakel Report: Finkel’s fake ecomonics 2.0

This is a sequel to my article from last week entitled The Fakel Report: Finkel’s Fake Economics. Since then there have been media reports that the Turnbull ‘flip-flop’ Government is already having second thoughts about the one-and-only solid reform recommendation from the Finkel Review, that is the so called “technology neutral” Clean Energy Target (CET). This is not surprising given that only when ‘hell freezes over’ will a CET result in “lower residential and industrial electricity prices”. It is unclear, however, if they are also backing off a new federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 42 per cent in 2030.

There are a plethora of problems with the Finkel Final Report, one of the main ones being the thinly-veiled worldview fuelling this Report, that is the all-too-predictable one of climate change alarmism (including wind and solar fetish) combined with favouring government central control over competitive market freedom. … Read the rest

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The Fakel Report: Finkel’s fake economics

LibertyWorks board member and Austrian Economist, Darren Nelson, picks apart this month’s fake news; the economic policy and global warming response recommendations made by non-climate scientist and non-economist Dr Alan Finkel.

The 200-plus page Final Report released last week Friday by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel should be renamed the Fakel Report. This is because the pseudo-analysis within it is based on Fake Economics. This is not surprising given that Dr Finkel is not an economist, nor are any of the other four members of the Review Panel. This was certainly not made any better by only around 1% of the 390 written submissions in any way questioning climate change alarmism and/or favouring sound economics. And this is in the very important context of Dr Finkel’s surprisingly honest admission in Senate Estimates last month that the impacts from Australia’s alarmist policy efforts to ‘tackle’ climate change will be … Read the rest

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The rising cost of living: why is it so?

Economist and LibertyWorks advisory board member, Darren Brady Nelson, expands on his previous contribution explaining the Rising Cost Living.

My recent LibertyWorks piece entitled “The Rising ‘Cost-of-Living’ is a Government Phenomenon” asserted that the drivers of the high and rising cost-of-living in Australia are all the plethora of government interventions that, not only increasingly skew the balance of ‘freedom versus control’ away from freedom, but also necessarily raise costs and prices and thus reduce growth and jobs. Key amongst these government drivers are tax, regulation and money. And key amongst the negative impacts are in energy, housing and utilities.

This piece is a prequel of sorts. It is based on my recent speech at the fifth annual Friedman Conference in Sydney Australia. It attempts to answer the question of “why is it so?” by stepping through the logic of why ‘free markets’ are economically and Read the rest

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