Wry & Dry

Turnbull's double dose. WA gets weirder. Bulgaria shrinking to zero.

Croesus Turnbull gets double dose...

...of good news.  It's been a while.

Firstly, the bean counters at the ABS reported that the Australian economy was in okay shape.  

Economy

And that the economy grew at 2.4% last fiscal year, a tad above expectations.  This helped the coffers of we-the-taxpayer: to Wry & Dry's bleary eyes, the budget deficit looks like being well below the $37.6 billion deficit forecast.  And might fall below $30 billion for the first time since 2008 (W&D doesn't count the accounting-trickery year of FY-13 when the shameless Wayne Swan artificially shifted revenue and expenditure around in adjacent years in a vain attempt to produce a surplus.  The actual outcome for that year was a deficit of $18.8 billion).

Budget outcome FY 17

The above chart tells a story that seems forgotten.  Granted, Wayne Swan's first budget (FY-09) was always going to be messy after the GFC.  And the decline in commodity prices didn't help the government's revenue.  But he failed to cut the cloth, as it were.  And worsened the government's debt in every year - remembering that every dollar in deficit has to be borrowed and interest paid upon.

Morrison's budget outcome looks better than forecast because of increased company and superannuation tax revenue.  W&D keenly awaits the actual outcome.

Secondly, the High Court dismissed (with costs) objections to the government's plebiscite on marriage equality.  This allows Croesus Turnbull's work-around-the-right-wing-of-the-government-and-the-Opposition to proceed.

Some Readers have asked W&D's views on the matter.  He will keep those to himself.  Other than to note that:

The issue is of such fundamental ethical and conscience that it is rightly a matter for the people to decide - the leader of Opposition is to be condemned for opposing it.

Whilst there is no doubt misleading campaigning being undertaken by each side (as in any case where we-the-vote are asked to vote), the fascist behaviour of some of the Yes supporters is to be deplored - for example, the a) public vilification of and b) petitioning of the AMA to have deregistered a doctor who voiced a No position. 

Vote yes

Western Australia: cry me a GST river Part II

W&D's piece last week elicited some responses from sharp Readers.  Thank you for your comments.

Saul Eslake emailed with some deeper analysis (see link here).  

And W&D enjoyed two points he made:

1.  Equal per capita distributions: not in my backyard!

WA argues that GST should be distributed on an equal per capita basis.  "But WA itself does not itself allocate grants on an equal per capita basis (no state or territory does).  That is to say, state governments do not allocate expenditures on schools, hospitals, police or transport across regions on an equal per capita basis, but rather in accordance with their judgements as to the needs for those services".

"Those state governments which advocate that the revenue from the GST be distributed on an equal per capita basis are thus doing so despite not following the same principle in their own back yards."

2.  Accidents of history, geography, acts of God

"It’s not as if the prosperity which Western Australians have enjoyed in recent years is the result of any bold reforms, wise decisions or astute investments undertaken by earlier Western Australian state governments."

"Previous Western Australian governments did not put vast iron ore reserves under the Pilbara, nor did they do much to find them; more recent Western Australian governments have not driven up the price of iron ore; and contemporary Western Australian governments have not, for the most part, provided the capital from which the development of new mines, the expansion of existing ones, and the provision of the infrastructure enabling minerals to be moved from mines to and through ports has been funded."

"...And I suspect that if, by some quirk of history, the southern border of the Northern Territory had been drawn so as to extend along the 26th parallel south latitude all the way to the Indian Ocean, rather than stopping at the 129th east parallel of longitude (see chart), the majority of current-day Western Australians who live south of the 26th parallel would have a rather different view of Australia’s 'horizontal fiscal equalization' arrangements."

Map

How would Western Australians feel about the GST revenue-sharing arrangements if state borders had been drawn up as above? (Source: Saul Eslake)

But, wait!  There's more II...

Just to confirm that nutters are not confined to parts of Queensland, the Greens or some Senate seats, the WA Liberal Party has actually agreed (last weekend) to 'fiscally' secede from the rest of Australia.

This faintly ridiculous notion shows that not only is the whole GST carve up debate absurdly off the rails, but that there is very little intelligence in the WA Liberal Party.

Oh, dear.

Tsar Vlad turns to imagery

W&D was very impressed when Tsar Vlad said on Tuesday that, "North Koreans would rather 'eat grass' than suspend a nuclear weapons program."

It shows that Tsar Vlad (a) can be imaginative [1]; (b) doesn't know that most North Koreans already eat grass; and (c) understand the reality of Kim-Jong Un, aka the NK Nutter.

And it's the final point that is a little scary.  Nothing that China, US or Russia say or do will cause the NK Nutter to back down.

Let them eat grass 

Tony Abbott's pleasure

W&D noticed that the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William have announced that the Duchess is pregnant with sprog number three.  And ponders had Tony Abbott been PM how would have reacted?  Perhaps a knighthood or damehood in utero for the fifth in line for the throne?

Could North Korea have done this?

Sometimes W&D muses about centrally planned economies.  And how innovation occurs.  Especially at the consumer level.   And so in thinking that there are only five more sleeps before a telephone manufacturing company releases its latest telephone (#8), W&D turned his addled mind to how this all happened.  

It seems like only yesterday that a fellow called Steve Jobs hold up the world's first smart phone.  Actually, it was just over 10 years ago, on 9-Jan-07. Thinking about that, it means that no child under the age of, say, 15, in most of the world has known a world without the iPhone.   That's successful design, development, manufacture, financing. marketing, distribution and sales.

Could North Korea have done this?

Image result for image kim jong un mobile phone

So, your population has fallen by 25%.  Is there a Plan A.  Or B?  Anything?

Readers will know that W&D is a student of demographics.  And so notes that Bulgaria now has the fastest falling population in the world (actually, the podium finish goes to Syria, but that's sort of different).  

In 1989 Bulgaria had a population of over 9 million.  Today it is 7 million.  

So what is the government doing about it?  Immigration, perhaps?  Read the logical thought process...

"Bulgaria doesn't need uneducated refugees," says Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, a leader of the United Patriots, an anti-immigrant grouping forming part of the coalition government.

Nor would Bulgarian society accept educated and skilled migrants, Mr Simeonov says.

"They have a different culture, different religion, even different daily habits," he says. "And thank God Bulgaria so far is one of the most-well defended countries from Europe's immigrant influx."

And it does.  The 260-kilometre border with Turkey is a state of the art razor wire fence.  Tsar Trump would marvel at its effectiveness.  Of the millions of refugees who entered Europe from North Africa and the Near East between 2015 and July 2017, only 50 have settled in Bulgaria.

Elsewhere

Those Readers following the CBA's trial would be keen to know that the CBA has until 15th December to file its defence.  And Austrac has until mid-March 2018 to respond to CBA.  A case management hearing will then be held on 2nd April 2018.  That's a good five months of work even before the barristers get on their feet.  Then the real stuff starts.  W&D hears the whisper that the lawyers have already booked their 2019 first class flights for expensive overseas resorts and planned to repay their mortgages early.  

And, to soothe your troubled mind...  

Miscellany 

Last words...

"If we are elected, there will be no new taxes on Western Australians or increases in taxes on West Australians, full stop." 

-   Mark McGowan, now premier of Western Australia, on the election campaign trail in March; in which election he won in a landslide.

Yesterday, Ben Wyatt, the new state treasurer, announced a massive hike in payroll taxes and an increase in gold production royalties.  In moderate fairness, WA Labor inherited a fiscal disaster from Colin McGowan's spendthrift Liberal-National government.  But, as that monumental fiscal fool, Tony Abbott found out, 'tis folly to break election promises. Especially about taxes.  The McGowan-Wyatt government has 3.5 years to prove their fiscal mettle.

WA sun sinks 2

 

First Samuel client events calendar

Date 
Description
Details
See below       
Chief Investment Officer Dinners
Invitations Sent
Tue-12-Sep Frasers, Perth Full
Tue-10-Oct Centenove, Kew Filling
Wed-11-Oct Donovans, St Kilda Lunch (Filling) or Dinner (FULL)
Wed-25-Oct Quaff, Toorak Spaces
Tue-14-Nov Centenove, Kew Spaces
Wed-22-Nov Donovans, St Kilda Lunch (Filling) or Dinner (FULL)
Tue-28-Nov Elyros, Camberwell Filling 
Wed-29-Nov Bottega, Melbourne CBD Filling
Tue-24-Oct Stillwater at Crittenden Estate Spaces 

Some lightly salted absurdities from all over...

At the extreme left-hand end of the Bell Curve

Graham chose to upset the wrong person.  Hell hath no fury...

 

Cheating husband

Guess the outcome

Sibongile Mani, an accountancy student at South Africa’s Walter Sisulu University, was given 10,000 times her normal student finance payment (total about A$1.3m).  Did  she:

a.  Immediately report the over payment to the university and return the cash;

b.  Keep quiet and sit on the cash;

c.  Donate the money to her favourite charity; or

d.  Go a massive spending spree (watches, phones, clothes, travel, etc).

Close.  But no cigar.  The correct answer is d.  She managed to go through about A$100,000 in three weeks before being found out.

(Metro News UK)

Bonus.  She actually held a press conference to explain her actions but was forced to flee after other students jeered and then chased her.

Hey, dude.  Who stole my car? 

A New Zealander decided to sell his car for NZ$800 so that he could purchase more booze for his big night out.  And he sold his car.  And had his big night out.  Next day, he woke up and couldn't find his car.

So he does what any thinking man would do: call the police and report the car stolen.   The new owner wasn't happy when he was arrested for having stolen the car he had just bought.   

(UK Telegraph)

But it all ended happily, as the patient NZ police person sorted it all out.

Have a wry and dry weekend

Anthony

 

[1]  "So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry let them eat grass or their own dung."  Andrew Myrick, a trader at the Lower Sioux Agency at the time of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, and is often considered in part responsible for the start of the war. 

The war was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of Dakota (also known as the eastern 'Sioux') Indians. Throughout the late 1850s, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. The short story is that one young Dakota with a hunting party of three others killed five settlers while on a hunting expedition. That night a council of Dakota decided to attack settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of the area. There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, although, in Abraham Lincoln's second annual address, he stated that not less than 800 men, women, and children had died.

Over the next several months, continued battles pitting the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late December 1862, soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, who were interned in jails in Minnesota. After trials and sentencing, 38 Dakota were hanged on December 26, 1862, in the largest one-day execution in American history. In April 1863, the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. The United States Congress abolished their reservations.