FOMO rally. Hinch prefers headlines. Castro's amazing eulogies.
The first week of summer brought out the crazies.
Wry & Dry blames it all on that misanthropic dictator, Fidel Castro. His death sent an invisible ray of political stupidity around the globe. Both from reactions to his passing (see more later) to that ray of stupidity penetrating the few remaining brain cells of our politicians.
W&D would have thought that neophyte Senator, Derryn Hinch, might have managed to show a little more IQ. The controversial, if somewhat remote to city folk, 'back-packer's tax' caused enough confusion in the poor man's remaining brain cells for him to change his mind four times in as many days as to what tax he thought should apply: 19%, 15%, 10.5% and then 13% (the Senate settled on 15% last night, owing to a rare bout of shrewdness from Treasurer Morrison and an ever rarer bout of pragmatism from the Greens). On Hinch's brainless capriciousness Running The Country depends.
But wait. There's more! We-the-taxpayer will now have to pay millions and millions of dollars more for infrastructure projects (and other projects) because the headline seeking Hinch would only agree to the government's commercial building code and Australian Building and Construction Commission if key parts became effective in two year's time. W&D won't go into the details, but essentially, Hinch (and, predictably, the now vengeful and gullible One Nation Senator-for-the-moment Rod Culleton) was conned by the CFMEU into the delay.
Which will give the CFMEU time to hold the industry to ransom. And from today, the rolling construction-industry strikes will commence, to ramp up the pay-deals. Yes, of course the industry will roll-over as they will pass the costs on to the project-owner: all too often we-the-taxpayer.
But wait, there's even more. Remember that it was Turnbull who caved in to the Senate's blackmailers. All the PM wanted for Christmas was the legislation passed, whatever the cost. The result: the new legislation is a toothless farce - but Turnbull didn't have the gonads to stare down the Senate, or to delay until a better deal could be negotiated in the next sitting. The government gave Hinch the playing field on which he excels, playing the deal-maker in the pressure-cooker under the glare of publicity. All Hinch wanted for Christmas was headlines. And he got them.
Senator Hinch, paying careful attention
May the fleas of a thousand camels invade his beard.
By the way, all of this chaos ensured that the news of the lights again going out in South Australia was in fact not news. Over 200,000 households along with BHP's massive Olympic Dam mine lost power.
And all of this in the week when it was revealed that Australia's school children were falling even further behind other countries in Science and Maths. Consider year-4 maths, where Australia comes in at 27th in the world, behind such worthies as both the predictable Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea and the not so predictable Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.
W&D is not concerned, if there were rankings for year-4 Gender Studies, Australian children would be ranked #1.
Returning to narcissist politicians, W&D notes that in the US, the House (House of Representatives, in Washington) Democrats have learned nothing. And re-elected Nancy Pelosi as its leader. The US election proved nothing if not that coastal elites (from New York & environs and California) are badly out of touch. Dear Nancy, who has represented a wealthy San Francisco district since 1987, is an interesting 76 years old. She is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with a net worth of some $58m. Like Ms Clinton, her causes are, well causes. She has little in common with the traditional centrist Democrat base: working people. Clearly her years are showing, a mere 23 days after the Democrats lost the Presidential, House and Senate elections, on her re-election, she said, "We know how to win elections." As always, it's always been about Nancy.
W&D received a letter yesterday, from a company offering, 'cash back'.
"What ho, Jeeves," W&D thought, as the envelope was hastily opened. Perhaps a car dealership or internet gambling company. Or perhaps from Harvey Norman (an electrical retailer) offering something amazing. But, no. It was from a (major) bank.
Yes, the bank that issued one of W&D's many and varied credit cards was offering 'cash back'. How, err, very, well... retail. But cash is cash. And W&D, impecunious as ever from the ongoing pillage of his wallet by his offspring, welcomed the idea.
But then the trade-off became clear. Swap his 69,500 points for $250. Good grief. So, a frequent flyer point (or whatever it's called) is worth $0.0036. Recall the general deal: spend one dollar and get one point. So one point is worth, more or less, $0.0036. So, when a retailer offers you, say, 50,000 points in a competition, it is really giving away about $180.
But wait, there's more. The fine print. "Please note, a cash advance fee will still apply if your redeemed amount is withdrawn as cash." So, there is even a bank fee (2%) on the stingy points offer that it is trying to get points off the company's balance sheet.
W&D encourages readers to pay attention to the results of Italy's referendum, on Sunday. This is more important than a back-packer's tax.
Elsewhere, the markets had a bit of a FOMO rally yesterday (+1%), but that might be about it for now. And readers can learn more on the price fixing cartel called OPEC, and its attempt to defy free markets; and more on the reaction to the death of Fidel Castro.
And, of course, Miscellany, to soothe your troubled mind.