The Fair Tax Pledge

Well, isn’t this interesting. Ritchie’s launched the Fair Tax Pledge. Where you promise to obey the law when dealing with your taxes. As AndyC notes:

Now we have this pathetic ‘pledge’ saying we will declare and pay the right amount of tax. Funnily enough, people pledge this when they sign their tax return.

The truly interesting bit is that if you sign it and ask, they’ll send you a little badge that you can put in the window. And yet they’re not charging anything for it.

Can we hope that Murph is paying for this directly himself?

Surprise!

Rich and powerful people know rich and powerful people:

Tony Blair used his taxpayer-supported globe-trotting to dine out with a glittering array of wealthy friends and business contacts, according to the documents seen by The Telegraph.

Well, ain’t that a shit.

But, but, this is impossible!

Racist headteacher who called parents ‘b—–s’ banned from the classroom

Isn’t it a standard point that you can only be racist if you are white, a member of the hegemonic class?

A headteacher who racially abused staff and complained if they had more Muslims “it is going to start looking like Al Jazeera” while checking CVs has been banned from the classroom for life.
Anupe Hanch, 49, asked a special needs pupil: “Do you want to become a paedophile?” and said she wanted to “chop off” the head of a Polish colleague, a professional conduct panel was told.

I couldn’t swear to this but Anupe is a Hindi (or possibly Sikh) name isn’t it? and Hindus (which is a religion of course, not a race, but….) are not normally thought of as part of the hegemonic white class, are they?

So, therefore it’s impossible for her to be a racist.

So, various possible outcomes possible here.

Hindus are now part of the hegemonic class.

She’s not a racist by definition.

The idea that only whites can be racists is bullshit.

Your choice really, but you cannot support her being a racist, a Hindu (assuming she is), and also that only whites can be racists.

Over to you SJWs.

Hmm, not sure

Massive Government welfare cuts will be met by removing tax credits from around 3.7million working families under plans being considered by ministers.

El Gordo definitely expanded the welfare state. So, not absurd to consider the Tories reigning it back in again.

Under the plans a two-child family where at least one parent works full-time would see its tax credit entitlement running out at £28,847 of earnings rather than the current £32,969.

Where you set that limit, and the rate of taper, determine the marginal tax and benefit rates faced by people. And those rates then determine their reaction to those incentives.

Don’t know enough about the rates and so on to really know, but that someone on 10% above median household income, 20% or more above median individual income, no longer gets tax credits doesn’t sound quite like the massacre of the firstborn to me.

and that someone on 150% of median incomes is getting a tax credit currently sounds remarkably generous in fact.

There is no slippery slope of course

Thousands of elderly people have been killed by their own GPs without ever asking to die under Belgium’s euthanasia laws, an academic report said yesterday.
It said that around one in every 60 deaths of a patient under GP care involves someone who has not requested euthanasia.
Half of the patients killed without giving their consent were over the age of 80, the study found, and two thirds of them were in hospital and were not suffering from a terminal disease such as cancer.
In about four out of five of the cases, the death was not discussed with patients subjected to ‘involuntary euthanasia’ because they were either in a coma, they were diagnosed with dementia, or because doctors decided it would not be in their best interests to discuss the matter with them.
Very often doctors would not inform the families of plans to lethally inject a relation because they considered it a medical decision to be made by themselves alone, the report published by the Journal of Medical Ethics said.

Just no such thing as acceptance of one practice leading on to acceptance of the next step along.

What was it Harold Shipman was jailed for again? And would we have to offer him a posthumous pardon?

How complicated is Reddit as software?

The most prominent removal — or, as the admins say, the only subreddit with more than 5,000 subscribers — is r/fatpeoplehate, a forum devoted to posting (among other things) pictures of overweight people for ridicule. A follow-up comment lists the other four subreddits as r/hamplanethatred, r/transfags, r/neofag, and r/shitniggerssay; they’ve all indeed been shut down, all but one “for violating the Reddit rules to keep everyone safe.” According to the admin, these last four ranged from 149 to 3071 subscribers, although in r/fatpeoplehate’s case, “more than 5,000″ is a bit of an understatement; the last Reddit metrics (and a Google cached page) put it at around 151,000 subscribers.

If Reddit’s closing down all the fun sub-reddits in the name of political correctness (which it is, Ellen Pao is very SJW) then that’s a market gap for someone happy to epater les SJWs.

So, how tough is Reddit to replicate as software? Is it based on a box solution, like Wikipedia? And who has the cash to throw at this?

The beauty of windfarms – in pictures

Weird to have this run in The Guardian.

Absolutely any other manifestation of human activity in the countryside is taken as an abomination.

Here is a roundup of images from around the world celebrating the windfarms that help to power our way of life.

Powering our way of life is also an attribute of fracking rigs, oil wells, coal mines and nuclear power stations. Yet we’re not going to have a series of images in The G celebrating their beauty, are we?

Why, it’s almost as if there’s a political standard being applied to what is beautiful, isn’t it?

This is true

Over the next 40 years, as Britain moved from being the nation with the reputation for the worst cooking in Europe to the most cosmopolitan food culture on earth,

It’s not necessarily true that the quality of food in Britain is higher than elsewhere, but it is true that the variety of it is.

Not called sinister for nothing

Paedophiles are most likely to be left handed and have attached earlobes, a new study has found.
“Superficial” facial flaws – which might also include malformed ears or a high or steepled palate – are among the indicators that could mark a man out as a child abuser as well as his dominant hand, researchers discovered.
An investigation into the prevalence of physical anomalies among men who are sent for sexological assessment was led by academics at the University of Windsor, in Canada.

All getting rather Victorian, isn’t it? Measuring craniums to see who is of “the criminal type”.

But it’s going to lead to the most lovely conundrum. If paedophilia is set in utero, as with other sexual desires (according to one theory, at least) then it’s a bit difficult to have it as the crime above all others.

My word, this is astonishing, amazing!

According to many newspapers George Osborne will be announcing tonight that it is his intention to run long term budget surpluses in the UK so that he can reduce government debt and put state finances back on what he calls a sound footing, because he believes that only by running surpluses and reducing debt can he deliver long term prosperity for this country. He is actually going to say the government should only borrow in exceptional circumstances, but is declining to say what they are.

Maybe he’s right and maybe he’s wrong to do this but look at what this will mean:

First, he is seeking to end for good the post Second World War consensus that delivered the welfare state, growth, reducing inequality and increasing prosperity.

Second, he is seeking to significantly reduce the size of the state in the process.

Third, in so doing he is taking us back to the thinking of the pre-war era, when there was no social safety net, there was no NHS, pensions were limited, education ended at 14, economic well-being depended upon the vagaries of the market which was presumed to always deliver optimal outcomes, even if many suffered as a result, and wealth was always deferred to.

This is not just an economic policy that George Osborne is proposing, it is the re-establishment of an old world order where the rights of those with wealth are to be entrenched by the refusal of the state to intervene in ways that might challenge them ever again. To put it another way, George Osborne has announced open class warfare.

That a government which collects £600 billion in taxes is only going to spend £599 billion of it will cause all that, eh? Really who would have thought it?

As an economist I think he is wrong,

Osborne’s not an economist so Ritchie must be referring to himself there.

But then an economist would possibly know the difference between the level of State spending and the balance between tax funded spending and borrowing funded spending.

Maybe.

Can I get the JRF to pay for my advertising?

The gumption part is that writing a report, which then appears in the newspapers, as a method of getting a bit of publicity, is not exactly unknown in the think tank world. And the timewise foundation (like the not economics frankly crowd, it’s cool to obsess over the looming shortage of capitals) is actually a part of timewise recruitment network. Umm, specialists in finding part time work for people.

The tactic, of the report and the publicity, we do understand. But we’re just kicking ourselves at not having thought up the idea of getting a charity, like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to fund it all. Whatever butchery that does to charity law we do think it’s extremely clever. We suppose they’ve got to do something with the money now they’re not funding Richard Murphy.

Yes, this is a scandal

But not the scandal you are thinking of:

Four in ten would-be nursery staff will be blocked from entry under new government rules as providers warn of a looming crisis for places.
Recent government changes stipulate new apprentices and highly-skilled childcare students must have at least a grade C in GSCE English and maths to take up employment at level 3, which is the better standard of early education children receive.
However, a new survey by the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) has revealed 43 per cent of nurseries are unable to find apprentices as a result.

GCSE Grade C is a reasonable level of simple literacy and numeracy. And no more than that.

In fact, here is a GCSE English (Foundation) exam and here is the marking guide. not entirely sure about marks but I would suspect that 40% would get you a C here.

Here’s maths and the marking guide.

And here is our scandal. All of those people who apply to be those nursery helpers will have been educated by the State for 11 years. And the State, in all its magnificence, cannot manage to teach them even that simple amount.

State education, great innit?

Oh dear George, oh dear

Last week a note from an analyst at Barclays’ Global Power and Utilities group in New York was leaked. It addressed students about to begin a summer internship, and offered a glimpse of the toxic culture into which they are inducted.

“I wanted to introduce you to the 10 Power Commandments … For nine weeks you will live and die by these … We expect you to be the last ones to leave every night, no matter what … I recommend bringing a pillow to the office. It makes sleeping under your desk a lot more comfortable … the internship really is a nine-week commitment at the desk … an intern asked our staffer for a weekend off for a family reunion – he was told he could go. He was also asked to hand in his BlackBerry and pack up his desk … Play time is over and it’s time to buckle up.”

That Barclays note was a spoof. A joke. J.O.K.E.

Sigh.

They sent Bill Clinton to Haiti, didn’t they?

Members of a UN peacekeeping mission engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women, according to a new report, which suggests that sexual exploitation remains significantly under-reported in such missions.

It’s not quite the appalling scandal you might think:

An investigation conducted a year ago in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, interviewed women who said they had had transactional sexual relationships with UN peacekeepers. “For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby-care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need’,” the report says. Women received “church shoes”, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.

“In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media,” the report says. “Only seven interviewees knew about the United Nations policy prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse.” None knew about the mission’s hotline to report it.

Each of those instances of transactional sex, the report says, would be considered prohibited conduct, “thus demonstrating significant under-reporting”. It was not clear how many peacekeepers were involved.

The idea that troops being paid $1 or $2 k a month aren’t going to pick up local girlfriends in a place where people earn $1 or $2 a day is pretty strange. And if we’re really going to try banning “transactional sex” then Hatton Garden, Bond Street, Jimmy Choos and Luis Vuitton are going to have to rethink their business models.

Rape? Punish it severely, same with paedophilia. That very blurred expanse between flat out prostitution and helping a girlfriend out with the rent? Bit difficult to police don’t we think?

Blimey, this is a surprise, isn’t it?

An anti-corruption watchdog has found proof that a British company searching for oil in Africa’s oldest national park paid thousands of dollars to a Congolese military officer whose soldiers have been accused of bribing, intimidating and even killing the company’s opponents.
The watchdog, Global Witness, has obtained cheques and receipts for $42,250 (£27,475) that the company, Soco, paid the officer, Major Burimba Feruzi, over a fortnight in the spring of 2014. Opponents of drilling in Virunga national park, a Unesco World Heritage site in the Democratic Republic of Congo, were being violently silenced at that time.

Corrupt practices happen in corrupt parts of the world.

I am shocked, shocked. Of course, you never know whether it’s a shakedown (not exactly unknown among men with guns) or not.

But actually I am shocked. Who the hell pays a bribe with a cheque? That’s incompetent.

Overcompensate much?

And Fox News is there to distract us from this immorality, this hypocrisy. Instead, Megyn Kelly, Steve Doocy and others tell us that the Duggars are being persecuted by secular liberals who merely hate Christians. Nonsense. In the real world, the Duggars are under fire for being horrible people who have exploited their faith and their celebrity in the name of marginalizing American citizens simply because of who those citizens love, while simultaneously whitewashing a stupendously hideous crime.

Stupendously hideous crime.

Umm, as far as I know, a 14 year old Josh Duggar touched his sisters’ breasts and maybe elsewhere. To the point that they didn’t know he had done. Not that I approve of this sort of behaviour but along that spectrum of playing doctors and nurses, sticking pebbles inside your sister’s genitalia, asking if we can still call him Bruce, to the Holocaust I’d be rather more sparing of the stupendous and the hideous myself.

But then I’m not a foot soldier in America’s culture wars so what do I know?

Paying the fair amount of tax

Only 6% of people would trust a company to provide accurate information on whether they were paying the right amount of tax – 43% would trust an independent accreditation such as the Fair Tax Mark (second behind HMRC at 47%)

Excellent, so, everyone not being prosecuted by HMRC for not paying the right amount of tax can be trusted to be paying the correct amount then.

To a greater degree of accuracy than the Fair Tax Mark.

Good, glad we’ve got that sorted.

Ritchie and economics

The phasing out of fossil fuels by 2100 has been announced by the G7.

The issue is, of course, dependent upon investment and as the Guardian reports, Angela Merkel said the leading industrialised countries were committed to raising $100bn (£65bn) in annual climate financing by 2020 from public and private sources.

Four things. First, note the delay, as ever.

Second, I do not think we have that long.

Third, note how low the estimate is. There has been many higher estimates.The International Energy Agency estimates that energy investment in excess of US$ 50 trillion will be needed by 2035 if we are to prevent more than 2°C of warming. The disparity is enormous.

Fourth, if you want proof of the need for Green Infrastructure Quantitative Easing then this is it.

Sigh.

The $100 billion a year is the extra amount that the rich countries are going to give the poor ones. The $50 trillion is the total amount that will be (might be, needs to be) spent on all energy infrastructure by everyone. And, of course, the rich countries will be spending the majority of that $50 trillion in the rich countries. Because it’s the rich countries that actually have energy systems currently.

Just to give an indication: global GDP is some $70 trillion a year at present. Some $60 trillion (arguable, but reasonable) is in the rich countries ($35 trillion or so just EU and US). Over 20 years to 2035 that’s, without growth, $1,200 trillion. From which we need $50 trillion. 4% of GDP.

What is current capital expenditure in the economy? Not obvious that we need to pay Ritchie for a scheme to make it happen, is it?