March 2017

This will work out well, won’t it?

President Jacob Zumahas called on parliament to change South Africa’s constitution to allow the expropriation of white owned land without compensation.

And this won’t work well either:

Mr Zuma, 74, who made the remarks in a speech yesterday/FRI morning, said he wanted to establish a “pre-colonial land audit of land use and occupation patterns” before changing the law.

There were no Bantu over the Fish River which is going to cock up some of that grievance politics good and proper.

Dear God, that bad?

The inconvenient truth is that in practice the combination of tax, spending, and redistribution undertaken by governments often makes significant numbers of poor people worse off. As Nora Lustig’s Commitment to Equity project highlights, the net result of taxes and benefits in Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania is that more people are below the $2.50 poverty line than before. In Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and Tunisia between one-quarter and two-thirds of the poor have less income as a result of the fiscal system.


A Polish nationalist member of the European Parliament may be punished after he said women “must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent”.
The parliament’s president is investigating whether Janusz Korwin-Mikke broke the body’s rules with his remarks to fellow MEPs.
The rules ban defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behaviour.

Saying that the little darlin’s are weaker and smaller is true, on average, and a claim of less intelligence is not defamatory, racist nor xenophobic.

So what they mean is that we don’t like him saying that so we’ll have to find some excuse to punish him.

I think this man does not understand

What’s so bad about wealth without labor? It depends on who owns the wealth. Under capitalism, wages are how workers receive a portion of what they produce. That portion has always been small, relative to the rewards that flow to the owners of capital.

Actually, I think he’s an idiot.

Think about it just for a second. The capitalist makes how much from each worker? No, not the aggregate income of the capitalist, but how much from each worker? More or less than the worker?

We can even check this at the aggregate level. The capital share of the economy is usually in the 20-30% range, the labour share in the 55-65% range (no, rightly they do not sum to 100%). And the capital share includes paying for depreciation.

Who is getting more of the pie?

Man’s an idiot. For it gets worse, next sentence is:

And over the past several decades, it’s gotten smaller: the share of the national income that goes to wages has been steadily shrinking, while the share that goes to capital has been growing.

That sentence linking to this research which states:

The OECD (2012) has
observed, for example, that over the period from 1990 to 2009 the share of labour
compensation in national income declined in 26 out of 30 advanced countries for which
data were available, and calculated that the median (adjusted) labour share of national
income across these countries fell from 66.1 per cent to 61.7 per cent.

The labour share is more than half the economy. Thus the workers cannot be getting less of the value add than the capitalists, can they?

This does appear ever so slightly suspicious

More than 120 diners celebrating a baptism fled without paying their bill €2,000 restaurant bill after the main courses.
The Romanian diners, who had paid a deposit of €900 (£770) to eat at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, north-eastern Spain, fled as waiters were about to serve dessert.
Restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez told the BBC: ‘It happened in the space of a minute. It was something they had planned and they left in a stampede.’

Given the baptism it shouldn’t be too hard to find a name……

Err, yes Polly, that’s how negotiations are done

Here’s the Daily Mail’s comment the morning after: “In an act of betrayal and dishonesty, the House of Cronies, Dodgy Donors and Has-Beens voted last night by 358 to 256 to amend the Brexit Bill.”

Warnings that the upper house will be “signing its own death warrant” may come oddly from the Mail, not a vociferous supporter of reform until now. But hey, Brexit makes all kinds of strange new bedfellows

The Lords debate exposed the prime minister’s contradictory and deceitful arguments against protecting EU citizens living here. If, on this most popular and painfully human question, she will give no inch, that’s a terrible augury for how she intends to conduct these negotiations, opening with a war cry to all 27 countries: we hold your people hostage.

We have something you want, here’s the things we want, shall we do a deal?

Won’t this be fun

Mike Pence, the US Vice President, reportedly used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues, and the account was hacked last summer.

Emails released to the Indianapolis Star in response to a public records request show Mr Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terrorism attacks across the globe.

Indiana law does not prohibit public officials from using personal email accounts, the Star said.

The fun coming from watching the contortions as this is different from Hillary. Because it is obviously different, we just need to wait for SlateSalonVoxThinkProgressAlternet to agree on the reason why it is.

Prem Sikka is an idiot, isn’t he?

For instance, recently the assets of food company Bernard Matthews were sold in a pre-pack insolvency arrangement. This enabled banks, shareholders and directors to recover their monies but left the pension scheme with a deficit of over £20m, now standing at about £75m. This has not been followed by an inquiry from the Commons work and pensions committee. At the very least, it needs to explain why the dumping of pension scheme liabilities by other insolvencies is not investigated.

The sharehgolders, as shareholders, lost everything of course. The clue is in the word “insolvency”.

Prem Sikka is an accounting professor.


At least fifteen wedding guests were injured when a Holiday Inn staircase collapsed as they posed for photographs.
Andrew Hughes, 29, and bride Amy-Lenna Bryce, 26, were celebrating their vows at the Hemel Hempstead hotel when the steps crashed down.

My word, how did that happen?

How odd

A survey of nearly 2,000 people on behalf of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL) found that despite 81% of respondents saying they liked literature because it promotes empathy, only 7% of the 400 writers they cited were from black, Asian or minority ethnic (Bame) backgrounds.

A largely non-BAME population reads largely non-BAME authors. You’d almost think there’s something called a culture, wouldn’t you?

My reckoning is that there’s definitely life out there

It’s life, but not as we know it. The oldest fossil ever discovered on Earth shows that organisms were thriving 4.2 billion years ago, hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

The microscopic bacteria, which were smaller than the width of a human hair, were found in rock formations in Quebec, Canada, but would have lived in hot vents in the 140F (60C) oceans which covered the early planet.

The evidence we’re getting is that life turns up just about as soon as it possibly can turn up.

My guess is therefore that the fl in the Drake equation approaches 100%. fi is lower of course as Wolverhampton proves.

Such a threat, such a threat

The event was on the economy and Brexit and covered a lot of ground but I began talking about the UK as a tax haven which we are led to believe is Philip Hammond’s Plan B. I explained why this was a terrible idea roughly following these notes:

Tax haven UK
The threat
To turn the UK into a low tax nation

What’s wrong with being a low tax nation? OK, sure, it’s a political choice. 35% of GDP running through government, 45%, that’s (with the usual exception of France) about the spectrum for European countries. Shrug, being at one or the other end of that is indeed just a political choice, it’s not a threat.

Will it work?
No: there is no evidence low tax rates boost investment, productivity, employment or growth
In fact they tend to discourage investment because the tax incentive to spend is reduced

A professor of international political economy said that? Seriously, that’s entirely contrary to all of the economics on the point. It’s possible to make the argument, and for certain public goods even I would stoutly maintain that that argument is correct, that government deployment of the tax raised produces more wealth that the pocket leaving fructification. But we still do have those deadweight costs of the tax raising itself, they don’t go away just because the spending is upon something nice.

And the Laffer effect?
That kicks in at tax rates well over 50% and we don’t have those
So this is a tax giveaway

No, Laffer Effects exist all the way up and down the tax curve. That’s the point, it’s the Laffer Curve after all. It’s the peak of the curve which is over 50% – 54% according to Diamond and Saez. Which is all taxes upon income, not income tax and when we add employers’ NI (which Spud will readily agree is incident upon the employee) to income tax we get to around and about that rate.


Doesn’t add to Hollande’s reputation for competence, does it?

At least two people have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired during a speech by President François Hollande, French media have reported.

Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon in central France to mark the opening of a high-speed railway line between Paris and Bordeaux when a police marksman accidentally opened fire, the Sud-Ouest newspaper reported.

The paper quoted local officials as saying the member of the elite gendarmerie protection squad charged with protecting the president was positioned on a rooftop about 100 metres from the marquee where the ceremony was taking place.

The safety catch on the officer’s rifle was reportedly off and the shot was fired when he tripped while adjusting his position. The bullet pierced the marquee roof, hitting a waiter in the leg and a railway employee in the foot, according to Pierre N’Gahane, state prefect of the Charente region.

There were unconfirmed local media reports that the sniper had shot himself in the foot and could be seen hopping up and down.

Sure, it’s nothing to do with him at all but if someone was to go full Clouseau it would be Hollande’s retinue, wouldn’t it?

I even think he looks like Herbert Lom….sorta