Tim Worstall

Not so much of a surprise

We know that social mobility does happen, but not all that much:

Children in England who receive free school meals go on to earn less than their peers, even when they achieve the same qualifications, with half of them earning £17,000 or less at the age of 30, according to research.

So, folk who are defined as poor at one stage of life are likely to be so at another. We might even wish this to be different. But it is, and it’s largely the same everywhere too.

Possibly, possibly

The biggest civil unrest in decades is likely this autumn. Not all angry people are not going to sit quietly at home, fretting in silence when they realise what is happening to them is being done deliberately. They are going to take to the streets.

But who are they going to hang, Spuddo?

There is, though, the risk of moral hazard in this. That risk is that everyone might decide not to pay, whether they can or not. That cannot happen, so whilst Universal Basic Services must exist, those wanting to use them must be required to prove their need to use this service.

The idea should be open to all though, although those on benefits should not need to give further data on income based on the fact that they incomes will already be known. For everyone else, this data will be required, as will details of outgoings be needed for everyone involved.

Once this data is established (and this must be done as simply as possible) then an agreed maximum payment per month must be fixed, and be fairly and appropriately split between all those due to be paid.

The government could and should administer that payment scheme. So, the person in the scheme should make one payment to the government and the government should then pay those they owe for them. In effect, this is a creditor’s voluntary insolvency arrangement on a massive scale.

Importantly, this scheme has to be mandatory. In other words, anyone owed money by those in this scheme will have no choice but accept the payment that they as all that will ever be paid. It will not be an option for them.

And just to be clear, the amounts not paid will have to be written off: there will be be accumulating debt left behind which landlords and others might then use to evict tenants once this crisis is over. The payments made will cancel the full liabilities owing.

What about the companies owed money? They will say this is grossly unfair. But, let’s be honest, nothing about what is happening here is fair. War is not fair. The actions of the Bank of England are not fair. The UN Secretary General says that the energy companies are screwing us.

And let’s give a mention to the banks, who are going to profit massively from the additional interest payments due to them as a result of the increase on the interest rate on the funds they have technically deposited with the BoE as a result of the operation of QE.

To put that extra bank profit in context: they cannot make less than £14 billion extra profit next year as a result of the gains handed to them directly by the BoE. That’s not fair. So let’s not shed too many tears for them.

But, some companies will still complain and want support. And I think if they can make a case for it – on a case by case basis for companies of this size – they should get it. But the price should be that they hand over a share of their business for all the support they get.

There should be no handouts, grants or loans. If these businesses are under-capitalised to manage the losses which all large companies should be robust enough to withstand then they must pay the price for wanting the additional capital that they will demand from the government.

Great, innit? Bankrupt all the companies by letting folk off their bills. Then nationalise all the companies as they go bust.

What a plan!

A Petropavlovsk detail I’d not known

As well as have having mines in Russia’s far east, one of the company’s prized assets is its ownership of one of only two factories in the country that extract gold and metals from ore, a difficult process.

That’s normally called a refinery but no matter. What does is that bars from that refinery are no, or no longer, good delivery into the London and Chicago bullion markets. That rather crimps refinery margins. It’s entirely possible to sell the stuff but at a discount. Either in other markets, or to another refiner who then recasts it.

Something of a detail of course……

That being the whole point of it

Schumer has said he hopes the Senate can begin voting on the bill – known as the Inflation Reduction Act – on Saturday. Passage by the House, which Democrats control narrowly, could come next week.

Final congressional approval of the election-year measure would be a marquee achievement for Joe Biden and his party, notching an accomplishment they could tout to voters as November approaches.

It’s not, to be honest, a good bill. But it is something that can be waved at the hustings. And therefore…..

All of which proves that politics isn’t a great way to run things really……

That left wing rathole

An insidious “far-left ecosystem” is targeting children in an attempt to radicalise them online, with experts warning that progressively younger school pupils are becoming ensnared in extremist ideologies, a Daily Mail investigation has found.

Teachers, police officers, academics and community leaders said there was evidence that long periods of unsupervised online access, compounded during Covid lockdowns, were resulting in children and young people across the UK encountering far-left groups in greater numbers than before.

Gaming forums, private chatrooms and slickly produced online leaflets or “study guides” are among the platforms and tactics used to introduce young teenagers to socialist, critical race theory, neo-Soviet and involuntary celibate (“trans”) ideas.

Grace Blakely was unavailable for comment.

So we don’t have to use Venezuela then

We’ve another example of how modern monetary theory works. Turkey.

Turkey’s runaway inflation has hit close to 80 per cent on the back of a collapsing currency, falling interest rates and a slowing economy.

Consumer prices rose to 79.6 per cent in July compared to the same period last year, marking the 14th consecutive jump in inflation to its highest rate since 1998. It rose 2.4 per cent between June and July.

Amazing how this works out, isn’t it? Give the politicians control over taxes, spending, money creation and interest rates, all four together, and disaster follows. Maybe we shouldn’t give politicians that control over all four then?

Not quite, no

I read — Lord forgive my search history — that testicle size corresponds with animal fertility.

It’s more closely related to the female propensity to shag around in that species. Being able to drown out the sperm of male rivals works. Of course, this is also relative to body size, but gorillas have smaller than bonobos, with humans in between.

The classic case of this being Soay sheep. Similar, at one point, to mainland cousins, they’ve been wild for centuries now. Which means that the rams haven’t been culled as wethers etc. The competition for access to ewes has meant the rams that do successfully procreate are those with the Buster Gonads…….an inheritable condition.

Oh, and it’s also possible to run this back the other way. Testicle size is a good guide to the long run female propensity to shag around in that species…..

That didn’t take long

This comes in the wake of new analysis last week that calculated $2.8bn a day in pure profit for the oil and gas industry for the last 50 years.

No, actually, it didn’t. It said there was that much in economic rents and profits. And the vast majority of that was rents, most of which are captured by governments. Oil royalties are a thing, after all.

Tzeporah Berman is either stupid or lying, your pick.

Of course QE will never be reversed

Policymakers will also announce plans to start selling the £850bn mountain of government debt amassed through a bond-buying programme during the pandemic and financial crisis.

Mr Bailey has suggested the Bank will try to sell between £50bn and £100bn of bonds in the first year, starting this Autumn.

Because QE will never be reversed therefore the national debt isn’t very high and we can carry on printing money to solve all societal problems and Spudnomics now wholly and completely works.

Hmm? What’s that? QE will be reversed?

So Honey, did you fly to Venice then?

Gondola trips are a traditional part of visiting Venice for those who can afford the steep tourist prices, but I went a little off-script on a recent visit and chose a different, but equally iconic, vessel. We Are Here Venice, an NGO that promotes the safeguarding of a city deeply affected by climate breakdown and countless human-made activities, invited me on board the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior, the purpose of whose visit was anything but touristic.

Emma Thompson is an actor and activist

Journalists and numbers, eh?

Women may not live longer than men after all – study


A study has called into question the long-held belief that women outlive men, especially men who are married or have a university degree.

The analysis spanning two centuries across all continents concluded that although men have a lower life expectancy than the opposite sex, they have a “substantial chance of outliving females”.

Between 25% and 50% of men have outlived women, according to the academics in Denmark, who highlighted that large differences in life expectancy sometimes mask substantial overlaps in lifespan between the sexes, and that summarising the average length of life can be a “simplistic measure”.

The actual finding is that posh men sometimes to often outlive non-posh women. Which, given that the variation in human lifespan is greater than the difference in gender average lifespan is exactly what we would expect, isn’t it.


Hoeden off

To raise the chapeau, hats off here.

Bunch of Dutch lads in a rental out the back. By 4 pm yesterday their table covered with empty beers. It’s currently 7.15 am and they’re still going. That’s some hard work they’re putting in there.

Soapy Joe is a tosser, isn’t he?

One of the Observer’s star columnists has been suspended following allegations over his conduct in the wake of a row about trans rights with the campaigning lawyer Jolyon Maugham.

Nick Cohen’s weekly column has been put on hold while the allegations are investigated, according to the newspaper’s publisher, Guardian News and Media (GNM).

Mr Maugham took issue with one of the journalist’s columns last year, accusing him of complaining “about the cancellation of transphobes”.

Having failed in most of those challenges to the government and other ghastly rightists the tosser turns the guns on fellow lefies. Cohen, being something closer to a classical liberal than is generally true of Britain’s current left wing is an obvious target.

I repeat my opinion of Soapy Joe – this is all Daddy issues. Having made his lucre as a tax barrister he’s now after the gong. To be one up on the father who abandoned.

So here’s a damned idiot then

Alexander Stafford, Tory MP for Rother Valley, and a member of the parliamentary select committee for business, energy and industrial strategy, said it was “disappointing” that BP was “making such profits on the back for people who are finding it hard to make ends meet and pay their bills.”

Energy companies have a “moral duty” to help tackle the cost of living, he added, pushing for more of the profits to be re-invested in renewable energy.

Given up even hoping for an actually classical liberal party, or even a right wing one. But even a few Tories would be a nice surprise these days.

It’s possible that we may have employment law wrong you know

A Labour MP unfairly sacked a senior adviser and ex-girlfriend after she called him a “first class idiot” in an email with Sir Keir Starmer copied in, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Khalid Mahmood fired Elaina Cohen, his long term aide, after she sent him a series of messages accusing him of being “bullying”, “spiteful” and an “insecure crooked womaniser.”

The former shadow minister – an MP for more than 20 years – dismissed Ms Cohen, who he had previously dated for several years, for disrespecting and trying to intimidate him.

But the tribunal ruled that by overseeing the disciplinary process himself and deciding to fire her, the 61-year-old had treated her unfairly.

Jeez, if you can’t fire your ex bonk…..

Rather more seriously, it seems it’s the process that matters, not reality. Which is absurd. So that’s another area of life ready for 90% cuts come the day then, eh?