Not entirely so, no.

Unemployment claims in the US have risen for the first time in nearly four months in the clearest sign yet that the new surge in coronavirus cases is stalling America’s economic recovery.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased to 1.42 million for the week to July 18 from 1.31 million the week before,

On the other hand:

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 1,370,947 in the week ending July 18, a decrease of 141,816 (or -9.4 percent) from the previous week.

The difference is with – for the first numbers – or without seasonal adjustment. Which to use is a matter of personal taste but both are entirely correct…..

Idiot calculations

The cost of preventing further pandemics over the next decade by protecting wildlife and forests would equate to just 2% of the estimated financial damage caused by Covid-19, according to a new analysis.

Cretins. They’re placing the direct costs against the consequential losses. So, how much does it cost to have game rangers protecting the wee animals etc, as against the losses to the economy of having another pandemic.

When what we actually want to know is what are the consequential losses of protecting the wee animals – what economic development don’t we do because no one is allowed to cut down a tree – as against the consequential losses of having another pandemic.

Given that we’ve been cutting down forests for some 8,000 years now and the economy is larger than ever a rough pencil sketch on an answer is damn les animaux…..

So the French have idiots too then

French mayors have called for a halt to the construction of 5G mobile masts until health risks can be assessed.

The Green mayors of Bordeaux, Nantes, Grenoble and other big cities have joined a revolt against the technology amid fears of dangerous radio waves and damage to the environment.

Groups acting for “electro-sensitive” sufferers claim that the tranmissions damage health. “We know these waves have an impact on our brains and that people are showing electro-sensitive symptoms, with ever greater suspicions that they cause cancer,” said Sophie Pelletier, head of Priartem-Electro-sensibles de France association.

Reminds of the high voltage power lines and leukaemia thing. The specifics change but not the underlying whinge – this modernity, not to be had.

OK, so I’m guessing here

In the weeks running up to my wedding, three years ago, I often found myself asking: what is the secret to a successful marriage? I did this, perhaps impertinently, even with strangers; and it was a stranger, on the Northern line, who gave me the answer that has stayed with me the longest: “Tolerance.” The friend I was with confessed afterwards that she had found this rather unromantic, but what the much older gentleman and his wife (who looked to be in their late 80s or early 90s) had said resonated with me. To tolerate is not to be a doormat, but to accept that the other person may not have the same outlook that you do, and that your behaviour and opinions may diverge. It is to be magnanimous, rather than seek to punish independence of thought.

I’d say that Rhiannon’s had a bit of a tiff. Possibly even – as the old phrase goes – that she’s farted in front of him for the first time and the honeymoon’s over.

Well done to the arts graduates at The Guardian

Talkin’ baht summat like a micropancreas:

Betalin Therapeutics said its “bio-artificial” pancreas aims to free patients of the need for insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring. It is designed for people with type 1 type 2 diabetes who require insulin.

The Guardian’s arts graduates thinking that there is a type 2 of type 1 diabetes. Which is not – at least this social sciences graduate doesn’t think so – quite how it works.

Whole of government accounts

Ritchie tells us that because BoE holds gilts and BoE is……you know this. In his same examination of the whole of government accounts we’ve got this:

Now sure, call me picky and all that but I would hazard a guess that a useful definition of debt is how much is owed. Which is that number, right there.

It’s fun, isn’t it?

The gaping hole in the understanding:

I will make two points. One is that coronavirus is already paid for. It’s being paid for by money creation, albeit imperfectly via QE, and by people saving with the government. What that means is that ‘how is this going to be paid for?’ debate has to really be about something else, which is ‘how are we going to reverse QE?’, the reason for doing which is unknown, and ‘how are we going to force people to save elsewhere?’, which, again, is a bizarre question. Why would we want to punish the
economy to achieve that goal?

Well, why have we done it through QE? Because it is, potentially at least, reversible. As the Federal Reserve did reverse some of it.

If we invent money then go spend it then the only way we can take that money back, if inflation arrives, is through taxation. That’s pure MMT and should be obvious to an MMT guru like Snippa.

OK, so why didn’t we do that? Why go through this bonds and QE and all that? Because it is potentially reversible. If inflation turns up then we can sell the BoE bonds back into the market, collect the money and destroy it. This gives us a second – and quite possibly more useful – tool to beat the inflation resulting from money creation. Reversing the creation of the money.

Now, whether we will do that is another thing. But what is the reason to reverse QE? We’re getting – note, this is if we do – inflation as a result of the money creation. So, let’s reverse the money creation.

The reason Snippa finds this so difficult to understand is?

Well, we know actually. It’s because he wants to insist that QE never will be reversed, so that he can say that the national debt isn’t all that large. In pursuit of being able to say that he’s willing to ignore the entire point of doing it as QE in the first place.

This is of course quite so

It’s the aim too:

Business rates are collected on commercial property and are linked to the underlying value of the premises. The tax is widely seen as outmoded because it penalises companies that need a presence in town centres, where values are higher, resulting in them paying more in rates than online and out-of-town rivals.

Given that it’s the landlords that actually bear the burden this is why we do it as well. There is a value to that land at that location. It’s a Ricardian Rent. So, tax the bugger, that’s the point if it.

Free speech absolutism

Finally, it seems, content moderation on social media is making some moves away from the free speech absolutism of the early internet and toward a more nuanced understanding of what kind of rules are necessary to enable free expression for the broadest possible range of people.

That is, no free speech for thou even if me and mine do get free speech. For the moment.

One of the first tech executives to take a stand for this more holistic view of protecting free expression on the web

Interesting use of the word “holistic” isn’t it?

Err, yes?

Stories abound of HR departments working much harder to protect companies than the well-being of employees,

The power skirts work for the company. So, who should they be protecting? You know, they’re not a labour union being paid for by the workers, are they?

This is glorious, wondrous, not something to fear

Almost a quarter of people in the Indian capital of Delhi have been infected with the coronavirus, according to scientists, raising fears there could be many more cases in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Random testing of more than 20,000 people in Delhi by India’s national disease control centre found that 23.48% had antibodies to the virus. Adjusting for false positives and negatives, it was estimated that 22.86% of the population had been infected, Sujeet Kumar Singh, who heads the institute, said on Tuesday.

Delhi, which has a population of 29 million, has officially reported 123,747 cases and 3,663 deaths, AP reported. The study, however, indicates more than 6.6 million likely cases, with most not identified or tested.

If a quarter of 29 million people have had it – say, that 6.6 million – and there have only been 3,700 deaths then that’s a fatality rate of 0.06%. Which is glorious news. Bit of a bummer for the 3,700 and their families of course but even so.

We’re down around the danger level of garbanzo beans or summat. We can open up and carry on that is. Because the coronavirus is now shown to be some trivial addition to the general risks of getting up in the morning.

Or, more accurately, the comment here should be that whoever is writing this story misses the basic point. The more people who have had it without the death numbers rising the better. That is, this is good news, not something to fear.


You may have noticed popping up on the Tim Worstall feed up top 👆.

Today we’re launching Expunct – with the aim of challenging Political and Economic bias in the media. Do the FT always get it wrong? Does the Guardian always push the right political strategy? Today we challenge it. Argument, by argument.

We’re going to be publishing a series of guest articles starting with Dr. Eamonn Butler from the ASI tomorrow. Each week we’ll have a series of articles expunging error and fallacy in the mainstream media covering economics, politics and philosophy.We’ll also have the usual “worstallian” take downs that you know and love.

We’re looking at having a daily / weekly podcast running though the weeks news and taking it apart piece by piece in the usual fashion. If this is something you’d be interested in, let us know! We are looking at possibly starting this week. (Poll below)

A new addition will be the introduction of Expunct videos. It will feature the best videos from the week which take down an argument. Some will be collations, some will be exclusive to us. (Think Dan Hannan and Jonathan Pie.)

Finally we would like to announce here, only, that Timmy has a new book in the works. He’s already at several thousand words. The topic you might ask? Just a small subject, something about somebodies lives matter or something.

Expect fireworks.🎇

Isn’t this fun

Positive stereotypes are still racist, a tribunal has ruled, after a university lecturer was fired for saying “Jewish people are the cleverest in the world”….

If negative stereotypes are racist, and positive ones are, then all stereotypes are racist. Which is a bit of a pity as the one great finding of the social sciences is that there’s something in stereotypes…..

Yes, it’s head pounding time

Firstly, Mirrlees effectively ignored taxes on wealth: it concluded they were not desirable.

If you conclude that something is not desirable have you just ignored it?

Further, Mirrlees did gain the Nobel for his tax work. Among the conclusions of which was don’t tax wealth. But of course Snippa knows best….

Then there’s this from Ritchie:

the Mirrless report argued for the replacement of corporation tax with what was, in effect, an additional VAT.

Err, no. The final recommendations list:

Single rate of corporation tax with no tax on
the normal return on investment


The fight for economic sanity has to go on.

Perhaps a modicum of economic knowledge first?

Oh dear, my word!

Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, had at one stage warned his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, who led the way on reducing the level of grants, that he might become a hero at home but that he faced being blamed by the rest of Europe for his lack of solidarity.

So, what do you prefer? Being carried shoulder high by swarms of cheering cloggies or having the approbation of some few thousand federast tranzis?