Elsewhere

The special and lower minimum wage for the disabled. Sleepy Joe will abolish it.

The question is, why? Who gains from this?

What makes this all so difficult to understand is that no one, no one at all, gains from this abolition of the special rate. With the usual electoral buying of favor and votes at the taxpayers’ expense, we can moan about it, but at least we can see the point, the purpose. But there is no one at all gaining from this, so what’s the point? Why try to screw over the one piece of independence these unfortunate people have?

I regard this specific proposal as being truly evil and am, therefore, against it as you might have gathered. But what truly confuses me is why? Whose votes get bought by further damaging the lives of the disabled?

What’s the betting then?

Sudden outbreak of worms reported in South Korea’s water supply
City officials believe that insects may have laid eggs in water treatment facilities as an urgent investigation is ordered

This is happening in many cities at the same time.

My bet is that some environmentalist got them to change the water treatment system. Perhaps chlorine is that poison that Greenpeace says it is (some environmentalists really have gone after chlorine as a water treatment, causing cholera outbreaks as a result) or summat like that.

We sure about this, are we?

Nearly a million public sector workers will be given inflation-busting pay rises as a reward for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Teachers and doctors will see the largest pay rises at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively, which the government said is to recognise their “efforts on the frontline during the battle against Covid-19”.

Teachers have, largely, been doing sod all. They’ve been at home on furlough.

For this, a pay rise?

Not as terrible as it seems

Russia report: Kremlin ‘tried to meddle in Scottish independence vote’ – but did not target Brexit
Long-awaited report will lay bare Russia’s efforts to interfere in UK elections

For we’ve been interfering in Russian elections since what, 1989?

That act of interference seemingly being something that sovereign states try to do. And Russian have been trying to interfere here since – well, how long did the Morning Start take Moscow Gold for?

Sure, we should find out who took the money if that’s what came over. Other rule breaches, chase them, obviously. But the mere fact of interference we should be less maiden auntish over…..

23 Things…

I went out with a friend on Saturday who was reading a copy of Ha-joon Chang’s “23 things they aren’t telling you about capitalism”. He didn’t know that the ASI/Tim Worstall published a refutation of Ha-joon called “23 things we ARE telling you about capitalism.” Anyway, for anyone who hasn’t read it. Heres a free copy – LINK

A recession is when you lose your job

A depression is when I lose mine:

UK universities are cutting the jobs of thousands of academics on short-term contracts as the sector prepares to make sweeping cuts in the wake of coronavirus.

Institutions across the country have dropped hundreds of hourly posts and left temporary contracts to expire, leaving academics facing unemployment and depleting the capacity of departments to run courses and support students.

Leading to the claim:

It can be avoided. As I have long argued it is the consequence of putting the desire for what are thought to be “sound government finances” above any concern for the people of this country. It is economics gone mad.

And I can’t see it being accepted. The anger that this will give rise to will be long and sustained.

We too shall march against Ritchie having to rub along with only the one visiting professorship, no?

Just add Brexit, a second wave of coronavirus if it happens, disruption to food and medical supplies and people unable to feed their children with their houses under threat of repossession as they realise that there is no hope of another job that can pay the mortgage and a mix more politically toxic than anything that has even remotely happened in my lifetime will be created.

Err, why?

I wholeheartedly agree, except for the fact that pension tax relief costs £54 billion a year because it is wholly inappropriate for HMRC to suggest that current tax income from pensions can be offset against the current cost of pension contributions that will give rise to future pension payments.

The savings that went into building those current pensions gained tax relief didn’t they?

Well, gosh

Re contact tracing app:

Ireland can get this right.

We can’t.

That’s not by chance.

That’s the result of failed leadership.

How long must we suffer this?

Well Snippa, the NHS tried to write their own app. No privatisation, see? Ireland hired an outside contractor who knew what they were doing. Privatisation, profit making companies gaining health care cash.

Quite, how long must we suffer this?

Don’t bother with Marshall’s new book

Warren Buffett would not get a job with a hedge fund today, according to Sir Paul Marshall, co-founder of Marshall Wace, one of the most successful alternative investment powerhouses.

Sir Paul, 60, is musing on what makes a good fund manager, and the Sage of Omaha, who is lauded by many as the greatest stockpicker of all time, does not quite make the grade.

His Sharpe ratio is only about 0.7. “Well, 0.7 wouldn’t get you into Marshall Wace or any of the top hedge funds.”

The Sharpe ratio is a measure of a fund manager’s returns adjusted for the amount of risk they are taking. Most of Sir Paul’s team at Marshall Wace are on 1.5 or better.

He admires Mr Buffett, he says, but not that much, and says that his success is largely down to two factors: always backing Wall Street and using the float in his insurance company investments to leverage his investments.

Tsk, this was explained 7 years ago at Forbes.

That’s one form of leverage that Buffett has used. The other is that he went and bought an insurance company or three in the first place. He made good money as an investor first, yes, he very much did. Which he then used to purchase his way into the insurance business. He then applied his investment technique, as the Economist describes it, to the much larger investment funds that the insurance company controlled. Those funds being a good multiple of the funds that it had cost to purchase the company.

Imagine, just as a made up numerical example, that Buffett outperformed the market every single year by 1%. Another made up number, he started with $1 million. He’s going to, over the decades, make himself a very rich man that way. But look at it this way: if he uses the $1 million to purchase control of an insurance company with $10 million to invest, then he gets that 1% outperformance on that $10 million, then he’s going to be making himself richer ten times faster than by not leveraging up by buying the insurance company. For of course the outperformance in the investments flows to those who own the insurance company.

Yeah, well, we’ll see Robert

Donald Trump is on the verge of accomplishing what no American president has ever achieved – a truly multi-racial, multi-class, bipartisan political coalition so encompassing it could realign US politics for years to come.

Unfortunately for Trump, that coalition has come into existence to prevent him from having another term in office.

I’ve not got any feel for this. Well, why would I, I’m not from there nor live there. But last time around there was a significant “Oh Dear Lord, not Hills!” vote out there. And I don’t know if that’s true of Biden.

Sure, I’ve got my views and all that but this isn’t what I mean. Rather, I just don’t know what the groundswell is. I#m pretty sure that polls aren’t all that useful at this stage. About the only useful guidance I’ve got is that if Reich says Biden will walk it then that’s a) what the D operatives want us to think and b) wrong.

Sounds eminently sensible to me

Donald Trump says he may not accept the results of the November election
Donald Trump has said he may not accept the results of the presidential election, admitting that he does not “like to lose”

Well, no, not quite what he did in fact say.

Donald Trump has said that he may not accept the results of the forthcoming presidential election, setting the stage for an epic showdown in November.
In a wild and contentious interview with Fox News, aired on Sunday, the president said he was "not a good loser and was fully prepared to challenge the results, if he loses to Democrat contender Joe Biden.
He claimed that mail-in voting, which Democrats have pushed as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, “is going to rig the election.”
Asked if this means that he will not accept the election results, Mr Trump said: “No. I have to see.”

Chicago doesn’t still have a Daley as mayor but it might well still depend upon how many dead people vote there. And other such issues.

Whether the Ds are actually worse than this – better? – than Rs is another matter but no claim that cheating doesn’t take place can be believed. And who would or should go into an election without insisting that they’d not accept a cheated result?

The three professors try epidemiology

Whether we get a second coronavirus wave is unknown, but that there’s a risk of it is a fact, so we have to stay in semi-lockdown. And Covid 19 is endemic now: even a vaccine is unlikely to erase it. So everything will be different. There’s a long term socio/medical impact of this.

Not really, no. If it’s now endemic then we don’t stay in semi-lockdown. Because doing so doesn’t bring a benefit to match the cost.. It ends up as a nasty ‘flu that some thousands to tens of thousands will die of each year. Tant pis and all that.

This is also fun:

Because of the risk of falling house prices negative equity traps must also be avoided: it should be made illegal for any mortgage repayment on sale to ever exceed the sale value of a property.

That makes all mortgages non-recourse. Which also, obviously, makes all mortgages more expensive. As happens in the US, where some states have non-recourse mortgages and others don’t.

Oh, it also makes speculation in housing a one way bet for the investor. That’s just what the country needs, right?

Explore how to turn redundant engineering skills into bike manufacturing capacity.

“‘Allo Mr. fracking engineer. You know how to make bikes then?”

Fifth, forget tax rises: facing a crisis like this they should be off the agenda for a long time. Any tax reforms should be solely about making society fairer e.g. by tackling wealth inequality, with no net increases.

Sixth, savings – and especially tax incentivised ISAs and pensions – must be put to work to support this programme. Unless they are invested in new sustainable jobs the tax reliefs must go.

And removing tax reliefs is, of course, not raising taxes….

And the route to that collapse is very short. It begins next month as furlough begins to wind down. The mass redundancies will begin to be announced in September when the end of furlough is imminent. And by then the corporate failures will be rising.

Which is a nice prediction isn’t it? Let’s come back to this in October, shall we?

Swank, Swank

A journalist I have known for thirty years once told me that there were two places he wanted to be quoted in. One was the New York Times, but most especially he wanted to be in the Washington Post. That was making it, he reckonEd. When I’d done both he admitted to jealousy. I was amused.

Dunno. Is it going one up to have written for both of them?

Quite so, quite so

Capital gains tax, actually all taxes on investment, should be abolished. The correct taxationsystem is:

He said the IFS had long called for the introduction of an “average rate of return allowance”.

Because here’s the thing. We like investment, investment makes the future richer. It’s what makes the future richer. As we also know, tax something and you get less of it. So, don’t tax investment to make the future richer.

And yet economic rents should be taxed. Normal returns to capital not, but “excess profits”, stuff earned by having a corner or a privilege, should be and harshly.

So, distinguish between that normal return on capital (say, the average return in the economy, something like 3 to 5% real, currently this is horribly depressed by QE but in normal times not far off normal long term gilts yields perhaps) and such excess returns. Tax the latter and not the former.

This now accords with best theory – optimal taxation theory, Mirrlees and all that – and also solves the political problem. The plutocrats get taxed and the average saver not so much.

But then just because something is sensible doesn’t mean it will become policy.

Umm, what?

The UK government is on course to sell more than half a trillion pounds of debt this year,

OK….

And £300 billion is covered by quantitative easing, so far announced for this year.

Right….

In other words, the government needs to issue this many bonds to soak up demand.

Eh?

That the BoE is having to invent money to buy the bonds shows us that this many bond must be issued to soak up demand?

You what?

Not fit for purpose

Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into England’s coronavirus death toll, having only just realised that anyone who has ever tested positive counts in Covid statistics, regardless of the cause of their death.

In contrast to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where daily deaths are often zero, daily Covid deaths in England hover persistently around 100.

Now, statisticans have analysed Public Health England (PHE)’s methodology and found that at least some of this is because of a counting method that means that even if someone is run over and killed, if they previously tested positive for Covid they would add to the statistics.

“No one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness,” write Carl Heneghan, from Oxford University, and Yoon Loke, from University of East Anglia.

That explains their obesity stats too I assume. Anyone who ever has consumed a Yorkie bar dies of it, even if the death cert say anorexia.

Isn’t this just such a horror

Mary Trump has given numerous interviews this week after being released from a temporary restraining order.

In an interview with the Washington Post, released Thursday, she described the president as “clearly racist”, and linked it to her wider family’s “knee-jerk anti-Semitism, a knee-jerk racism”.

“Growing up, it was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions,” she told the Post.

Many of us will be about the same age. Mid to late 50s.

40 years back such language might have been considered a tad uncultured but it wasn’t unusual. You know, the past, a foreign country….