Monday, January 6, 2014

Osborne Promises Another £12 Billion Benefits Salami Slice

Talking the talk, Osborne has claimed “government is going to have to be permanently smaller and so is our welfare system”. Finally, if he is to be believed, the Tories will be “permanently cutting people’s taxes by permanently cutting spending”. He’s making the right noise at least, but when?

The Chancellor has pledged a further £12 billion of cuts to benefits from 2015 to 2017, yet the overall bill is £174.3 billion. Barely a dent. From the gloomy tones of the speech it’s not looking likely that tax cuts will come this side of an election either. This looks like playing politics rather than any genuine commitment to walking the walk.

Friday, January 3, 2014

IMF Contemplating Mass Expropriation in €-Zone

IMF-exproriation

Christine Lagarde the French chief of the IMF narrowly escaped being charged recently. Her candidacy’s main cheerleader for the IMF was George Osborne, Guido had his doubts at the time. The IMF is searching for a solution for debt laden European states to stop the €uro collapsing. Stop spending more than you tax is considered naive – how will the ruling elites get re-elected if they stop bribing the electorate with their own children’s money? Option 6 in the IMF’s discussion paper on the subject is brutally straight-forward. The final act of financial repression is to steal from everyone who has savings with a 10% wealth tax.

You have been warned now – just like Cypriot political insiders were – don’t keep any capital in €urozone banks. The IMF argues that the element of surprise is essential for the success of a capital levy…

Friday, December 13, 2013

Osborne’s Christmas Card

Thursday, December 12, 2013

GALLERY GUIDO: Osborne, the Laffer Curve and the Left

There’s a Computable General Equilibrium Model at the Treasury. If it were made of string and resin it wouldn’t be any less reliable, but its predictions about the cut in corporation tax are likable, so let’s quote them.

The Treasury select committee told us the computer is forecasting corporation tax going from 28 pence to 20 pence will increase GDP between 0.6 and 0.8 per cent, and will increase business investment from 2.5 per cent of some damn thing or other to 4.5 per cent.

It’s “a quiet revolution” George Osborne says, of this example of the Laffer Curve in action.

This curve is still mocked by the left. But it has an interesting pedigree.

(more…)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

SKETCH: The End of an Error. New Balls, Please.

Don’t let’s forget the way Ed Miliband was looking up at his bellowing shadow chancellor.

The look started out supportive and attentive, then went objective and cool, and then passed into dreaminess. Procedural analysts agree he was choosing the exact spot, between which two hairs, the ice pick would sink most easily into.

Balls is a phenomenon. Everything he has predicted has turned out to be wrong. He is like the 364 economists who wrote to the Times in 1981 warning that austerity would cripple the economy. They were wrong. He followed their lead. And now he’s wrong.

He stood up into the famous wall of noise that 200 Tories can produce, and he roared that the chancellor was “in denial”.

That was the beginning. But in another sense it was also the end.
(more…)

OBR’s Election Gift to Tories, Maybe

Good unemployment and growth news from those always reliable soothsayers, the Office for Budget Responsibility. They reckon unemployment will fall from 7.6% to 7% in 2015, then again to 5.6% by 2018. Which means that Mark Carney’s “threshold” for changing interest rate policy will not be crossed this side of an election.

Growth for this year is more than doubled to 1.4% from 0.6%, also up next year to 2.4% from 1.8%. (Worth noting that in 2010 the OBR thought 2013 growth would hit nearly 3%, in March this year dropped it to 0.6%, and they have now put it back up again). Do keep up.

So Osborne claims his government is fixing the roof while the sun is shining and the numbers sort of back him up. But they might be wrong, or maybe not. Ask them again in a year’s time.

Regardless of the tinkering, the Government will borrow £111 billion this year, just shy of £10 billion less than predicted in March. We will still be borrowing £96 billion next year; then £79 billion, £51 billion and £23 billion in the subsequent years. Osborne claims we will be in the black by 2018/19, in the latter half of the next parliament. An OBR provided election slogan right there: don’t let Labour ruin it etcetera. Convenient!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Flaws in the Ed Balls “Cost of Living Crisis” Attack Line

Labour’s developing retail offer to the voters centres on the cost of living, in essence they will ask the voters on election day “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” Which is why this week – with good economic news abounding – Labour’s twitterati were ignoring jobs and growth and instead chorusing in North Korean style synchronised tweeting this infographic:

lab-cost-of-living

The infographic shows that real wages have fallen behind inflation. A factually correct statistic.

Guido fails to understand why the government parties are not  aggressively countering the Ed Balls cost-of-living crisis attack line with the truth that the average mortgage is £1,000 cheaper because of lower interest rates. Mortgage affordability is clearly illustrated by the fact that, according to data released yesterday by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, mortgage arrears are dramatically lower now compared to where they were when Ed Balls was last in government:

cml-arears

Throw in the income tax threshold hike (£493), the savings from holding down council taxes (£210) and you have already countered the Balls attack in cash terms – and some – at £1,703. Meaning that in terms of disposable income the “average working person” is better off. So why is this point not being made by Tory and LibDem attack dogs more forcefully?

If in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor rolls back some green taxes, brings back the 10p income tax rate or raises the tax threshold again, in terms of disposable income the voters will be even more better off in 2015 than they were in 2010. To the question “Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?” the answer has to be “yes”. If it isn’t, the Coalition parties will deserve to lose in 2015.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Q3 GDP +0.8%

osborne7

Everything you need to know:

  • Change in gross domestic product (GDP) is the main indicator of economic growth. GDP increased by 0.8% in Q3 2013 compared with Q2 2013.
  • Output increased in all four main industrial groupings within the economy in Q3 2013 compared with Q2 2013.
  • Output increased by 1.4% in agriculture, 0.5% in production, 2.5% in construction, and 0.7% in services.
  • Output from services is now slightly above its previous peak in Q1 2008, prior to the economic downturn.
  • In Q3 2013 GDP was estimated to be 2.5% below the peak in Q1 2008. From peak to trough in 2009, the economy shrank by 7.2%.
  • GDP was 1.5% higher in Q3 2013 compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Fixing the roof while the sun is shining for hard-working people in the global race, etc, etc…

Monday, October 21, 2013

Natalie Rowe Claims She Met Osborne’s Fiancée

One more.

Eventually Osborne’s friendship with Natalie Rowe comes to an end, with her claiming she met his then fiancée:

My pregnancy also changed the dynamics between me and my three musketeers. George became quite caring towards me. It was a particularly cold winter and sometimes George sat with me, cosy on the sofa in Redcliffe Square and rubbed my pregnant tummy – even when other people were there. George was self-conscious of his figure – he would wear loose clothes to try and hide his belly, which was a bit flabby and spongy. Every now and then I’d comment: “Why are you wearing this? To hide your jelly-belly?” and would reach over and rub it playfully. I really appreciated George’s friendship because the pregnancy wasn’t smooth. At five months, I started to dilate and have contractions – and there was some bleeding. I rushed to the hospital and doctors put a stitch at the neck of my womb to stop labour. It was a risky move but if the baby had arrived then he wouldn’t have lived. The procedure worked and so I still held out hopes of giving birth to a healthy child. Then George got engaged to Frances, his future wife. I found out when I was at Chris’s place in Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill. William was on a bender at the time and Chris and George were there with a woman whom I didn’t know. I had no idea she was George’s fiancée. We did not get on at all. Thanks to George she knew what I did and asked about my escort services. She was hostile, full of disdain for me and jealous of how friendly George and I were. Afterwards George asked: “What do you think of her?” “What do you mean?” My face told the story. He didn’t ask anything more. George was obviously making plans for his future, to become respectable. He’d certainly been privy to some wild times in his youth; not least of which would have been the infamous Bullingdon Club parties.

Osborne has not commented about the book, though his lawyers told the Mirror that Rowe was an unreliable witness. In the past he has claimed:

“A friend of mine went out with a woman called Natalie and they had a child together. I met them occasionally in the autumn of 1993 and it soon became clear my friend had started to use drugs. He became more and more addicted and I saw his life fall apart. With his other friends I tried to persuade him to seek treatment. After rehabilitation he has now recovered and put his life back together.”

So he’s not “Joe”. Got that?

Foot Long Lines and Osborne’s “Shared Experiences”

More from Natalie Rowe’s book. Here is what she alleges the Chancellor’s set were up to in the early 90s:

“All the boys had the hots for coke fiend Peggy, she was so much fun and up for anything, even if she spent most of her time on another planet. They all knew how much she loved coke and so one night William, who was an out-and-out drug and drink fiend, cut a wide line that was a foot long. “Snort that and I’ll give you £ 100!” William said. “I’ll do it!” Cheers went up from the crowd. I was the only one to sound a note of caution. “For god’s sake Peggy, don’t do it, you’ll do yourself an injury.” She ignored me, bent down and started snorting as the men chanted “Pegg-y! Pegg-y! Pegg-y!” as if it were a drinking game. She finished the line but her triumph left her near-comatose, speechless and cross-eyed for the rest of the night.”

 

And then they found out what Rowe did for a living:

“I let them in and told them to wait., forgetting about the domination gear. When I got back William was pretending to whip George, while Chris was sword fighting with the cane. “What’s all this Nat?” Chris asked. I smiled. Confession time. “I’m a dominatrix.” They were impressed. “Tell us what you get up to!” So I told them some stories about clients. They bombarded me with questions. “So how much do you charge?” George asked me. “It depends on a few things, on their pain threshold, how much work is involved, and so on but there’s a basic rate to start.” They loved to hear what was going on and I enjoyed telling them. They certainly hadn’t met anyone like me before. The trio started to hang around in the flat while I was working and would sometimes even meet clients after they’d been through a session. They’d chat together with them about domination over a drink. George really enjoyed this; it was as if he was sharing in their experience with me.”

Still no news on the identity of “Joe”


Seen Elsewhere

Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie
Whitehall Doesn’t Work | Dom Cummings
Russell Brand’s Tax Avoidance Firm | Sun


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David Cameron drug policy reformer and leadership contender in 2005…

“Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by posturing with tough policies and calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades.”



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Is it just me, or is Nigel Farage just a top hat and a monocle away from being a Batman villain?


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