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Thursday, 04 February


Australian PBO – hard to take seriously – is it vaudeville or what? Bill Mitchell – billy blog

The Australian government is currently engaging the population in an agonising discussion about taxation reform and proposed spending cuts. It is almost vaudeville when the Treasurer, or the Opposition Shadow Treasurer or some business leader gets up and gives us their ‘two bob’s worth’ of nonsense. We have a “revenue problem”, “no we don’t, we have a revenue problem”, “we need to raise taxes”, “no we don’t we need to cut spending”. Then the government appoints a former investment banker as Treasury Department head and he starts raving on about how government should limit its spending to a maximum of 25 per cent of GDP without any argument being provided as to why that limit is meaningful, how it is derived, how it can be achieved if desirable, and all the rest of it. Sounds like a good idea. The Eurozone has destructive fiscal rules (Stability and Growth Pact) that we just whipped out of thin air and sounded important. We may as well, like dumb sheep, follow the race to the bottom. Meanwhile, real GDP growth falls further below trend and the disadvantaged workers endure elevated levels of unemployment and hardship. It is enough to drive one to drink. And then yesterday, the Australian Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), which is one of those neo-liberal concoctions introduced by governments around the world to deflect responsibility for decisions from the politicians and frame the public debate in a particular way, published a new report (February 3, 2016) – National fiscal outlook – Report no. 01/2016. The mind boggles how people can write this stuff an...


Victoria’s climate agenda: How to build new renewables? Part 2 Renew Economy

The transformation and decarbonisation of our energy supply also requires a plan to retire the state’s outdated and polluting coal-fired power stations.


Hydro Tasmania agrees load cuts with biggest customer as hydro dries up Renew Economy

Tasmania's biggest electricity user, Bell Bay Aluminium, has agreed to cut its load as the state battles with depleting hydro resources, the loss of its connection to the mainland, and raging bushfires.


Restoring the grid after a blackout — using batteries Renew Economy

Europe’s first commercial battery park, will be upgraded to become the first battery storage system in the country capable of restoring the local grid.


Adani puts Galilee coal mine on hold pending recovery in coal price Renew Economy

Indian brokers report says Adani puts Galilee Basin coal project on hold until rebound in coal prices is visible.


New York just proposed its plan to reach 50% renewables Renew Economy

Early last week, the New York Department of Public Service released its proposed plan to reach 50% renewables by 2030.


Hazelwood owner charged over 45-day coal mine fire Renew Economy

French owner of Victoria's Hazelwood brown coal power plant charged with breaching occupational health and safety laws over the 2014 mine fire that burned for 45 days.


Is India starting to waver on coal? Renew Economy

From court rulings over pollution, to private power companies dumping coal projects in favour of solar, to huge stockpiles of unwanted coal, India’s energy policy is in a state of flux.


Rentiers and the Evolving Online Commons Prosper Australia

The Renegade Economists radio show airs 5.30pm Wednesdays on 3CR and is podcast so that you can listen at your convenience. Plug in your mp3 player and listen as you commute. For those that like an email reminder, sign up to the Mixcloud page to have the show emailed weekly. Recent shows include a Rentiers […]


‘Jaw-dropping’ CSIRO job cuts to ‘gut’ climate science unit Renew Economy

As many as 350 jobs could be cut at CSIRO, as part of "sweeping cultural changes" that will 'gut' the organisation's climate science department.


AGL quits coal seam gas, to focus on “energy evolution” Renew Economy

AGL cites low oil and gas prices for sudden exit from gas exploration and production, and all its coal seam gas assets. Environmentalists hail major victory, as AGL says it wants to focus on "energy evolution".


Tamworth Farmers’ Market is back for 2016! Sustainable Living Armidale

[ Sunday, 14 Feb; 8:00 am; ] We have had a break since mid December due to dates falling on Christmas & then the Country Music Festival taking over our venue. We start again on Sunday the 14th February back through the Sandstone gates entrance to Bicentennial Park, Kable Avenue Tamworth. The market is held at this venue on the 2nd Sunday & 4th [...] full article »


Why Did Russia Just Write Off 97% of Mongolian Debt? The Diplomat » Pacific Money

Vladimir Putin signed into law an agreement between the two countries settling outstanding debt obligations.

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Wednesday, 03 February


The reality of Germany and the buffoons in Brussels intervenes … Bill Mitchell – billy blog

This week, I seem to have been focused on central banking this week, which is not my favourite topic, but is all the rage over the last several days given the decision of the Bank of Japan to use negative interest rates on any new bank reserves and then continue to pump reserves into the system via its so-called QQE policy (swapping public and corporate bonds for bank reserves), and then imposing a tax on the reserves so created. Crazy is just one euphemism which comes to mind. So still on that theme and remembering that the Bank of Japan explicitly stated that the combination of QQE and the tax on reserves (they call it a negative interest rate – same thing) was introduced to increase the inflation rate back up towards its target of 2 per cent per annum, I thought the following paper was interesting. The paper from the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis (published July 2015) – Current Federal Reserve Policy Under the Lens of Economic History: A Review Essay – considers the unconventional monetary monetary policy interventions taken by the US Federal Reserve Bank between 2007 and 2009 and comes to the conclusion that “there is no work, to my knowledge, that establishes a link from QE to the ultimate goals of the Fed inflation and real economic activity”. Maybe the Bank of Japan and the ECB bosses should sent this researcher an E-mail and request his evidence. They don’t seem to have been able to escape from the straitjacket of their neo-liberal Groupthink.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis Research Paper initially considers a brief history of central banking and makes the point that:

… the Bank of England … was a central bank, which had a symbiotic relationship with one of its key borrowers, the British Crown. The Crown, by granting the Bank monopoly respect to ci...


February Forum: Beth Jackson previews the environmental art exhibition – Bimblebox Sustainable Living Armidale

[ Thursday, 4 Feb; 7:00 pm; ] Beth Jackson will present a preview of Bimblebox: art – science - nature, at our first open forum of 2016. Bimblebox is an exhibition that showcases artists interpretations of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge which is currently under threat from coal mining. Inspired by the unique ark of life found at the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, a group of [...] full article »

Sunday, 31 January


2016: The Year of the Commodities Buyer The Diplomat » Pacific Money

This looks set to be a good year for resources importers.

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