The Laffer Curve arrives in UK

The new Truss executive in the UK is setting out to restore a little faith in conservative politics economics. First, removal of the fracking ban. Now a tax reduction package described by most commentators as the biggest cut in taxes for decades. That’s excellent news. Yes, it needs to be followed up by expenditure cuts since the real measure of tax in an economy is the level of Government expenditure rather than the tax take. But, a tax cut will help even in the absence of an expenditure cut.

The reasons are well known. Arthur Laffer is the US economist credited with the naming rights of the Laffer Curve. In simple terms, Art’s point was that at a zero rate of tax, the total tax take would be zero. Likewise for a tax rate of 100%. In other words, the tax rate that would maximize the tax take was between 0% and 100%. What’s more, at higher rates of tax, a tax rate reduction would actually increase the tax take. That can only happen if economic growth increases. President Reagan understood the concept and the Reagan tax cuts were a huge success.

Now, 40 years later, the Truss government is following the same path. Well done Liz, this is a great start.

The imminent de-industrialisation of Europe

The de-industrialisation of Europe is now inevitable and imminent. With it will probably come political regime change. It will be rapid and dramatic, and most likely occur in the northern spring of 2023.

The seeds of this looming crisis have been sown over the last decade.

Firstly, European political power structures have done what they always do – become ever tightened; ever divergent from the wants, needs, values and expectations of the citizenry; increasingly reliant on the state controlled forces of the police, military and more recently media, technology and finance companies to censor and crush domestic political dissent; and never able to admit error or change policies.

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Mr Market is never wrong

I am one of the strongest advocates of free markets among people that I know. When I hear of the left, the cronies, the globalists and the common or garden rent seeker claiming the need for state coercive intervention owing to ‘market failure’, my response is invariably “there is no such thing as market failure, but there are outcomes that you don’t like: don’t get those two confused.”

Really?

In this case, without proclaiming the market is wrong, I can’t see how it can be right. Ordinarily, higher interest rates will not curb inflation until the real interest rate is positive. So, we’ll see if Mr Market is merely sorting cards on the table and still making up his mind.

Aren’t these guys meant to know better?

Way back in June 2020 when Guy Debelle was still employed by Australia’s Reserve Bank (RBA), he made a speech in response to market jitters over the unprecedented expansion of bank credit. He said it would not lead to inflation.

In November 2021, the RBA Governor Lowe said he wasn’t expecting inflation to hit the 2% to 3% pa target range until late 2023 and so there would be no interest rate increases in 2022 but maybe there would be in 2023.

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Energy production in Australia

Update from 17 June, 5:30 pm AEST: coal and gas are currently producing 78% of Australia’s electricity supply.

We need more renewables, obviously. Look at the contribution to Australia’s energy supply over the last 48 hours. After decades of subsidies to promote windmills, solar panels, hydro schemes and biofuels, the total output of renewable sources is woefully tiny. Not enough subsidies, I expect.

Source: Australian Energy Market Operator

Trouble brewing in Europe

Germany is the largest economy in Europe. Things are not going well there. It is less than four years ago that President Trump spoke at the UN and was openly laughed at by the German delegation. Trump’s laughable comments, as perceived by the Germans, were to warn of impending serious problems since Germany had deliberately wound back its power generation capacity in favour of long term access to Russian gas.

Now look what two stories appear on the same page of the FT:

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