Wednesday, 30 December 2009

HMS Enterprise?

Whatever the taxation arguments, the John Redwood post was really about enterpreneurialism.
Many people, and respondents on his blog, get confused between enterprise and entrepreneurialism. Essentially enterprise is a quality that most of us possess to one degree or another. Very few people though possess entrepreneurialism. To be an entrepreneur you need to see things in a new way. To spot the inefficiency or the opportunity for a new good or service. You need to be really creative.
This differentiation between enterprise and entrepreneurialism is evident in the employment statistics. About 4 million workers are self employed. But very few of those actually created a new business based on a new product or service idea. Many just do what they did for an employer on their own account.
Entrepreneurs are those that disturb the steady state economy and send it off in a new direction. Enterprising people are not necessarily entrepreneurs, but they can be very successful, and excellent job creators in their own field.
The point of this ramble is that it is genuinely possible to teach people to be enterprising, you just need self belief, energy and ambition; but much more difficult, and I contend not really possible, to teach entrepreneurialism.
The root of our problem is an education system designed to create bureaucratic jobsworths and to supply supplicant and pliable cannon fodder into the maw of the bureaucratic state. It also has the added benefit of not creating people who will challenge the bureaucracy.
I was fortunate I went to one of the last true Grammar Schools. Loads of Old Boys of that school showed enterprise and some genuine entrepreneurialism.
So if you want more enterprise, liberate education. Trouble is the turn round round time for the UK is therefore generational, not just a couple of years.
(This is an edited version of a comment made on Mark Wadsworth's blog here)

And Happy New Year to You...

Well, that's it. Just been told by a contact that the Inland Revenue is not negotiating on tax payments for businesses and the self employed. Pay up now or that's it. 'Course they aren't. One, Brown has run out of our money and two, someone has to pay the IR staff. After all they don't pay any income tax themselves, do they?
Income tax is a terrible thing. It was foist upon as as a con job by a long past government probably to pay for a war on the basis that it would only apply to the 'rich'. But of course once out there the temptation of politicians to creep downwards with the limits was all too tempting until we now have the situation that even someone on minimum wage pays income tax. (Note. I do not support the idea of a minimum wage.)
And as far as State jobsworths is concerned it is just part of the mad money go round of the bureaucratic state. Since, as PAYE, income tax is a tax on employment it is the IR - part of HMG - that pays the employees tax, not the employee. And just where did the IR (or HMG) get the money to pay its employees? Yup, from the workers adding real value in the real economy. So the IR collects money from us, pays some of it to their employees and keeps back the rest. In other words it is just a saving on the employment cost of the state employee, as opposed to a cost for all of us private business employers. On top of that the profligacy of their pension benefits, at a cost of between 20% to 30% of salary roll means that this saving to us, wealth creators, is simply swallowed up in funding (or not fully funding) extremely generous pensions to state employees.
This mad money go round exposes the inequity of income tax. One, no state employee pays it. And two, it is a destroyer of employment in the non government employment sector - private business. On top of my New Year wish list is the announcement that one or other party recognises the massive unfairness and destructive nature of Income tax and will make an absolute commitment to abolish it by a certain time, say five years hence.
A first step is the introduction of a flat tax at a rate of about 20% starting at a higher threshold of about £15,000.
It won't happen. Will it?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Formula 1

Toyota, and probably Renault, are getting out of F1. A basic knowledge of freedom and markets told me that this, or something like it, would happen, and that the 'compulsory budget cuts' - or in economic terms, price controls - proposed by the Max (now Jean) and Bernie were utterly fatuous.
F1's current situation is an object lesson in what happens without democracy, the rule of law and the indulgence of oligarchs. The FIA is an undemocratic dictatorship. It has handed a monopoly patent for all the 'commercial rights' to an oligarch. The FIA operates kangaroo courts to enforce these positions. This corporatisation attracts other cartelisers and mercantilists, like big corporations and autocratic governments. This, for a time, suits the oligarch as he can demand substantial commissions from competing mercantilist and totalitarian governments to bring the show to their town to lend them legitimacy and credibility of their own lack of democracy.
This excess spending filters down to the teams where international corporations are sucked into spending an awful lot of money to try and become winners. A lot of this cash is spent not on engineering and racing but on corporate entertainment and similar. Carmakers as a genral rule are only profitable on their core business one year in five (source: Warren Buffett) hence much of their F1 spend must also come from borrowed money. Keeping up in the bling competition is not cheap.
But, as one lady once famously remarked, 'you can't buck the markets'. Sooner or later the international investors and bankers that have been bankrolling much of the profligate circuit building, carmakers and other fellow travellers will call time on their largesse. The tsunami of cheap money that has sustained the F1 bubble will retreat and an awful lot of people will have been found to be swimming naked.
Max and Bernie have been stupidly trying to impose price controls and more and more detailed rules to try stop this happening. Listen you pair of idiots, price controls never work. As neither do excessive bureaucratic rule writing (which has the entirely opposite effect by increasing costs). But, the loss of Toyota and Renualt will immediately cut the cost of competing in F1. There will be people available. Their facilities will be on offer, cheap. The remaining teams will be able to pay less for everything. This is markets working. What is more important it will cut the barriers to entry for new teams. Small innovative ingenious engineering and ideas led teams. Efficient teams. Cosworth will be back. Why not other engine suppliers like AER?
Bernie and his CVC financiers will, hopefully, be worried sick. CVC's cashflow demands to service it debts are a bigger cash drain out of F1 than any other one thing.
My fervent hope is that the Toyota and Renault exit triggers a serious financial problem at CVC leading to it getting out completely. This may also trigger the exit of Bernie. And this may lead to the FIA resuming control over all aspects of F1. There is only one problem. Jean Todt. The man is an autocratic French mercantilist political operator. Without him there would be a vague chance that the FIA would massively reduce all the fiddling rules and cut the entry fee demands to a reasonable amount and reintroduce democracy.
Williams and Brawn have demonstrated that it is entirely possibel to compete on relatively modest budgets. So lets look for a new era of innovative and very competive garagistes to bring real racing back to F1. I am only sorry that there will probably never be another Ken Tyrrell. And lastly we can say a very welcome farewell to all the ghastly souless F1 facilities like Abu Dhabi.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Quangos Try to Kill You

Not done much posting and reading of blogs for some months. I've been off work too. It'll be 5 weeks tomorrow. Hospitalised. Why? I've got endocarditis. How did I get it? See here .
I have had a not very well functioning heart valve for years. Diagnosed when I was 7 and rediagnosed when I was about 30 and told to me. So, for the last 27/28 years I have worked hard on keeping my heart fit and have done so. This regime also included prophylatic antibiotics before any dental procedure.
Consequent upon the NICE guidance my dentist asked me to check with my GP as to whether the prophylatic antibiotics should be discontinued. I asked him and he said that he had taken advice from a cardiologist and the answer was that they were 'required to take account of NICE guidance'.
I then proceeded normally, but without any prohylaxis,and had two or three minor dental treatments - check ups and cleans - and by Christmas 2008 my wife had noticed that I was not my usual self. I first noticed symptoms over the weekend of 30 / 31 May 2009. Endocarditis is very difficult to diagnose and it took until late September, by when I had become very ill, that Endocarditis was diagnosed in a consultation with a specialist that I had to pay for as the NHS could not provide an appointment until weeks later. I was immediately committed to hospital and put on a 6 week course of antibiotics.
I am incensed that some bloody bureaucrat should interfere in the professional relationship I have with my doctors and end up with exactly the wrong advice which has gone a long way to ruin all the keep fit work I have done for nigh on 30 years.
The moral of this story is that Quangos kill you. Always do exactly the opposite of what they tell you. My financial services business operates on exactly that principle and we've been proved right and the FSA wrong.
I am now going to read the NICE guidance thoroughly and send them a very straightforward letter basically telling them that they are a bunch of wankers and what are they going to do about an apology and compensation. Fat chance. Oh, and all the clinicians I have spoken to have remarked that there has been a spike in endocarditis cases since the NICE guidance.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Comedy Headline of the Day (only it's not at all funny)

"Lloyds TSB fails FSA Stress Test"
If ever there was a case of the blind leading the semi-defunct, this is it.
We have one failed (as predicted by me) quango passing technical judgement on a failed bank (I've been a bear of bank shares since ooooo 2000/2002). I mean, really, you couldn't make it up could you.
(NB The first FSA stupidity with 'stress tests' was to force Standard Life to sell £17Bn of equities at exactly the wrong time, and on which crass cluelessness the admirable Scott Bell resigned)
FSA = Wankers
Lloyds TSB = Crooks.
PS No posts for a long time 'cos I've been sick. L.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Good and the Great.

Yesterday I went to a do at the local school celebrating the success of a committee that included Mrs Lola in creating a mgical school garden. Mrs L and her henchmen had decided to move on after nine years and hand over to new people. The do was to celebrate their success. About 100 people turned up. This is at a 70 pupil village school.

I chatted up all the pretty mums and did a bit of people watching. One common theme was that all those present did stuff and made stuff happen. These are Good people. The backbone of what makes England work. In fact they are Great people. They won't moan about Brown. (Well, they will. You can't not). But what they will also do is buckle down and sort out the mess he created. It won't be any action of the useless government that saves us from anarchy and penury, it'll be the 100 people at the party and 100's of others of the same type in little villages and small towns and bits of big cities that will get on and sort it out the mess Brown and New Labour have created. They will save money. They will cut costs. They will create the jobs. They will look round their neighbours and see who needs a little help. They will turn up at the school and help with reading classes. They will run the school kitchen garden and feed the kids with fresh food, all without any input from Jamie sodding Oliver.

Yet again it will be these people who, despite the bloody useless government, will do the stuff that make the stuff happen and sort out the mess.

And note well, this is just England. It'll be the same everywhere else. The average bloke and his knackered wife buckling down and doing it.

Why oh why don't the likes of New Labour get this?

Yeah Dad Yeah. Yawn. Boring!

I know I'm boring. I'm a midle aged Dad for God's sake. It's what we do. We do the same old same old. 'Turn that light out'. 'That's a dress!'. 'And what did you hit this time?'. 'How much!'. 'Bloody Gordon Brown (shut up Dad)'.

But, the thing is, being middle aged dad makes you fireproof. You've seen it, mostly. And what you haven't seen won't surprise you when you do see it. You know how life works. You know pretty well all politicians and certainly all ministers are tossers. You know that banks are not to be trusted, as neither is HMRC. Luckily most older policemen are just like you, so as long as you don't get a young keen one you'll be OK.

You also have a very highly developed sense of humour. Unfortunately this suffers inceasing bypasses as more and more idiots in 'authority' spout increasing amounts of total bollocks. (Today we had Dan Waters of the FSA with some real pearls of wisdom, not. What a prize prick). See what I mean, can't laugh at the little shit any more. They don't half wear you down.

And it's not just me. It's all over the blogosphere. More and more weary middle aged Dads posting more and more weary comments on the peurile behaviour of the powers that be.

So what can be done about it? A revolution? A tax strike? What?

Fat chance. We're trapped by own success and responsibility. We have stuff. We do stuff. We make stuff happen and we look after our families. Manning the barricades would jeopardise all their futures, not ours.

So help me out here. How can a boring middle aged dad make a difference. What can we do to sort out this mess?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Student Finance

My youngest daughter has been sorting out her student finance on the relevant direct gov website. I have just tried to log back in to put in my earnings details. Guess what? Can't do it.
This website is utter crap. Utter utter crap.
Please someone shoot Brown before his government fucks up any more of the UK and its once excellent civil service.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

An Early Epiphany

When I was about 14 or 15 and starting to get a vague handle on the workings of the world I was subject to a valuable learning experience.

I attended the local Grammar school that setted us for various subjects and consequently we were often in foreign classrooms.

On one occasion, first period after morning break I and my mates were treated such. I cannot recall the subject. The bloke I set next to and I used to race slot cars and we had spent the break discussing plans for the next hot shot scratch build and reading the new regs issued in an A5 sized paper pamphlet by the ECRA. We went into the lesson and I put all the books I had been carrying that were not relevant to the subject on the top right hand corner of my desk. We were sitting roughly in the middle of the classroom opposite the masters desk a couple of rows back.

During the lesson my pile of books slipped a bit and my eye was caught by a note on the cover of the ECRA rules and I idly looked at it and then pushed it up under the book pile. Whereupon the master yelled at as to what I was reading. The usual 'nothing sir' 'yes you were' exchange then took place and a demand was made for me to hand over the pamphlet, which I was reluctant to do given this masters reputation. He kept yelling and I said 'OK sir, but I was not reading it and you will give it back to me at the end of the lesson won't you?' 'Yes' he said. Took the pamphlet and tore it up.

This made me a bit cross, and I told him he had lied, which as you might imagine went down like a lead balloon and the latter part of the lesson deteriorated a bit.

There was then a bit of a discussion. I told him he'd lied. He denied it. I told him he had no right to destroy my property and an apology and replacement was required. Things got more heated. It was suggested that I bend over. I told him to get stuffed, as I don't take orders from liars. 'How dare you call me a liar' he said, 'I am the law here and you will do as I say'. I told him he wasn't the law, he was in authority and as subject to rule of law as the rest of us, and he'd lied and destroyed my property.

By this time things were getting very out of hand and I was marched off to the deputy head master (an excellent bloke). The master told his side of the story and and explanation was demanded of me.

I said, 'Mr Liar here has destroyed my private property for no good reason and I want him to replace it now'. As you might expect this was not what they all wanted to hear and it was again suggested to me that things might get hot. By this time it was shit or bust as far as I was concerned. I had got to that reckless stage where I realised that there was nothing they could do or say that was going to phase me.

The Deputy Head (a good bloke) sent the offensive lying shit on his way and told me to report to the Headmasters study that afternoon after school. I refused. This wasn't a good idea as it made the deputy head very cross. So I was immediately marched off for judgement to the Head.

The head was a prick. I thought he was a prick at the time and I still do. 'Bend over boy, I'm going to beat you'. 'Nope'. There was a bit of struggle out of which I came off best.

I was then threatened with suspension. 'Yes please'. 'And you will do detentions for a week.' 'No, I won't. Well, not unless Mr Liar does too.' Stand off.

I was sent outside and the Deputy Head (good bloke) and the Head (prick) had a discussion.

The upshot was I was put in detention for week. I never went to one of them.

I demanded my restitution. It never happened.

I never called the lying master Sir or by his name again.

The lesson I learned from this?

That authority is not law. That the authorities are just as subject to the rule of law as the rest of us. In this case Mr Liar had flouted the rule of law not me. The deputy head knew it, and he knew that I'd figured it out.
So what is this all about?
This is all about Gordon Brown and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the FSA, FOS and FSCS.
These totally failed outfits completely confuse their authority with the rule of law. The way Brown set them up allows them to make law. Erm, excuse me, but how is that?. The UK is a representative democracy and law is made by Parliament or by the courts interpreting Parliament. Parliament is Sovereign. This means that we the voters are Sovereign. Yet the FSA has arbitrarily decided that the well established principle of a 15 year long stop to protect professional advisers of all types from stale claims should not apply to IFA's. Clearly the FSA is confused as to the difference between authority and the rule of law.
It gets worse. The FSA has a lot in common with the GDR Stasi. As communism imploded and the authority of the Stasi waned it gave up any pretence of discretion and just resorted to shooting people. The FSA has failed and, quelle surprise, it's fines tripled last year. It's metaphorically just shooting people.
The same problems apply to the FOS and FSCS. These carry on like extra statutory bodies making up rules and law as they go along. These are not the authorities. These are authoritarians.
This mad bureaucratic socialism of which the FSA/FSCS/FOS are just the manifestations in my part of the commercial forest has completely abandoned the rule of law and set up an authoritarian or even totalitarian series of apparatchiks outfits to enforce its will on all of us. The law just doesn't come into it. The FSA operates like the manager of a nationalised industry and creates prescriptive rules under which the industry must be run. Sounds like nationalisation to me.
At the same time, like all Socialist regimes throughout history New Labour sees the rule of law as either an inconvenience to be ignored or something to be manipulated in pursuit of its totalitarian agenda. All of the quangos they have established have this 'we are the law attitude'. They have to be re-educated.
In the last few weeks we have seen the publication of two more bureaucratic agendas, the RDR and the banking regulatory reform white paper. Both of these are bureaucratic socialist totalitarian publications and neither has anything at all to do with improving the rule of law. They are both about more authoritarianism.
This must be stopped.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Blogged Out

I've noticed a decline in the frequency and ire in the right (as in not wrong) wing blogoshere over the last month. Either it's because the weather has been good and like all right thinking people right (as in not wrong) wing bloggers know that there is more to life than continuously holding the not right (as in wrong) wing government to account, or....there is blogging weariness setting in. We know that we are right and that we've won the arguments. All we can do now is continue sniping at the shit Brown and his henchmen in the hope that we may claim one or two scalps, but we know he's doomed and it's just a question of time.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Rail Franchises

Is it just me or does anyone else think that this whole sale by Government of rail operators franchises for a premium is just another way of taxing passengers?
Ignoring for the moment the appalling level of subsidy enjoyed by Network Rail it seems to me that this franchise fee stripped out of the operating profits of the traincos is just another tax levied on the poor bloody travelling public. How much better if Network Rail simply charged for the service of providing functional and reliable permanent way. Or better yet privatise the railway properly.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Defence - Another Epic New Labour Failure

Another excellent article here from Max Hastings.
Mr Hastings makes the observation that the Tory's don't attack the Government on their failures in defence as most voters don't care. I flatly disagree with this. If the truths of Labour's mean spirited and deceitful mismanagement of our armed forces were brought into the open the public would be rightly outraged. Politicians have a habit of not realising just how much public support the armed forces enjoy. Cameron could capitalise on this.
But, as a voter am I at all interested in the political capital available to Cameron in this area? Well, no, I'm not. All I care about is that our Armed Forces are properly resourced for the roles we expect them to play. Those roles must not be diminished. We need Armed Forces in sufficient quantity and capability to be able to be an effective ally to the US, as despite the worst that Obama can do, the US and the UK (and The Commonwealth) have been the most consistent promoter and guarantor of Global freedom and democracy. This means that we have to be able to project force Globally and this means, among other things, aircraft carriers.
At the same time as maintaining capital expenditure we must increase the quantity of people. And this means more infantry.
There is no cheap way of doing this. So, whilst massive spending cuts are on the way for most of the State Bureaucracy and Quangocracy this must not be the case for the Military. My personal view is the defence spending needs to rise.
One of the ways that this could be achieved would be to take the cost of the Nuclear Deterrent out of the defence budget. The Nuclear Deterrent is an entirely political tool, although it is operated by the military. By recognising this and keeping the existing defence budget intact and finding the Trident funding elsewhere would release funds to be spent on, for example, aircraft carriers.
But whatever way we cut it if we want to maintain credibility as a Global beacon for freedom and democracy our defence budget will have to increase.
Squaring that circle will be one of the next governments - if it's the Tory's - biggest challenges. If New Labour is re-elected or if there is a hung parliament we can kiss goodbye to more of our personal freedom, let alone acting a beacon to other countries even less fortunate than ourselves.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Maxwell Brown

The more I think about it the more Brown reminds me of that other fat crook, Robert Maxwell.
Browns entirely flawed tripartite regulatory 'system' for financial services was constructed especially to stop any one part knowing what was going on in the other parts. Only Brown knew the whole story. Maxwell managed his businesses in the same way, by confusion and division.
Brown's accounting system for the UK is an elaborate fiction with massive off balance sheet borrowings and complicated financial arrangements between different departments, each funding the deficits of the other in the manner of pass the parcel. Maxwell did exactly the same, borrowing on company A and then lending the money to company B in the same robbing Peter to pay Paul way.
Maxwell was a bully. He employed yes men. He treated many staff very badly. But he employed useful people on high salaries to neuter them. Many of them journalists previously hostile to him. He was also a sycophant, garnering acquaintances with useful movers and shakers. Brown is a bully. He employs a crew of yes men, many of dubious character and rewards them well. He is just as sycophantic; his courting of Obama for example.
Maxwell was a stranger to the truth. Need I say any more.
Brown's raid on pensions must have been learned from Maxwell. Maxwell bought companies purely to access the target company's pension schemes funds. He simply switched the members to his Headington Investments scheme and then cashed in the ceding schemes surpluses for his own use and to keep his group afloat. He also loaned pension scheme stock as security for company borrowings within the group. The trustees were place men - his sons. Brown has taxed the bejeesus out the UK pension schemes. He has mortgaged the assets in which they invest to foreign investors.
Maxwell had no respect for the rule of law. Neither has Brown. Brown sees law as a vehicle for social control and the advancement of the socialist program.
Maxwell conned many ambitious and greedy bankers. Brown did the same.
In the end the whole edifice came crashing down around his head. He knew the game was up and took a ride on his yacht, off which he fell, or was pushed. The chaos left behind was epic, but was only company sized. Brown's game is also up. Brown has destroyed the wealth of a whole country. But he has not yet had the grace to fall off his yacht, and no-one has yet had the courage or opportunity to push him overboard.
Brown is waiting for two things. One is the Irish Lisbon treaty referendum. The other is an event. This time he's doomed. The next event will be his Maxwell yacht moment.
PS. Intriguingly Hitler used exactly the same techniques of divide and rule and fear.

Friday, 19 June 2009

I'm Bored....

I've got flu (manflu according to Mrs Lola). I've been on and off work for two weeks, and as it's my business there's no sick pay is there? I can't think straight, too much pain (!). Ladies think that childbirth is bad, well, let me tell you it's got nothing on manflu.
But worst of all I'm now very bored. Can't do anything. Nothing much vituperative about McMental on the blogoshere that's new.
I've looked at all the Brands GP in car videos on youtube, ready for my next visit in early July (I AM going to be fit for that).
I've watched so much crap TV I think I'm cured.
My family won't talk to me - they reckon I'm rude and grumpy - but we all know that I am always a little ray of sunshine. Even my mate, Rowley the Dog, gives me sideways looks. I think he think that since I am at home he should get more walks.
I'm cold as well. Got the bloody heater on the sitting room.
And there's a family dinner tonight. That's 8 (6 being female) of them plus me, including Mrs Tactful (Mrs Lola Snr). That'll end in tears for one of them when she points out some shortcoming 'Have you put on weight, dear? Luckily I can feign extra illness and escape early.
I've read as much as I can deal with on my new economics books and I've skimmed through Autosport. There is the Torygraph crossword, but, I am, of course, so ill, that I'll struggle.
I don't do online Porn - it's even more boring!
So what's next? Paper aeroplanes?
God I am so bloody BORED!

Class War Politics

I was listening to Denis Healey on Desert Island Discs today and he made an interesting remark. He reckoned that the reason that people were becoming increasingly disengaged from politics was because the parties no longer represented separate classes.
Now, it has always seemed weird to me that Labour was for the Workers and Tories for the Bosses. Even as a kid in the 60's and 70's I just could not square this simple branding. To me it seemed that Labour was for Socialism and that the Tories weren't. I could not see why 'class' came into it at all. This may be because I've never been very good at 'class'. The quality usually aren't and the workers are frequently ladies and gentlemen. In other words, folks is folks. Clearly there are some really desperate oiks out there but you are as likely to find them at Eton as the local Comp.
One of the great successes of the exchange free market economy is the opportunity it gives to everyone. The pent up demand for personal advancement was undammed in 1979 and millions were liberated to find their way. Self employment has gone from 750,000 to about 3m (2001) (see here for a good article). This rise in meritocracit achievement, which ignores class, has fundamentally changed the political landscape. It is now no longer class that divides politics and parties but government policies. One lot offer high taxes high spending and low liberty, and the other lot should offer the opposite. But they don't and that's the problem. That's why people are bcoming disengaged.
It is not the absence of the class argument that has turned people off its the fact that one lot say we'll tax and spend 50% of your pay and the other lot says we'll tas and spend 49% of your pay. People have given up. No major party stands up and makes the anti tax n' spend case, but the voter knows that this is what is required. So who does he vote for?
So I am saying two things. One, class is an out of date blind. If anyone bangs on about class he's just stupid. Two, the Tories are failing to capitalise on Labour's epic failure because they lack the courage and foresight to make the case for the small state. And without a well argued case voters have no choice, so they stop voting.

Monday, 15 June 2009

An Epitaph For McMental

Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
her Aunt who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not she
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!
'Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away!

It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out--
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street--
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Banks, Mortgages and Business Lending

A new bank manager was foisted upon us about 2 years ago when our old manager retired. We arranged a meeting and she turned up. My heart fell. 'Oh God', I thought on seeing her, 'we're going to have trouble with you' and so it has proved.
We are a small financial advisory business and only owe money to our bank in the shape of an overdraft facility, the requirements for which are reducing and within about a year will be very small and a BDL that we use as a rolling facility for major IT upgrades.
Overall our debts are less than 25% of sales - and reducing.
Our manager has just written to us with demands to reduce the debts more quickly than we'd like to.
On the other hand I have had a couple of clients approach us for mortgage work, which we do do, reluctantly.
OK, so lets compare and contrast.
Client X has a new lady love and they want to buy a house together. Together they earn about 150,00 per annum and each has existing property. The gent has a main residence free of mortgage plus three buy to lets in negative or nil equity. The lady has a house with a mortgage of about 17% LTV.
Neither of them have any real cash savings and in fact the gent has spent a lot of cash capital over the last five or six years.
They are looking to remortgage the main residences using BtL loans to release the maximum equity and use that cash as a deposit on the house they want taking out a personal mortgage for the balance. This will take their overall debts to about £800,000.
And I have found various banks that are very happy with this scenario.
The question I have to ask is this.
How come I am struggling to convince my business bank to stick with us whilst we repay 30K overdraft down to 10K in one year supported by a business that has guaranteed monthly service fee and investment management fee income, which broadly covers all its costs, and is increasing, and in which I have employment opportunities, whilst there are banks happy to lend 40 times as much to a couple who have only wages to what is effectively a 100% mortgage?
All this cash being locked up in property when there are potentially 40 businesses out there that would benefit from the cash and who would create employment.
There is definitely something very wrong indeed with our banks and business financing models in this country when it comes to this pass where money is being lent that just does nothing to promote true wealth creating and is instead used to finance the self indulgence of over-ambitious putative homeowners and BtL investors.
Something must be done, but what? Well, IMHO step one is to remove the ability for BtL 'investors' to claim the interest on their loans as an expense. This would create a level playing field between owner occupiers and BtLetter's.
But that only tackles one part of the problem. How can the banks be encouraged to look to business for their loan business? Why are all the banks really only now mortgage companies?

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tory 'Cuts'?

I posted the following on 'Dizzy Thinks' and as i am conceited enough to think it is one of my better efforts I reproduce it here.
I really think the tide is turning on the essential bit of this debate. The essential bit is not cuts/no cuts but government spending good/government not spending bad.
People are not stupid. They know that Brown has been a hopeless PM and Chancellor and they know that there is epic waste in government spending. No-one I ask about this from any walk of life thinks anything else.What they do find hard to understand is the connection between their take home pay and the money Brown spends. They still seem to think of it as someone elses tax money being spent. But when a lucid explanation is given they now listen and learn. Well, except Labour Tribalists of course who reckon that if you taxed 'the rich' at 80% there would be plenty of money, but as we now know that they, the tribalists, form about 15% of the electorate they're not a problem.
The low taxer/small staters can now move this argument on. There is no need to be worried with the closed hospitals/dead babies nonsense. The door is open for Dave & Co. to simply say:
"Brown has blown all the money he took from you since 1997 and spent very badly [i]n the wrong [way]. There's no more left. Taxing you more will destroy more jobs because you're own spending will have to go down.
The State is consuming massive amounts of tax revenue and to compound the problem it is epically badly run. That is no criticism of the many hard working and capable people employed in the State sector, they have been as badly let down by Brown and his idiotic policies as everybody else.
It is clear that this epic mismanagement is going to have to be sorted out, something Brown will never do as that would be an immediate admission of his failure. And sorting this out will require massive cuts in public spending or massive rises in tax and massive cuts in your own spending.
Do you or do you not want massive tax rises to give the Government more money to spend badly?
Vote us in and we'll set to to sort out this mess and we will make some promises, with one caveat.
We'll promise that we'll do our very best to make sure that health care is a priority, and the same with education.
We won't cut Defence if at all possible, as the primary duty of Government is national security.
To keep the basic essential level of services that we all agree is necessary to shelter the vulnerable, we will need some very creative thinking as to their funding and delivery, and as we are only a few blokes in London with no monopoly on wisdom, we will welcome ideas from anyone who has a way for doing more for less. The door is open to you for your ideas and proposals.
We will also make sure that Sterling is run on strict and sound principles, you need and deserve a trustworthy currency. No more printing money. The banks will be sorted.
The caveat? We have not yet seen the books. If the horrors are even worse than we can currently discover, all bets and promises are off."
Love All Non New Labourites.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Question Time 11/06/09

Derek Simpson. '...the failure of New Labour's free market...' Eh? What. New Labour free market? Nope. And the free market hasn't failed you pompous old fart. The free market has succeeded and passed an accurate judgement on New Labour's failed experiment with Socialism by regulation.
Peter Hain. ' don't understand that if we [the government] don't invest [spend] now it'll take longer to get out of the recession...'. Pete old son, you are deluded. The money you spend is taxes. You've taken those taxes from citizens by coercion and they now cannot spend that money themselves. So, no net increase in spending then? And your capital projects take years to come on stream whereas we/I could use the money immediately to buy a meal out or build my porch all of which creates an immediate job demand. (BTW have you noticed how the orange shit always interrupts other speakers?).
Really, what can one do with such epic mendacity from these two lefties. I don't mind them being lefties but why do they lie like they do? Why do they use such flawed analysis?
Whilst on about this can anyone direct me to a detailed and costed argument as to why letting the banks go bust would not have been a problem? I know, on the free market case, why it would have been correct to let them fail, and I am aware of the case for forced debt for equity swps, but I just wonder if anyone has worked out an written about a likely scenario?
QT again. Libdem blokey (Huhne?) on about 'picking winners'. Admittedly in the anti case. Why just he doesn't say 'picking losers'.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Help Needed

Someone help me out here. John Denham MP and Philip Hammond MP are on Newsnight arguing about how Labour and Tories will NOT be cutting public expenditure, and in fact increasing health spending.
Is there anyone in the country anywhere, who is not a Labour tribalist, that thinks that public expenditure can continue at the current level?
And Denham is boasting that they have doubled public expenditure, that is doubling taxes, since 1997. Same question. Is there anyone out there, excepting Labour tribalists, that still thinks this is a Good Thing?
It is transparently clear that we cannot as a Nation go on taxing, spending and borrowing to support out standard of living, so why, just why, cannot we move this debate on to an argument as to how we can do all this stuff for less fucking money? Why have New Labour been allowed to get away with setting the terms of the argument?
This is so depressing. We are getting stuck in a box between a choice of party A that wants to carry on spending truly epic amounts of our money badly and Party B that wants to spend a slightly less epic amount of our money badly.
It's no wonder that UK industry is so high cost when 50% of our income is spent by the State and of which I reckon at least 50% is wasted.
PS. I realise that the Tories 'increasing spending on health' is not at all the same thing as saying 'increasing spending on the NHS'.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

MP's and State Employees Shouldn't Pay Tax

This MP's expenses fiddle thing should make us think about the nature of income tax.
It is a fact that no MP or other state employee or Quangocrat pays any income tax at all. The income tax notionally deducted from their pay is in reality simply a rebate to the rest of us, the non-state employed wealth creation sector.
An excellent double bubble benefit could be achieved from the fall out of the MP's tax fiddles by recognising that they and there cohorts don't pay tax anyway and making paying all state employees on an income tax free basis. This would achieve two things. It would keep Joe public always and forever right on the case of public spending as it would reveal the true price, and two it would ensure that such public spending was reduced year on year as every party would only get elected on the promise to do that.
I appreciate that this ignores the ludicrously expensive pensions promise enjoyed by all state employees, but such state employees pay reform would go hand in hand with reform of state employees pensions. It is a given that the defined benefit schemes would all be replaced by defined contribution (money purchase) schemes and that pensions tax relief would be abolished.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

..and the answer to the Parliamentary Crisis is....More Regulation!

Below is a post I made onto John Redwood's blog and a Telegraph blog (I cannot remember which one!).
"I heard Gordon Brown on the radio banging on about the need for ‘independent regulation’ of MP’s expenses and remuneration.

I flatly do not want this. ‘Regulation’, and the excess of it, is what has got us into this mess in the first place. This universal misplaced faith in ‘experts’ is symptomatic of all that is wrong with New Labour’s ghastly idea of how to organise society. Organise it along the lines of some settled idea created by ‘experts’. It is clause 4.4 by regulation.

What I want is men, and women, of independent mind and capable of making professional judgements about what is correct and what is not correct. I want Parliament to be and remain sovereign in the country. I do not want MP’s to be continually engaged in a box ticking compliance culture that has so bedevilled my area of business and directly led to the failure of banks and the collapse in savings.

Experts only know what is the current consensus. The rest of us operating in a free market are always ahead of them, testing and challenging the status quo and developing a new paradigm. Experts, as used by New Labour, are all about limiting our freedoms and making us fit an idealised, and completely unworkable idea of what about 300 labour MPs think is the way we will operate.

The whole New Labour project was all about forcing this agenda and designing a society that made election success for them guaranteed. It had nothing to do with running the country properly or making sure that public money was spent wisely or that troops were properly equipped for actions that New Labour got them involved in, but all about ensuring a continuing New Labour success at election time. And the main weapon they used to implement this agenda was the unelected unaccountable quango ‘regulator’.

Stop them doing more of this in Parliament. Stop them now."
This slavish idea that more regulation and hence more bureaucratic rules will make anything better or here less likely to be corrupt is simply risible. All that will happen is that MP will have endless negotiations about what is 'allowed' and have to employ staff to do lots and lots of lovely box ticking.
In the real world it is patently obvious that an excess of 'regulation' is precisely what has causes all the current problems. Regulation has taken over from common sense. Brains have been disconnected. Thinking for oneself has stopped. Well, of course thinking for oneself is a complete anathema to a bureaucrat. It is completely outside their control. It means that they have to fit in with us. Oh dear. What a shame. It's what you're for, you bloody fools.
So imposing an 'independent regulator' on MP's is probably the stupidest idea I have yet heard.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Failed State Bureaucracy Resorts To Coercion

The FSA are trying to prove that they have a right to exist. This link to a Telegraph article shows bankers being denied the right to work on the whim of a Quango. WTF! You can bet your bottom dollar that if that was another industry group deciding that certain workers were trouble and that it was wise not to employ them there would be a major stink about rights and fredoms.
Be very clear, the FSA is a major problem in financial services. Its current behaviour of chronic persecution and coercion has everything to do with diversion tactics from its own epic failures and nothing to do with 'making financial services better'.

Eight Pointless Things...

1. I have two dogs named Rowley and Albert (Bertie to his friends). Walking dogs is a joy, if you live in the country, which I do.
2. I once shot my mother in the bum with an air pistol - deliberately.
3. As I have a wife, four daughters and a widowed mother (her widowship is in no way connected to point 2) I manage a fleet of seven cars.
4. I go to bed early and wake up early.
5. For reasons I cannot fathom, as I am no twitcher, the song of the blackbird lifts my spirits like no other sound on earth.
6. I am big on freedom, with responsibility of course. Consequently I am appalled by New Labour's cavalier treatment of our hard one liberties.
7. My children can all argue for England. Entirely my fault.
8. Altruism is an illusion.

Friday, 15 May 2009

F1 Grand Prix - My Recipe for Success

I have been meaning to apply some simple economics to the financial problems of F1, in the sense that I do not think it has any.
There is much talk among the rulers of F1, basically Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone, that F1 is 'too expensive' and costs 'must be capped'. My contention, as I hope to show below is that the costs of fielding a team in F1 is not the problem at all and is no threat to its success.
A teams costs cap is nothing more than a price control. A study of economic history will show you very quickly that price controls do not work, ever. Price is a signal. If that signal is confused by political interference it will lead to malinvestment. Usually a price control is introduced to mask other problems. For example the minimum wage is set by reference to an arbitrary measure of poverty, not for the value that can be added if the worker is employed, hence jobs are destroyed and employment opportunity is reduced.
The problem with F1's costs lies in its governance and ownership. In essence the absolute ruler of the F1 country, Max Moseley has given a monopoly patent to his favourite oligarch Bernie Ecclestone. This is simple mercantilism and protectionism.
Max rules the FIA. He loves that. It is what he does best. He builds up its power and works hard to ensure its world domination as rule setter (analogous to the creation of law). He outsources the commercial management of his series (analogous to say, the Navy in Pepys time) to Bernie. Bernie is an oligarch. He takes his monopoly power and controls the circuit operators and the teams. He makes them do what he says and shares with them just enough money to keep them onside and makes sure that they fight amongst themselves (rather analogous to pre 1914 UK foreign policy towards Europe that is was best for us to keep it divided). Bernie is then able to grow his franchise and then sell it for a huge amount of money to a foreign power (a private equity group) but still maintain day to day control, because he is indispensable. By this arrangement Max and Bernie can keep their show on the road and hawk it around to more and more rich snobs who want the kudos of holding a Grand Prix. This pushes the traditional hosts in Europe into offering more and more money and so on as the whole scheme perpetuates itself. As an oligarch employed by a dictator Bernie can do this endlessly.
Meanwhile this monopoly induced price inflation works down to the competing teams. And the ever more restrictive rules drive out innovation, which again drives up costs. Creativity and original thinking are an anathema to a regulator as each change makes challenges their rules and their authority. It's a culture clash.
So there you have it. A dictator, working through an oligarch and a captive and restrictive regulatory bureaucracy. No democracy, no free market and too much regulation by an entrenched bureaucracy. Freedom and markets and the absence of regulation create real wealth for all. The opposite does the opposite, destroys wealth.
Now, I think that there has be only one F1, or preferably Grand Prix, championship and series. But I also think that other organisers should be able to offer competing championships. This will keep F1/Grand Prix honest. So what structure would work to lower costs in F1?
I have a four point plan.
1. Democracy. The FIA has to be reconfigured to give a bigger say to the interested parties. It needs more democracy. National MSA's, GP Teams, circuits need a say. Not sponsors as they are represented by those they sponsor. The FIA should not make a profit or surplus on its sporting activities.
2. Ownership. Max has to repossess the commercial rights from Bernie. The PE group behind Bernie sucks out too much cash that should go back into the sport. Bernie and F1 Admin are toast.
3. Freeing up the Market. Any circuit anywhere in the world should be able to bid for a grand prix. The fee to the FIA should be modest. Just enough to fund the FIA to make all the necessary checks for safety standards, general quality, financial resources and to assure themselves that the FIA's F1 franchise brand and sporting values are being properly upheld. Teams should either form a collective to negotiate for a share of the circuits income or better, should negotiate individually for start money. The FIA's rules will require a minimum number of bone fide Grand Prix teams as starters for the race to qualify as part of the F1 championship. This will ensure that teams of all standards of success are invited. TV rights should be let locally, and the income distributed among the teams. The FIA should also offer to the pen market a TV franchise on, say, a five year renewal basis. It will be in their deal with the circuit that this must be permitted and the feed could be sold to broadcasters in countries that wish to show the race. That income should be shared with the circuits and teams. Global motor manufacturers should have no special say in F1. It is a sporting challenge, admittedly technical and expensive, but not a commercial one.
4. Reducing Regulation. The regulations under which cars are designed should be hugely relaxed and simplified. This will encourage innovation and that, contrary to what you might think, will reduce costs. If one team spends millions and wins all the time, the gate receipts will go down, F1 will wither and the team will leave. It will be self correcting. For example, Ilmor's rotary valve concept would not have been banned. It was cheaper to make than poppet valves as there are less moving parts, but non - rotary valve engine makers would have had development costs. As nothing is truly secret the only extra costs would have been the higher salaries available to the engineers who had learned how it was done. In a couple of years everyone would have had rotary valve engines and the consequent mass development would have driven down the unit costs. Creative destruction works.
A simple plan, I think. And logical. But, it means that Max and Bernie lose income and power. Are they likely to do that voluntarily?
Update 16/05/09
Just been reading Mark Hughes column in Autosport. The revelation that Ferrari have a rules veto since 1998 simply reinforces my arguments. Now we have a dictatorship, in league with an oligarch countenancing a cartel. My arguments are even more valid. To cut costs in F1 weneed more deocracy, more freedom, less rules and more free market.

More Epic Cluelessness from New Labour Apparatchiks

They really do not get it do they?
Shahid Malik from the BBc website: "Less than an hour before his resignation was announced, Mr Malik went on the offensive to claim endless media stories about expenses was in danger of "decimating" democracy." Er, no. This is democracy working you plonker.
This is same cluelessness they use when they say that the current financial crisis is the failure of markets. Er, no, again. This financial crisis is markets succeeding and passing judgement on failed politicians and policy.
Freedom and markets. Doncha just love them? And the best bit? They are at last doing for Brown and the whole deceitful New Labour project. (Anything or anybody that makes a 'project' out the electorate, and me in particular, deserves... well, death's too good for them really.)

Harman Says that MPs 'Get it'.

Harman,. No. You. Don't.
You are clueless about what is needed. Your answer, more rules, shows just how stupid you are.
We do not want or need more rules.
What we want and need are genuinely honourable men and women in Parliament working on our behalf.
It is you and you ilk, professional politicians, that have brought Parliament to this condition. You who have entered politics for personal advancement. In particulr your deceitful and now exposed as endemically corrupt government.
Stop using the social worker mantra - 'I undertsand' - and just go. Resign. Call an election.
Because what the country wants is the opportunity to throw you and your party out. That's what you need to understand. We want you gone. Now.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Dear Mr Cameron

A Cottage
A English Village
Somewhere in England
12 May 2009
The Rt Hon David Cameron
Dear Dave
Now listen here sunshine, I am somewhat pissed off with your lot. The thing is, you really need to understand that, given the historic (and some would say undeserved) electoral success of your party, it is about bloody time you did some serious opposing.
You have been stuck in opposition for 12 years and I have been waiting, in vain, for your lot to get up on your hind legs and have a real go with real counter arguments - for freedom and low taxes - to this tawdry useless shower of shit New Labour that has the immortal rind to consider itself worthy to be a government of the UK. But you haven't.
And now we know why. Your lot are as far into the trough, up to your elbows in graft, as New Labour.
Do you realise that you were the last hope we had for rescuing an ancient democracy and to restore freedom and fiscal competence? Do you realise how very fucking badly you've let us all down? Do you have any fucking idea at all what to do now to get this sorted, as, God help us, you are still the only real hope we have?
I am right at the point of serious civil disobedience and I am not alone. Be very clear that you and you cronies are as much up the scoured arses of us poor proles as New fucking Labour and we have had enough. Finally, we've had enough. I really am seriously angry, and I want it sorted. Now.
And I am not repeat not paying any more tax. You are going to sort this economic mess by slashing every quango and apparatchik you can find. This will liberate them to find real wealth creating jobs in private business. You are going to get super tough with scroungers. And you are going to get areas like Northern Ireland and the North East of the public tit. And you're going to have to do that the hard way old son. It'll mean reduced standards of living for many of us, but to encourage private wealth creating business and restore international competitiveness so that we can pay our way we need to savagely cut the costs of the bloated state and the 'benefits' it pays.
So, Dave, me old mate, things look tough for you now. But let me down and just see what happens........
PS The next time that deceitful self promoting shit Blair lands in the UK have him arrested and seize all his property. L.
PPS I leave it to your imagination just what to do Brown.

IEA Analysis of Brown's Bust

Go here for the best and most truthful analysis I have yet seen on Brown's Big Bust.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Proposed Lettings Regulation - OMG!

I could not believe my ears. There on Today this a.m. was a bloke that heads up some private letting agents trade association - ARLA I think - banging on about wanting more government regulation to drive out bad landlords. WTF!. There he was with a free market solution sitting in front of him that he heads up that was already providing potential tenants with a set of standards by which they could judge their proposed landlord and be certain that minimum standards of professional behaviour were being applied. And he wanted government; i.e. me and you, to underwrite tenants deposits! WTF2! He had already arranged an insurance scheme for his members to give tenants confidence. Why the bloody Hell does he need any more regulation by the State? He's already doing it. His ignorance of simple free market economics was total. I despair. How are we ever going to have an efficient and free society if witless wankers like this are representing the most carnal of free market people - estate agents. Good Grief. My mind is boggled.
Did anyone hear the piece? If you did and can remember the witless berks name let me know what it was. Someone needs to point out just how stupid he is being and how his actions will encourage a bloated state bureaucracy to get in and screw up a functioning free market.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Cars - Do them Beautiful, please?

All I want car makers to do is to make beautiful cars. Alfa always seem able to do it (igonre the Arno), as does Jaguar.
To my mind cars reflect their national heritage. Mercs always seem to be missing something - a turret. BMW's - three autocannons, one firing through the engine. Fiat - the best small cars for the people on the planet. Alfa - as stated above, cramp inducing gorgeousness. Ferrari - gigolos in waved hair and reflecting sunglasses. Audi - VW Golf's and Passats in party frocks. Renault - no nickers. Any Amercan car - a personal drive in burger maker in the dash board. Toyota - Suchi on wheels. Volvo/Saab - No sense of humour (well, to be fair I loved the old Saabs and the pre-boxy Volvos). Rolls Royce - All that was wrong with Empire. Porsche (only the pre 1990's 911 and the race cars) - all that is right with Germany. And Jaguar - sexiness, in a particularly English way. The enthusiatsic and subtle abandon of the vicars attractive daughter. Slightly rounded in the hips, emphasising that peculaliarly English Rose voluptuousness. And a racing heritage that no-one can deny.
Ask yourself, which motor company now tries to produce and succeeds in producing beautiful cars? They all seem to try to be Damian Hirst's on wheels. Except Jaguar. Jaguar has had an awful time and battled through the motor wars with poor equipment, waiting for its Spitfire MK IX moment. Creating a machine with looks and engineering that can take on the best. Now, I know that the XF divides opinion but really, in a true beauty contest who comes close? The XJ, older looking but aluminium and slim - a sort of Joanna Lumley of cars. XK - a budget Aston?
So there you have it. Please Mr carmaker - make them beautiful.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Mais ou sont les handsome cab gas lamp fitters d'antan?

Well, where are they? The handsome cab gas lamp fitters? Where have they gone? Nowadays they are working or Chrysler. Or RBS. Or LloydsHBOS. Once upon a time they would be gone as the world moved on, and no-one would have missed them. I mean, do YOU miss handsome cabs? So why would you need handsome cab gas lamp fitters? And when the handsome cabs went were there unemployed handsome cab gas lamp fitters? No there were not. They went and did something else. So why wouldn't that be the case with the jobless workers at RBS, LoydsHBOS and Chrysler?

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Dear Mr Osborne

The Cottage
A Small Village

George Osborne MP

Dear George

Re: The 50% Tax Rate

In his final act of financial idiocy Gordon Brown and his lackey Alastair Darling have imposed a 51% tax rate on the incomes of high earners as well as ludicrousy complicated rules on pension contributions for the same class of taxpayer.

It is well understood throughout the whole world that high tax rates collect less tax than low ones.

I urge you to make this argument with force, logic and evidence and on taking office to immediately reverse the imposition of this confiscatory rate.

At the same time restore the equity to pension contributions that acknowledge that pensions are deferred pay.