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?