Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Holiday Reading

In the last couple of weeks George Monbiot has written a couple of barnstorming columns in the Guardian. One on the myth of free market capitalism and one on automobiles and speeding.

Both are well worth reading and mulling-over, over the holiday season.

[UPDATE: And now he's written this - he just keeps getting better; while the, almost always good Johann Hari, offers his own little Xmas present - an thorough debunking of Ayn Rand (yay)

Treasury Strikes Back! (well that clears things up)

To my intense excitement Treasury have finally responded to my request for references substantiating their claim that "there is a [rich]…body of international studies that can inform and support" the belief (held by Treasury) that reducing marginal tax rates will stimulate economic growth. Here's the important bit from their response:

You ask for the references relating to mention made on page 20 to recent ‘studies that have found that taxes on personal income, company income, payroll and property damage growth, while taxes on goods and services have a more muted effect on growth’. I appreciate your interest in our briefing, which is part of Treasury’s ongoing work in this area. I can confirm that the briefing as written provides as full a summary of this analysis as is possible at this time and that we intend to publish our review of the literature once it is ready, probably as part of our working paper series.

As I noted in my original post with the help of academic databases I was able to find a few studies making the low taxes high growth claim. The blogger Genius was able to find a few more. But nothing I read convinced me that cutting top tax rates inevitably leads to higher economic growth. Particularly, given that, when individual country’s histories are studied there are all sorts of examples of the opposite happening (low tax periods having low growth). Needless to say, Treasury’s response hasn’t done anything to help in this respect. I mean how hard would it be to list the names of a few papers in an email? After all, if you are confident enough to base a government policy recommendation on the papers, surely you’d be confident enough that they would stand up to the examinations of a mere blogger.

Oh well.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Turtles Can Fly

I reviewed the movie Turtles Can fly shortly after I saw it in the film festival. The current issue of the Listener now has a review of it, which makes me think that it must be coming back to cinemas in New Zealand. My original review is here. Read it if you are interested; however, most importantly, go and see the movie.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lambert 1, Fumento 0

This is old news now but it is well worth a laugh. Tim Lambert catches a crazed Fumento stalker. Or not.