Grant eaters.


Ive been exposed recently to a species of professional Ive never seen before. Its a council grant eater.

Charming lady, enthusiastic, earnest, and happily receiving and distributing other people’s monies, in this case federal.

 

The Background: Ive been trying to start up a mobile fruitcart/juice business in my town. Its coastal, warm/hot most of the year and distinctly lacking anything like this.

Ive fought with the council for a year and won grudging approval, with a lot of potential roadblocks still to overcome.

Enter the grant eater… I wont mention the programme exactly, but lets just say its supposed to improve community health by cash grants to new or existing initives. My proposal was heard about by the lady in charge of $250,000 of federal grant money and shes pretty well fasttracked our application through council and all the hurdles which were in place are just dropping away. In addition we are to receive $5000 of grant money for our project.

Now Im not one to knock back a “free” quid, but Im going to receive money for a project which Im wanting to set up anyway with the expectation of making a profit. This brings me to my main point, throughout this process Ive seen the shocking mentality of “not-for-profit” at work. There is a large percentage of the people Ive talked too who seem to look down on the fact this is intended to make money.

I havent seen that before, its a new concept to me that people think a not-for-profit, which pays their costs through grants/taxes and unsustainable fees (too low) is inherently more noble or better than a business that turns a profit and pays its own way.

In some cases the grant eaters set up not-for-profits which can directly compete with existing businesses.

Heres an example.

In my town there are 2 bike repair shops, both doing ok. So what is the council grant eater doing??

Trying to set up a not for profit bike repair.

I wish this email was a parody, I wish the bloke in the pictures wasnt real.. but here it is.

Pollinators presents a rare opportunity to hear from Lachy Ritchie, one of Australia’s leading “Young Social Pioneers”.

Yes, its really him…

Register now: (link removed) leads Dismantle, a bike repair and recycling social enterprise based in Fremantle. Dismantle has been recongised by local and state governments, corporate partners and national NGOs as a leading example of integrated, sustainable delivery of social and environmental outcomes.In this 1 hour session Lachy will:Present on the ‘Dismantle’ model for connecting people and bikes for personal, community and planetary benefit, Share insights and lessons learned through successful social enterprise that reduces waste to landfill, builds confidence and relationships amongst young people and increases community participation,Discuss the relevance of the Dismantle model to regional WA and especially ****.  
 

Its disturbing to see government gifting money where private enterprise either already exists, or is already willing to set up. Just as disturbing is the messianic impulse that drives these professionals. Ive had quite a bit of fun dropping the “we want to put solar panels on the roof of the cart” line to the different council/grant people we have spoken to.

Without exception, 5 times now the first words out of their mouths have been “that’s sustainability”…

Pavlovs dogs couldnt do better..

But its a mindset of the professional, generally uni educated, tax eater class on display.

Oh and PS: Our council rates are going up around 25% this year… no connection..

UPDATE:: Recieved this just a short time ago, again I wish it was a parody…

I wish to apologise if I have caused anyone grief through the image of the pipe in the previous e-mail I sent reminding people of the Bikes + People = Happy people + Healthy planet event.The image was taken in the context of Tweed Run — remarkably effective campaigns to get non-cyclists on their bikes: http://dismantle.org.au/events/freo-tweed-run/

A global movement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweed_RunBy no means does the Healthy Communities Initiative –  ******! Getting Active and Eating Well Made Easy project support smoking and I sincerely apologise if this e-mail has expressed this message.

Carbon Tax Fallout: tax rates for low-income earners up, plus, “what compensation?”


Packaged along with the much-ballyhooed “save the planet” carbon tax were some increases in marginal tax rates which the press went pretty quiet on.  And although the tax-free threshold was raised, the LITO (low income tax offset) was actually reduced, which along with rises in the marginal tax rates for the lowest two tax brackets means that this is not such a good deal after all, especially for lower-income Australians.

I’m not an economist (and I don’t even play one on TV) so I’m linking you over to both Professor Sinclair Davidson’s reckonings at Catallaxy and Clinton Mead’s at the Australian Libertarian Society blog.  As a layman I found Clinton Mead’s in-depth explanation and examples pretty clear and easy to understand – I recommend wandering over and having a look at both his post and the comments there.

In short, though, both economists do a good job of showing what the effects of the new tax scales and the alleged “compensation” will work out to for those on various incomes.  And it’s not nearly as rosy a picture as the government or its cheerleaders in the lapdog media would have us believe.

In related carbon tax news, analysis of the latest opinion polls throws up a pretty surprising figure:  62 percent of 18-34 year olds are opposed to Labor’s carbon tax policy.  Wait, what?  If you only listen to the ABC and GetUp and its related pseudo-grassroots lobby groups, you get the distinct impression that it’s only the old fogeys who are opposed to this tax; that the Yoof are all hip & jiggy wit’ it.  So what’s up that? Are we being fed yet another busted meme which is all about the narrative Labor and the MSM want to push but nothing much to do with reality?

Sinc has the full polling results here and they’ll be worth referring to later.  As he points out, “Both these polls can be considered pre-policy announcement benchmarks. If Gillard is able to sell her policy to the public we’ll be able to see changes of opinion here.”  So, bookmark ‘em.

And also, just a memo to myself to remember to check out the Catallaxy blog more often, especially since I’ve pretty much gone off the comments thing at Bolt’s.  Some really good voices over there, and it doesn’t seem to be over-run by astroturfers and trolls (yet!).

Is Gina Rinehart Australias Dagney Taggart?


Gina Rinehart is an interesting lady. Written off as no more than an heiress riding on her prospector fathers coattails she has become the wealthiest (on paper anyway) person in Australia.

He father was the legendary Lang Hancock, the man whos company pretty well started Australia’s Iron ore mining boom.

It’s difficult to think, Australia at one stage actually had a ban on exports of Iron ore because the governments of the day believed we were short of the stuff. Lang and his co-workers proved up vast tracts of iron reserves, and the industry was started.

I admit myself to thinking Gina would turn out to be a passive, or unwise heiress, boy was that wrong. She spent millions fighting various court battles to keep her company together.

Now have a read of this speech she gave at the start of her new coal mine, its a pretty precise dressing down of the “looters” mentality.

“For the cost of building this trial mine alone, I could have bought myself a beautiful new private jet, But you’ve seen those trucks and shovels out there. Who would be paying the wages of these contractors if I had spent that on a luxurious private jet and two pilots?

“Indeed, for the further costs of paying my terrific staff working hard on these projects and the consultants’ studies for the pre-feasibility study and the bankable feasibility study and now value engineering, together employing hundreds of people, I could have dotting for myself one or two beautiful yachts like many of my friends have and employed six or more yacht crew and taken off.”

She was apparently a little sharp on the imposition of new taxes into Australian mining as well.

“Rinehart also attacked the “left-wing media” for suggesting she was being greedy and attacking the taxes out of self-interest when she could afford to pay more. She argues it is all about Australia’s ability to compete and that Canberra simply doesn’t understand this…”

Absolutely right, shes as rich as Croseus, she could stick every cent she has into government bonds and still be unable to spend the income. Instead she risks her capital and employs thousands of people.

Rinehart was certainly keen to explain her views to those who had travelled long distances to get to the Alpha mine site. The audience, which included her daughter and son-in-law, included potential clients and companies involved in the project as well as a smattering of federal and state opposition MPs. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was represented by her Minister for Employment and Mines, Sterling Hinchliffe. No federal government minister was present

This just shows how intellectually cowardly this federal government is. So busy sucking up the arse of Bob Browns greens they wont attend the opening day of a major new employer which will generate massive income for the government and reduce unemployment.

She said the new tax policies — and the high costs of development and regulation — were the reason her wholly owned Australian company Hancock Coal would not be able to maintain as large an equity stake in the new projects as she had once hoped although it would still be “significant”.

Paging Bob Brown, a clue is waiting for you on line 1…. Dear old Bob was today wailing about how eeeeevil foreign corporations had large chunks of Australia’s minerals income diverted to them. The clue being, theres not a big enough pool of Australian capital to get such ventures up and running.

“Rinehart says Australia simply could not afford policies that deter exploration and investment.

“Despite these record prices, when our investment appeal and confidence should be at its highest, today’s policies have meant exploration is being discouraged and our exploration investment is back to 2003 levels. That is, pre-boom,” she says. “Where is Australian investment heading ? Offshore to the long-term detriment of our country and billions and billions of dollars being invested instead in West Africa, Brazil and elsewhere.”

According to Rinehart, Canberra doesn’t appreciate what is required to bring more investment and people to Australia’s north, including special tax breaks, few regulations and a welcome mat for overseas investment. Rinehart, with her father’s sense of determination and destiny, plans to use all her energy to change that equation.

More strength to her arm, I hope she continues to expose the bankrupt looters in Canberra for what they are, wankers playing with other peoples money.

Full text Of Ginas speech under the fold.

Original news story linked here

Read the rest of this entry »

$900 Worth of Monkey-Doodle and Baked Wind


Just a few years ago, Labor felt compelled to hand everyone $900, in order to “stimulate” the economy and save us from recession.

Yet you know that they’re now going to claim that taking almost $900 a year off everyone for their monkey-doodle and baked wind tax will have no negative effect on the economy whatsoever.

Wreckers.

bad at math?


a real Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar bill - that's a one and 14 zeros - a large quantity of them might buy a single US dollar.

Who wants to be a trillionaire?

 

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe and chief economy imploder, has a scheme to encourage economic empowerment. It could be education, skills training, equipment, computers, business skills, managerial skills, import/export knowledge, etc but none of that wasn’t mentioned. Instead :

Under Zimbabwe’s empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans should acquire 51% of foreign businesses.

“We can read the riot act and say this is 51% we are taking and if the sanctions persist we are taking over 100%,” Mr Mugabe said

We all know math doesn’t seem to be Mr. Mugabe’s strong suit so I can’t help but wonder if he means : “we are taking over : 100%,” or if he means “we are taking : over 100%.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to seize 130%.

Nationalize US banks?


Former IMF chief economist, Simon Johnson, thinks it’s necessary in the short term to get to the root of one of the major problems that caused the GFC.

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

The American Right would have a fit if Obama suggested that, but Johnson insists it would only be temporary.

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary.

Nationalization would not imply permanent state ownership. The IMF’s advice would be, essentially: scale up the standard Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation process. An FDIC “intervention” is basically a government-managed bankruptcy procedure for banks. It would allow the government to wipe out bank shareholders, replace failed management, clean up the balance sheets, and then sell the banks back to the private sector. The main advantage is immediate recognition of the problem so that it can be solved before it grows worse.

In fact, Johnson goes even further.

This may seem like strong medicine. But in fact, while necessary, it is insufficient. The second problem the U.S. faces—the power of the oligarchy—is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.

An overhaul of anti-trust legislation is also proposed.

Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

The entire article is well worth consideration. Either way, something has to change. Some economists out there are far from convinced the crash is truly over. Anyone who’s signed up to Newsmax email alerts will be familiar with this. Me? I dunno. But what I do know is that my investments (global) still aren’t making any serious headway (although they’re not hemorrhaging anymore), and that’s a bit of a bugger. That, and my Australian tax dollars aren’t being used appropriately… and I suspect many of my American buddies feel the same about theirs.


*cross-posted

Rudd’s dud Internet slug


Today, Andrew Bolt posted a blurb highlighting that Kevin Rudd’s $43 billion high-speed broadband network wouldn’t see a return for investors for up to 20-30 years. So, especially being computer technology, what idiot would possibly invest in it?

And not just for that reason, either. The government website states that it will be a 100 Mbps network. Well, sorry folks, but those kinds of speeds are already way obsolete… let alone what they’ll be when I’m retired.

Take South Korea.

The Korea Communications Commission is working on plans that will boost broadband speeds in that country tenfold by the end of 2012. That means Koreans will access 1 Gbps service by 2012. That’s 200 times as fast as your typical 5 Mbps DSL connection sold in the U.S. At present, Koreans can get speeds of up to 100 Mbps [and that was in 2009 – bing] from their broadband providers. Availability of such high-speed connections has allowed Korea to emerge as a leader in the MMO and online gaming industries. Even higher broadband speeds are going to unveil many new usage scenarios, which can lead to new company creation.

That’s right. One gigabit per second is already here.

Kev’s broadband plan is a joke.

Let’s see, we have the $3.9 billion Pink Batts fiasco which burned many a home and even, sadly, took some lives. Then we have the (so far) $16.2 billion (revised up from $14.7 billion already) Building the Education Revolution farce, and now even that is dwawfed by Rudd’s wasting of $43 billion taxpayer dollars on technology that, even before it’s rolled out – which will take around a decade – is already obsolete by a factor of ten to one.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, we’ll also likely be seeing Rudd apply Internet filters. So even if Australia’s network had the potential to be as fast as South Korea’s, it wouldn’t be.

Nice going there, Kevin.


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