Buggered, Apparently.

You’ve got to laugh when even lauded predictors of future economic conditions Access Economics dispenses with the usual financial rigmarole and simply states that the Australian economy is “buggered”.

All along we’ve been told how Australia will avoid a recession (or just have a brief and mild one) due to China’s demand for our resources.  Well it sounds like the party’s definitely over.

Treasure Wayne Swan has conceded that “China and other emerging economies, now caught up in this crisis, are expected to slow much more sharply than previously anticipated.”

Access Economics director Chris Richardson said Mr Swan would already have more updated, unpublished Treasury forecasts that exposed the extent of the problems facing his budget.

“The Government knows how ugly things are. None of this is a surprise to them,” he said.

Access Economics said the federal budget was “buggered” because of its heavy reliance on company taxes and royalties – both of which would be hit hard by the collapse in commodity prices.

The national fiscal deficit could blow out to $29.4 billion in 2011-12. Such a shortfall could cripple the Government’s capacity to deliver promised tax cuts, maintain programs, cushion the cost of its emissions trading scheme and fund infrastructure spending plans.

Access Economics warns that the Government and Opposition could “freeze in the headlights” as a result, choosing to shore up existing handouts to the middle class and to the car industry rather than making the politically difficult decision to cut them in favour of more worthy uses, such as building infrastructure.

Following on from the Access Economics dire outlook, Alan Kohler had this to say (thanks to TB Queensland for the link):

“Access is forecasting economic growth of 0.8 per cent for 2008/09, including a recession during 2009 (but not necessarily two successive quarters of negative growth). It then expects 2.4 per cent growth in 2009/10 and 2.7 per cent in 2010/11.”

“This is pure guesswork. Forecasting a recession for 2009 is not a guess because the recession has already begun; after this year absolutely anything is possible.”

“The Government’s position is even sillier. Treasury is currently sitting on a MYEFO forecast for nominal GDP in 2008/09 of 7.75 per cent. That’s right – your eyes don’t deceive you: 7.75 per cent!”

“The forecast for 2009/10 is 3 per cent; for 2010/11 it’s 4.25 per cent and 2011/12 it’s (pick a number) 4.25 per cent. The fine print explains that the figures for 2008/09 and 2009/10 are “forecasts” while those for the other two years are “projections”.

“Whatever. They’re all wrong” says Kohler. 

Interesting in that Kohler concedes, as many of us here at Blogocrats have been saying for some time:

“Access Economics’ latest Business Outlook commentary today is mostly an exhibit of how little notice we should take of forecasts, even those from good economists.”

A Review of “Gran Torino” featuring Clint Eastwood

Premiere Gran Turino LA

The character that will be Clint Eastwood’s final role as an actor, Walt Kowalski, stands beside his wife’s coffin, facing the assembled mourners, in a Catholic church in Michigan.

A retired auto-worker, and veteran of the Korean war, he greets well-wishers with little more than a grunt, and a guttural growl in the case of his grand-daughter Ashley, who has arrived late, midriff exposed, and pierced navel proudly on display.

Walt has no time for fools, we quickly learn, and – he believes – he is surrounded by them.

Quite a few of the funeral-goers are back at his house for the wake, because, he says, “they must have heard there’d be plenty of ham”. As he steps outside for some air, he surveys the old neighbourhood, especially the house next-door, whose “gook” owners – that’s how he talks: he also calls them “zipper-heads”; he calls his Italian barber a “Guinea bastard”; and his Irish construction-foreman pal a “stupid Mick”  – don’t take pride in their property like he does.

Most of the street has been taken up by Hmong families (pronounced Mong) , and Walt is one of the few original residents to have stayed. He trades daily insults with the next-doors’ maternal grandmother, who is an almost permanent fixture on her front-verandah rocking-chair. (Neither one can understand the other’s words, but each knows full well their intent.)

While his grandsons are in the basement, sneaking a look at Walt’s war photos and Silver Star medal, he catches Ashley in the garage, smoking. She asks what he plans to do with his pride-and-joy – a mint-condition, British Racing Green, 1972 Ford El Torino – “when – you know – you die”. Walt doesn’t answer, and walks out in disgust. His two sons, and their wives, seem to have their eyes on a different prize: Walt’s house. (Later in the film, on his birthday, he unceremoniously kicks one of the couples out of his home, when they untactfully suggest he think about moving to a retirement village.)

The Hmong woman next-door – whose wayward husband has deserted her – has two teenaged children: the eldest a very bright girl, called Sue, and a quiet boy, a year or two younger, who is called on to do all kinds of domestic chores. His name is Thao (pronounced Tao) – Walt calls him Toad – and he is being pressured by a cousin to stop doing womens’ work, and join him in his street gang. He finally gives in to them, but only after they have rescued him from a rival Latino gang. He must now perform an initiation: his task is to steal Walt’s Gran Torino.

One night, soon after, Walt catches Thao in his garage. His war-service rifle discharges in the scuffle, and Thao bolts, terrified. The gang isn’t happy with his failure, and insists a reluctant Thao try again.

They arrive a couple of days later to drag him away, fighting off the three women of the house in the process. Walt Kowalski witnesses the commotion, and his instincts kick in.

He grabs his gun, and confronts the gang. “Get off my lawn!” He could be Dirty Harry Callaghan, saying ‘Go ahead, make my day’, except that Kowalski is the same age as Clint Eastwood: 78 years old.

Walt prevails in the stand-off, but you get the feeling things are just heating up.

The entire Hmong neighbourhood hears about what has happened, and there is a seemingly endless stream of them leaving food, flowers, and other thank-you gifts at Walt’s doorstep. “No. Go away. No more.” They ignore him, of course. Walt, however reluctantly, becomes father-figure to Tao, and protector of the entire community.

To tell any more would be to spoil the plot. The moral, or morals of the story – and make no mistake: this is a morality play – is that the American dream is alive and well; that Walt Kowalski is not racist, despite his un-PC language; and that he doesn’t hate anyone, except that part of himself responsible for certain actions in Korea – those that have haunted his soul ever since.

Like he tells Father Janovich, his wife’s priest, who made her a – so-far unsuccessful – promise to hear Walt’s confession:

“It’s not what you were ordered to do; it’s what you weren’t ordered to do.”


By Tony of South Yarra





Lurking by the Watercooler…!



Yes folks, it’s time to lurk by the watercooler for our general working week kick-off chit chat!

I did not have a recession with that state, NSW.

The state of NSW is not in good health, and this is not good for the country. 

Access Economics is reporting in The Australian that the state is already in recession – which the NSW State Labor Party (aka the Ostrich Party) has denied.

ABS data released just over a month ago show that NSW has experienced growth both in June and September quarters and this does not indicate NSW is in recession,” Mr Campbell  (acting Treasurer) said on Macquarie Radio

Nothing like the use of selective statistics to back up your claim Mr Campbell.