Posts Tagged ‘petrol’

Asked and answered

Bolt says:

Let’s hear again from the commentators who say Brendan Nelson’s call to slash petrol excise by 5 cents is so small a gesture as to be ”meaningless

I says:

Brendan Nelson’s call to slash petrol excise by 5 cents is so small a gesture as to be meaningless. What’s more, it is also moronically devoid of economic principle and anyone who spends this much time evangelising about what may be Brendan Nelson’s only selling point is in danger of looking like a dimwit.

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There’s a difference between giving a non-committal answer because you don’t want to tell people where you stand and giving a non-committal answer because you haven’t made your mind up. But as dumb as Andrew Bolt is, he is also manipulative enough to ignore that distinction and play, “What is Kevin hiding from us now?

A reading of the complete interview on AM shows that Rudd appears to be approaching a complex problem the way he should – get a thorough investigation and expert advice on the issues, then develop a plan and seek feedback. Constructing policy takes time – playing politics doesn’t.

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Breaking down petrol pain

An interesting discussion at the Freakonomics blog about exactly why rising petrol prices cause people concern. Justin Wolfers argues from an economic standpoint that it probably shouldn’t be as troubling as it is for people.

But what seems more important to me are the questions about what people attribute their frustration to and the choice of actions to alleviate those frustrations. My perspective – rising prices should be seen as the inevitable outcome of the fact that a non-renewable resource is being consumed at an increasing rate. Tinkering with taxes, attempting to ramp up the rate of production, and other measures are not going to produce meaningful long-term change to the issue. The most plausible way to do so is to begin, as soon as possible and as quickly as possible, to explore options that reduce our consumption of and reliance on that scarce resource.

That entire argument can be made without reference to environmental issues. Add to the equation the greenhouse effect, the need to reduce carbon emissions and the impact of attaching a cost to such emissions on prices, and the case becomes stronger.

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Reduce the stupid

GetUp’s latest campaign does the job nicely:

Help get the ad on as many TV screens as possible.

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Double the stupid

Do I hear triple?

A Liberal backbencher has called for Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson to double his promise to cut fuel excise from five cents a litre to 10 cents.

Speaking to ABC Radio’s AM, MP Christopher Pearce has asked Mr Nelson and his colleagues to consider the proposal.

What strikes me about all of this fuel excise nonsense is that the idea has been floating around for weeks, and we constantly hear what the politicians think about it, what the pundits think about it, and what the punters think about it. In mainstream news reporting, I don’t seem to be hearing what the economists think about it. I suspect it would be fairly similar to this.

Kudos to Daryl Melham for a nice response to Pearce’s upping of the ante:

“What he shows is he’s a dope,” he said.

“A five cent cut in petrol will cost $1.8 billion a year. Who’s going to suffer? Hospitals, education, a whole range of areas in relation to services,” he said.

“Ten cents a cut would devastate spending because you do the cut, spending suffers.”

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Kevin, you’re really starting to frustrate me.

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All is well

Cheap petrol and peace in our time.

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