We’re $60 bn better off – don’t spend the ‘windfall’

The $60 bn blunder isn’t. It was an estimate based on the best modeling available. The modeling was incorrect. it means we have to borrow $60 bn less than we thought. This is a good thing.

This is a bad thing:

This money doesn’t exist. It’s not real.

Here’s an analogy: we went to the bank to borrow $13,000 for a bathroom renovation.

The bathroom was done and we got the bill. It came in at $7,000.

Does that mean we have $6,000 to spend?

If you’re an idiot you spend the $6,000 you didn’t need to. If you’re smart, you don’t. You just borrow $7,000.

Treasury lays out what happened:

Late yesterday, the ATO and Treasury advised the Government of a reporting error in estimates of the number of employees likely to access the JobKeeper program. The enrolment forms completed by 910,055 businesses who have self‑assessed as eligible under the scheme had indicated that this program would cover around 6.5 million eligible employees. The ATO’s review of these forms has found that around 1,000 of those businesses appear to have made significant errors when reporting the estimate of eligible employees on their enrolment form. The most common error was that instead of reporting the number of employees they expected to be eligible, they reported the amount of assistance they expected to receive. For example, over 500 businesses with ‘1’ eligible employee reported a figure of ‘1,500’ (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).

This reporting error has come to light as the ATO and Treasury have been analysing the amounts being paid out under the scheme, reconciling these with the estimates provided by enrolled businesses of the likely number of eligible employees. It was not picked up by the ATO earlier as their primary focus in the first fortnight of JobKeeper payments was on ensuring that JobKeeper payments were paid promptly to those eligible for them, and not paid to those who were ineligible. These initial estimates from businesses of employees covered are not linked to payments, and so were not as carefully analysed.

This analysis from today’s AFR is comprehensive in laying out the full stuff-up. It’s worth the read. Proving the old dictum: garbage in-garbage out.

And a question for Albo: if you could see this from space, why didn’t you?

The model that blew up the world

The Neil Ferguson COVID-19 model was garbage. This is how bad it was:

In the history of the expensive software mistakes, Mariner 1 was probably the most notorious. The unmanned spacecraft was destroyed seconds after launch from Cape Canaveral in 1962 when it veered dangerously off-course due to a line of dodgy code.

But nobody died and the only hits were to NASA’s budget and pride. Imperial College’s modelling of non-pharmaceutical interventions for Covid-19 which helped persuade the UK and other countries to bring in draconian lockdowns will supersede the failed Venus space probe could go down in history as the most devastating software mistake of all time, in terms of economic costs and lives lost.

Oh, Jacqueline, you know the answer

Jacqueline Maley asks in the Fairfax papers: ‘#MeToo told us to believe women, so why do feminists discount the claim against Biden?’

Maley lays out the case with a tempered doubt about the allegations from Tara Reade against Joe Biden (not noting that she told people at the time what had allegedly happened to her, which Blasey-Ford did not have as regards her allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh).

But ultimately, she doesn’t answer the question: why do feminists discount the claim against Biden?

Because he’s a Democrat. It’s no more difficult than that. And you’ve saved yourself reading 800 words of excuses.

Why did Obama hate Mike Flynn?

If you said “the Iran deal” then you’ve been listening carefully. Thanks. 🙂

Now we have more meat on the bone thanks to this piece from Lee Smith.

Buckle up. It’s a long read but it’s worth your time.

Here’s a teaser:

While the Russia collusion story was a handy instrument for many to advance all manner of personal and political interests, for Obama the purpose of Russiagate was simple and direct: to protect the Iran deal, and secure his legacy.

This is important. Crimes need means, motive and opportunity.

Obama had the means and the opportunity. This covers the motive angle.

Read it all.

Uni staff are too important to take pay cuts (just ask them)

Kung Flu has been a whack against almost every sector of the economy.

It’s been a disaster for hospitality, tourism, retail … and universities.

With the lack of international students and social distancing, universities have taken a major haircut.

As with many other industries, staff have not been asked to take a pay cut.

Soccer players in the A-League have been asked to sacrifice 80 per cent of their income. They’re on JobKeeper.

In Super Rugby, players have taken a 60 per cent pay cut.

So, what’s happening in the universities with the essential academics?

They’re just rejected a 15 per cent pay cut. Not 85 per cent. That’s what they get to keep. A 15 per cent pay cut.

Oh stop it, no one believes you

According to the ABC: China reports no new daily coronavirus cases for first time since pandemic began.

This story is not the ABC’s fault. They’re just reporting, but it’s still bunkum.

Tom T Hall (b 1936)

A beautiful and elegant songwriter, Hall’s greatest hit was Harper Valley PTA. But this was his greatest achievement:


Featured image: Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash