The Voodoo Buck Stops Here

IGNORANCE of the laws of economics is no excuse. Neither is the adolescent classic that everyone else was doing it. Enough to be ouch-worthy to many, yesterday’s 25-basis-point interest rate hike means the official cash rate of 0.35% is now merely close to the all-time Australian low. Speaking to Paul Murray last night, John Howard pointed this out repeatedly, laughed off the significance of the RBA’s move and scoffed at suggestions the long-expected rise would engender disenchantment with the Morrison government. But the “gold standard of prime ministers,” as Murray dubbed the former Liberal leader, missed a more crucial point. So did everybody in the hot-take media except Judith Sloan. Calling interest-free cash an “emergency rate,” Howard acquitted the government of monster spending, xeroxing A-dollars by the truck-load and contributing to inflationary pressures. “Everyone panicked” about covid, Howard explained. It’s a weak defence of leadership to argue a man couldn’t break free from a herd. No Swede, he.

Like a savvy cashier at an old drive-in, economist Sloan knows the Coalition jalopy has a freeloader in the boot; his name is Keynes. The government and its near-teal defenders – no longer interested in the precepts of conservative stewardship – are sneaking Great Society extravagance into a sales pitch about superior economic competency. This is an example of what I call spectrum creep: the process by which the LNP first normalises statism by swapping principle for expediency and then declares itself a more trustworthy practitioner of degeneracy.

“The fact is,” Sloan writes, “the fiscal response to the pandemic – or, more specifically, restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic – was excessive.” At the height of Mad Monetary Theory, federal government spending approached a third of GDP in 2020-21. This government has a harebrained tendency to head off the far left at the pass rather than bulldoze a route to its own destination. The reason Paul Kelly has to use the neologism “super-maximalism” in a condemnation of The Greens’ emission reduction ‘plans’ is that the government’s own policy – minimalist only by comparison – is utterly absurd and extreme. The Prime Minister isn’t entirely a victim of global circumstance. He has to accept responsibility for cheapening the value of a dollar and a job. He also has to take the blame for surrendering to ‘climate change’ fabulists, a political felony that will cost Australia a lot more than a bout of inflation.

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60 Responses to The Voodoo Buck Stops Here

  1. Not Trampis says:

    you di not even know that lockdowns is Europe were completely different to lockdowns here or in NZ. I di give you a hint when I said google stats showed little difference in how people reacted in Sweden or Germany.
    In Europe you could still fly anywhere and were not required to be in quarantine for 14 days.
    We are talking about the period BEFORE vaccines so your figures are ‘sigh’ irrelevant.

    We needs a large stimulus because of the lockdown. Stricter lockdowns meant fewer deaths and stronger recoveries.
    As for comparing Victoria and NSW. Victoria only experienced a large number of deaths because the Commonwealth government leant nothing from NSW in terms of aged care homes to say nothing of New York or Sweden.

    Assuming the econmy would simply sail through when covid is running rampart is stupidity in extremes.
    It is like saying covid is like a mild flu. It merely shows ignorance of the subject.

  2. Boambee John says:

    Non Mentis

    It would take a major fisking to convert that semi-literate rambling into coherent English, but it seems that you are attempting to re-define the terms of discussion to exclude all conclusions except your own.

    Nice try, fail (just like your attempt to complete pre-school).

    PS, stats/polling are readily manipulated to produce the result desired by the commissioner of the poll. There is even a genre of books on the subject. But you already knew that.

  3. Lee says:

    John, the link I put up earlier (and which NT seemingly ignored) highlights that Sweden, which had virtually no lockdowns, had easily the seventh lowest death rate per 100,000 from Covid out of 28 EU nations.
    The only ones better off were Malta, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Luxembourg.

  4. Lee says:

    According to the conventional wisdom on the Covid pandemic, countries that imposed the strictest restrictions on their citizens saved the most lives. Governments were either hailed for locking down hard and fast, or they were damned for dithering or not locking down at all. But the latest estimates of excess deaths during the pandemic, produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO), blow this simplistic narrative out of the water.

    Take Sweden. Instead of following the rest of Europe into lockdown in spring 2020, it imposed much lighter restrictions. At a time when most Europeans were forbidden from leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse, Swedes were free to go to bars, restaurants, cafés and shops. Schools remained open for all pupils under 16. Large gatherings were banned, but the Swedish government largely relied on trusting the public to follow guidance, rather than imposing social isolation by decree.

    The global reaction to Sweden was relentlessly negative. The New York Times repeatedly branded Sweden a ‘pariah state’ whose no-lockdown policy made it ‘the world’s cautionary tale’. The UK’s Guardian, once a fan of Swedish social democracy, denounced Sweden as a ‘model’ nation for right-wingers, branding its Covid policy a ‘deadly folly’.
    Sweden, everyone seemed to agree, was conducting a dangerous ‘experiment’ in ‘Swedo-science’, which had ‘well and truly failed’. Swedes had opted to ‘live free and die’, claimed the proponents of lockdown.

    But the WHO’s excess-death estimates paint a radically different picture. Even with its no-lockdown policy, Sweden experienced some of the lowest excess-death rates in the EU between January 2020 and January 2022.

  5. Boambee John says:

    Lee says:
    8 May, 2022 at 3:21 pm
    John, the link I put up earlier (and which NT seemingly ignored) highlights that Sweden, which had virtually no lockdowns, had easily the seventh lowest death rate per 100,000 from Covid out of 28 EU nations.

    Yes, I noticed that. Trampis has a habit of ignoring anything in the way of data which could disturb his settled (entrenched?) opinions.

  6. Boambee John says:


    Re the excess death rates, they are important because they pick up deaths caused by the lockdowns, such as deaths due to ailments not identified early because of inability to conduct tests during the lockdowns, or due to inability to obtain treatment during the lockdowns. Focusing solely on Kung Flu deaths obscures the other deaths. Suicides resulting from family breakdown or loss of a business of domestic accommodation are also hidden, until they show up in the “excess deaths” data.

  7. Lee says:

    True, John, but the likes of NT and other Covid authoritarians downplay or ignore all the other excess deaths caused by lockdowns and restrictive laws.

    BTW, I nearly fell off my chair this morning when I read that Sweden (of all countries!) was accused of being right wing by some critics because they didn’t impose lockdowns or they weren’t heavy-handed enough in imposing restrictions!
    Unlike, I suppose, here in Dictator Dan’s Victoria.

  8. Boambee John says:


    Dick Ed is on the abortion thread at New Catallaxy, essentially arguing that pretty much anyone who doesn’t follow the so-called “progressive” line on any subject is a fascist. He seems to have fallen for a line of Soviet propaganda which put everyone not a communist into the fascist category.

  9. Lee says:

    Typical Ed, John.
    He seems to see everything in black and white with no shades in between.

  10. Tel says:

    You can go through and select various pairs of countries to compare them side by side. The Z-score indicates deviation from normal, scaled for population, and regular statistical standard deviation. They put the dotted red line at Z-score of 4, with anything above that being a significant unusual event. This theory is based on the idea that 99.7% of all events should (with a normal distribution and a fully random sample) be within three standard deviations of the mean.

    Sweden shows a spike peaking Week 15 of 2020, and then a smaller spike peaking Week 53 of 2020 … after that they stay below the red dotted line.

    Germany managed to delay the effect … but got a big hit Week 52 of 2020 and another big hit Week 48 of 2021. All things considered, when you look at a Z-score plot and all cause mortality, Germany does not look all that great.

    Of course other places like Spain got hit much worse, with Z-scores above 40 which is crazy high, but you won’t see newspapers all over the place accuse Spain for bad policy the way they accused Sweden. I did a quick lookup on some of the 2020 headlines:

    Guardian (Mar 2020) – ‘They are leading us to catastrophe’: Sweden’s coronavirus stoicism begins to jar

    Time Magazine (Oct 2020) – The Swedish COVID-19 Response Is a Disaster. It Shouldn’t Be a Model for the Rest of the World

    Their ABC (Nov 2020) – Sweden’s coronavirus plan failed to stop the virus, and a vaccine may not be enough to ‘rescue’ them, experts warn

    New York Times (Dec 2020) – Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale

    Foreign Policy (Dec 2020) – The Inside Story of How Sweden Botched Its Coronavirus Response

    A bunch of hand wringers and bed wetters, whipping up fear and panic to boost their own sales … all of them wrong … none of them ever likely to apologize. It’s our job to never let their wrongology be forgotten.

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