Putting the numbers into perspective

August 8, 2011

The principles of running an economy aren’t very different from those of running a household with a lot more zeros.

But all those zeros are difficult to grasp. US financial writer Dave Ramsay put the big numbers into perspective:

“If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.”

Wilkins Micawber reckoned overspending one’s annual income by just five pence resulted in misery for an individual.

Continuing to overspend a country’s income by much bigger numbers will eventually result in misery for many more people.

All political parties have a duty to ensure that we don’t keep on spending more than we’re earning. That’s why National is determined to get the government’s books back into surplus as soon as possible.

Parties of the left don’t appear to understand the importance of this and are still promoting policies which will increase taxes and spending and make little or no attempt to cut costs.

What they’re proposing is like a household adding to the mortgage and credit card debt to buy luxuries. The impact of that might not be noticed in the short term. But the medium long term result will be misery and those who will be most miserable will be the poorest who have fewer of their own resources on which to fallback.

Hat Tip for the Ramsay quote: Lambcut at Roarprawn


Hot air will cost us dearly

March 9, 2009

Submissions on the review of the Emissions Trading Scheme closed at the end of February and how many farmers got round to expressing their views?

I suspect it was very few of us as individulas so thank goodness for organisations like Federated Farmers and Meat & Wool NZ which will have done full and well considered submissions on our behalf.

Just how necessary this is was brought home at an agri-business discussion group meeting in Wellington on Friday.

Chatham House rules applied so I can’t go into details but we were given a very bleak message about the very real costs and no real benefits of including agriculture in an ETS.

We were also left in no doubt about how strong the green (though not necessarily Green) voice is in policy formation and how important it is for the agricultural lobby to speak up so we’re not all drowned in greenwash.

Apropos of this issue, Lambcut who has joined Roarprawn  discovered that New Zealand’s battle against burps and farts from farm animals has reached the Wall Street Journal. 

It’s headed Mutton Methane: Reducing Flatulence to Reduce Global Warming  and says:

In the U.S., the climate-change wrangle focuses on remaking the energy sector. Globally, however, livestock emissions outweigh emissions from the entire transport sector. Add in emissions from deforestation—which is often a consequence of razing trees for fresh pasture land—the plant and animal world makes up about 40% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

That will feed in to the growing lobby which wants us all to go vegetarian to save the planet and we can be only slightly reassured by the comments the article engendered, most of which thought it was much ado about nothing but hot air.  Jon Morgan  looks at the comments and notes:

These people missed that the US had a large number of cattle that would benefit from New Zealand’s research. Though agriculture produced 9 per cent of the US’s greenhouse gas emissions, its farm animals were responsible for 19 per cent of the world’s emissions. New Zealand’s livestock produced 0.2 per cent of the world total.

If our research can be applied elsewhere, so much the better but those figures makes the submissions to the ETS review even more important because if agriculture is included in the scheme it would have a huge economic impact, no environemntal gain and all over just .2% of global emissions.

That the issue is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal should serve as a warning because the campaign against meat will grow and we  need facts to counter the emotion of the environmental activisits or the hot air will cost us all dearly.


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