Money | Anorak - Part 50

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Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

The Gender Pay Gap Will Always Be With Us

YES, yes, we know, women earn on average 18% less than men. Or 12 %, 38%, even 1% more, depending upon who you believe and which number they’re lying about. The first is the mean average between men and women working full time: but we should use mean averages here (you shouldn’t when there’s a lower bound but no upper as with wages) we should use median which is the second.

The third is the likes of Harriet Harman lying through their teeth (it compares female part time wages with male full time) and the last is one that is true in two ways. Part time women earn 1% more than part time men and never married, no children women in their 40s and above earn 1% more than their male compatriots.

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Posted: 8th, August 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Let’s Have a Cash Market in Kidneys: Trading In Human Organs Like The Sensible Iranians

LETS have a cash market in kidneys. No, not the sort you devil for breakfast, but the human sort that get stitched into people.

Yes, really, we ought to start paying people who agree to give up a kidney so that someone else can live. That at least was the suggestion of one academic when writing in the BMJ.

Sue Rabbitt Roff believes making it legal to sell the body part would boost the number of organs available to save lives and help students struggling with money.

She argues that donors should be paid the average UK annual income of around £28,000.

It is currently illegal to sell organs and tissues in the UK under the Human Tissue Act (2004) and across the world apart from in Iran.

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Posted: 5th, August 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive?

WHY is car insurance so expensive? There are reasonable ways of asking that question: reasonable answers to such reasonable queries too. Perhaps there’s not enough competition so monopoly profits are being earned. Perhaps interest rates are too low?

No, seriously, in a competitive insurance market the insurance companies don’t make a profit writing insurance. They almost always make an underwriting loss in fact. However, they get your money early on and only pay out later if an accident happens. So they’re got pots and pots of money lying around waiting for a claim: and they can invest this and make a profit on investing it. Which is what they do and which is the real secret of Warren Buffett’s wealth.

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Posted: 4th, August 2011 | In: Money | Comments (5)

The Taxes Are Too Damn High|: John Redmond’s Laffer In

NO, not just the ritual complaint that the State is taking away the hard earned pelf of the capitalist classes. Actually, it’s a complaint that the State isn’t taking away enough of said cash wrung from the bitter tears of the workers’ starving children. They’re doing this by having a tax rate that’s too damn high.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I looked at the detail of the Treasury and OBR’s own forecasts following the Budget. There quite clearly shown, is a fall of £500 million or 15% in CGT receipts next year compared with this. It takes more than a year for the full effects of a new CGT rate to come in, given the lags in selling the assets, reporting the gains and then paying the tax. So the official forecasters themselves accept that 28% is not an optimum rate . They reckon the higher rate will cost the Treasury £500 million of lost revenue in the first full year.

It has to be said that John Redwood does have an argument there. We’ve got a higher tax rate and we’re getting less tax revenue from having that higher tax rate.

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Posted: 3rd, August 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Britons Have Weakest Necks In Europe

DID you know that whiplash claims in the UK are higher than most other countries? It’s true:

“Seventy-six per cent is twice the average for other European countries,” says a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers. “It’s unlikely we’ve got some of the weakest necks in Europe.”

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Posted: 3rd, August 2011 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Building Train Sets Doesn’t Make Us Rich: Chinese Bullet Trains Run Empty

I KNOW, I know, I bang on about this, but it really is true, building faster train sets really doesn’t make us richer:

No passenger was seen in the whole carriage of a high-speed train on the Beijing-Shanghai line on July 3rd 2011. It has been reported that the high-speed rail service recently suffered a plunge in ticket sales, with trains running at less than 30 percent occupancy in the first- and second-class seats and with business-class carriages almost empty.

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Posted: 2nd, August 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Painful Stupidity From the Government On Fuel Costs And Solar Panels

THERE are two things that make this such a painful statement to have to read:

THE Government has claimed the use of solar panels will provide a vital element in the fight against soaring fuel bills as thousands of households in a Yorkshire city will benefit from the renewable energy technology.

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Posted: 2nd, August 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Building Bloody Great Trains To Everywhere Doesn’t Make Us Rich You Know

THERE’S any number of people out there telling us that we must all spend the tax money on their favourite boondoggle. Might be yet more bleedin windmills, neighbourhood nuclear plants, the trains sets they dreamed of as spotty youths or that national broadband they want to spend billions on.

And in these spending demands there’s one word that flourished as the Ace of Trumps: “Infrastructure!”.

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Posted: 29th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (4)

The Guardian: Only 130 Years Out of Date

IT’S possible that there’s some sort of black hole in The Guardian, one which distorts time itself, so that their editorials sometimes seem to come from another century. This is most noticeable when they start to talk about economics. And yes, they’re at it again today:

Like it or not, real shoppers do not operate like the calculating consumer that economists conjecture; instead they value things subjectively.

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Posted: 28th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

We Just Knew The Guardian Would Come Up With The Answer!

IT’S quite stunning how the Guardian manages to solve each and every problem for us. If the little scrotes are mis-behaving then it’s Sure Start for them: bankers getting out of hand then tax them more. If there’s evil in the human heart then we must understand, empathise: unless it’s done by white men of course in which case more tax is the answer again.

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Posted: 27th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

So the Economy’s Screwed: So Whatta We Gonna Do?

WE’VE seen the GDP figures, they show 0.2% growth over the past 3 months. When we tot up the last 9 months, we still get 0.2% growth. This means we’re not getting richer very quickly.

So, what are we going to do about this?

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Posted: 26th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

So Who Gets Amy Winehouse’s Money Then?

IT’S not all that much of a surprise that Amy Winehouse is gone: a shock that it’s right now, a sadness of course, but not exactly a surprise.

(Image: Mitch and Janis Winehouse view the shrines to thier daughter.)

Which leaves us with the question of who gets her rumoured £10-£20 million fortune? That one that is increasing by the minute as people buy her albums in remembrance? The one that’s going to soar when they release that third one of demos?

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Posted: 25th, July 2011 | In: Key Posts, Money | Comments (9)

Good Sense On The Euro, Finally

IT’S not been all that fun watching our Lords and Masters running around like headless chickens over this euro crisis.

All along there’s been only a few viable solutions. The first is that those who shouldn’t be in the euro should bugger off out of it. But that would be a retreat from “ever closer union” and so wasn’t going to happen. The second is that pots and pots of money should be taken off Germans and sent the Mediterranean types.

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Posted: 22nd, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (6)

You’re Surprised by Ignorance From the Green Party Then, Yes?

Aren’t we such lucky little people, we’ve a new think tank founded by Caroline Lucas, the Leader of the Green Party. No, no, don’t all go crazy with applause just yet. For there’s a slight problem with what they’re saying.

No, not the basic thought that a cleaner, greener, world for our children would be a nice idea. Not even that we need to respect ecological limits to growth: these are entirely sensible and mainstream ideas.

No, the problem is that they seem not to understand the basics of their own economics. In this report from the new think tank we find this:

the economy will be stable, not
growing, but also less liable to
cyclical fluctuations. This means
that growing aspirations cannot be
met out from the proceeds of
– the basic structure of the welfare
system will be effectively fixed, and
politicians will no longer be able to
claim that poverty will be solved by
growing the size of the overall cake;

This isn’t some side issue, some aside: this is at the heart of what they’re saying, that there will be no more economic growth. Which is entirely nonsense: no, not just nonsense from my point of view, it’s nonsense from the published work of the Great Guru of Green Economics, Herman Daly himself.

The concept is derived from that of the “steady state economy”. We need to respect those ecological limits, limit how much of the natural world we dig up and process. OK, fine, let’s do that then. But this doesn’t mean the end of economic growth for we humans are pretty inventive little creatures. And we do keep inventing new things: a feature of which is that our new things often allow us to do old things while using fewer of the resources of that natural world. Thus, even if we do have limits on natural resource use we can still have economic growth: as long as we keep inventing new ways to use less of those natural resources.

So, to say that Green Economics means no economic growth, necessarily, is nonsense. It doesn’t even fit with the basic ideas that underlie that very Green Economics.

But then you’re entirely surprised that the Green Party’s new think tank doesn’t have a clue what it’s talking about then, aren’t you?


Posted: 22nd, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Competition In The NHS: David Cameron’s Whizz-Kidz Milk Sick Kidz

DAVID Cameron’s such a bastard, inn’e? Taking services out of the glorious NHS and passing them over to outsiders. I mean, look at what they’re offering out now!

The government will open up more than £1bn of NHS services to competition from private companies and charities, the health secretary announced on Tuesday, raising fears it will lead to the privatisation of the health service.

In the first wave, beginning in April, eight NHS areas – including …. wheelchair services for children,

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Posted: 20th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Ian Millington’s Looking For Work In Sunderland

IAN Millington, has been unable to find a job, so he has resorted to standing next to a busy main road in Sunderland holding a sign advertising himself with his cv details on the placard which he hold’s up to the passing traffic at Sunderland.

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Posted: 19th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Why We Need Competition In The NHS

WHY we need comepetition for the NHS – or at least one reason why we do:

THE NHS is spending more than £20 for a loaf of gluten-free bread, 10 times more than the £2 charged for a standard small (400g) gluten-free loaf in Sainsbury’s.

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Posted: 19th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Let’s Fire Murdoch And Make Him Richer!

ALL this phone tapping, bribery of coppers, peeps being arrested and resigning: isn’t it all so much fun?

That our Lords and Masters are, were and always have been rapacious scoundrels we know.

However, there’s one part of this that certain people seem to be pushing too hard. That Murdoch needs to be forced to sell his businesses: perhaps all the newspapers, perhaps BSkyB. There are even those who insist he should have to sell the whole shooting match, just get out of News Corporation altogether.

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Posted: 18th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Colin And Chris Weir Win £161Million: They Used To Look Like This

COLIN (64) and Chris Weir (55), from Largs in Ayrshire have won £161 million in the EuroMillions draw. This is what the couple married for 30 years with two children  used to look like:


Picture 1 of 7

Posted: 15th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

No, Borrowing More Won’t Work

IF only we could borrow more, spend lashings of cash on expanding the economy, then all our troubles would go away! As I pointed out yesterday, in our situation this just won’t work. But there are other reasons why it won’t, not just the problems with the basic theory.

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Posted: 15th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (2)

Why Increasing Government Spending Won’t Work

OK, yes, so we know the economy’s screwed. At the very best we’ve got high debt, low growth, high unemployment when what we’d really like is, in order, low, high, low.

So, the big question is, what should we do about this? You’re not surprised, of course, that the various answers to this come strictly along party political lines. Labour say that we should be spending lots more lovely government money because Labour’s support largely comes from those who receive lots of lovely government money. The Tories want to spend less of the taxpayers’ money because their support comes largely from those who have to pay the tax bills.

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Posted: 14th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)

We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Infrastructure

THE government is proposing to spend squiddely £ billions  on a new high speed train line to connect the North with the South. This has its good parts, it’ll cut through the back gardens of lots of rich people and piss them off for example.

It also has its bad, like allowing Scousers greater access to London, people in Salford might even discover the civilisation we have in the South.

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Posted: 13th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

That Light Bulb Ban Helps The Rich Get Richer

OK, so this is about the US but the same point applies over here with the EU ban on the incandescent light bulbs.

The initiative also had the support of lighting manufacturers.

Yes, the ban did have the backing of the major light bulb manufacturers so obviously it’s a really good law, right?

You friggin’ kiddin’ me?

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Posted: 12th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment

Why Newspapers Are Screwed: Indy And Guardian In Fight To The Death

NO, it’s not just this latest News of The World stuff. Nor is it that the world has a limit to the number of earnest left wing screeds it can stomach: meaning that either the Guardian or Indy is going to have to go.

It’s not even that we all read the newspapers online now, meaning that there’s getting to be no point at all in printing them.

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Posted: 12th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comments (45)

My Life In An Indian Call Centre: Thick Australians, Sarcastic British And Smart Mouthed Americans

ANDREW Marantz has worked at an Indian call centre. He’s been to Delhi waiting for an Indian “culture trainer” to teach me how to act like an Australian to better empathise with the callers. He is an American.

He attends a seminar:

I forked over the 500 rupees, which was nearly a week’s pay for the average Indian worker—but which was, on the other hand, $11.

The “skills course” consisted of a woman reading from a photocopied pamphlet while 100 of us took notes. “What is call center to you?” she bellowed. Without waiting for a response, she intoned the correct answer. “Call center is a place where” — she motioned for us to transcribe — “we render the services to the customers and”—pause, more scribbling—”queries are made out by customer-care executive.

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Posted: 8th, July 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1)