It is Obvious

Chris Rick has got altogether too much to say

Archive for December, 2014

I can still do arithmetic

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 16, 2014

It is obvious: we are all stupid

Taking March as a benchmark with oil at $105 a barrel and petrol at 130p a litre the oil component of that price was 53p.

That means that with oil at $60 a barrel the oil component of that litre of petrol is now 30p and petrol will be 107p a litre.  Have you seen any at that price?

If the government cares about its population surely it will act to reduce transportation costs for it?  They have delayed an increase in tax on fuel so the oil companies have stepped in and filled the gap.

It is obvious: we are all stupid…really

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Glacial

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 14, 2014

It is obvious: I’m not stupid

I remember the tobacco companies delaying the acceptance of the fact that smoking kills people.  In the 60s, 70s and 80s they were very effective.  They have delayed the introduction of measures to cut smoking and still work hard at it.

There is a problem that pricing does not stop smoking at a certain level.  It just creates a black-market.  Changing social acceptance and banning smoking from just about everywhere works well.  There are enough fanatics and vigilantes that will challenge anyone smoking where they should not.

No society ever gives up smoking and there is a level where it is just not possible to reduce it further.  Just take it to that level, keep up the fight and make sure that they pay in full for their medical care.

This weekend I saw another instance of tobacco denial in full flow.  In Peru the conference on global warming and destroying the planet in general broke up with brave words that meant nothing.  Too many vested interests were at play.  The Chinese are never going to agree to stopping using coal-fired power stations – they are building one a week.  Undeveloped nations are asking why they should suffer when the developed nations have been polluting for several generations.  Very sorry but you can either help or speed up your fate.

There is a simple answer to this.  A degree or two rise in global temperature will kill a lot of people and be mildly inconvenient to most of us in the West.  A four degree rise in temperature will kill most people on the planet.  Not such a bad thing as long as I am not one of them.  Glaciers are slow but not often stopped in their progress…except by global warming!

Those people at the conference were all 40+ not one of them will be inconvenienced by global temperature rises.  It is glacially slow but it is unstoppable.  As time goes by the effort to stop rises becomes more and more.  It is probably already beyond our will to do it.  We’ll just have to hang around and hope.  This conference needs to be run by teenagers.  They do have a stake in this game.

It is obvious: I’m not stupid – I just don’t care

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Head for the hills

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 7, 2014

It is obvious: we can all fool ourselves

I have spent most of a week avoiding inane commentary on the Autumn Statement.  This meant little time in front of the tv.  Something I am trying to diminish anyway.

I did hear one commentator who stood out from the rest as saying something sensible.  His views coincided largely with mine which might have had a lot to do with it.  However he did add some useful information.  Over history Mr Laffer has stood and been counted.  No government has managed to get more than 37% in tax out of the population.  That means that there is a delicate balance.  You can lean hard on the people and get your 37% of a reducing amount or you can let up a bit and encourage people to work and get a smaller take of a larger pot.

Gordon Brown thought he could get the better of Mr Laffer and created complex taxation law.  The only thing he did do was to cut the efficiency of government and industry by giving them a lot more work to do to dance around the margins of the tax laws.

Simplification is possible and would provide visibility.  That would give no chance for the sleight of hand increasing taxes that people did not realise were increases.  Take away NIC.  I hate it and so many people think it is not a tax – but it is.  Then put the tax allowance at the minimum living wage.  This way you will avoid a lot of taking and giving back.  Increase tax rates to where you want them and make the first band twice the national average wage or thereabouts.

Put other bands in that take more off the well-paid…but not too much more or they will spend a lot of their time avoiding tax altogether.

Put in transitional measures (over say 5 years) so that those on the boundaries have time to arrange their affairs to their best advantage.

Then create some (small) department to deal with the boundary cases.

This will put a lot of civil servants, tax advisers, accountants, lawyers and others out of work or at least out of pointless work.  When they turn up for their job seekers allowance put them on the minimum living wage and ship them  in buses to places where they can do some useful manual labour.   If they perform badly sack them and don’t pay benefits.

Fixing the country’s problems is easy.

The other thing the commentator said was that we had committed inter-generational theft.  We had lived very nicely for a many years and had left the bill to our children.  I’m talking to you  – baby-boomers.  Can’t say I would blame the current generation if they chose not to pay.

The problem is that we have, as a nation, to pay off our debts at some time.  That will be painful.  A few cuts in spending will not do it.  For the moment we are borrowing money cheaply.  Our national debt is slowly growing but it is not the same beast.  It is like a human body where even the cells in the deepest parts are replaced every 7 years or so.  Each month some of the debt matures and is paid back to the lender.  This is usually done by borrowing the money off someone (usually the person who is being paid off) AT THE PREVAILING RATE.  The debt is ‘rolled over’.

That is fine until someone spots how many clothes the emperor has on.  They say: this UK Johnny does not seem to be doing too well.  If they want me to lend them money then I need more interest.  Suddenly there is not enough money for anything and nobody will lend us money at any rate.

At that point there is no ring-fencing.  Doctors don’t get paid.  Hospitals have no money to buy drugs off drug companies.  There is no money to put diesel in the engines of tanks, planes and ships.  Policemen are not paid and firemen also.

We can either choose to sort ourselves out or let a banker in Beijing/Frankfurt/New York do it for us.  I know which I prefer but I don’t see any politician prepared to do it.  I don’t see many people anywhere who can accept that there are bills coming due that will need sacrifice to pay…and paid they will be.

It is obvious: we can all fool ourselves up to the moment when nobody else is fooled

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Still – I’m not stupid

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 7, 2014

It is obvious: say something nice about me
I’m used to seeing celebrities on BBC ‘news’ programs being interviewed.  I know why but the reason is not obvious until the end: and I hear you have a new book/film/play/record/some-business-venture-or-another.

I wouldn’t mind if they had invited me on to plug my new book but they did not.

Three weeks ago it was agrochemical day where they played the 30-second video saying that insecticides were good.  I wonder who paid for the production of that video?  I wonder what other money or favours were handed out?

Last week was pharmaceutical company week.  First up was GSK saying something quite insubstantial about their work on Ebola drugs…at length and repeatedly.  This was followed 2 days later with MSD saying something equally as vague about their research into Ebola vaccines…at length and repeatedly.  I wonder what was handed out for this to happen.

I wonder that it is news and I really do wonder who is benefiting?  Certainly not the listeners.

It is obvious: say something nice about me.  How much money have you got?

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I can do arithmetic

Posted by chrisrick13 on December 2, 2014

It is obvious: I am not stupid

Did you know that there are 42 US gallons in a barrel of crude oil?  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

Did you know that when that barrel of oil is refined about 19 gallons are petrol?  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

Did you know that at $105 per barrel of oil the cost of oil in a litre of petrol is 53p.  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

Did you know that at $70 per barrel of oil the cost of oil in a litre of petrol is 35p.  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

Did you know that in March this year oil was about $105 a barrel and petrol was about 130p a litre.  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

Did you know that yesterday oil was about $70 a barrel and petrol was about 121p a litre in my local petrol station.  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for me.

So who has the 9p?  Not exact or even consistent but close enough for the oil companies.

It is obvious: I am not stupid just better informed than I was yesterday

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