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John Quiggin

John Quiggin

He is an Australian economist, a Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a former member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

Articles by John Quiggin

A Labor tax policy I can get behind …

6 days ago

… Just joking, this is the Greens

A reduction in the inequities in the current tax and transfer system, including but not limited to:

reform of the taxation of trusts, in order to reduce complexity and minimise tax avoidance;removing subsidies for the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels;redirecting funding from subsidising private health insurance towards direct public provision;reforms to the taxation of superannuation to benefit lower income earners;strengthening the progressivity of the income tax and transfer system across all income levels including by reducing effective marginal tax rates for low-income workers, and increasing the marginal tax rates on high-income earners; the implementation of a tax on dynastic wealth, targeted at those bequeathing or gifting

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Monday Message Board

7 days ago

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Done!

11 days ago

I’ve sent the MS of “The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic” off to Yale UP. Will consider bids for movie rights now.
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Sandpit

14 days ago

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.
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Monday Message Board

14 days ago

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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A thought for Armistice Day

17 days ago

I always wondered how people could bear years of pointless slaughter in a Great War over nothing. Having seen how hardened people are to thousands of daily deaths from Covid, it seems if that’s just the way things are

The saying “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic” may have been coined during the Great War and not, as often thought, by Stalin. (Some previous statements in similar terms, but making a different point about the way war is worshipped)
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Put Labor last?

20 days ago

I gave up hope of getting much out of a Labor government when Albanese announced that he would implement Morrison’s top-end tax cuts, and it became clear that this meant abandoning most of the spending commitments Labor took to the 2019 election. But at least it seemed that Labor would be significantly better on climate policy. Now, that difference has been reduced to a minor point of semantics. Morrison has finally crabwalked his way to a 2050 net zero commitment. In deference to the sensitivities of the National Party, he refused to increase Australia’s 26-28 % emissions reduction target for 2030, while pointing out that the policies of state governments (both Liberal and Labor) would probably get us to 35 % with no action at the national level. Labor has yet to announce a 2030

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Monday Message Board

20 days ago

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Monday Message Board

27 days ago

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Thinking the unthinkable

29 days ago

If the last five years have taught us anything it’s this: the fact that something being unimaginable doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. So, it’s worth considering the prospect that Donald Trump becomes President after the 2024 election whether by getting enough votes to win the Electoral College under the current rules, or by having a Democratic victory overturned. Trump has made it clear that, in such an event, he would wish to secure at least a third term in office and perhaps a life presidency.

Even if Trump chose not to attempt the necessary constitutional change, by 2028 he would be in a position to nominate a family member as the Republican candidate and to ensure that his candidate was declared President regardless of how Americans voted. After that, the Trumps

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The Nationals finally agree to a 2050 net-zero target …

October 25, 2021

… but the real decisions on Australia’s emissions are happening elsewhere. That’s the title of my latest piece in The Conversation. Key paras

The Morrison government, partly through its own doing, has almost no control over Australia’s emissions trajectory. The real decisions on that are being made elsewhere – by state governments and civil society, or outside the country altogether.Morrison’s last-minute reach for a 2050 net-zero target is almost entirely symbolic, as was the Nationals’ resistance to it.

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Monday Message Board

October 24, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Some unpleasant pandemic arithmetic

October 23, 2021

A lot of discussion around “living with Covid” starts from the premise that, as long as vaccination rates are high (say 80 per cent of the population), we don’t need to worry about high case numbers. That’s because vaccinated people are less likely to suffer bad outcomes (hospitalization and death). The problem with this claim is that, because the primary function of vaccines is to protect against infection, unvaccinated people will be over-represented among cases. Let’s try some simple arithmetic.

Suppose the vaccination rate is x%, and that vaccination gives y% reduction in infection risk and z% reduction in bad outcomes (hospitalization and death) conditional on infection. Denote the percentage of bad outcomes for unvaxed by b %. Assume all unvaccinated will be infected if

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Monday Message Board

October 17, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Could the culture wars really be over?

October 16, 2021

It seems almost inconceivable that the culture wars that have dominated Australian public life for decades could end, and with victory for the progressive side on nearly every front.  And I have made premature predictions to this effect before. 

 But consider the following list of events over the last couple of years, many in the last few months.

*  After decades of quasi-legality in many states, abortion rights have been enshrined in law throughout Australia – attempts to mobilise public opposition went nowhere*  Voluntary assisted dying has now been legalised nearly everywhere (a bill in NSW looks very likely to be passed) – again the debate was low-key and generally civil

*  The Morrison government, backed by the Murdoch press, appears certain to adopt a 2050 net zero

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Sandpit

October 10, 2021

A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.
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Monday Message Board

October 10, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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The financial sector after the pandemic

October 10, 2021

In comments, James Wimberley asked about the recent agreement on a 15 per cent global minimum rate of tax. Over the fold, a section from my book-in-progress (still a bit rough in places), Economic Consequences of the Pandemic addressing this and other points

In the 1980s and 1990s, the financialisation of the economy was viewed in triumphalist terms. Terms like ‘Masters of the Universe’ and ‘The Thundering Herd’ reflected the view of financial markets as not merely beneficent but irresistible and indestructible

All of that came to a crashing end in September 2008 when the failure of Lehman Brothers brought the entire financial system to the brink of collapse. Hundreds of securities that had been rated as AAA were shown to be worthless

But the general loss of faith

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Who’s afraid of Perrottet ?

October 7, 2021

The selection of Dominic Perrottett as leader of the NSW Liberal Party, and therefore Premier has raised lots of concern about his conservative religious views. But the only concrete instance raised so far is a dispute over whether the Catholic Church should get management rights over cemeteries.To see how little impact Perrottett is likely to have, consider that in the last eight years, we have had two Prime Ministers clearly aligned with the religious right, and one too weak to resist them. Despite this, the religious right has comprehensively lost the culture wars in Australia. Most of the issues that drive religious culture wars in the US have been resolved here, with hardly any fuss. Conservatives stalled on equal marriage as long as they could, but once the plebiscite went

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How big a bubble ?

October 4, 2021

We[1] are often urged to “get out of our bubbles” and engage with a wider range of viewpoints. This mostly turns out to be a waste of time. As I experienced from my side, engagement with the political right consists mainly of responding to a string of talking points and whataboutery, with little if any content. On the rare occasions these discussions have been useful, it’s typically because the other party in the discussion is on the verge of breaking with the right[2]

To restate the case in favour of getting out of the bubble, it’s easy to see examples of people on the left putting forward arguments that don’t stand up under criticism, but haven’t faced such criticism within the limited circles in which they’ve been discussed. But the most effective criticisms of such arguments

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Monday Message Board

October 4, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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Monday Message Board

September 27, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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The Scrooge McDuck theory of the rich

September 25, 2021

Readers of a certain age will remember Scrooge McDuck, the mega-rich uncle of Donald, who enjoys diving into his gigantic money bin filled with gold coins. Replace gold with paper currency[1] and you have the archetypal version of a theory of the rich[2] popular in some versions of Modern Monetary Theory.

Scrooge McMMT has a fancy house and a large bin to hold his money, but otherwise doesn’t spend that much on personal consumption or on physical investment. If the government increases his taxes, the level of money in the bin is lowered, but Scrooge’s expenditure on goods and services doesn’t change at all. Instead, he dips into the money bin a little further to buy politicians who will do his bidding, including (but not limited to) reversing the tax tax cuts increases.

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The coming boom in inherited wealth

September 24, 2021

Are we creating a society Jane Austen might recognise?

An updated version of an article I wrote a few years back, published in Inside Story
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Australia’s COVID plan was designed before we knew how Delta would hit us …

September 21, 2021

… We need more flexibility. That’s the headline for my latest piece in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/australias-covid-plan-was-designed-before-we-knew-how-delta-would-hit-us-we-need-more-flexibility-168189 (with Richard Holden and Steven Hamilton)

Conclusion

In these rapidly changing times it makes no sense to fix a policy plan based on a months-old model.

We need to respond flexibly to new evidence as it comes to hand. We need to consider all kinds of data, including new evidence on the transmissibility of the virus, estimates of the likely uptake of vaccines, and observations on the way restrictions reduce movement around our cities.

What we don’t need is more speculation about the hypothetical dates and vaccination rates at which various restrictions

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Monday Message Board

September 19, 2021

Back again with another Monday Message Board.

Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link.

http://eepurl.com/dAv6sX You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page
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