Would you buy a used deficit from Andrew Barr? ("ACT deficit skyrockets", canberratimes.com.au, February 14).
In the 1960 presidential election, which John F Kennedy barely won, there was a cartoon of Richard Nixon with the caption: "Would you buy a used car from this man?" Some historians say it provided Kennedy with his margin of victory.
Since then the phrase has become part of the rhetorical landscape. I am doing my best to keep this tradition alive.
When the capital structure of an economy depends on taxes, government spending, boondoggles, cheap credit and debt the result is a misallocation of capital followed by a recession.
This much we know: there is no escape from an escalating burden of taxes, government spending and borrowing.
Deficits will matter.
Victor Diskordia, McKellar
Take a chill pill
The Chinese embassy should pull it's head in over its dissatisfaction with the Australian government's decision to extend the coronavirus-related travel ban preventing Chinese visitors and students from entering Australia.
Such dissatisfaction is out of line and intrudes into domestic issues which is a no-no for foreign governments.
Australia is a sovereign nation and entitled to put in place such measures as it's government thinks fit to protect it's borders, including in respect of extant health measures originating from overseas and, in the case of the coronavirus, from China.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Not fit to rule
Senator Jim Molan's recent admission that on a matter as serious as the survival of humankind he does not need evidence to form his opinion and Mr Joyce's return to Page One and the accompanying deluge of drivel raises important questions.
How can we be sure our elected representatives are capable of making decisions that are in the nation's best interest?
How do we know they understand the meaning of words such as ethical, moral, legal and unconscionable?
Clearly, the only solution is testing. Every new member of parliament should be P-plated until appropriate tests have been taken and passed.
How can we be sure our elected representatives are capable of making decisions that are in the nation's best interest? How do we know they understand the meaning of words such as ethical, moral, legal and unconscionable?Ian Dillon, Garran
A fail would mean the provisional parliamentarian was returned to the banking sector or wherever it was he or she came from. Governments love transparency, so the test results would be published on a website where interested voters could check on their representatives.
It could be called something like: "Does My Pollie Waffle?", or, "My Fool".
Ian Dillon, Garran
Rich and infamous
The Commonwealth Bank recently posted a good profit.
Their online boast is: "We offer a full range of financial services to help secure and enhance the financial well-being of Australia's people, businesses and communities".
This will no longer apply at our local branch at Cooleman Court. Notice of its closure was posted very recently.
No notice online or in postal mail or email or social media it seems. CBA does have contact details for its many local customers who are to be inconvenienced.
Some few years ago this branch was conveniently re-positioned as a "kiosk" in a growing residential area. It soon warranted improvement with an extra ATM to make it a "boutique kiosk". Online it was a "branch".
The notice refers us to the nearby Post Office for service. This facility is similarly busy, commonly with a queue to the door and a 10 minute wait. The range of services and convenience is to be significantly reduced.
Meanwhile local staff are left to handle complaints. Such treatment is as unfair to them as it is to customers.
Denis Woodhams, Stirling
A foolish proposal
The proposed location of waste consolidation on Ipswich street in Fyshwick is foolish. B M Bailey (Letters, February 13) is right.
In addition, the traffic impact will be greater than predicted (plans always underestimate), parking will be under provided (a sub-standard achieved by all ACT developments, residential and commercial). Also, parking in Fyshwick is already in short supply.
And all this to allow exploitation of the existing rail line.
The ACT government should extend the rail line to the Mugga Lane recycling region from the existing line to Kingston or from Hume and require this consolidation service to be located there.
The inconvenience, costs and loss of existing approval right can be compensated for with the lower operating costs and greater opportunity.
This rail line would also integrate with the entire southside recycling effort of the ACT government.
Rail freight might make recycling plastic economical and bring to an end the disgraceful practice of putting it into landfill.
Land is not renewable. The ACT is wasting valuable land burying mortar, all the plastics and other scarcely sorted rubbish. We can do better.
Warwick Davis, Isaacs
Say no to gas
David Osmond's clarification about future Australian natural gas consumption is interesting and qualifies points made by Graham Anderson (Letters, February 12) about the role of gas.
Natural gas is mostly methane, "a potent greenhouse gas". Its emissions compare favourably with coal only if fugitive emissions in extraction and transport, and flaring, are ignored.
It is no answer to climate change.
Hopefully pumped hydro, batteries and improved grid capacity to move electricity around can largely meet the need for the "firming" of renewables.
Peter Dawson, Hughes
Speed's a drag
Howard Ubey (Letters, February 13) touches on a number of points.
Firstly though the dimples. They cause the flow around the golf ball to be turbulent, rather than laminar (which is smooth). This turbulence reduces drag.
There's a lot of work being done on reducing drag using little bumps and holes to "trip" (technical word) airflow into lower drag turbulence.
Bicycle parts, clothing, race cars ... anything that goes fast enough to have a chance of the flow being turbulent is a candidate for designed-in roughness.
Naturally it applies to cricket balls as well. The grade of sandpaper needs to be rougher than that used for bat dressing however.
Re the redistribution of hail-damaged cars; soon there will be large auctions. There could be some good bargains among the "repairable write-offs" but you need to be careful the car can be registered when roadworthy.
Terry Werner, Wright
Means test the home
The argument in "Family home shouldn't be included in pension assets test" (Letters February 17) is flawed.
Why should a person (A) with an $800,000 home and $x in other assets be entitled to a pension, while a person (B) with a $500,000 home and $(x + 300,000) other assets be denied a pension?
(A) could fund living expenses by borrowing against the value of the more expensive home, just as B funds living expenses by depleting his or her extra $300,000.
Many people who just miss out on a pension (and, importantly, to pharmaceutical benefits associated with pension benefits) are less wealthy than many who are entitled to receive one.
The anomaly causes people to waste money just to be entitled to benefits. This situation is ludicrous and unacceptable.
Increase the assets threshold by ($1,000,000 minus the value of a home). Both homeowners mentioned above would then be entitled to a pension.
Alternatively, give pension benefits to all people above the age threshold and fund this by removing some anomalous taxation concessions currently available to retirees.
Bob Salmond, Melba
A fine distinction
I must differ with Rajend Naidu (Letters, February 14) and others who say that Lt. Col Vindman testified "against" the President at the impeachment hearing.
My lay understanding is that witness who is subpoenaed by Congress or any court where they would be subject to punishment for noncompliance simply testifies.
They do not testify for or against; they tell the truth about what they heard, saw or experienced.
The witness must not even think of biasing evidence in any direction but just tell the truth.
The sacking of Lt. Col Vindman and his brother from the White House amounts to intimidation of any future witnesses.
A Moore, Melba
TO THE POINT
WHAT NOW ADANI?
According to a report in The Economic Times of India on February 18: "India will stop importing thermal coal from financial year 2023-24, coal and mines minister Pralhad Joshi said on Tuesday". To whom will coal from Adani's massive Carmichael mine be sold when India bows out?
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
The executives and or responsible staff of companies guilty of underpayment should be sacked. Poor people caught up in Robo Debt have been suffering penalties but guilty executives aren't. I don't recall this level of underpayment under a Labor government.
Rod Holesgrove, Crace
THANK YOU, GM
It was so nice of General Motors to let us call it "Australia's own car".
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
Barbara Godfrey (Letters, February 19) needs to get a grip on reality. The Biloela family's case has been before seven courts. On each occasion their claim for refugee status was rejected. That is the umpire's decision. All the UN and human rights claims are rubbish. Get over it.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
TRUTH WILL SET HIM FREE
If the truth is still a defence in the State of Victoria perhaps we should welcome Julian Assange home.
Yvonne Francis, Apollo Bay, Vic
"Honest politicians" (Ted Tregillgas, Letters, February 19). Now there's a good oxymoron.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
ROBO DEBT REVELATION
Judging from what the government is arguing in the High Court regarding Robo Debt; it appears that it doesn't represent all Australians. I guess that's not a surprise to many.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
HOW DO YOU KNOW?
How does Barbara Fisher (Letters, February 18) know the children overboard affair was a lie. When I was in the navy we encountered many threats to throw children overboard. I myself have witnessed this threat twice, with two different vessels. I served in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy and can assure her that it did happen.
Tom Charnock, Aranda
WHAT SPEED WORKS?
The key to good politics and government is finding the right pace for change. Too fast and you alienate the conservatives; too slow and you frustrate the progressives. What is the right pace for the transition to the new economy that will keep global heating well below two degrees?
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
TIME TO PUT UP
Come on all you anti-vaxxers. Hop on a plane to China and prove to us that you're right.
Adrian Sever, Hawker
THE TIME HAS COME
Now the fires are over, Mr Morrison, this might actually be the time to talk about climate change policy. Unless, of course, it's raining too much. Or are you and Mr Joyce still playing with a lump of coal?
Yvonne Francis, Apollo Bay, Vic
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