The housing bubbles in Sydney and Melbourne have finally caught some attention. The main way to stabilise things is to reform negative gearing and reducing the degree to which capital gains are taxed at less than income. Henry is prepared to bet that the forthcoming budget will do this. If it does, Labor will immediately change tack and say Bill Shorten's arguments for this were misunderstood, and they really had been against this all along.
Should some reform of negative gearing get up, Henry is willing to bet existing arrangements will be 'grandfathered' due to the numbers of government pollies who are building wealth in this way. This will be in stark contrast to the arbitrary and retrospective action in introducing tax on the income on people's superannuation balances above $1.6 M. Incidentally, we are still waiting to learn what the equivalent pain for pollies and senior public servants is going to be, Mr Treasurer.
There is said to be another cabinet reshuffle on the way. Malcolm is adding Treasury to his extensive portfolio and presumably Scottie will become 'Minister Assisting'. Can't imagine what other changes are in the works, but it's a bit late in the game for this PM one assumes. Regicide usually ends badly, and the democratic equivalent proved this when the British Conservatives fired Mrs Thatcher, and when Labor fired Kevin Rudd, and again when his replacement was replaced in her turn.
Coalition parties bashed in the WA State election as widely predicted. One Nation also halved its share of the vote, due it is alleged to Pauline's stance on vaccination and the supposed test that any given child you be sensitive.
Two years to the next Federal Poll, but a lot has to happen to avoid a similar wipeout one is inclined to think.
How sad is the premature death of Australia's finest portrait painter/cartoonist Bill Leak. His newspaper, The Oz, stood by him resolutely when he was harassed by the so-called Human Rights Commission, and has produced a wonderful memorial edition this weekend. Rest in Peace, Comrade.
Is modern economics fair dinkum? Only some of us think so. Henry's editor has posted a new painting, exploring Paul Volcker's wonderful contribution by smashing US and global inflation in 1980. Here is the link.
The Sporting Life
Both Caaaarlton! teams were bested yesterday but flickers of good play by the blokes made Henry not too unhappy. A careful, if optimistic, analysis of the draw says a good season would see 10 wins. Roll on the first game of the AFLM season, against Richmond on March 23.
The third test in India is to continue without Mitchell Starc and no doubt on a freshly doctored pitch. Mitch has a stress fracture in a foot. Pat Cummins is his replacement and is said by people like Dave Warner to be 'seriously fast'. Cummins played a test for Australia in 2011 when a mere teenager when he was man of the match in a glorious win over South Efrica. Sadly he has suffered many injuries since then, including stress fractures in his back, but is now believed ready to play test match cricket again.
Vale Bill Leak
Remembering Bill Leak - lots of material at this link, thanks to The Australian