The Dim-Post

May 29, 2013

Signal and noise

Filed under: polls — danylmc @ 8:47 am

Fairfax have a new political poll out. National is up and Labour are down (their last poll had Labour up and National down). Fairfax Political Editor Tracy Watkins offers the obligatory post-hoc rationalisation here:

Labour has taken bold steps in policy, including its affordable housing plan, reforming the power market, a capital gains tax and raising the pension age.

Admittedly, there is a reason why policies like the capital gains tax and raising the pension age haven’t been tried before. They are deeply unpopular.

We heard this for years: a Capital Gains Tax is ‘political suicide’. Then Labour introduced it as a policy last election, the media polled on it, and it was actually pretty popular. 43% support; ie way more popular than the actual Labour Party, then or now.

There’s something similar going on in Vernon Small’s story about the actual poll results:

Mr Key’s decisive handling of the Aaron Gilmore furore and the aftermath of Labour and the Greens’ power policy have also helped lift National’s support.

Again, there’s actual hard data on public support for the Labour Greens’ power policy: the TV3 Reid Research poll found that 54% of the population supported it. That seems like an unlikely cause for a slump in popularity. I really dread that we’re going to spend the next eighteen months hearing the gallery assure us that policies that enjoy broad support from the electorate are ‘political suicide’.

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46 Comments »

  1. I think there is a declared vs revealed preferences issue here.
    If you ask people whether they prefer a tax cut or more funding for health and education, you get a big majority for the latter.
    But if you ask whether people think their neighbours prefer a tax cut or more funding for health and education, they opt for the tax cut.
    And, the theory goes, the second question is actually asking people what they think, without them having to sound selfish to the person calling them.
    On NZ Power, my hypothesis is that people say they support it, without knowing what it is, as a way of kicking their electricity retailer – but they don’t really know or care enough about it for it to influence their vote.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — May 29, 2013 @ 8:58 am

  2. Danyl, you are quoting polls that offered loaded questions to the responders.
    Asking somebody if they would like a lower power bill should have got 100% in the affirmative.
    And people may be for a CGT and a higher retirement age when asked in the abstract, but when people actually consider how it may affect them personally you will see and have seen a quite different result.
    People have a pen in one hand and their wallet in the other on polling day. Clark was successfull because she understood that offering electoral bribes works, it successfully kept National out for an extra term.
    The power bribe and the fantasy housing policy from Labour is a step back to the Clark way of doing things but not having any detail on how it might work makes people suspicious and cosying up to the Green lunatics will prove to be electoral poison.
    Time for a new leader..

    Comment by Russell — May 29, 2013 @ 9:00 am

  3. I would suggest that how popular the policies of Capital Gains tax and raising the pension age depend on your personal circumstances
    Labour has to decided if those are the people who will vote for them
    People with two houses f***k them, manual workers getting close to pension age, hmmmm

    Comment by Raymond A Francis — May 29, 2013 @ 9:18 am

  4. One I heard yesterday “short term trends are noise, long term trends are what is important”. It was, I believe, in reference to climate change but the theory holds here. Every little up and down in the polls has to be explained by the punditry so as to be able to show everyone that they know what they’re talking about. When all they’re really talking about is noise. If anything, attributing concrete causes to changes in polls that are pretty damn close to margins of errors only makes the punditry look more clueless to me – it shows, that they either really don’t know what they’re talking about or that there desperately trying to make it seem like they know more than they actually do.

    [sigh]

    Comment by Ben — May 29, 2013 @ 10:44 am

  5. I’ve been polled heaps and I’ve never been asked why I would vote for the party I say I will vote for; not have I ever been asked whether my preference has changed recently.

    Comment by MeToo — May 29, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  6. I think there is a declared vs revealed preferences issue here

    I think it’s simpler than that. People like these policies, but aren’t dissatisfied enough with the current government to risk swapping it for the untested, highly unknown quality of a Shearer led Labour Greens coalition.

    Comment by danylmc — May 29, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  7. Actually, Danyl, I think it may be even simpler. People like the _theory_ of these policies, but don’t like the lack of detail or the lack of where the funding will originate or how such policies can be implemented in practical and straightforward ways. Until Labour and the Greens can produce policies that don’t just look like so much smoke and mirrors, then they won’t get more support.

    As for asset sales, I for one object to the black-and-while approach. We still own those assets, just not 100 % of them. I like the idea of owning a piece of them, and the Air New Zealand model of mixed ownership has worked really well. So the simplistic “Are you in favour of asset sales?” question in polls is not the right question, and perhaps is indicative of the disconnect between the different poll results.

    And yes, I did subscribe to the MRP share float, and will subscribe to the Meridian float, if and when it occurs, and if I have any money to invest at the time. I don’t have lots of spare money (actually I don’t have any), but I simply like the idea of owning a piece of those companies, especially as they will pay dividends.

    Comment by David in Chch — May 29, 2013 @ 11:16 am

  8. People like the policies in the abstract. They are not being asked if they would for instance, be happy to have the govt take a piece of Mum and Dads estate prior to them getting some.
    You can be sure the nats will frame it correctly so the voters know exactly what all these hair brained ideas will mean to the voters personally.
    Personalised explanations on these “policies” and highlighting the weaknesses in the Green team will be the strategy next year. Every time Shearer has his picture taken with Norman they will slip in the polls and if he is ever daft enough to have his picture taken with the Larping Marxist the Nats will get 70 seats.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — May 29, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  9. oops: black and _white_ approach.

    Comment by David in Chch — May 29, 2013 @ 11:17 am

  10. David in ChCh,

    Of course, only a proportion of the assets have been sold. However, that is not the point. The point is that we (NZ) now own less than 100% of the assets, so we (NZ) now get less than 100% of the benefit of owning those assets, in terms of the benefit of receiving dividends. Of course, in return we (NZ) got some “money now”, but the financial institutions who bought MRP shares as a long-term investment obviously consider that the “money now” is worth much less than on-going dividends.

    The other problem is that a (partly or wholely) privately owned company has a legal obligation to maximise shareholder value. Whereas, an entirely government owned company is more free to pursue other non-financial goals, such as ensuring reliable, affordable, accessible electrical power is available to all NZers.

    Comment by RJL — May 29, 2013 @ 11:37 am

  11. Yes, RJL, that has been the argument, but if we look at the Air NZ model as the example, it works very well. It works better than it did when Air NZ was 100 % owned by the government (on our behalf, yes). I am looking at the actual and the practical, not the theory. Sure we don’t get 100 % of the dividends, but we collectively still get the majority of them, and some of us as individuals get some as well now.

    As for maximising shareholder value, one can argue that past governments have done just that, by demanding unrealistic “dividends” be paid back to them, and not just SOE’s, but also CRI’s and other such publicly “owned” institutions. So I am looking at the whole picture, not just the theory. I am looking at what has worked, and worked well. It is a rather down-to-earth pragmatic and apolitical approach, I know, but it works for me. ;-)

    Comment by David in Chch — May 29, 2013 @ 11:45 am

  12. david in chch

    “People like the _theory_ of these policies, but don’t like the lack of detail or the lack of where the funding will originate or how such policies can be implemented in practical and straightforward ways. Until Labour and the Greens can produce policies that don’t just look like so much smoke and mirrors, then they won’t get more support.”

    if that were to hold true across the board no-one should have even voted national in to begin with – remember their policy platform was essentially “stuff” at the 2008 election.

    Frankly i think the polls are crap regardless of which way the swing, they are just news noise – all they really do is give the journos something to act excited about and impart their “wisdom” to us plebs.

    Comment by framu — May 29, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  13. “It works better than it did when Air NZ was 100 % owned by the government”

    yes – so well that it had to subsequently be bailed out by the taxpayer

    Comment by framu — May 29, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

  14. Metoo @ 10.45am
    You say “I’ve been polled heaps”
    Out of curiosity can you say who was doing the polling? They only poll each time until they have got a thousand or so responses and it seems very odd that one individual is frequently called. If it is happening the methodology of the poll seems to be very suspect as it would appear that there is no randomness in their selection of people to call.

    Comment by Alwyn — May 29, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

  15. The way most of these polls work is to have a sample which (for reasons of accessibility) is older and whiter than the electorate. They compensate for this by applying a fudge factor based on previous elections. If we get a step change in how people vote, such as previous non-voters deciding to actually turn out and vote Green, then that won’t show up in the polls – those voters aren’t being sampled and the assumption is that they stay at home.

    Comment by rich — May 29, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

  16. As I recall, that was when Air NZ was fully privately owned, and the government decided (as so many countries have similarly decided) that we could not afford NOT to have a “national” air line. I think it was the right decision. Since then, it was 100 % government-owned, and then the Labour government partially sold off part of AirNZ. Sadly, it was not a public share float. Let’s remember that when the ACT government (oops, sorry, Labour) sold off so many assets in the 1980’s, they went to mates, or at least that was the appearance. Which approach do you prefer?

    I know, I know, I am being deliberately stirring. My point is that we need to remember that when parties like Labour talk about asset sales, they jumped in with both feet in the past when it suited them. And now it suits them to appear not to like them, so that they can try to present what appears to be an opposition party. And National did similar things when they were in opposition. It is a sad little game.

    Comment by David in Chch — May 29, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  17. ” It is a sad little game.”

    that i think we can all agree on

    Comment by framu — May 29, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

  18. @ RJL the bit you missed surprisingly, given the very public issues of solid energy, learning media, NZ post and kiwibank, kiwirail and even meridian, is that 100% ownership brings 100% of the costs and risks. You seem to think that it is a one way bet and the only thing that flows from ownership is dividends.

    Comment by insider — May 29, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  19. “It is a sad little game”

    My guess is what with times being tough the electorate might have responded better to a slow build up of integrity and common sense rather to the gotcha/personal attack politics that first Goff and now Shearer have gone for.

    Comment by NeilM — May 29, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

  20. Alwyn, at one stage UMR rang me half a dozen times in one year. They do polling for Labour. I assumed they were being lazy: having got near the end of polling time they were short of a pakeha woman of my age in my location and knew that I would answer the phone and agree to take part…? I can’t think of any explanation other except laziness. EXCEPT I’ve just remembered maybe they asked me one time if I minded being called back? A firm did do that once but I can’t remember who it was….

    But over the years I have been polled by lots of different outfits. Because I’m muddle-aged the times add up! But also I have a landline, which is increasingly uncommon. And I answer the phone and agree to take part. Also uncommon. Usually the questions are a mix of commercial (what sort of products do you buy; what sort of brand values most appeal to you) and the political (what do you think of scandal x; how would you vote if an election were held tomorrow).

    Comment by MeToo — May 29, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

  21. 100% ownership brings 100% of the costs and risks

    Which is absolutely fine when entity in question is required to keep your country running – like a natural monopoly network or high capital/low risk critical infrastructure – or provides a marginally/non-economic yet essential public service (postal service, hospitals etc.), but not when it is something like Solid Energy or Learning Media.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

  22. Tracey Watkins and Vernon Small are just letting their prejudices and preconceptions hang out in plain view.

    Actual evidence won’t matter.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — May 29, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

  23. @insider, with MRP and the other energy companies the ongoing costs, are still going to be paid for by the same taxpayers (via power bills) as it was when it was 100% government owned. Any further large-scale capital infrastructure investment will likewise be paid for (via power bills) by the same taxpayers who would have when it was 100% government owned.

    The risk, if MRP collapses in a steaming pile of debt like Solid Energy? Well, it will still be the taxpayer who will end up bailing out the company to the extent required to ensure power supply (and may, or may not, also have to bear 100% of the additional cost of bailing out the shareholders, perhaps depending on which parties are in government at the time).

    Comment by RJL — May 29, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

  24. @rjl

    One of the biggest corporate losses in NZ was NGC – $300m on electricity business and forced it out of NZ. No bailout or intervention. Contact has had ups and downs but no govt bailout. The exposure/risk primarily exists due to the government shareholding. I only pay money to MRP for its investments if I choose to be a customer. It’s labour and the greens that want to force taxpayers to be a guaranteed buyer of MRP’s power at a guaranteed ROI. MRP will make heaps if they do.

    Comment by insider — May 29, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  25. The risk, if MRP collapses in a steaming pile of debt like Solid Energy? Well, it will still be the taxpayer who will end up bailing out the company to the extent required to ensure power supply

    In such an event the tax payer would be up for 51% rather than 100% and the govt has already pocketed the $1.6b ie extracted the tax payer value before the collapse.

    I can’t see the govt bailing out the private investors, the financial sector bailout was to keep our banks from going under – and they did get charged for that – the energy generating capacity is not just going to disappear.

    Comment by NeilM — May 29, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

  26. In such an event the tax payer would be up for 51% rather than 100% and the govt has already pocketed the $1.6b ie extracted the tax payer value before the collapse.

    Not so – if it all goes tits the shareholders are 49% out of pocket, but the taxpayer will foot the entire bill for recovery / replacement at a future cost.
    You cant restore 51% of a company. See Kiwirail.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

  27. Gregor W: The problem with KiwiRail was in two parts. Governments prior to privatisation used it as a way to mop up unemployment. After privatisation it was asset stripped. Labour bought it back and it finally stood a chance of being run like a strategic investment in future, low-carbon, possibly mass transit (intercity). A very real “Plan B” – already at scale – in the event of any energy crisis. But National lacks any vision and runs everything like it was a corner dairy…..and even worse for KiwiRail National is bonded at the hip to the trucking industry. National’s mission is to run KiwiRail down and eventually kill it. So we are back to governments running rail badly.

    Maybe after 2014 we will finally see KiwiRail run the way it should be.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — May 29, 2013 @ 4:55 pm

  28. Why, Steve? Are there plans to privatise it again? ;-) :-D

    Comment by David in Chch — May 29, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  29. Yes Steve, lets,build a large scale mass transit rail network just in case there’s an energy crisis. How long have people been talking about this crisis again? 100? 150 years? Any sign of it yet, cos we’ve got a railway to plan just in case. Don’t worry about the cost and dangers of massive over investment way too early. Taxpayer will happily run a tab for oh another 50 years just in case.

    Lets sell the airline while we’re at it and invest in passenger liners, then we’ll really have a 21st century transport system to be proud of.

    Comment by insider — May 29, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

  30. And then this poll was released by Roy Morgan just now, which wildly contrasts what the Fairfax-Ipsos poll found, suggesting that a Labour-Green coalition will win the election if it were to be held today (or tomorrow, I guess).

    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/new-zealand-voting-intention-may29-201305290604

    Comment by Vagabundo — May 29, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

  31. “One I heard yesterday “short term trends are noise, long term trends are what is important”. It was, I believe, in reference to climate change but the theory holds here.”

    +1

    Comment by Hugh — May 29, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

  32. >Yes Steve, lets,build a large scale mass transit rail network just in case there’s an energy crisis.

    Nah, let’s build it because it’s a good thing to have, whips the shit out of comparable costing transport projects. The energy saving is a minor bonus.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — May 29, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

  33. Danyl, you are quoting polls that offered loaded questions to the responders.

    Yeah, I mean, look at these questions…

    “Do you support a capital gains tax?”

    So loaded.

    “Do you support the Labour/Greens policy to reform the power market?”

    Outrageous.

    Comment by Steve — May 30, 2013 @ 12:33 am

  34. Come on boys, rally. Shoulders back now – there’s got to be a convoluted semi-coherent explanation for that Roy Morgan somewhere…..

    Comment by ak — May 30, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  35. Gregor W @26 “Not so – if it all goes tits the shareholders are 49% out of pocket, but the taxpayer will foot the entire bill for recovery / replacement at a future cost. You cant restore 51% of a company.”
    GW, can you please explain how the generating assets disappear in a power company receivership or liquidation? Do they get removed in the dead of night, the way that Canadian company was going to steal Auckland Airport: a little bit of dirt down their trouser legs everytime they passed through the airport?
    If the COMPANY fails, the assets are still there: they will be sold to another company and continue to generate. The proceeds of the will be used to pay off the failed company’s debt. If there is any left over after that, then the shareholders will get some back.
    You will not restore the company: it’s dead, but some of its generating organs can be transplanted and reused. You should like that: reusing rates higher than recycling in the scheme of things?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 30, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  36. Can you please explain how the generating assets disappear in a power company receivership or liquidation

    CF – they don’t. But the book value does. So like I say,the shareholders take a bath, incl. the taxpayer.

    You will not restore the company: it’s dead, but some of its generating organs can be transplanted and reused

    Indeed. But the taxpayer will foot the entire bill for restitution, which may or may not include clearing up the former companies old debts as part of a negotiated settlement.

    Ergo, poor old taxpayer pays both for the failure, potentially a % of unresolved debts (most likely to secured bondholders) and the costs of recreating the new company.

    And before you say “All debts disappear in liquidation don’t they?” don’t forget that under the TPPA, foreign capital will still have a stranglehold over unresolved debts which we, the taxpayer, will be compelled to pay – either that or the Govt accepts mothballing to avoid settlemnt and having to build a whole new set of power production infrastructure at vast cost – pretty bloody tricky when the real estate is already taken up by the dams.

    So basically for the taxpayer its lose-lose and for international capital, it’s a risk free ride.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 30, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

  37. “But the book value does. So like I say,the shareholders take a bath, incl. the taxpayer.”
    Well, not if the clever taxpayer had already sold her shares to investors who value risk.

    “Indeed. But the taxpayer will foot the entire bill for restitution, which may or may not include clearing up the former companies old debts as part of a negotiated settlement.”
    Err, bullshit. Where do you get that idea?

    “And before you say “All debts disappear in liquidation don’t they?” don’t forget that under the TPPA, foreign capital will still have a stranglehold over unresolved debts which we, the taxpayer, will be compelled to pay –”
    Not if the taxpayer isn’t a shareholder.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 30, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

  38. If the govt owns 51%, how is the taxpayer not a shareholder, CF?

    Wrt clearing up old debts, this is entirely possible. If there are some secured creditors, some liability might well be passed on as part of any negotiated settlement with the new buyer, particularly if the receiver is looking for the best deal.

    Given that a liquidated power asset, assuming its not run down, will be worth quite a bit, whoever holds the security will want to get maximum price for distressed but irreplaceable assets. Like I say, capital gets a free ride – certainly as long as you aren’t a shareholder.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 30, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

  39. “If the govt owns 51%,” my point was that they should have taken the opportunity to sell 100%: money in, risk out.

    “some liability might well be passed on as part of any negotiated settlement with the new buyer, particularly if the receiver is looking for the best deal.”
    Eh? When you buy a car, are you interested in taking over some of the last owner’s debt? No. Any attempt to pass debt on will simply result in less cash changing hands.
    I think you are confusing selling the company with selling the assets? They may well be some attempt to keep the company together, but if debts exceed assets (the total loss-type scenario you seem to be referring to) the assets will be sold, creditors may lose, the shareholders will def lose. The markets at work, creative destruction, yadayada.

    “Like I say, capital gets a free ride – certainly as long as you aren’t a shareholder.”
    I’m not at all sure what you are getting at here. LOAN capital is supposed to be less risky than EQUITY capital, that’s why bank deposits and bonds don’t collect capital gains from the profitability of the underlying business the way shares do. Not sure why, as a leftie, you are crying for future hypothetical losses of unidentified shareholders?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 31, 2013 @ 7:36 am

  40. my point was that they should have taken the opportunity to sell 100%: money in, risk out.

    I completely agree. Sell 100% or sell nothing. But you didn’t make that point.

    Eh? When you buy a car, are you interested in taking over some of the last owner’s debt? No. Any attempt to pass debt on will simply result in less cash changing hands.

    This is an interesting example because in fact if you buy a car that has debts on it – ones that you as the purchaser know nothing about – you are in fact liable as the new owner.

    I see that is not the point of you comment though. Yes, it’s true that any purchase price would normally be discounted to account for debts.
    This applies to a transaction where there is a credible alternative; Car A owning $1000 dollars, equivalent Car B owing $100, assuming the buyer is a rational agent etc. they will purchase Car B.
    However, if there is no credible alternative, there is no guarantee that the price will drop. In fact if the only credible alternative is “build a totally new car from scratch” the buyer might well be prepared to wear a higher level of debt transfer.

    Not sure why, as a leftie, you are crying for future hypothetical losses of unidentified shareholders?

    This is a pretty dumb strawman. I’m merely pointing out that the taxpayer will foot the bill for any collapse / run down of Powercos because in the end, we cant do without them, while capital gets a risk-free ride.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  41. “But you didn’t make that point” my apologies, I certainly meant to.

    “In fact if the only credible alternative is “build a totally new car from scratch” But that’s not how business works. Business has a sum of money, $500M say, thinks to itself “Can we build or buy an additional generating plant that will achieve a return of [say] 9.75%? No? Then we pay ourselves a bonus and return the rest to shareholders. Pass the brandy!”

    “This is a pretty dumb strawman.” It’s not really: you are worried about the socialisation of risk. I say, reduce the risk by involving the private sector.

    “Powercos because in the end, we cant do without them” we can’t do without food, either, but the govt doesn’t produce food. In fact, lots of producers of varying sizes, some really quite small, from all over the world, manage to provide us with our food at a price that most of us can afford.

    “while capital gets a risk-free ride.” One producer out of 4 or 5 goes to the wall. The others buys the assets out of the liquidation, grinning at the bargain basement price. Shareholders in failed company take a bath. Where’s the lack of risk to capital? Already, shareholders in MRP have lost money. Repeat, where’s the “risk-free ride”? http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/mrp-directors-mop-shares-price-slides-blackout-period-looms-bd-140757
    “Shares in MRP were unchanged at $2.44 today, still below their $2.50 listing price, having shed almost 11 percent from the high it reached on its debut on May 10. “

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 31, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  42. “taxpayer will foot the bill for any collapse / run down of Powercos”
    Are you thinking about Kiwirail? A company that we could live without (sure it will be shitty for many Wellington commuters, buses are quite shitty in comparison)? Whose owners saw Cullen coming?
    A company whose continuing existence is POLITICALLY important rather than economically important?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 31, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

  43. But that’s not how business works.

    But it is how business works when the asset in mind is not easily substitutable. That’s the point I’m trying to make. Rarity / non-substitutability has inherent value even if the financial value of the entity that owns it has evaporated.

    we can’t do without food, either, but the govt doesn’t produce food

    Tell you what. Try and grow some potatoes and try and build a dam, cola-fired power plant in your backyard.
    Tell me whats easier.

    where’s the “risk-free ride”

    You’re right. I should have been clearer. ‘Finance’ gets a risk free ride.

    Are you thinking about Kiwirail?

    I’m talking any company that has received a state (read taxpayer sponsored) bailout, either because of political expediency, because it represents an opportunity for politicians to enrich their chums in finance (TBTF), because it’s really important to provide a public good – or a mashup of all three motivations to some degree or other.

    Pick your pet bailout. It doesn’t really matter. In the end, you and I foot the bill.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

  44. “cola-fired”…novel. I’ll assume you get my drift though. Potato farming for your own table is not particularly capital intensive.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 31, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  45. “Rarity / non-substitutability has inherent value ” which is why the asset would sell if the company failed. Effect on generation capacity: likely none.
    “Finance’ gets a risk free ride.” Err, our system is DESIGNED to rate debt finance as less riskier, and lower rewarding, than equity capital. But it doesn’t mean that debt is risk-free. Just ask anyone who has lent to a property developer via a finance company in recent times.
    “cola-fired” I AM cola fired, lol, I didn’t build a coal, but diesel powered generator in my back yard. And remember, the govt doesn’t build power stations, specialist contruction and engineering firms tend to do that. In many modern countries in the world, the govt doesn’t need to coordinate or finance construction. Remember the coal-fired, steam powered industrial revolution? That came from the private sector. Just because a thing is technologically difficult, doesn’t mean that the govt should wade in.
    “because it’s really important to provide a public good ” electricity isn’t a public good.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 1, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  46. Oops, I meant to add the asterisk: technically I BOUGHT the diesel generator (work, not actually my back yard) but the govt didn’t build it.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 1, 2013 @ 4:23 pm


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