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Saturday, 3 January 2009

Stupid – or what?

This is a very obviously posed picture of a rather unsuccessful bank robber called Willie Sutton being arrested in New York about 70 years ago.

Shifty looking bugger, isn't he? Today he'd probably be a retired investment advisor.

I often quote him in my seminars.

He was caught so often that eventually a detective asked him why he kept robbing banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he replied.

This came to mind when I read a headline the other day which showed me that no matter how stupid, he was smarter than Gordon Brown or Alastair Darling, who are so thick they have not yet grasped the simple fact that people always go where the money is.

Britain’s National Health Service is paying out £800 million to foreign nurses and doctors. They are needed because the ones we train are going abroad where – guess what? – they get paid more money.

No prizes for suggesting the solution.

Incidentally another headline revealed that the Great Bloated Haggis and Waggly Eyebrows are pissed off because the banks are still not lending money.

This is because banks can only lend money if they have some. Right now they don’t. They used it all up on dodgy investments to would-be property millionaires and assorted American crooks. Asking them to lend what they don’t have is insane (unless you’re a politician).

Please don't run away with the idea that I think the current lot have a monopoly on economic ineptitude. In the '80s and '90s Thatcher and Major gave away state industries in the most fatuous way conceivable in three ways.

First they under priced the shares - so all the people who really understood investment bought them like crazy - in short, went where the money was.

Second, they squandered millions on silly advertising to the whole world when all they had to do was to create interest through PR (not hard with a story like that) and insert letters to everyone in the country, with their utility bills. When you're about to pay your electricity bill you don't have to be a genius to understand that selling electricity is a good business.

Third, in some cases they created a situation where there was no real competition - the railways are a perfect example. How can you lose with no competition? Especially if whenever things get tricky the government bails you out - with our money.

The trouble with politicians besides congenital dishonesty is that most have done little or nothing in life but politics, so they have no idea how anything works. They think "policies", "initiatives" and "strategies" are all you need. They mistake looking good for doing good.

Most people in this country (and I imagine many others) are asking themselves one simple question: "How exactly, in detail, are you going to make things happen?" None of the rascals have a clue. Cameron is going to help savers. Who will pay? Where will the money come from?

The funny thing is that it's not a hard question to answer. To give one example, billions are squandered on the entirely pointless and wasteful process of taxing poor people on the one hand, giving them subsidies with the other and paying people to shuffle the money around.

What this achieves is simple: it actively discourages people from working, encourages them to scrounge, destroys their self-respect and creates a swarm of time-serving bureaucrats who would be better off doing proper jobs.

Incidentally, for Australian readers, I see that since he got in Kevin Rudd has done exactly what I predicted at the time. Nothing - except create a lot of committees and make a few fatuous gestures - like apologising to the Aboriginals.

Apologies do nothing except make politically correct twats feel good about themselves. Those who would appreciate them died long, long ago.

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