Henry Thornton on economic reform and a McCrann apology

Crikey subscriber email January 7



By independent economic commentator Henry Thornton

Henry Thornton reports on a great day for economic comment by the great and the good.

The
PM is talking about IR reform, Hugh Morgan of the BCA talks about
reform in general, including tax reform, and RBA Governor Ian
Macfarlane says inflation is on the rise and the bond market has sold
off big time.

We have an outbreak of economic realism all
round, and Henry looks forward to a handsome apology from News Ltd’s
Terry McCrann, who some time ago said: “All of which is to say nothing
of the frenzied demands from the anonymous, credibility-challenged
Henry Thornton that the Reserve Bank bludgeon the property sector and
the broader economy with swingeing rate increases.”

Read it all here: http://www.henrythornton.com/article.asp?article_id=3074

Terry McCrannt and Henry Thornton
Crikey email January 8

Veteran ranter and unashamed Murdoch mouthpiece Terry McCrann writes:

Ah Crikey, still up to your old tricks.

Despite doing exactly what you maliciously and incorrectly accused (The Age
05/02) blogger Tim Blair of doing – selling out – I see you have no
intention of letting your standards rise. Your email Monday 07/02 had
Henry Thornton looking forward to a “handsome apology from News Ltd’s
Terry McCrann” after the Reserve Bank quarterly statement.

Interestingly
Henry’s own site had no such reference after his similar comments about
a “great day for economic comment.” So was it his quote and why didn’t
he put it on his own site? (editor’s note – yes, that was what Henry
emailed through to us)

The bigger question of course, is apologise for what?

The
comment by me which so upset Henry, and sent you into a foaming
apoplectic raging rant, was in a column last September. Now I know you
have a disinclination to take the opening paragraph as indicative of
what a commentator sets out to argue, but let’s do it anyway. In that
column, I put my judgment on the line by stating emphatically, without
qualification, that the Reserve Bank would not increase interest rates
in either November or December.

I did so when all the
‘experts’ were stating just as emphatically that ‘everyone’ knew that
rates would go up after the coming election ten days later.

Indeed,
in an email to you, I was prepared to back my judgment against not just
Henry, who might have been a ‘contender’ for the job of Reserve Bank
governor, but against an actual, real, former governor Bernie Fraser,
who had written to the Fin Review that “the odds are that the Reserve Bank will raise interest rates after the election whoever wins.”

I
issued a simple challenge. ”On November 3, let’s see who’s right.”
Rates were not raised in November, They were not raised in December,
They were not raised at the Bra’s first meeting for 2005 in February.
And despite yesterday’s statement, they still have not been raised.

When
and if they are raised, it will be by 0.25 per cent – a lot less and a
lot later than the frenzied demands, as I wrote in September, of the
“anonymous, credibility- challenged Henry Thornton that the Reserve
Bank bludgeon the property sector and the broader economy with swinging
rate increases.”

Is that an exaggeration? A year ago, Henry
demanded the RBA raise interest rates “briskly.” If the government
didn’t tighten fiscal policy – it didn’t – the rate increases will have
to be “so much larger.” He kept it up every month through 2004 – in
June, he demanded the RBA raise rates by 0.5 per cent “immediately,”
and he clearly did not intend it to stop there.

If the RBA
had been silly enough to listen to him, if indeed it is even aware of
his twitterings, we would have had a property bloodbath instead of an
effective sensible deflation. And a bludgeoned broader economy.

Incidentally,
how come neither your email nor your site has taken to task the
appallingly inept journalism in which your quote sliming Blair was
contained? The writer, Margaret Simons, purports to know something
about journalism/media. She was identified as “writing a book on the
Australian media.” Yet that one paragraph indicated she knows nothing
about blogs and blogging – quoting you as saying something simply
untrue. Nor about basic journalistic practice – allowing you to slime
Blair, and not seeking his response. Isn’t that something Crikey
pretends to criticise?

Terry McCrann

CRIKEY:
For the record, the apology line was from Henry and we didn’t change a
word of it. Incidentally, it is most amusing of McCrann to talk about
Tim Blair and corrections when he called him Tom Blair in his column
last year and still hasn’t corrected it.

Meanwhile, check out McCrann’s infamous Crikey rants on the site here:

However, despite all the venom, we still can say we enjoy some of McCrann’s columns as he does save his best work for the Herald Sun – and more importantly, they’re not too long like his Crikey rants either.