US equity markets slumped again after US Fed minutes were released overnight.

Despite the adverse effects of the subprime lending crisis on activity, the Fed said that participants:

… were concerned that the high level of resource utilization and slower productivity growth could augment inflation pressures. Against this backdrop, the Committee agreed that the risk that inflation would fail to moderate as expected remained its predominant policy concern”.

Read more here.

No signs of a Bernanke backflip here, gentle readers.

IR Rollback – Labor plays its hand

The big news today is Labor’s IR Rollback.

People who earn at an annual rate of $100K are grownups and do not need Labor’s nanny state to protect them.

Small business will again be subject to laws against “unfair dismissal”. Protecting poor workers is not too fair for those small businessfolk who put their time and hard-earned (after tax) cash on the line to create jobs for others, and why would a small businessperson not deal fairly with good workers? Labor it seems still believes in the old class war.

Medium business and medium earners will be enmeshed in red tape and effective re-regulation of the labor market that will rollback the benefits of the WorkChoices deregulation.

However, Labor committed to maintain the Howard Government’s laws on secret ballots before strikes, penalties for unlawful industrial action and secondary boycotts, and a ban on pattern bargaining strikes.

The Oz, intellectual warrior for a fully deregulated labour market, opines:

… what is now certain is that Labor has listened to business but still intends to unwind most of the industrial relations reforms introduced over Mr Howard’s 11 years in office. What will be left after a two-year transitional period under Labor will pretty much mirror the Keating government’s post-1993 industrial relations regime. Politically, the business community must accept that this is probably as far as Mr Rudd can go. Business may want Work Choices to stay but IR remains the only real point of difference Labor has with the Government to build a constituency for change.

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) described Labor’s new IR policy as “an important first step, but …”

Read more at Henry Thornton