The Wild West ... the outback ... The new world of the 1800s was a time of true liberty. People stood on their own merits. They won or they lost and they reaped the rewards or swallowed the consequences. There were no cubicle dwelling civil servants hell bent on saving you from yourself. No planning permits no licenses no permissions no heritage overlay no bylaw no regulators no inspectors. And guess what ... it worked

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2020 Health Submission 155 (Doc Holliday)

An excerpt from the book that never was, “Carpet Baggers, Nutjobs and Happy Clappers.”

Adopt a National Recreation Strategy after discussions with states/territories; Commit to a 'Recreation Summit;' … Fund access and endorse recreation faculties for all ages, levels and abilities; Provide infrastructure which allows recreation on naturally occurring facilities; … Endorse a National Education Plan for getting people out to recreate; … Endorse monetary carbon exchanges advantages at a personal level for people who walk or cycle to work etc.’

Recreation is seen as a useful way of offsetting obesity and to improve health. The answer, for one pundit, is to educate kiddies on the virtues of recreation, invest large amounts of money to make facilities available (presumably free of charge), and if the personal benefits of improved health and fun alone are not enough, offer a carbon refund for every time you recreate.

Who funds the construction and operation of the recreation infrastructure and at what cost? Who manages and operates the recreation infrastructure? Who will be paid to stand outside handing out carbon credits to passers by? Will carbon credits be enough to promote recreation?

It is not clear that there will be a surge in recreaters. Australia is already well-endowed with a good climate and plenty of open space, so access to facilities is not the problem. Rather, the issue is whether people sufficiently value recreation over other activities. So even if you have a swag of outdoor walking trails, the odds are that most mugs would choose to stay indoors surfing the net and playing Nintendo Wii.

And, carbon credits are not likely to be worth much more than a cup of coffee. If you were offering a coffee to every commuter, how many will bring along their spare running shoes to con the government to pay for their morning coffee at work?

If we build enough stadiums to seat one half of Australia’s population, you’re looking at a total cost of $360 billion, or about one-half of Australia’s GDP.

The back of the envelope

  • Cost: $360 billion
  • Expected impact on average earnings: Major reduction in income
  • Expected impact on economic growth: Big increase in GDP , big increase in government debt
  • Impact on incentives: 1 carbon credit = 1 cup of coffee
  • Impact on government spending: Up by two thirds
  • Impact on taxation: Up by two thirds
  • Winners: Stadium operators, public servants and coffee shop owners
  • Losers : Everyone else


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