Notes on Trump 42 – Are Commissioner Haynes and Ross Gitttins closet Stalinists?

Having reached the answer to Life The Universe and Everything, I’ll talk about something else.

But first, Trump’s approval rate among likely voters has already bounced back since ending the shutdown and the latest (2019-02-11) hit 52% approval to 47% disapproval, with 39% each for “Strongly”. That may be an outlier but the Democrat celebrations have certainly proved premature.

It seems plausible that the prospective meltdown of  aviation as air traffic controllers called in sick after missing two pay packets was a major factor:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/25/politics/donald-trump-flight-delays-shutdown/index.html

If that had been organised by Democrats they would have a victory to celebrate. But it wasn’t. Democrats and the media are still just milling around in confusion.

I started this post immediately after reading this item that wasn’t about Trump from Ross Gittens in the Fairfax press dated 3 October 2018.

…Some people were disappointed the interim report contained no recommendations – no tougher legislation, no referrals to the legal authorities – but I was heartened by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s grasp of the root cause of the problem and the smart way to tackle it.

Too often, he found, the misconduct was motivated by “greed – the pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty . . . From the executive suite to the front line, staff were measured and rewarded by reference to profit and sales”.

Just so. But what induces seemingly decent people to put (personal) profit before people? That’s a question for psychologists, not lawyers. We’re social animals with an unconscious, almost irresistible urge to fit in with the group. A tribal urge.

Most of us get our sense of what’s ethical behaviour from the people around us in our group. If what I’m doing is no worse than what they’re doing, that’s ethical. Few of us have an inner moral compass (set by our membership of other tribes – religious or familial) strong enough to override the pressure we feel under from what our bosses and workmates are saying and doing.

Sociologists call this “norms of acceptable behaviour” within the group. When regulators first said that banks had an unhealthy corporate “culture”, business leaders dismissed this as soft-headed nonsense. Now, no one’s arguing.

But, we’re told, how can you legislate to change culture? Passing laws won’t eliminate dishonesty.

Fortunately, that’s only half true. Rationality tells us people’s behaviour flows from their beliefs, but psychologists tell us it’s the other way round: if you can change people’s behaviour, they’ll change their beliefs to fit (so as to reduce their “cognitive dissonance”).

Hayne says “much more often than not, the conduct now condemned was contrary to law”, which leads him to doubt that passing new laws is the answer.

So what is? His hints make it pretty clear, and I think he’s right. Make sure everyone in banking knows what’s illegal, then police the law vigorously with meaningful penalties. Fear of getting caught will override greed, and a change in behaviour will be reinforced by an improvement in the banking culture.

Ross Gittins is the Herald’s economics editor.

The above long excerpt and the following sentence is as far as I got.

Or as Uncle Joe put it, change the situation and the beliefs will follow. Assign somebody to do a task and somebody else to check.

That sentence explains the title. But I didn’t have time to read the interim report so I decided to wait for the final report.

I don’t have time to read the final report either and am doubtful that the news reports I have read were written by people who did. I guess my uninformed opinions are as useless as the rest, but here goes.

There are many abuses that have been fixed by enforcement of legislation. Adulteration of food, the factory acts etc. All required inspectors. I have no idea whether or not there will now be some improvement in enforcement and inspection of retail banking. I gather Ross Gittens is still more optimistic but his optimism seems to be based on a prospective shakeup of the agencies that were supposed to enforce banking law. That may happen but there would be more grounds for believing it if whoever was responsible for prosecuting people who take money for services not rendered to dead people was themselves prosecuted for misconduct in public office rather than merely reminded of their duties.

Naturally a billion dollar commission conducted by lawyers will be oriented to solutions that require more lawyers and that do not disband agencies staffed by lawyers or send their leading personnel to prison. But it seems obvious that a culture of greed cannot be avoided by enforcement of laws in a system of property relations oriented around greed as the driving force.

Those abuses that can be fixed eventually will be. But changing business culture requires changing the ownership of business. A working class that owns the economy will certainly need a system of inspectors to enforce laws and prevent the re-emergence of greed as the driving force. Perhaps some smart former corporate lawyers could be retained as technical advisors. But those inspectors cannot be regulatory bodies staffed by lawers. They will have to be based on full transparency enforced by workers doing the checking themselves. The name “cheka” has good historical connotations.

For regulating banking we will have to understand how banking works while actually running it.

Far more important issues than retail ripoffs depend on understanding how banking and finance works. The financial crash we are headed towards as a result of the underlying economic cycle will have much more devastating consequences. As long as workers don’t understand it but “only work here” we are stuck with whatever our saviours from on high deliver.

There seems to be only one recommendation from the inquiry that will remain controversial. Eliminating mortgage brokers. This favors the bigger banks and eliminates about 20,000 sales commission workers pretending to be brokers acting as intermediaries between workers financing homes and banks that are themselves supposed to be financial intermediaries between lenders and borrowers.

I guess its probably a good idea. But its food for thought as to how such matters should be handled in transition from capitalism.

We would still have working class households that want to own their home. As well as the actual construction and urban infrastructure development there will have to be facilities for allocation, transfer etc. People administering “social property” will be in the same position as bankers etc today and as the herd managers who became herd owners in primitive societies.

Under capitalism, without mortgate brokers, workers will go to the big banks for their mortgate loans and be “helped” by bank sales staff paid on a commission basis by banks to increase bank profits. The advantage I see is simply that they will have to learn more about banking.

That will be helpful in figuring out how to organize things ourselves in transition from capitalism. Otherwise such matters that we don’t understand must continue to be organized by people doing it for their own benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Notes on Trump 42 – Are Commissioner Haynes and Ross Gitttins closet Stalinists?

  1. Being #42 the infinite impossibility drive has of course kicked in and posted this with a date last year despite including a link from this year.

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    Presidential Approval Ratings — Donald Trump
    Beginning in January 2019, Gallup will report Donald Trump’s job approval on a monthly basis. Learn more.
    Donald Trump’s Presidential Job Approval Ratings
    Approval rating Dates
    %
    Latest job approval rating 37 Jan 21-27, 2019
    Term average to date 39 Jan 20, 2017-present
    Highest job approval rating to date 45 Jan 20-29, 2017, and Jun 11-17, 2018
    Lowest job approval rating to date 35 four times, last on Dec 11-17, 2017
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    Donald Trump’s Presidential Job Approval Ratings — Historical Comparisons
    Average for U.S. presidents 53 1938-2018
    Average for elected presidents’ 9th quarter 56 various
    Other elected presidents in January of third year Barack Obama 49 Jan 2011
    George W. Bush 60 Jan 2003
    Bill Clinton 47 Jan 1995
    George H.W. Bush 75 Jan 1991
    Ronald Reagan 36 Jan 1983
    Jimmy Carter 47 Jan 1979
    Richard Nixon 56 Jan 1971
    John Kennedy 74 Jan 1963
    Dwight Eisenhower 70 Jan 1955
    Gallup
    Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?
    Weekly averages from Gallup Daily tracking
    Approve Disapprove No opinion
    % % %
    2019
    2019 Jan 21-27 37 59 3
    2019 Jan 2-10 37 59 4
    2018
    2018 Dec 17-22 39 55 5
    2018 Dec 10-16 38 57 4
    2018 Dec 3-9 40 56 4
    2018 Nov 26-Dec 2 40 56 4
    2018 Nov 19-25 38 60 3
    2018 Nov 12-18 43 53 4
    2018 Nov 5-11 38 56 5
    2018 Oct 29-Nov 4 40 54 6
    2018 Oct 22-28 40 54 6
    2018 Oct 15-21 44 50 6
    2018 Oct 8-14 44 51 5
    2018 Oct 1-7 43 53 5
    2018 Sep 24-30 42 53 5
    2018 Sep 17-23 40 56 5
    2018 Sep 10-16 38 56 6
    2018 Sep 3-9 40 54 5
    2018 Aug 27-Sep 2 41 53 6
    2018 Aug 20-26 41 54 5
    2018 Aug 13-19 42 52 7
    2018 Aug 6-12 39 56 5
    2018 Jul 30-Aug 5 41 54 5
    2018 Jul 23-29 40 55 6
    2018 Jul 16-22 42 54 4
    2018 Jul 9-15 43 52 4
    2018 Jul 2-8 41 56 4
    2018 Jun 25-Jul 1 42 53 5
    2018 Jun 18-24 41 55 3
    2018 Jun 11-17 45 50 4
    2018 Jun 4-10 42 54 4
    2018 May 28-Jun 3 41 55 4
    2018 May 21-27 40 55 6
    2018 May 14-20 42 54 5
    2018 May 7-13 43 52 5
    2018 Apr 30-May 6 42 52 5
    2018 Apr 23-29 42 53 5
    2018 Apr 16-22 38 57 6
    2018 Apr 9-15 39 55 6
    2018 Apr 2-8 41 54 5
    2018 Mar 26-Apr 1 39 56 5
    2018 Mar 19-25 39 55 5
    2018 Mar 12-18 40 56 4
    2018 Mar 5-11 39 56 4
    2018 Feb 26-Mar 4 39 55 6
    2018 Feb 19-25 39 56 5
    2018 Feb 12-18 37 59 4
    2018 Feb 5-11 40 57 3
    2018 Jan 29-Feb 4 40 57 3
    2018 Jan 22-28 38 57 5
    2018 Jan 15-21 36 59 5
    2018 Jan 8-14 38 57 5
    2018 Jan 1-7 37 58 4
    2017
    2017 Dec 25-31 39 55 6
    2017 Dec 18-24 37 57 6
    2017 Dec 11-17 35 60 5
    2017 Dec 4-10 36 59 5
    2017 Nov 27-Dec 3 35 59 5
    2017 Nov 20-26 37 56 7
    2017 Nov 13-19 38 57 6
    2017 Nov 6-12 38 56 6
    2017 Oct 30-Nov 5 38 58 5
    2017 Oct 23-29 35 60 5
    2017 Oct 16-22 36 58 6
    2017 Oct 9-15 37 57 6
    2017 Oct 2-8 38 56 6
    2017 Sep 25-Oct 1 37 58 5
    2017 Sep 18-24 38 55 6
    2017 Sep 11-17 38 57 6
    2017 Sep 4-10 37 57 6
    2017 Aug 28-Sep 3 36 59 6
    2017 Aug 21-27 35 60 5
    2017 Aug 14-20 37 58 6
    2017 Aug 7-13 36 58 6
    2017 Jul 31-Aug 6 37 58 5
    2017 Jul 24-30 38 57 5
    2017 Jul 17-23 37 58 5
    2017 Jul 10-16 39 56 6
    2017 Jul 3-9 38 57 5
    2017 Jun 26-Jul 2 39 56 5
    2017 Jun 19-25 39 56 5
    2017 Jun 12-18 38 57 6
    2017 Jun 5-11 37 58 5
    2017 May 29-Jun 4 38 56 6
    2017 May 22-28 41 54 5
    2017 May 15-21 38 56 6
    2017 May 8-14 38 56 6
    2017 May 1-7 42 53 6
    2017 Apr 24-30 41 54 5
    2017 Apr 17-23 41 52 7
    2017 Apr 10-16 40 54 6
    2017 Apr 3-9 40 53 7
    2017 Mar 27-Apr 2 38 57 5
    2017 Mar 20-26 39 56 6
    2017 Mar 13-19 40 55 5
    2017 Mar 6-12 42 52 6
    2017 Feb 27-Mar 5 43 51 6
    2017 Feb 20-26 42 53 5
    2017 Feb 13-19 40 54 5
    2017 Feb 6-12 41 53 6
    2017 Jan 30-Feb 5 43 52 5
    2017 Jan 20-29 45 47 8
    Gallup
    Donald Trump Job Approval by Party Identification
    Weekly averages from Gallup Daily tracking
    Republicans Independents Democrats
    % % %
    2019
    2019 Jan 21-27 88 32 5
    2019 Jan 2-10 88 31 6
    2018
    2018 Dec 17-22 89 39 8
    2018 Dec 10-16 86 37 7
    2018 Dec 3-9 89 38 7
    2018 Nov 26-Dec 2 89 39 6
    2018 Nov 19-25 86 34 9
    2018 Nov 12-18 90 37 6
    2018 Nov 5-11 91 34 5
    2018 Oct 29-Nov 4 88 39 6
    2018 Oct 22-28 89 37 6
    2018 Oct 15-21 91 39 8
    2018 Oct 8-14 88 36 9
    2018 Oct 1-7 86 39 7
    2018 Sep 24-30 87 37 6
    2018 Sep 17-23 87 34 8
    2018 Sep 10-16 88 33 6
    2018 Sep 3-9 85 36 8
    2018 Aug 27-Sep 2 85 36 9
    2018 Aug 20-26 85 35 10
    2018 Aug 13-19 87 39 7
    2018 Aug 6-12 82 34 7
    2018 Jul 30-Aug 5 89 33 7
    2018 Jul 23-29 87 34 8
    2018 Jul 16-22 85 37 11
    2018 Jul 9-15 90 38 8
    2018 Jul 2-8 87 36 9
    2018 Jun 25-Jul 1 87 36 10
    2018 Jun 18-24 87 38 5
    2018 Jun 11-17 90 42 10
    2018 Jun 4-10 90 35 8
    2018 May 28-Jun 3 87 34 11
    2018 May 21-27 85 35 8
    2018 May 14-20 89 38 9
    2018 May 7-13 84 35 12
    2018 Apr 30-May 6 88 37 13
    2018 Apr 23-29 89 35 9
    2018 Apr 16-22 82 32 10
    2018 Apr 9-15 85 33 7
    2018 Apr 2-8 89 35 8
    2018 Mar 26-Apr 1 86 33 8
    2018 Mar 19-25 85 34 7
    2018 Mar 12-18 82 32 7
    2018 Mar 5-11 87 34 8
    2018 Feb 26-Mar 4 85 34 8
    2018 Feb 19-25 85 35 9
    2018 Feb 12-18 86 30 6
    2018 Feb 5-11 86 36 7
    2018 Jan 29-Feb 4 90 33 6
    2018 Jan 22-28 87 33 7
    2018 Jan 15-21 81 31 5
    2018 Jan 8-14 81 35 5
    2018 Jan 1-7 87 32 5
    2017
    2017 Dec 25-31 82 34 9
    2017 Dec 18-24 80 33 7
    2017 Dec 11-17 77 31 7
    2017 Dec 4-10 82 32 5
    2017 Nov 27-Dec 3 78 32 7
    2017 Nov 20-26 81 34 7
    2017 Nov 13-19 81 34 8
    2017 Nov 6-12 82 33 8
    2017 Oct 30-Nov 5 83 35 6
    2017 Oct 23-29 78 33 7
    2017 Oct 16-22 80 33 8
    2017 Oct 9-15 79 33 8
    2017 Oct 2-8 81 33 9
    2017 Sep 25-Oct 1 80 31 7
    2017 Sep 18-24 82 35 8
    2017 Sep 11-17 81 35 9
    2017 Sep 4-10 80 31 9
    2017 Aug 28-Sep 3 79 32 8
    2017 Aug 21-27 78 30 7
    2017 Aug 14-20 79 31 8
    2017 Aug 7-13 79 29 7
    2017 Jul 31-Aug 6 82 30 7
    2017 Jul 24-30 82 32 7
    2017 Jul 17-23 86 31 8
    2017 Jul 10-16 87 33 8
    2017 Jul 3-9 85 35 8
    2017 Jun 26-Jul 2 85 36 8
    2017 Jun 19-25 85 34 6
    2017 Jun 12-18 84 32 6
    2017 Jun 5-11 83 31 8
    2017 May 29-Jun 4 82 34 7
    2017 May 22-28 87 37 8
    2017 May 15-21 84 31 7
    2017 May 8-14 84 35 8
    2017 May 1-7 84 40 9
    2017 Apr 24-30 87 36 12
    2017 Apr 17-23 86 36 9
    2017 Apr 10-16 87 36 10
    2017 Apr 3-9 87 34 6
    2017 Mar 27-Apr 2 81 36 6
    2017 Mar 20-26 84 33 8
    2017 Mar 13-19 86 35 10
    2017 Mar 6-12 88 36 9
    2017 Feb 27-Mar 5 88 39 10
    2017 Feb 20-26 88 38 10
    2017 Feb 13-19 86 37 7
    2017 Feb 6-12 87 35 11
    2017 Jan 30-Feb 5 86 41 8
    2017 Jan 20-29 89 42 13
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    One has to keep in mind that republicans if asked would approve of any republican president but it doesnt mean they would vote for them

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    • I used to quote Gallup because they provided regular breakdown between GOP and Democrat voters (and further breakdown for conservative vs liberal subsets) which were key to my whole analysis of Trump’s focus on establishing on his base taking over GOP primaries.

      Stopped looking because when they started only releasing that analysis infrequently and it had become widely recognized that Trump’s grip on GOP was complete and irreversible.

      Since then I have only quoted figures relevant to 2020 “likely voters” whereas Gallup polls include large majority who say they won’t be voting so won’t affect result.

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history

      Clearly confirms as I said that he lost significantly during shutdown and bounced back after it ended.

      Today’s looks like less of an outlier – 50% approval to 48% disapproval with 37% to 40% for “strongly”.

      Even CNN has started to notice just how much the Democrats are helping Trump:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/12/politics/trump-green-new-deal-socialism/index.html

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    • Yes similar. Only Rasmussen does likely voters. It is a consistently better predictor of actual results because Democrats usually turnup to vote less than Republicans. Five thirtyeight is basically a weighted average of them all.

      Of course no poll can predict outcome. But Democrats have every reason to be panicking and dividing over strategies that have clearly failed.

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      • I have no doubt democrat strategies have been poor but will only know they failed if Trump gets re-elected. There are heaps of polls and all flawed but how people will vote in 2020 is flawed even before they take the poll. I assume there would be hardcore democrats and republicans who wont change their vote no matter what ever but the ones that count will decide on 2020 at the end of 2020 Do not know who they polled or their methodology but cant believe it is worth looking at.

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      • Since you “do not know who they polled or their methodology” and “can’t believe it is worth looking at” what on earth was the point of pasting a VERY LONG page of ALL the Gallup polls in response to my brief mention?

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      • I was talking about a poll you said was different because it was based on peoples 2020 likely voting tendencies as opposed to current popularity polls. You quoted the figures for his popularity I was just giving some balance to them and as stated would look at current popularity polls but without a heap of confidence but wouldnt bother looking at voting preferences for 2020.

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      • No. They are ALL “approval” polls. None of them claiming to ask about which side they will vote for. Hence the sharp bump of “approval” when shutdown ended, presumably from people who had moved from approval to disapproval when it started expressing their approval of it ending.
        The difference is that Rasmussen only counts people who say they are likely to vote, while the others ask everyone, and hence include a lot more Democrat supporters who tend to be less likely to turn out. This makes a huge difference in the US since so many don’t vote.
        Obviously momentary “approval” is only vaguely indicative of voting intention for any of the polls (and even very narrowly targeted November 2020 polls won’t necessarily get it right). But the approval trends among likely voters from Rasmussen are a lot more relevant than the others that include more people who don’t vote. The media keeps comforting themselves by quoting the latter and ignoring Rasmussen.

        BTW the fact that it is only about momentary “approval” is more likely to underestimate votes for Trump than to overestimate. Lots of Republicans totally disapprove of Trump and say so, but will still turn to vote against the Democrats. Similar phenomena helped the Democrats at midterms as they had “maintained the rage” for two years. But my guess is relatively few Democrats say they “approve” of Trump but will vote against him and there will be a lot more Democrats who disapprove of Trump “strongly” but will not bother to turn up again after another two years of media and Democrat pointless ranting – especially among blacks.

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