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dgul

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Everything posted by dgul

  1. This is absolutely right. They should offer 20% off audited prices that non-20% off people have actually paid. Then the 20% might make some sense. Without this it is just talk. [i still wouldn't think it is a good approach, but it would at least mean something]
  2. That is an important issue. If you live in a house off the Google car network then you'll forever be moaning about how you can't go anywhere and how the value of your house has suffered. And then one day a Google network car will be seen in the village! There'll be much drinking in the pub that night, all delighted that their houses will be worth more.
  3. You won't own the driverless car - it will be like a taxi that you call up, with 'fantastic' load-balancing software so that the car just turns up at the right time, or at least informs you of exactly when it will turn up. If the google car has an accident it will be its fault. There won't be a steering wheel to pull on. If an ambulance appears behind it will gracefully pull over and let it past. There will be no bald tyres because it would have automatically recognised the wear and gone to the depot for a tyre change. However, if you drive along a blind bend and drive into a Google car then the Google car's telemetry and video recording will show there to be absolutely no doubt at all that it was all your fault. I'm fairly positive about Google cars - they'll transform traffic in cities and will make taxis much more efficient. However, people will still be driving cars for many years, particularly in the countryside. But eventually there'll be relatively few people around with driving licences and driverless cars will have taken over - apart from some relatively specialist roles. And you know, I think everyone will end up quite happy with the situation.
  4. My ancient car has cruise control. It works really well, except every 30 mins or so it depresses the throttle to the floor and goes flying off. I think it is pining for the autobahns. I don't use it.
  5. Sounds much easier to me - the truck at the front just has to keep on the white lines (avoiding cars in front), while the guy at the wheel (who has had loads of training etc) does risk stuff. the cabs behind just have to follow at a few inches (or whatever). I'd say that this sort of driverless tech could make a real difference very quickly.
  6. Possibly quite the reverse - I'd see this as using the convoy time for the driver to go off the clock - have some rest/sleep - then take over when you get to the end of the motorway. Unlike driverless cars you can't get rid of truck drivers - they've got important jobs to do at each end with loading/unloading responsibilities, as well as the final navigation part (it is much more difficult to drive an artic through a village than a little car) I'd see the consequences of this would be: lorry parks profits lower - who needs to lay up for the tacho when you sleep on the move? for a short while you'll see a reduction in lorry sales - each tractor will be able to run 24/7 and so you don't need so many of them on the road to deliver the same loads. (Eventually this will sort itself out because each tractor will be doing more miles/year and will wear out faster). lower fuel consumption for the country - the lorry convoys are surprisingly fuel efficient... Slightly fewer lorries on the road in the day - it will be easier to travel in the convoy. The dangerous consequence will be the start of a new game - tractor pushing. A bit like cow pushing, but hooligans late at night will play the game where they try to get as close to the lorry convoy as possible / drive into the gap, just to see how the computer reacts. I also see this as the main problem with driverless cars - eg kids will play on the roadside trying to get the computer in the car to respond, etc.
  7. Whenever a company like this strips substantial numbers of employees there is more going on. The activities are more or less the same as last year, and even an terribly run company doesn't have 1/5th of the workforce to lose through efficiency. The devil will clearly be in the detail, but I'd expect outsourcing will play a part.
  8. Indeed. I only really realised this when I went independent and actually had to pay it out 'of my own money'. The deceit makes me cross - so to make it explicit yet again: The base rate of tax in the UK is about 40%. If your employer has £1k extra to give to you, gov takes £400 The higher rate of tax in the UK is about 49%. If your employer has £1k extra to give to you, gov takes £490. Except if you're over 65. In that case you get to keep a bit more of the cash. Eds to add just because I'm cross - I've been made unemployed twice, and each time the NI fund had no money for me. Still, I suppose it has bred a bit of independence / just-get-on-with-it mentality with me - but these experiences do drive my assumption that by the time I retire there'll be no money for me from the NI fund yet again.
  9. I see it as exactly like national insurance, apart from the bit at the end when your insurance runs out and you're destitute. At which it looks a bit more like actual insurance. Think they won't do it?
  10. He doesn't have to be able to afford it. What matters is if he can afford the 20% now... The tax relief he offers to people in the future is somebody else's problem. I'd have thought he could afford it, seeing his generous 20% tax relief will for most people come after 20% income tax, + 20ish% national insurance. It would also almost certainly have a reasonably small annual allowance.
  11. There is lots of talk about some sort of saving fund for covering life events, like illness or redundancy - for the low paid, self-employed, etc. Some are talking of it taking a form like insurance, but others interpret it as being more like the help-to-save isa - you pay in, then if you get made redundant or become ill they'll top it up. The obvious read-across is that this is being set in place to replace aspects of the welfare state.
  12. No - he's right. During recessions it is important to stimulate the economy to ensure it doesn't destroy itself. Using your example - you could just let your house be at the ambient temperature - but it will be better for you if you apply heating during the cold periods, and cool it during the warm periods. It would be even better if the 'technology' allowed for 'saving' of heat during the warm periods and 'expenditure of saved heat' during the cooler spells... I'll add, though - regarding a real economy: You do actually have to cool it if it becomes too hot. No good saying that hot is the new normal and letting things get out of control. What you should do during the recessions isn't simply hand people money - here I disagree with the anti-austerity mindset. The opportunity is to support strategic industries (this means industries which can't readily be started up again, not just 'well lots of people work there') and to invest in new (UK supplied) infrastructure, technologies and products which would support UK industry during the down-turn, and provide growth opportunities during the recession and post-recession - and which would enhance the lives of the population whenever. I struggle to understand why the UK is supporting businesses which would recover just fine in the recovery, while destroying industry which will require investment to restart - and ignoring international brinkmanship regarding other countries supporting their own industries (which inevitably destroys our own which can't compete in that market). And all the while failing to substantially invest in infrastructure and technology which would help the UK come recovery. Still, we've got a great banking sector. And house prices are nicely supported.
  13. Remember that if you turn up in time and you're on the fire-engine then you get paid for your time. Also, they'll do other stuff like education, maintenance and training, which they'll also be paid for. The rate isn't that great, but it should all be 'extra' income above the normal pay - again, it suits some people who can drop their normal job at an instant. Not my cup of tea, but it can be a worthwhile extra for some people (worthwhile in terms of pay, and worthwhile in terms of providing something to society)
  14. Absolutely. Shame the world doesn't understand how this actual economist works...
  15. Quite - they could have really made a difference by cooling things off in 2004. But they went ahead and stoked things up. This was entirely on his watch, and it wasn't impossible to foresee or anything. It is the job of the central bank to maintain stability and he failed in this. Everything after this has been trying to mend serious cracks which emerged (or at least only became large enough to bring everything down) purely because of this lack of stabilising action earlier.
  16. IIRC that was the very programme going on about the benefits of interest only mortgages back in 2005-7
  17. Why do these public sector workers get the benefit? Loads of people provide real benefit to the UK from other areas in the public sector. And loads of people provide real benefit to the UK from the private sector, and don't get paid well to boot. Why not make it so that you go university and have your student loan paid so long as you provide benefit* to the UK? - if you stop providing that benefit (say you leave the UK) then you have to pay your loan off. Why not make it a taxable benefit so that big earners (well, higher rate taxpayers) don't get that benefit? *the main problem is that this is a bit nebulous. Ok. Maybe just so long as you've got a job and pay taxes. I'd be content with that broad brush. But if you study astrophysics and then go off to be a quant in New York - I don't see that you're benefiting the UK - so pay up on that loan.
  18. I agree. It suggests that they are aware of a risk to the economy - in that these over-leveraged small investors are too exposed to interest rates and LTV (ie, sensitive to house price movements). Thus the response would be to protect prices as much as possible, introduce measures to deter this investment and drive investment in house prices from other sources. I think we've seen the first of these actions (the usual suspects over the last 5 years), and more recently the second (taxation etc changes). IMO we'll soon see more on the third side of this - more support for buyers / owner occupiers, and in particular more visible changes in the way organised property investment is run (pension / investment funds, etc). This is a slow motion, but I'd expect very visible changes in the next 3 years. This isn't very positive from a HPC perspective, but these warnings are very much not saying 'therefore there'll be a massive crash in house prices' - but rather, 'you've got yourself into a mess - now sort it out without risking stability'. If there is a positive message it'll be stronger tenants rights, as properly organised property investment loves ultra long tenancies, and also has the proper legal clout to deal with any horrific tenants properly. [As an aside (should be on another thread) - I used to believe that we should have a property correction as it would have been the easiest way to sort out the problems emerging in the country. It is now too late - any reduction in property prices would be chased by all the boomers with their cast iron pensions. Now I believe that the only way for the country to sort itself out is with a reduction in the value of the pound. This is probably the only way to reduce the ongoing and increasing forward liability of the entitled wealthy (mainly pensioners) while still allowing (income poorer) younger folk to ride out the changes. But it isn't here yet - some time to go...]
  19. You wait until the raw prices rebound - then you'll see inflation in your materials costs...
  20. Weird. Seems to me that the opposite is true - you can magic up a new bank with some capital funding, itself magicked up with government support like help-to-buy - but you can't magic up a steelworks. This runs quite deep - in the past the job during recessions was to keep the difficult-to-replace infrastructure alive, but allow transient industries (which can be readily redeveloped from scratch) to fend for themselves. Seems like the current approach is to allow anything that requires serious investment to start from scratch to go to the wall, and support all those industries which wouldn't require investment. I guess when all the means of production are overseas and we're just selling houses to one another then we'll start seeing the consequences of this backwards thinking. Shouldn't be too long now.
  21. As an SME I think the auto enrolment situation is stupid. I'm meant to sort out the pensions for my 3 employees, all part time but over the auto enrolment threshold - it is a massive burden given the number of staff - I'd be very happy to just give them a bit more money for them to sort out for themselves, but I'm not allowed to do that. (just to put it in perspective they earn around £75k full time equivalent (more than me in the last FY), and they're all free to work elsewhere, so I'm not being mean here). So we just sort it out via NEST, but it is still a hassle for something that none of us want - it isn't too onerous, just wasted effort that isn't spent building the business. But it is all up to me - and I'm clearly an idiot when it comes to pensions (or at least, there is no guarantee that I'm not an idiot) - so I might just sign up to some scamful outfit to do my employee's pensions. They don't really get a say (auto enrolment), and maybe I get a few bungs for throwing the money their way (I don't know if this is true - but it is financial services so you might as well assume that it could be true). No one seems to be checking that I've done everything in the best way for my employees. So - sounds like a great area for the scummy end of financial services to move into. Sounds like they knew this 12 months ago... We'll find out properly when they all go to the wall when the next revolution comes. Why oh why can't we say that if you've got fewer than 30 employees (say) then there is an exemption - that would sort out the main areas for problems to emerge - and simply 'encourage' those staff to sort their pension out.
  22. But that sounds like me taking on debt on behalf of the house, but I'd still be the one to pay it off! Seems like the house has me by the balls - Either I stick with the house, or I get the cash but then get wet whenever it rains. Pah.
  23. I'm sure my house is working really hard and everything - but I don't seem to see any of it. It doesn't even contribute to the bills - even house maintenance comes out of my wallet. I'll have to have a word with it.
  24. We're not even a week in, and memories are short. People will have a different take on it come June. And, in particular, come Autumn, which is when all the real mucking about will start.
  25. It's called democracy.
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