Global Warming: What do the experts say?

Do you agree with the statement "human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures"

The study can be found here.

The second category, "Non-publishers/Non-climatologists", is a survey of scientists in the field of "Earth Science", which includes climatology, but also geology, meteorology, vulcanology, oceanography and others. "Non-publishers" means that this group is not involved in publishing scientific papers and are thus not up-to-date with the latest thinking. In that particular field, non-publishing meteorologists and non-publishing petroleum geologists were the ones most likely to say "no" to the question posed.

And also notice in that second category that although around 75% of them would say "yes" to the question posed, less than 10% would say "no" while 15% would say that they are not sure.

The final category consists of climatologists who are active in publishing papers about climate change. Of this group of the top experts, 97% would say "yes".

And that, dear readers, is what is called "scientific consensus".

It is also obvious from the study that the "controversy" exists only in the minds of the general public and not in the minds of the experts who know the facts.

It would be nice, though, if media reporting on global warming reflected a 97% support of the issue.

Mea Culpa: I have stated in the past that 99.9% of experts believe in anthropogenic global warming. Obviously that was a mistake. I have changed my position accordingly and would encourage others to do the same.

And a very big hat tip to Sam for this. Please read his blog.

Heatwave in Australia

Hot hot hot:
The heatwave arrived with a vengeance yesterday with temperatures hitting the sizzling mid-40s in parts of the state, well above the predicted high of 41, while Melburnians sweltered in a 43.2-degree heat.

- 45-degree peak in parts of the state
- Melbourne mercury tops forecasts
- City peak of more than 43 degrees

The highest temperatures were recorded in Nhill and Hopetoun in the north-west of the state where the towns and surrounds baked in a maximum of 45 degrees at 3pm.
According to the BOM, temperatures at Melbourne Airport peaked at 42.6°C (108.7°F) on Wednesday afternoon and dropped to 30.8°C (87.4°F) overnight. To the West, Adelaide peaked at 45.1°C (113.2°F) and dropped to 34.4°C (93.9°F) overnight.

Australia is a hot, dry country so such extreme temperatures are not unusual. What is unusual is that they are likely to continue until the weekend. Hot weather in Southern and South-Eastern Australia is usually due to a low pressure system moving Eastward through the Bight and out through Bass Strait. What is unusual about this situation is that a large High Pressure system between Australia and New Zealand is keeping a series of lows from moving. In layman's terms this means that winds from central Australia - which are hot and dry - are blowing over Melbourne and Adelaide and heating them up over a much longer period of time (4-5 days) than what is normal (2-3 days). This is why the heat is lasting longer and not dropping sooner.

Heatwaves also cause heat-related deaths and, while Australia is no exception, Australians are used to the demands of hot weather. Hopefully this means that the physically weaker people in society (the elderly and very young children) are likely to be looked after (air conditioning, plenty of fluids). The conditions are so unusual, however, that an increase in deaths is likely in the next few days.

As a believer in global warming, do I see such unusual weather conditions as proof of the effects of global warming? While such weather conditions are highly unusual, they have occurred in the past. In this case, the conditions appear to be a once-in-a-century event. Obviously Southern and South-Eastern Australia have experienced these conditions before and so it is reasonable to assume that they will experience them again at some point.

The problem occurs, however, when such weather conditions begin to occur on a more regular basis. If we start having once-in-a-century weather events like this every couple of years, then it means that something has changed in the world's climate patterns and global warming can certainly be seen as a possible cause.

On the other hand, global warming or not, these freak weather conditions may just be what they are - simply freakish and unusual. That is probably the most likely explanation.

Fortunately for me, I am located on the East Coast of Australia. The weather system that is causing such problems in Melbourne and Adelaide is not affecting Sydney and Newcastle in the same way. It'll probably reach 31°C (87.8°F) here today - unpleasant for yours truly but nothing unusual for this time of year.


I still believe in inflation targeting

The current economic crisis - which has now lasted so long it should eventually require a name change - has naturally called into question deeply held assumptions and rigid ideologies. And that's a good thing.

One thing which has been questioned is the wisdom of "inflation targeting". The argument is that since inflation targeting was designed to flatten out economic growth and prevent booms and busts, then it is obviously a failure.

I still think that inflation targeting is needed for the following reasons:
  • While the crisis is international, it began in the US. The Federal Reserve Bank certainly adjusted interest rates according to inflation, but there was no "inflation target" that was used.
  • One of the basic rules behind inflation targeting is to ensure that real interest rates (interest rate minus the inflation rate) are positive. Under Greenspan between 2003-2005, real interest rates in the US were negative. Not only did the Fed not have an explicit inflation target, it did not even follow judicious monetary guidelines to ensure that real interest rates remained positive.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) was not consistent in its application of its own inflation target in regards to the Euro. For most of the ECB's life, inflation exceeded its 2% inflation target.
  • Despite these problems, inflation in many Western countries in the past decade was low. Yet even low inflation rates did not avert the crisis from developing.
  • The solution is not to abandon inflation targeting, but to actually practice and enforce it.
I am very well aware that one of the louder voices in this economic crisis is the one which says "capitalism has not failed because capitalism was never tried". Arguing that inflation targeting is still necessary makes me feel like one of these ideologues. Nevertheless I believe the clear evidence is that both the Fed and (to a lesser extent) the ECB were not involved in inflation targeting per se, either explicitly (by keeping inflation below an arbitrary level) or implicitly (by ensuring real interest rates remained positive). If "inflation targeting" is to be defined as the Fed's and the ECB's actions over the past decade then it must certainly be abandoned and replaced by a harsher, stricter inflation killing regime.

Let me rehash one of my typical arguments about Absolute Price Stability. Had inflation targeting been far stricter in the last ten years and aimed at neither inflation nor deflation, but rather a zero net change in consumer prices, then this crisis would never have occurred in the first place. Higher interest rates would have prevented a subprime bubble, it would have dampened economic activity enough to prevent ultra-high oil prices, it would have provided a reasonable alternative to investing in the share market and it would have prevented excessive lending and over-leveraging.

So the reason why I believe in inflation targeting is because, if it was actually tried and if Absolute Price Stability was its goal, the current crisis and mess would never have occurred in the first place.


Back to normal - everything is stuffed

For my international readers, you may have noticed a slight drop in the quantity and (let's face it) quality of my blog posts lately. This is because Australia in January is pretty much closed down. Because we live on the upside down part of the Earth, the seasons here are the opposite of that in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that we have Christmas AND summer holidays at the same time. Add to this the fact that our convict forefathers decided to arrive on January 26th 1788 and we basically have a 4-5 week period of nothing but hot weather and holidays.

If anyone wants to invade Australia, do it during early January.

But now that Australia Day is over and done with, the kids are about to go back to school and Australia returns to normal again. My son is about to enter 3rd grade (the equivalent of "the third grade" in America) and my daughter about to go into pre school. This means that I should be able to blog better and more often.

Anyone who has been perusing the economic news lately knows that there have been some massive job cuts announced - not just here in Australia but all over the world, especially in the US. 2008 Q4 GDP will be released this Friday and I am expecting a big drop - at the very least a contraction of 1.0% or more.

I also remain convinced that the US Dollar is ripe for a crash, even though the currency has firmed in recent weeks. As I have pointed out before, there is no real reason why anyone would want to hold US Dollars at the moment - treasury yields are ultra low, the US Property market has popped and the Share Market has crashed. While the rest of the world isn't too wonderful economically either, the US is the centre of the storm and will suffer more and suffer longer than the international community. Although I am not a financial advisor (yet) I would counsel investors to invest in Euro, Yen and precious metals and sell off their US assets before the crash gets underway.

The upcoming dollar crash will be the final "event" that will plunge the US and the world into the second great depression. High oil prices (2004-2008), the bursting of the subprime bubble (2006), the credit crisis (2007-2008), de-leveraging (2007-2008) and the Bear Market (2008) were all previous events that have hit the US in the last few years.

Despite my natural relief that Bush is no longer occupying the White House I have little confidence that President Obama will be able to achieve much in the first 2 years in terms of repairing the economy. Big spending seems to be the only solution and this will frighten the markets further considering the sheer amount of debt the Federal Government has already gotten itself into before the credit crisis hit - and this fear will put downward pressure on the dollar.

Once the dollar has crashed, the only recourse will be to follow the policies outlined in The Washington Consensus, which will inflict upon America harsh austerity measures. A dollar crash will force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and force the Federal Government to rein in spending - the very opposite of what is currently being applied (low interest rates and lots of deficits spending).

While a part of me remains Keynesian, the Austrian part of me argues that policies and practices that created the problem in the first place should not be used to solve the problem. in other words, if America's situation was caused by unrestrained spending and injudicious borrowing, then why assume that more spending and more borrowing will solve the problem? Balance needs to be restored - and that means that America needs to save more and borrow less, to produce more and to consume less. It is therefore more important for China and Japan to stimulate domestic spending in their own countries - a process that will increase US exports and reduce imports to the US - than for the US to indulge in more spending.

This is not to say that some deficit spending may be required in the US - just not as huge an amount that is being touted.

But, the dollar will crash and no one listens to me anyway. It'd be nice if I could make money out of being right.


The Best films of 1984

I really like films that stick by you - ones that may not hit you when they arrive but show staying power.

Since all sorts of awards ceremonies are around, I thought I'd do my own - the 25 year awards. Now that it is 2009, it would be good to examine just how great some films released in 1984 were.

I'm basing this upon imdb ratings. Anything over 7.5 is a decent film. Anything over 8.0 is a classic. To be counted, the film must have been first released in 1984.

And then, of course, there are the duds:

And these are my recommended 1984 films (ie they are in my collection):

  • The story of two young men who become unlikely friends. Al (Nicholas Cage) is popular and good looking while "Birdy" (Matthew Modine) is introverted and obsessed with birds. Both are injured during the Vietnam War - Al with a burned face while Birdy ends up in an asylum. This is a "male friendship" film which shows just how loyal men can be to one another when things get bad. The ending is completely unexpected.
  • The much maligned David Lynch version is confused, departs from Frank Herbert's storyline in many ways and suffers from bad editing and some rather strange acting. Once you accept these shortcomings, the film is highly entertaining and has become a cult classic as a result. The presence of Sting in a major role is both fitting and hilarious.
Repo Man
  • Alex Cox is a director whose works are very rough diamonds. Otto (Emilio Estevez) is a young punk who ends up becoming a Repo Man. Along the way there are aliens, the CIA and a glowing green 1964 Chevy Malibu. An intense film.
The Terminator
  • Who would've thought that this film would last? At the time it was a violent action film starring an indecipherable and relatively unknown Austrian actor (Arnie) playing a cyborg sent back into the past to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Ignored at the time, the film's popularity took off during the video revolution and has resulted in fame for Arnie, cash for James Cameron (writer and director) and permanently changed the science fiction genre (The Matrix for instance)
This is Spinal Tap
  • The fictional "mockumentary" about a British Heavy Metal band touring the United States was so convincing to some that they thought it was real. Lawsuits against the film-makers by a number of bands who felt slighted by the film indicates the power of satire. Now a cult classic, Spinal Tap deserves to be turned up to eleven.


Hope and Bad Art

I saw these pics as I surfed the net the other day. Some I like. Many make me sick:

Not too bad. Bit of a stereotype - but he does play basketball though.

Blaggh! (Check out the unicorn!)

I like this one. Biden as Robin is hilarious.

No comment.

Actual college aged Obama pic.

No no no no...

Rainbows, unicorns, nudity. This is sickening.

For anyone who noticed.

My Favourite - Cheney as The Big Lebowski. "The Bums will always lose!"


The US Constitution allows congress to spend on things other than defense

A reply to Two Dogs, who argues strongly that the Constitution restricts the Federal Government to national defense only and exclusively.

Naturally I think you're wrong TD. And here's why:

Section 8
The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.
Tax in order to provide for the General Welfare?

The Constitution does not give any explicit limit to what the government can spend its money on. Nor does it give any limit to the amount of tax revenue it can raise. Nor does it explicitly (or implicitly) support the notion of "small government".

Amendment 16 says:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
What? Nothing there about what congress is not allowed to spend money on? Why? Perhaps because the framers of the constitution expected the government to spend money in order to provide for the common welfare!

You state
The Fed is there for one purpose, to protect the citizens of this country
yet the constitution actually says:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The writers of the constitution did not limit it just to "the common defence".

But, of course, is this an "originalist" interpretation? Why not check out the Federalist papers on this?

Federalist Paper 30 starts off with
IT HAS been already observed that the federal government ought to possess the power of providing for the support of the national forces; in which proposition was intended to be included the expense of raising troops, of building and equipping fleets, and all other expenses in any wise connected with military arrangements and operations. But these are not the only objects to which the jurisdiction of the Union, in respect to revenue, must necessarily be empowered to extend. It must embrace a provision for the support of the national civil list; for the payment of the national debts contracted, or that may be contracted; and, in general, for all those matters which will call for disbursements out of the national treasury. The conclusion is, that there must be interwoven, in the frame of the government, a general power of taxation, in one shape or another.
All this disproves the notion that the constitution limits the federal government to spending on national defence only and exclusively. Rather, it proves that congress may raise taxes and increase revenue in order to promote general welfare and institute domestic tranquillity.


The Antarctic is getting...

Scientists believe global warming is affecting Antarctica at the same rate as the rest of the planet, contradicting earlier studies that suggested the coldest continent was getting cooler.

Climate scientists had puzzled over Antarctica, believing that while some parts of the continent like the Antarctic peninsula had been warming up, the vast interior was getting cooler.

Tracking temperature trends across the cold and barren continent is difficult.

Long term weather records are limited, but scientists in the United States used them in conjunction with more recent satellite data to calculate half a century of records for the entire continent.

Their results, published in the journal Nature, show that western Antarctica is warming a lot faster than had been thought, at a rate of about 0.1 degrees Celsius every decade.

Eastern Antarctica is cooler, but overall the continent is getting warmer, mirroring the rest of the planet.

The scientists believe warmer sea temperatures and winds are behind the warming trend.


Slow Blogging because

  • It is hot. I get heat rash in summer and itching sort of kills my concentration/motivation.
  • Mother-in-law getting sick again.
  • Summer holidays mean that kids are home.
  • Waiting for US Dollar crash so I can begin "I told you so" blog articles about the importance of The Washington Consensus.
  • Waiting until Bush is replaced by Obama.
Leo Paolucci rules.


OSO's debt watch

Public Debt on 2009-01-14 was $6.29 Trillion

US GDP in 2008 Q3 was $14.41 Trillion

Debt/GDP Ratio: 43.63%
( [Debt ÷ GDP] x 100 )

Public Debt/Person: $20,553.13
(Public Debt ÷US Population)


Public debt is $6,288,674,179,920.54 Source
Latest GDP is $14,412.8 billion Source
Population in November 2008 is 305,971,664. Source (Resident population plus armed forces overseas).

  • 2008 Q4 GDP will be released on 30-Jan-2009. I am expecting a significant decline for this quarter.

Problems with Australian Cricket

I wrote this in a comments thread at cricinfo:
Maybe I'm too schooled in the Ian Chappell way of thinking but... As far as I'm concerned, when it comes to selecting bowlers, you pick the four best blokes in the country. If one of them happens to have a batting average in the 30s, more power to him. If the four bowlers all happen to be pace bowlers, then pick them instead of 3 pace bowlers and a bad spinner. Fact: Australia can't produce either a world-class all rounder or a world-class spinner. We can't create a spot in the top xi for a player who doesn't exist. If the best we can do is to pick four pace bowlers, six specialist batsmen and a wicketkeeper, then so be it. It worked for the Windies back in the 80s.


Too Hot

It's nearly mid-day here in Newcastle, and the temperature is 36.6° Celsius.

That's 97.88° Fahrenheit.

No wonder it is difficult to blog.

Anyone in the Northern Hemisphere want to swap places? I could do with freezing at the moment...

Friday update: It eventually reached 42° (107.6°F) on that day. Fortunately a cool change came through and dumped a bit of rain on us. Friday was much cooler.


US Unemployment

Today is yet another doomsday - the December 2008 unemployment figures are due and the expectation is something bad.

November 2008 rate was 6.7%.

I predicted that US unemployment would reach 7.0% in 2008
, and with the final month's stats now due I think it is very likely that the 7.0% rate will be broken.

OSO's low estimate: 7.0% (the average the entrail readers estimate)

OSO's high estimate 7.6% (which would equal the highest monthly increase since January 1975, where it increased from 7.2% in December 1974 to 8.1% in January 1975).

If the rate ends up exceeding 7.6% (and these are unusual times, so the chances are that it might) then all those comparisons to the great depression will become even louder.

I think the markets have factored in anything up to 7.2%. Shares and US Dollar are hardly going to move with any rate between 7.0% and 7.2%. Less than 7.0% will be bullish. Higher than 7.2% will be bearish. Higher than 7.6% will see some major moves, especially in the US Dollar.

Regardless of the result, if you're American I would continue to advise investment in Euro, Yen and Gold.

The release will be available here at 0830 EST / 1330 GMT.

China cooling on US debt

Naked Capitalism has the lowdown here. Quotes:
Separate and apart from China's changing fortunes, the continued purchase of US debt was becoming controversial in bureaucratic and popular circles. The tone increasingly was that China had been snookered into buying lousy US paper. And since the regime had depended on continued growth to maintain legitimacy and social cohesion, the officialdom will need to find scapegoats for the downturn. Regardless of where one thinks the truth really lies, it's a no-brainer that the US will become a leading culprit.


I hate to say this, but if China were to be rational about their Treasuries, they are a sunk cost. Will China realistically ever see 100 cents per dollar invested? The answer is certain to be no. The US is out to create inflation (as a matter of policy, to avoid deflation taking hold). In addition, the massive federal deficits in the pipeline, plus the high odds of a somehow cosmeticized bailout of the Fed down the road (it has been hoovering up crappy assets certain to be worth less than their reported value) will necessitate a default via inflation. And since China has run double digits inflation, they really can't complain if we go that course. And that's before we consider that the powers that be, like just about every economy in the world, presumably want their currency to be weaker (a weaker dollar would also erode the value of US government paper). How that race tot the bottom plays out is anyone's guess.
In short, the US economy is pretty much in China's pocket. With a massive trade imbalance going back decades, this was always going to happen, but no one listened.

Either China will have a disproportionate influence on what Congress and the Fed do from now on, or the dollar will crash.

As I have said before - there is no logical reason why anyone would want to invest in the US at the moment - the sharemarket has crashed, the property bubble has popped and treasuries are offering less than 1% interest. At some point investors will realise that they can make more money outside the US.


OSO's debt watch

Public Debt on 2009-01-06 was $6.32 Trillion

US GDP in 2008 Q3 was $14.41 Trillion

Debt/GDP Ratio: 43.84%
( [Debt ÷ GDP] x 100 )

Public Debt/Person: $20,651.62
(Public Debt
÷US Population)



Public debt is $6,322,765,588,713.41 Source
Latest GDP is $14,412.8 billion Source
Population in November 2008 is 305,971,664. Source (Resident population plus armed forces overseas).

  • Again, another drop in debt, though slight.
  • 2008 Q4 GDP will be released on 30-Jan-2009. I am expecting a significant decline for this quarter.

The Boxing Day Test in Melbourne

Here's some interesting history about the "Traditional Boxing Day Test":

  • The first time Australia played Test cricket on Boxing Day was at the SCG in 1924, against England. It is the only time in history that Sydney has hosted a Test that covered Boxing Day.
  • The first time the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) held a Test match played on Boxing day was in 1950, against England. The match started on the 22nd.
  • The first time the MCG held a Test match that started on Boxing Day was in 1968, against the West Indies.
  • The first time the MCG held successive Boxing day Tests was in 1975 against the West Indies ( it was against England in 1974)
  • The last time the MCG did not have a Test starting on Boxing Day was in 1994 against England, which started on the 24th.
  • The last time the MCG did not have any Test match covering Boxing Day was in 1989 when it was replaced by a One Day International against Sri Lanka. The Test match was held on January 12th 1990, against Pakistan.
  • The Adelaide Cricket Ground has seen three Tests on Boxing Day (1967, 1972 and 1976). The 1951 Adelaide Test would've been the first instance, but finished on Christmas Day after three days.
  • Australia have played five Tests overseas on Boxing Day (once in Madras, three times in Johannesburg and once in Durban)
  • The MCG has hosted 28 Tests (so far) that have started on December 26th
  • The MCG has hosted 32 Tests (so far) that started around or at the New Year.
  • Australia has played four Tests on Christmas Day. None of these were at the MCG (twice in Adelaide and twice overseas)


Gary Busey at Something Awful

The goons over at Something Awful have been photoshopping Gary Busey. I hope they do Nick Nolte next.

Anyway, here are pics that make me laugh:

That last one is, of course, Sean Penn's Birthday party when nobody turned up.



Judgment at Nuremberg:
But this trial has shown that under the stress of a national crisis, men - even able and extraordinary men - can delude themselves into the commission of crimes and atrocities so vast and heinous as to stagger the imagination. No one who has sat through this trial can ever forget. The sterilization of men because of their political beliefs... The murder of children... How *easily* that can happen! There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the "protection" of the country. Of "survival". The answer to that is: *survival as what*? A country isn't a rock. And it isn't an extension of one's self. *It's what it stands for, when standing for something is the most difficult!* Before the people of the world - let it now be noted in our decision here that this is what *we* stand for: *justice, truth... and the value of a single human being!*
I love it when the words of the past - even words uttered by fictional characters - can so utterly convict and expose the present.

This film should have been essential viewing for anyone in US military charged with making tough decisions after 9/11.


From the NYT:
With the F.B.I. preparing to close the case, The New York Times has taken the deepest look so far at the investigation, speaking to dozens of Dr. Ivins’s colleagues and friends, reading hundreds of his e-mail messages, interviewing former bureau investigators and anthrax experts, reviewing court records, and obtaining, for the first time, police reports on his suicide in July, including a lengthy recorded interview with his wife.

That examination found that unless new evidence were to surface, the enormous public investment in the case would appear to have yielded nothing more persuasive than a strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances, that Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator.

Focused for years on the wrong man, the bureau missed ample clues that Dr. Ivins deserved a closer look. Only after a change of leadership nearly five years after the attacks did the bureau more fully look into Dr. Ivins’s activities. That delay, and his death, may have put a more definitive outcome out of reach.

Brad Garrett, a respected F.B.I. veteran who helped early in the case before his retirement, said logic and evidence point to Dr. Ivins as the most likely perpetrator.
It's that second paragraph that is important. While Ivins seemed the most likely candidate and a series of circumstantial evidence pointed to this, Ivins could've simply been the wrong man in the wrong place: there was nothing that tied the guy directly to the crimes.

It's sad, but when a person is accused of a crime they did not commit, their subsequent behaviour can quite often appear to show a level of guilt. Ivins certainly acted as though he was guilty after he became a suspect... but then so did another suspect, Stephen Hatfill, who was subsequently exonerated for any involvement in the case.

The article shows just how unprofessional the FBI was in the early days of the case and how mistakes were made. I'm no conspiracy theorist (I don't think the Anthrax attacks were some secret attack on the US by its own government) but I do think that there is enough doubt on Ivins as a suspect - there is every possibility that another person did it and was able to cover his/her tracks in the years after the attacks took place (when the FBI was prevaricating).

Was the Anthrax sourced from within the US? I have no doubt whatsoever that this was the case. Was the Anthrax sent by someone working in a US government biological laboratory? I have no doubt. Was that person Dr Bruce Ivins? Maybe - but that's as far as the evidence seems to go.


OSO's debt watch

Public Debt on 2008-12-30 was $6.32 Trillion

US GDP in 2008 Q3 was $14.41 Trillion

Debt/GDP Ratio: 43.86%
( [Debt ÷ GDP] x 100 )

Public Debt/Person: $20,664.55
(Public Debt
÷US Population)



Public debt is $6,322,765,588,713.41 Source
Latest GDP is $14,412.8 billion Source
Population in November 2008 is 305,971,664. Source (Resident population plus armed forces overseas).

  • Given the massive bailout, it seems possible that the increased debt figures are not being reported, leading to lower levels of Public Debt. This is simply an accounting issue and makes the whole purpose of reporting public debt more opaque.
  • The only other explanation I can think of for this lowering of public debt is that these figures are not seasonally adjusted, meaning that this is one period of the year when tax revenues increase and help pay off debt. This means, of course, that it is only a matter of time before public debt levels rise again.