The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I know its early...But Rory Robertson on Sh*t Storm by Uren/Taylor

In his subscriber-only research note overnight, my boar-chasing pal Rory Robertson had this to say about David Uren and Lenore Taylor's new book:

"Finally, I’ve now got myself a copy of “Sh*tstorm” - Lenore Taylor and David Uren’s inside account of the economic, financial and policy drama of the past few years. I’ve only cruised through a couple of chapters so far but it seems an excellent read.

I laughed heartily at 3am this morning when I read that Tim Stewart - “the favoured Wall Street source for Australian economic officials” - is “physically imposing”. To be clear, Tim is not tall! And, to be fair, he’s barely half as “physically imposing” as (say) a certain high-profile Queensland miner recently much in the news.

RBA officials probably rushed to bookstores weeks ago, as there’s a chapter called “Reserve in Reverse” that kicks off with the notorious “Most Useless Man in Australia” episode.

Among other snippets, Dr Phil Lowe and Dr Guy Debelle both are described as “scarily bright” (correct) and earning “about $650,000” per annum. That figure may be of interest to their much-mentioned former RBA colleague, Dr (Dr) David Gruen, now a heavy-hitter at Treasury, and who has as many PhDs as Phil and Guy combined – although neither is from MIT!

On policy, the book (on p. 96) reports that the RBA’s Policy Discussion Group (PDG) recommended 50bp cuts in both October and November 2008, with Governor Stevens only days later delivering rate cuts of 100bp then 75bp. Actually, the RBA’s published Board “minutes” state that the PDG paper recommended a cut of “at least 50 basis points” in October. Nor is the book quite correct in stating that financial markets had no “inkling” that the October cut might be bigger than 50bp as the possibility of a 75bp or 100bp hike had indeed been highlighted. I’m looking forward to the remaining chapters tonight."