Responding to Treasurer Swan’s Budget
To journalists in Parliament’s Great Hall
He seemed so anxious to fudge it
He forgot – pride comes before a fall!
He spoke at length of his sadness
For a cousin who’d hit the wall,
Weighed down by Government madness,
Rules and red tape. (Not that tax after all?)
Not that he was offering tax cuts,
Like Labor to later recall.
The Liberal Party has guts.
They’ll audit, any false hopes forestall.
No dodgy Treasury statistics;
His own will be true, line ball,
Straight shooting like Tony’s ballistics
With Aussies again walking tall.
From reports in that evening’s news
His oratory failed to enthral.
Next day’s media collective views
Seemed to be he’d said bugger all.
Sorry this is almost out of date. I almost didn’t bother posting my impressions of Joe Hockey’s BIR speech, so unimpressed was I but as the week wore on I realised I was in good company. No economist myself it was encouraging to read that economists I respect shared my view. By now you will all have read people like Greg Jericho, Stephen Koukoulas et alia who although perhaps not as scathing or funny as Bob Ellis would probably agree with him that we shouldn’t buy a used economy from the man pictured above my pome.
The expression, or lack of it, on the faces of his audience in Parliament’s Great Hall must have told Joe that what he was saying was going down like a lead balloon. Partisan as I am I wondered if they also shared my distaste, so insulting did it seem to Treasurer, Wayne Swan, to Prime Minister Gillard and her government, and to all of us who live in Australia and are proud of the achievements of our country at a time when most of the developed world is doing less than well. But then Joe, Tony Abbott and Co, supported by the might of Rupert Murdoch’s money and his News media minions, have been insulting the intelligence of all us for three years now, so what more did I expect?
This weekend I was encouraged to see that Ross Gittins thinks that Australia’s underlying structural deficit which can lead to debit difficulties for us during times of depression such as the world has been experiencing recently was actually caused by Peter Costello’s lack of foresight and over commitment to tax cuts during the mineral boom years of Coalition ascendancy. So Joe is not only lying about the mess he says Australia is in right now, but also not taking responsibility for his own government’s share in generating some of the problems Treasurer Wayne Swan has been dealing with so effectively. I hope our top star Treasurer knows that in spite of News Ltd and others trying to give a spurious credibility to Abbott and Hockey, there are many people like me and bloggers such as Judd and Frank at Bob Ellis's site who can see how well he has done in producing a
“Strong economy. AAA credit rating by all three agencies. Low interest rates. Low unemployment. Low inflation. Building lots of things (NBN, NDIS, hospitals, schools, ports and roads all at record levels of invesment – and it is investment, not ‘spending’ because it sets the place up for another generation of prosperity).”
And if that’s doesn’t do it for you, how about this from John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia?
“When the current prime minister and the treasurer and others tell you that the Australian economy is doing better than most – they are right,” he said.
“We are still fortunate that we have an unemployment rate with a five in front of it. I wouldn’t have thought that was going to be possible a couple of years ago, and I don’t think many people would have. Our unemployment has remained pleasingly quite low.
“And our debt to GDP ratio, the amount of money we owe to the strength of our economy, is still a lot better than most other countries.”