Many of us are not surprised to learn that the Treasurer, Wayne Swan today announced that it was unlikely that Labor will be able to achieve the promised budget surplus in 2012/13. For the purpose of this post I won’t go into any of the reasons or throw figures at you.
Economists are in unison, agreeing that the Government has done the right thing to drop the surplus commitment. Unsurprisingly, evidence of their support is very hard to find in our media online news sites. If you’re lucky you might catch a brief interview with one of them on TV. One of them might even be given the chance to explain why this is a good outcome.
The reason Australia was able to escape the Global Financial Crisis of a few years back was because it had the guts to spend money and thus create jobs. Again, I won’t go into that as we all know how Australia benefited from this bold, but necessary move.
Well, almost everybody knows we benefited. The exceptions being our Murdoch media and the Federal Opposition. And today we hear that this duo are still the world experts on the Australian economy. Today, their opinions take precedence over our economy. The online news sites are filled with nothing but their ‘valued’ opinions.
From that economic minnow Terry McCrann:
Wayne Swan’s decision to finally come clean and admit the bleeding obvious with the budget is just another cynical and dishonest move from a discredited treasurer in a completely discredited government.
It’s been blindingly obvious for months that there was no way the budget was going to swing miraculously from a massive $44 billion deficit last year to a tiny $1 billion surplus this year.
Indeed, it’s been obvious right back to budget night in May.
But Swan and prime minister Julia Gillard believed they had to keep promising a surplus, after her: “There’ll be no deficit in 2012-13 under a Government I lead”.
Swan quite deliberately brought the mid-year budget update forward, while the figures could still be massaged to still pretend to predict a surplus.
Even though the surplus predicted was pathetically, meaninglessly small.
Now he’s just as dishonestly chosen to tell the truth just before Christmas and the extended summer break.
Did McCrann focus on the economy? No.
BTW, how does one dishonestly tell the truth?
From ‘he who runs away‘:
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said it was a “humiliating, embarrassing, nervous announcement from the Treasurer”.
Mr Abbott said the surplus was not a forecast – “it was a fact”.
“It has now been dumped,” he said.
“You just can’t trust this government to manage the economy. You just can’t trust this government to tell the truth”.
Mr Abbott said the Prime Minister made “two solemn covenants” during the election – the carbon tax and the surplus.
“She said that the day after she made the no carbon tax commitment. This second solemn commitment, this second covenant with the Australian people, dumped.”
“For three years they have been boasting of this surplus. Well, they don’t have that anymore”.
Did Abbott focus on the economy? No.
Even from Mr Eleventy:
Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said it is “not in the Labor party’s DNA to live within their means”.
“Taking out the garbage five minutes before Christmas is the way the Labor party operates,” he said.
“They are treating the Australian people with contempt.”
Did Hockey focus on the economy? No.
And this front page non-story ‘ha ha I told you so’ from an un-named news.com reporter:
Treasurer Wayne Swan:
“We’ll be back in the black by 2012/13, as promised.” (May 2011)
“The government remains absolutely committed to delivering our return to surplus as we planned.” (August 2011)
“We’ve nailed our colours to the mast.” (February 2012)
“Despite the tough global conditions, we remain determined to return the budget to surplus in 2012/13, and we will get there.” (March 2012)
Prime Minister Julia Gillard:
“My commitment to a surplus in 2012/13 was a promise made and it will be honoured.” (April 2011)
“We stand by the predictions, the entries in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. We stand by the figures and we’re on track to deliver a budget surplus.” (November 2012)
Did he or she focus on the economy? No.
Of course they don’t want to focus on the economy. It’s going gangbusters and will continue to do so.
Well done, Mr Swan, on what is another bold move. I don’t care what you said previously. You have the good sense to act upon approaching change, rather than react after the change.
As an aside, I’ve never supported the need for such a quick return to a surplus as I believe it has been the Government’s hasty response to pressure from the media, the public and the Opposition. Unfortunately they are going to be under attack from all sides over this. It’s my hunch that the leading economists in the country – who support the move – will be gagged by the media.
Is it too much to ask that the critics try and focus on what’s important, ie, the economy?
PS: This announcement has really let Abbott off the hook. He’s happy to face the media again.
Wayne Swan, Treasurer of Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)