But of course.
Australian treasurer Wayne Swan says that tough measures to be introduced in tomorrow’s federal budget, are the fault of John Howard’s big spending policies.
When John Howard and Peter Costello’s government left office there was zero public debt, a substantial surplus (about $22 billion) lower taxes, record low unemployment, and higher real wages.
But it’s not our fault, say Rudd and Swan. It’s the wrong trousers. And they’ve gone wrong.
According to Swan ‘The opposition does not understand that the planned deficit is not a consequence of government spending.’ Ah. Right. OK then.
In February Peter Costello predicted the Labor government would never deliver a surplus budget. And of course was told he was a dinosaur, out of touch.
I agree with some of the measures to be introduced in tomorrow’s budget. The government shouldn’t be handing out money to people who don’t need it.
There is no reason why people on substantial incomes of $120,000 or more need me to subsidise their health care, or insurance, or home purchase, or baby clothes. Welfare and government support should be kept for those who really need it.
The Labor government is right to limit that kind of pointless spending – even though doing so is a breach of campaign promises.
But the savings will be minimal in terms of the overall budget. As will the increase in revenue from increasing the tax paid by the small percentage of successful people who already pay most, both in dollar terms and as a proportion of total taxes paid.
The real problem is massive and counter-productive ‘stimulus’ spending which will saddle ordinary Australian families with a debt amounting to between $10 and $15 thousand for every person living in this country.
If figures from the UK apply here, there will be another $10 to $15 thousand per person to meet Kyoto and ETS costs.
Rudd, Swan and their honchos are hopelessly divorced from reality.
One can only hope that some sort of cognitive dissonance will set in, and changes be made, before the Australian economy becomes a mess to rival the Augean Stables.