Monday 7 May 2018
Tuesday night the Treasurer will deliver yet another pre-election budget which will undoubtedly be just that. It will neglect the long-term common good in favour of retaining power. As is usual some things have been leaked but it seems more sweeteners will be handed out on the night.
Unashamedly all pretence to “Debt and deficit” has been dropped as if it never existed and was never a problem. Morrisson will have doubled the debt but will say “bugger it”, the kids can pay for that. Australia has had a “disappointing” debt legacy created by federal governments of both persuasions.
If something is not done now the young of today will live lives more impoverished than their parents. They will look back and ask why on earth were the olds so stupid? Look at all the prosperity you had and what did you do with it? Why didn’t you invest in our people rather than seek profit?
Pre-night rumours abound, the first being that the Government plans to spend $100 billion on increased in-home care and streamlined services which should be popular amongst their key voters. I read on the weekend that the 2018 Turnbull government budget will build on the foundation provided by the Gillard government’s “Living Longer, Living Better plan”.
From what has been leaked thus far it would appear that Aged Care will be a major beneficiary of the handouts with in-house care a central focus. This, of course, will appease the older members of the community who are the conservative base.
Tax cuts will also be a central feature in this pre-election budget. They will apply to those earning under $87,000.
Depending on when they apply personal tax cuts will momentarily replace wage rises that seem to have dried up. Those earning above $180,000 will benefit from 2024. I cannot imagine too many getting excited about that prospect.
Mr Morrison won’t say if the budget will be back in surplus faster. Last year he predicted the budget would be back in surplus in 2021, after a deficit of just $2.5 billion in 2020. First and foremost the budget must be if we are to have sustainable surpluses, be fair and reasonable recognising that revenue is important. Something they have denied for years.
Labor is in the box seat to match the Coalition promises with a huge war-chest from not proceeding with company tax cuts, and to achieve a stronger surplus. However, both parties need to urgently tackle the problem of “bracket creep” otherwise tax cuts will become meaningless. Having said that the whole tax system badly needs a review.
All the permanent promises so far have been made on a temporary and sudden rise in revenue.
If there were to be a domestic or worldwide economic downturn then we would be up shit creek without a paddle.
So far all we are seeing are sweeteners when what is needed is a grand plan that explains Australia’s economic path toward the future that includes jobs and growth and takes into account the collective feelings of our citizens, or “Common Good” as I have written on these pages dozens of times.
“Trickle-down economics” that had failed to result in higher wages or more equal wealth distribution will continue to hold sway with conservative thinking even though it is fairly well acknowledged that it simply doesn’t work.
Their closeted conservative minds just will not “acknowledge the empirical evidence that greater equality and decent living standards increase economic growth as promoted by organisations such as the IMF, OECD and the World Bank”.
Australia’s peak Union body asked the Turnbull government to recognise demand “as a crucial driver of economic and job growth, and that raising the wages and living standards of low and middle-income households increases the size of the economic pie for everyone”.
The ACTU also backed Labor’s plans to curb negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, and reform tax arrangements for family trusts.
So, my tip for Tuesday is a typical Conservative budget, one laced with sweeteners for the upcoming election. It will not address fairness in a changing society but further, reinforce its reliance on drip down economics in order to make the rich richer.
Budget in reply
The “budget in reply” speech need not necessarily be a direct redress to the Treasurer’s budget speech because Bill Shorten is at liberty to digress into various aspects of country and economy. So, he should take the opportunity to expand on the words of:
“I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I’m obliged to do all I can.”
“Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
Labor philosophy (no link available)
“Is it impossible to hope that there are some people of integrity who might form a centrist party dedicated to honest government for all and the principles of “from each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need”? There is no one now to keep the bastards honest.”
All this talk about budget surpluses doesn’t register with the historical facts
“Since 1945, significant budget surpluses have been achieved only rarely: once by Ben Chifley, three times by Bob Hawke, and eight times by John Howard, who shared another with Rudd, who was elected during the 2007-08 fiscal year. That is, the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments managed only a few, small surpluses. So much for the claim about the Coalition’s Fiscal management. The surpluses by Howard came from an unprecedented, never to be repeated mining boom and the sale of public assets. Let’s keep it in perspective.”
My thought for the day
”We live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us. The shame is that we have normalised them and adjusted accordingly”.
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