Morrison’s “good debt, bad debt” spin has a twofold purpose.
Firstly, it is an admission that the Coalition has abandoned its foolhardy promise to eliminate debt and an attempt to justify them borrowing for pet projects.
Secondly, with his categorisation of recurring expenditure as “bad debt”, Morrison is softening us up for cuts to health, education and welfare.
But the figures show that we are not borrowing to fund these crucial aspects of our society. We pay for them with our taxes and the revenue from our assets.
The last budget estimated that general government receipts would be $411.3 billion in 2016-17. The total spending on education, health, social security and welfare was estimated to be $263.7 billion or 64% of receipts.
In 2019-20, total receipts were projected to be $500.7 billion with spending on education, health, social security and welfare to be $306.9 billion – 61% of receipts.
In other words, contrary to government rhetoric, recurrent expenditure on these items is projected to fall as a proportion of revenue.
Health and education are proven productivity enhancers, and the provision of a genuine safety net is a responsibility for a wealthy nation like ours.
Debt is certainly increasing with no sign of going backwards any time soon but it isn’t going towards health, education or welfare which are more than paid for by the citizens of Australia.
Let’s have a cost benefit analysis for 12 submarines and 72 dud jets and hundreds of billions being spent on war toys, war games and our interference in foreign conflicts.
Or a CBA for the offshore detainment of refugees.
Or a CBA for the Coalition’s Direct Action policy and ERF auctions.
Or a CBA for politicians’ expenses and the hundreds of millions given to parties by the electoral offices.
Or all the other non-productive things that we don’t want our money spent on that the government is borrowing to pay for.
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