“Human beings cannot comprehend very large or very small numbers. It would be useful for us to acknowledge that fact.” Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize-winning psychologist.
Numbers have always fascinated me. Or rather, I’ve always been fascinated by people’s inability to understand them. If that sounds arrogant and as though I seem to think I’m better than everyone else, so be it. That seems to be a way of making oneself popular these days. For the past few years, the Liberal Party have been saying that they’re just so awesome and that the current government is just a pack of losers, and that they should be government and that they were robbed. Strangely, if they were the team that lost a Grand Final nobody would be impressed by their behaviour, but in politics, it seems to be a way to win people’s hearts and minds.
But I digress. Numbers. Really big ones. Like the budget deficit. It’s really, really big. It’s scarily big. Until you break it down. Then it just becomes mildly scary. Or as one News Limited paper told us last week, the total interest on the Government’s deficit with cost every working Australian about $5 a week. Or $250 a year. Mm, that’s about a day’s wage for some people, an hour’s wage for others, and if Gina gets her way, a year’s wage for anyone in her employ.
Of course, the figure that fascinates me today is the $75,000,000,000 dollars of savings the Liberals have identified over the next five years. That’s a lot. But the first thing that they’ll do, of course, is add to the bureaucracy. From the Liberal Website:
Commission of Audit For the 1st time in 16 years, we’ll immediately establish a Commission of Audit – to identify savings and efficiencies in all areas of government so we can start delivering real and sustainable budget surpluses into the future.
Mm! So they’ll spend money working out how to save money. Or to look at it another way, they’ll create a new bureaucracy that’ll work out how to get rid of the other bureaucracies.
Perhaps, the Liberal slogan could be: We guarantee that we’ll take more off you in tax than we’ll give back in services, because that’s what a surplus means!
Over the past forty years, Labor have given you Medicare (bank), Superannuation, the NBN, the NDIS, and next they’re trying to implement Gonski. Compare that to our proudest achievement: the GST! And we promise we won’t put that up in our FIRST term of Government.
Or (to break down a really big number).
Over the next five years, we promise to take $15,000 off every Australian! Sorry, we promise to save $75 billion.