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Unravelling Frydenberg’s mind

By Ad astra  

Since Treasurer Josh Frydenberg sits side-by-side with PM Morrison at the pinnacle of the Morrison government, it is appropriate that we query the state of his mind, just as we sought to understand Morrison’s in Unraveling Morrison’s Mind.

There is no evidence that he is attracted to the conspiracy theories that fascinate Morrison, nor is he known for taking an evangelical approach to his politics. He is of the Jewish Faith, and on the face of it, seems to follow it in an orthodox way.

What then goes on in his mind as he pursues his role as Treasurer?

First, he finds it un-embarrassing to repeat over and again a set of blatant lies.

Let’s start with ‘wages growth is picking up’. The objective evidence shows that this is not so. So strident is this line that his Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, repeats the lie at every opportunity“Our economic agenda has been successful in delivering stronger growth, in delivering stronger employment growth, in helping to drive the unemployment rate down and wages growth is picking up.” He even had the effrontery to repeat the claim only a few days ago. “Something we don’t read much about, in fact we are often told the opposite somehow – wages growth is picking up.”

So whom do we believe? What about the Reserve Bank? An unambiguous assertion in its November Statement of Monetary Policy reads: “… wage growth is no longer expected to pick up.” The bank has downgraded its forecasts to 2.2% for the rest of this calendar year, before growth “picks up” again next year… to 2.3%, where it will stay well into the 2020s.”  0.1% is not much of a ‘pick up’ over the decade ahead, and is well short of the ‘pick up’ in inflation!

The bald assessment of the RBA has had no effect on Frydenberg or Cormann. Although Abraham Lincoln reminded us long ago ”You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”, they persist with this blatant lie over and again.

The lie is all the more cruel as it gives false hope to the countless wage earners who have been looking for a wage rise for so long. The reality of wage stagnation has been with them month after month, year after year, and threatens to extend into the next decade.

If you wish to see what wages growth there has been for each state and territory for the last ten years, look here: The graphs tell the sorry story. Not so impressive is it?

What sort of person continues to lie so blatantly? Unraveling this feature of Frydenberg’s mind seems more challenging than unraveling Morrison’s mind. At least with Morrison there was some evidence of his penchant for conspiracy theories and evangelical talk. But how can one explain Frydenberg’s penchant for unashamedly and repeatedly lying? And he knows he’s lying – the evidence of his lies is before his eyes every day.

One can only assume that for Frydenberg lying is part and parcel of his modus operandi, an innate element of his character that troubles him not! Perhaps he takes the view that so long as it serves his purpose, lying is a standard political procedure.

Wages growth is not the only focus of his lies. He still claims to be headed for a surplus by ‘paying down Labor’s debt’. As Kaye Lee says in the November 10 issue of an article tited: MYEFO will be interesting in AIMN:

…“the underlying cash balance for the financial year to 30 September 2019 was a deficit of $13,853 million i.e. in the first quarter of this financial year, we have spent almost $14 billion more than we have received.

And there are implications for the upcoming MYEFO as budget predictions are falling short. The net operating balance for the year to 30 September 2019 was a deficit of $15,209 million, which is $2,681 million higher than the 2019-20 Budget profile deficit of $12,528 million. The difference results from lower than expected revenue and higher expenses.

The fiscal balance for the year to 30 September 2019 was a deficit of $14,650 million, which is $928 million higher than the 2019-20 Budget profile deficit of $13,721 million. The difference results from lower than expected revenue, higher expenses and lower net capital investment. There have also been downgrades for expected wages and GDP growth.

So there’s another set of Frydenberg lies.

Here’s yet another from Michael Pascoe in The New Daily: Frydenberg’s tax cut for foreign investors is a triumph of spin over substance:

Whenever he gets the opportunity, Treasurer Frydenberg likes to trot out his “record $100 billion infrastructure investment” line from his April budget. To put it kindly, that’s just political spin.

The $100 billion is over 10 years – $10 billion a year. Back in 2014, then-Treasurer Joe Hockey was promising $50 billion over six years – $8.33 billion a year. Midway through Mr Frydenberg’s promised decade, Joe’s $8.33 billion in 2014 dollars will be worth more than Josh’s $10 billion in 2024 dollars. It’s a con to sell it as an increase. And the colour of the “new” Federal money is yet to be seen, other than some $35 million spent on advertising it.

And the final kicker for Mr Frydenberg’s stunt is its emphasis on mega-projects, things costing more than half a billion dollars. Politicians do love the big announcement, as Utopia viewers and Infrastructure Australia know.

Now Frydenberg is into giving loans to overseas investors. As Michael Pascoe puts it:

It is no surprise, then, that the government, wanting to be seen to be “doing something” about a stagnant economy, has reached for a tax stunt – a 50 per cent tax cut for foreigners wanting to invest in big infrastructure projects here. It doesn’t matter that various economists have immediately called out the nonsense. It doesn’t matter that this is an unnecessary waste of revenue, will have little (if any) net positive impact on getting new projects underway, that the impact (if there is any) will be many years away when the economy needs help now.

It only matters that it’s something for the Treasurer to announce when the government is under pressure over falling wages growth and rising unemployment…It matters only that the stunt was swallowed by a compliant media! The simple reality is that the world is awash with capital desperate for anything worthwhile to invest in…it is a shortage of projects being brought forward by governments, a shortage of political vision. The big investors, including those leading our $2.7 trillion superannuation money mountain, are scouring the world for infrastructure projects…While Treasurer Frydenberg feeds his media chooks the necessity of cutting foreign investors’ withholding tax from 30 per cent to 15 per cent, there is more than $20 trillion sitting in government and corporate bonds offering negative interest rates. That is an amount of money that is impossible to comprehend. It’s a quarter of all the world’s government bonds.

Anyone brighter than Josh Frydenberg should be able to see there’s no need to halve tax to attract investment in such a climate. Indeed, the Australian government can presently borrow money for 10 years for about one per cent. The opportunity exists for the government to issue “infrastructure bonds” and get knocked over in the rush by investors foreign and local.

Now he’s telling older Australians they may have to work longer. Warning that there was ‘an economic and fiscal timebomb facing the country’ that would place new demands on our health, aged care and pension systems, he argued that people in their mid- and late-60s will have to work longer and undertake training to keep in touch with the jobs market as pressure builds on the budget bottom line. But economist Euan Black, writing in The New Daily, argues that Frydenberg is ‘missing the point simply because there aren’t enough jobs to go around!

Need I go on? Frydenberg’s mind, uncluttered by conspiracy theories, is cluttered with economic gobbledygook, which is even more dangerous that conspiracy theories when he bedazzles the man-in-the-street into believing that he knows what he’s talking about. He lies unashamedly until he believes his own lies.

Which is more dangerous – Morrison’s attraction to conspiracy theories and evangelical talk, or Frydenberg’s addiction to lying and misrepresentation, together with the economic incompetence he exhibits day after day?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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19 comments

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  1. Patricia

    Frydenberg is Peter Costello’s political love child. That is all you need to know to figure out how his mind works.

    Frydenberg lies because the media don’t call him out on his lies. Every time he lies and the media just stands around like stunned mullets he is given permission to continue lying and to make his lies more and more outrageous and lacking in any fact or logic.

    The media in this country, and every other country that is infested with the parasite Murdoch media, has a lot to answer for in the way the LNP has been allowed to act.

  2. Lambchop Simnel

    He HAS a mind?

    Ok, I’ll read the piece itself, but at the moment it looks like water in a desert.

    Later..

    Wait, just read Patricia, no more to say.

  3. One Foot In The Grave

    Isn’t it wonderful to have so many brilliant economic managers in charge of our country?They lie like pigs in shit and are totally unfussed by it.What the fuck is going on? It has been obvious for years,starting with the Lying Rodent,the cudgel taken up by the Mad Monk,continued unconvincingly by Trumble and elevated by the most convincing, self satisfied arsehole of all,No fault Morrison.I really hope there is a God and he has been quoted accurately.

  4. Graham

    The media lets him get away with it because (a) they do not know enough about economics to ask him the right questions and (b) they are looking for a “gotcha” news scoop.

    Frydenberg has an Honours degree in economics so when he says the government has done X that will achieve Y, he should be called out by asking what is the mechanism whereby X will achieve Y, what is the time frame over which that will occur and what exogenous factors could affect that, in which way and by how much?.

    As an economist he should be able to answer these questions, but don’t expect him to because doing so would (a) display his dearth of knowledge of how the real economy works and (b) would display how locked into thoroughly discredited economic theories the Government actually is.

  5. New England Cocky

    What would you expect failed professional tennis player to know about international economics or even economics? Nothing!! And that is exactly what you see. It is better to be thought stupid because you do not speak rather than be proven stupid by opening your mouth and showing that you know nothing.

    Then in the Murdoch MSM, Patricia says it all …..

  6. Matters Not

    Give Frydenberg a break. See him as an actor (either good or bad) who is just playing a role – like many have before and will do again in the future. The idea that politicians appointed as Treasurers have (or even should have) particular economic expertise or refined social justice goals is just so much ‘pie in the sky’, laughable and worrying in its naivety . That’s not what gets them the gig in the first place and it’s certainly not what keeps them in the position. Here’s a clue. Deputy Leaders of the Party in Government get to choose what portfolio they will head and usually it’s Treasury. (Yes Bishop was an exception.)

    Politicians who head up Government Departments are judged to be successful (or otherwise) if they achieve certain political goals (or not). First, and foremost, they must be perceived to be competent, credible, capable, proficient, accomplished, adroit etc. And it’s a perception at a particular moment in time that becomes crucial, in the political sense. Remember John Howard and his supposed economic brilliance that gave him a record term? Now that’s been demonstrated to be gross incompetence – but only in retrospect. And that doesn’t count for much. Yesterday’s news.

    Treasurers have enormous power because they have unrivalled access to financial information. Apart from the PM (who has unrivalled power to theoretically appoint and dismiss), it’s the Treasurer who decides who gets what and when. Not on the basis of good public policy but on the anvil of political need.

    Yes Josh talks a load of utter crap – but when has that been a political handicap. Josh is doing a good job (what he’s supposed to do politically) otherwise he would be replaced. That’s why he will stay as Deputy Leader and Treasurer. (Sad but true.)

  7. wam

    josh’s pragmatism, his religion and politics allows misuse of the truth to support a lie.
    Graham has the answer:
    the autocuists on sunrise and the rupert idiots.
    ‘…do not know enough about economics to ask him the right questions’
    Albo’s task is to give them the questions to spell out the lies in his truth

  8. Terence Mills

    Frydenberg is still talking about paying down Labor’s debt once a surplus has been achieved : Morrison said the same thing in parliament yesterday .

    They will not acknowledge that net debt has doubled since the coalition came to office : they are in denial.

  9. whatever

    Terence Mills, yes indeed they will still keep on about ‘Labor’s Debt’ many years hence.
    They are speaking unto the vast, middle-aged and poorly educated TalkbackRadio demographic.
    These people still think that every time the price of booze goes up it is due to the ‘Alcopops Tax’.

  10. Wobbley

    There you have it, politics runs on lies, mis truths, misspeaks, and any other Tinglesqu language you care to use. I don’t mind Labor being attacked for wrongdoing or fuckups as long as the other side are scrutinised the SAME! I find it absolutely abhorrent that the whole country, nearly, believes that the Turdoch press delivers them credible information regarding anything political and or science based edification. What is wrong with the people of this nation when no one questions anything the msm reports which can have a huge detrimentle effect on they’re lives but if are charged $1.00 over on they’re power bill will go into a tirade about being ripped off. Priorities out there in the real world? What a joke!

  11. crypt0

    Fraudenberg lies constantly … no secret there … all Liebrals do, as a matter of course.
    Patricia more than adequately covered the rest of it
    Unfortunate that the average punters are yet to learn how to think for themselves, but why go to the trouble when you have the MSM to spell it all out for you?
    Now … more importantly …what’s on the other channel?

  12. Christopher J Ward

    Work until you drop but few employers will look at you if you are over 40, some 35.

  13. John L

    I think Josh has shown us his mind unravels quite nicely all on it’s own, without help from anyone else – all he has to do is start to talk, and……off it goes, unraveling all over the place…..

  14. Terence

    I agree with Matters Not

    The only reason why Scott and Josh are there is because their turds are shinier than everyone else. And it’s not just them, its everywhere, the public service and the private sector. I always laugh when everyone bangs on about employing the boys on merit. The appointment process is so corrupt now that they don’t even bother trying to pretend that there is a selection process. It’s all about Money and Mates and the reality is that if you want to get anywhere these days, you need to know how to play the game.

    Wobbley – Most Australian’s believe that they are part of the so called Clever Country. The reality is that most Australians have little emotional intelligence and are caught up in their own greedy self importance. Is it really any surprise that a party of self interest spivs appeals to a large section of the community who are insecure about their place in the world?

    As Jim Hacker once said when asked by Sir Humphrey about why he was concerned with climbing the greasy pole, “I have to climb it, because it’s there.”

    I wonder if we could just replace the Bible with Yes Minister? I’m sure Sir Arnold GCMG (God Calls Me God) honour would agree.

  15. Kampbell

    I don’t know, always looks perplexed, suffering from reflux is my guess. Speaks fluent buzz word gibberish.

  16. king1394

    ”You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”, says Lincoln. But the truth is you only have to fool a majority (as someone said)

  17. Lambchop Simnel

    The Australian say the economy is magic,
    but a raft of economic commentators, including Alan Kohler, seem not quite so sure. In fact, their comments seemed quite contrary to the Murdoch mangle.

  18. Glenn Barry

    I worry for Josh, he just doesn’t look at all well

    Now the question becomes, just ow long will it be until he realises what it is that is making him so ill

  19. Lambchop Simnel

    Guilty conscience from all the fibs, Glenn Barry.

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