From Ridiculous to Real

May 14, 2009

You heard it here first.

The IPA was the first to tell you the Rudd government was ‘Whitlamesque’. Some of you wrote back to me saying – DON’T BE RIDICULOUS! But look at the ‘Underlying cash balance’ (ie deficit/surplus) column of table 1 in this budget paper from Tuesday night.

Michael Stutchbury of The Australian, Peter Swan of the University of New South Wales, and Stephen Kirchner of the Centre for Independent Studies now all see the parallels with Whitlam too.

We’re relying on Treasury forecasts of more than 4% GDP growth to get us out of this deficit. But why should we believe Treasury? After all a year ago Treasury predicted in 2009-10:

In his budget speech on Tuesday Wayne Swan said “our public finances are among the strongest in the developed world.” Well – he would say that wouldn’t he? The boss of Bear Stearns, Alan Schwartz said in March last year “Bear Stearns’ balance sheet, liquidity, and capital remain strong.” A few days later his company went broke…

In The Australian last Friday, Alan Wood talked about why the IPA is the only organisation willing to speak out on the economic consequences of the emissions trading scheme. (My original piece in the Australian Financial Review is here.)

I enjoyed this Observer article: “The masterpiece that killed George Orwell.” And Spiked writes that Britain is closer to 1984 than you think.

In the Wall Street Journal, Tom Switzer remembers the Thatcher Revolution. Alan Moran and Chris Berg covered the budget yesterday for ABC Unleashed and Crikey, and in the Sunday Age Chris also wrote the “Road to hell is not paved with poker machines“.

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