The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Swan and the Ruddster versus the Global Financial Crisis

Hourann’s Federal Budget verdict: not perfect, but decent, and surprisingly well balanced.

Most of the criticism I’ve read is rubbish — what’s up with Joe Hockey and this “lost control” nonsense, or his constant dummy-spit about taking on some debt? There is a pretty strong global consensus that cutting spending is unwise (witness California, or indeed any American state), and while it’d be lovely and morally pure to remain debt-free, that’s nigh impossible in the current climate. We will at least still be one of the least-indebted OECD members, and unless the recession becomes long-lived and revenues drop sharply again, the proposed debt is quite manageable.

Rather than arguing about how much is spent, though, I think it’s quite fair to entertain criticism on where it’s spent. There is room for decent arguments that this budget does scant little for the environment, that the spending on education is good but not targeted correctly, or that the proposed infrastructure spending is neither big enough nor bold enough. But then again, see above; not going too far into deficit is a pretty important consideration, and on that front I think the general balance looks about right. (Imagine if the spending levels had been Keating-esque!)

Oh, and the budget includes $236 million for the Northbridge Link rail project in Perth (leaving the Sydney Morning Herald to whine on the front page). Again not perfect (it’s not enough to go past Lake Street!), but still, who says the Commonwealth never did anything for WA? ;-)

  1. Luke Ramshaw

    Yes, but… What we all REALLY want to know is: What did you think of the new Star Trek film?!?!?!

  2. lol! Alas I haven’t seen it, and by the time I do, any review I could write would be old news. Woe to being busy at work, and stuff :-(

  3. In the same vein of sourcing OECD/IMF arguments, I was disappointed to see that there was not a credible plan for returning the budget to surplus. At the moment this is not scheduled to occur until 2015-16! What’s more, this is based on a return to above-trend growth rate of 4.5% from 2011/12 on. This is wildly optimistic compared to every other forecaster on the planet. Even the nutters! Therefore I don’t believe that this is a credible budget. That is not to say that some debt = ok, but that the potential adverse consequences should not be glossed over.

    More interesting, I think, will be next year’s budget. An election year and the results of the Henry Tax Review, an interesting combination.

  4. [...] it still has the unfortunate feature of the railway not being underground all the way (alas, the promised Federal funding doesn’t go that [...]

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