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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

News + Views, December 2016

Treasury rediscovers economic sense, 9 December

' Glory be, Treasury has finally accepted that the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments did a lot of wasteful spending during and following the Global Financial Crisis. See the Australian's front page report Friday by Simon Benson. ' A damning Treasury-commissioned independent review of the former Labor government’s unprecedented spending response to the global financial crisis has found it was a “misconceived” waste of money, fundamentally weakened Australia’s economy, almost destroyed parts of the manufacturing sector and ­inflicted more long-term harm than good'.

Congratulations Treasury Secretary John Fraser and your sensible economic analyst, Professor Tony Makin.

We wish you a happy and thoughtful holiday season, Mr Morrison, 18 December.

Paul Kelly says your boss has toughened his attack on Labor but 'lacks a big idea'. 2016 was a tough year in many ways, and 2017 is likely to be worse. Time to face reality and begin to set the scene for bolder efforts to reform the economy and fix the budget.

Update, 20 December.

The MYEFO (budget outlook) has been delivered with some new features. A new way to 'predict' commodity prices, more realistic (lower) forecasts for Australian growth and description of future budget numbers as 'projections' rather than 'forecasts.

In short, a gentle glide into more honesty, even if not a more brutal assessment of possible 'realistic worst case'. Even so, there is still a 'razor sharp' budget surplus projected for 2020-21 and the assumption of the official rate of unemployment in the low 5s. (Sadly no recognition of widespread underemployment and legitiment fears of where good, full-time jobs are coming from.

The increased realism of the approach has apparently staved off the threatened credit downgrade, but in Henry's view this is a problem postponed rather than resolved. In the meantime, we all have to watch our words in case we tell troof about contentious matters, eg about the state of parenting in some (?) remote indigenous settlements.

'We don't need a working class anymore, December 20.

Henry's picture framer, name of Bruce, is a special bloke. He has several degrees and is one of the most thoughtful person on global politics Henry knows.

Today Bruce was worrying about the future of the world once President Trump is sworn in. 'He's a monster' Bruce opined. 'He's cozying up to Russia and abusing China. The TTP is done for and who knows what else he might do or say'.

Henry tried to put Mr Trump into the context of Brexit, Eurozone worries, loss of traditional manufacturing jobs and general unhappiness about 'politics as usual', where most standard pollies are on the nose with voters. 'The Brits are fed up with European bureaucracy. the Eurozone has a fundamental design flaw, jobs are migrating to developing nations and many voters are sick of business as usual.

'I'll tell you the reason', Bruce asserted. 'Voters know the world is in deep trouble, yet politicians keep saying we've never had it so good. People are not stupid and object to being fed bullshit by the political class'. He reflected for a few moments then unloaded a highly relevant opinion.

'People know we don't need a working class anymore. They have not been told by government what they know is coming or what to do to prepare for the bleak future most of us are facing'.

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