Sunday Sanity Break, 18 December 2016 - Christmas Greetings
Dear Treasurer Morrison. Despite your brave efforts to convince people that this is a great time to be alive and they should spend up big to boost a struggling economy, the people are smarter that the average pollie or Treasury official. Consumer confidence has taken a beating and a subdued Christmas spending season may help create a technical recession, supporting the income recession that has been in place for all of the Turnbull government's life.
It's tough running an economy, trying to take candy from cheating welfare recipients and clipping the wings of elderly self-funded retirees most of whom are busy trying how to avoid your SFR tax. (Hint: remove all super from funds in excess of $1.6 million and invest in negatively geared property.) 'We do not believe in increasing taxes' is a mantra of the lunar right in Australia. But combined with inability to remove excess candy from welfare recipients or control overruns in the NBN project or the costs of new-age submarines and (sadly non-invisible) latest generation jet fighters you are facing the strong risk of being widely seen as a dud Treasurer.
The US Fed has raised interest rates again and said there is likely to be three 25 point increases in 2017. The Trump's dashing electoral win has already raised global interest rates and if the mighty Fed is correct a naturally recovering US economy will boost interest rates further. Your inability to fix a wrecked budget and to contain rising interest costs will be compounded if the rating agencies ignore your pleas about Australia's AAA credit rating and provide the downgrade we surely deserve.
We wish you a happy and thoughtful holiday season, Mr Morrison. 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.
Best wishes to all for the 2016 festive season. As our gift to readers we offer an hypothetical conversation about global warming with Socrates.
Fiona Prior celebrates 'a wonderful Japanese anime by Makoto Shinka'.
'Your Name gives us insights into ancient Japanese traditions, rituals and present day lifestyles; the body changing process of puberty, this body switch experience heightened by our hero and heroine waking in each other’s bodies; and a glitch in time of an almost imperceptible three years in the young ones’ realities, where their rural and city lives could be decades apart anyway. It is a time increment critical to their mystery'.
The Sporting life
Warm congratulations for the Australian men's cricket team for a wonderful performance against the lions of Pakistan, whose second innings' batting was one for the ages One assumes the boys from the sub-continent will do even better at the MCG starting Boxing Day, but it looks as if we'll see a good contest.