Henry Ergas dismantles Wayne Swan

Simply magnificent.

Deconstructing Swan’s arguments is as challenging as picking a dead man’s wallet. Shop-worn tropes go round and round, like unclaimed bags on an airport carousel: Labor is the party of opportunity, a sentiment to which Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald and John Maitland are presumably living testimony; Tony Abbott, accused of every possible malfeasance short of starting a leprosy pandemic, would destroy what this country retains of good and true; and only Swan and his colleagues stand between Tony Abbott’s Visigoths and the “fair go”.

It gets better from there.

Given the confusion in which Swan’s views are mired, these delusions appear to spring less from a surfeit of ideology than from a deficit of clear thought. Having gained office after losing the battle of ideas, Labor was left with an operational code that belongs to another time and place: one still seething from the humiliation of the Howard years and nostalgic for a 1950s unionism that disappeared before today’s cabinet ministers were in short pants.

It is thus unsurprising Swan and his colleagues have proven subservient to a union movement that combines the relentless pursuit of self-interest with a startling disregard for its policies’ long-term consequences. Sheltered from market disciplines, the public-sector unions that dominate the ACTU see public spending as the key to prosperity, regardless of the costs it imposes in wasted resources, distortionary taxation and upward pressure on the exchange rate. As for their private-sector counterparts, they have shrunk to such narrow bases that the economy-wide effects of their inefficiencies escape them.

Little wonder they seem like dinosaurs: dangerous, dim-witted at all but violence and doomed to extinction. And little wonder the government they control has excelled at transforming opportunity into disaster.

In its own way, that unbroken record of failure is impressive.

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25 Responses to Henry Ergas dismantles Wayne Swan

  1. Aaron

    Labor is the party of opportunity, a sentiment to which Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald and John Maitland are presumably living testimony

    This line should be a knife through the heart of the modern Labor Party and the union movement that sustains it.

  2. Token

    …one still seething from the humiliation of the Howard years and nostalgic for a 1950s unionism that disappeared before today’s cabinet ministers were in short pants.

    The inability of the Left globally to let go of the unique position they held in the ’50s when the rest of the world was locked down and unable to compete by statists (Communism, Colonialism & Military Junta’s) is startling.

    When will they ever adapt to global economy full of free nations?

  3. Token

    That should read…

    When will they ever adapt to global economy full of free nations full of work forces which will never be union controlled?

  4. Bazza

    I want to see David Speers from Sky TV and (wait for it) Barrie Cassidy from the ABC Insiders confront Swan and Gillard on this story live on national TV.
    The killer blow need to be, if they obfuscate with their answers the interview need to be closed down immediately and leave the two clowns to stare blankly into the camera. These two deserve to be humiliated.

  5. johno

    For a man who has set a very high standard for himself, this is possibly his best work to date.

    Even Henry will be hard pressed to better it.

  6. H B Bear

    The Goose is a laughing stock.

  7. Tom

    Henry’s great gift to us is the information he digs up that no-one else bothers with and the clarity of thought he uses to express it in everyman’s language. It’s unheard of — especially for an economist! Thanks, Henry.

  8. Toiling Mass

    Henry Ergas dismantles Wayne Swan

    He should take the pieces and bury them in the most far flung regions of the planet. The brain, however, should be launched into space in case plate tectonics, over the millenia, should accidentally bring the earthbound pieces back together.

  9. Robbo

    Every time that Labor gets its hands on the levers of government they make a mess of things. All the rubbish that is constantly printed and said about the virtues of Whitlam, Hawke and Keating ignore the appalling realities of the regimes they led. By the proverbial mile Whitlam was the worst PM we ever had, even beating the hapless Billy McMahon to that title, and he and the other pair of Labor duds made many hopeless decisions that were left to their Liberal successors to fix. Now we have this duo of Gillard and Swan and what a pair of hopeless incompetents they are. When things get tough for them they simply try to lie their way out of trouble as they are doing with the latest mess of the $12 billion black hole in the budget. Most of the Australians who voted this lot into power must be ashamed of what they did and hopefully they will address that brain fade this coming September. Gillard, Swan and the rest of those dills should be blasted off the political map. They deserve nothing less.

  10. tbh

    I’m struggling to find the right adjectives to describe the utter evisceration Henry’s article visited upon that party of economically illiterate vandals.

    It was a smackdown of the highest order.

    These people are without question now the worst economic managers in the nations history.

  11. ar

    Excellent article…

    recoiling from the Liberal hoards

    … though some subbing required…

  12. C.L.

    It tells you everything you need to know about the wiggling imbo Swan that he’s the first Labor Treasurer since before World War II who was not considered heir apparent by his own colleagues.

  13. Pingback: Henry Ergas dismantles Wayne Swan at Catallaxy Files | Cranky Old Crow

  14. H B Bear

    Maxwell Swan makes Jim Cairns look like an intellectual giant.

    I suggest The Goose starts bonking a couple of staffers to make his place in history more significant.

  15. Mike of Marion

    H B Bear

    29 Apr 13 at 10:27 am

    Didn’t Goose have a Radical Prostatectomy? If his outcome was comparable to mine (permanent 29 minutes past 6 disease), he won’t be “bonking a couple of staffers!!!!!”

    Staffers are safe from him!!!!

    Mike

  16. Pingback: Left, delusional … left delusional, “dangerous, dim-witted” | pindanpost

  17. Bruce

    Swannie is probably puzzling over why their internal polling is showing up to 15% swings in Victorian heartland seats.

    My advice to Mr Swan is that shouting loudly in the budget run-up that ‘we wuz robbed’ will not actually work especially well.

    Perhaps he could try honesty? Since he’s tried everything else except blaming aliens, it might just work.

    Hmm, aliens. That’s an idea. I should ring Swan’s office, I’m sure to be offered a job as staffer.

  18. mareeS

    What a tour de force by Henry Ergas in terms of analysis and literary prose. Wayne must be hiding in his wardrobe.

  19. C.L.

    Meanwhile, Michael Pascoe declares…

    … yes, despite the much ballyhooed surpluses, history is judging Peter Costello to have been a second-rate Treasurer.

    Debt: It’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it.

  20. Viva

    An epic serve – one for the pundit’s Hall of Fame.

  21. Gab

    The Smiling Assassin does it again. Damn fine piece, Henry.

  22. Jannie

    I loved the Rossini quote, fun to read. But I am with ar, there are a couple of typoes/mistakes that could have been avoided by a proofreader or something.

  23. Entropy

    Perhaps he could try honesty? Since he’s tried everything else except blaming aliens, it might just work.


    There must be some sort of genetic thing in this mob preventing that option being a possibility.

  24. MT Isa Miner

    I was puzzeled until Wikipedia said Ergas worked for Italian Telecom ( wink wink) for a year in 1998.

    Obviously that’s when he was trained by the Italians, because Blind Freddie can see that his stiletto skill in filleting poor Wayne in that article is far too professional for normal homo economicus Australiaus.

  25. Helen Armstrong

    Yes, it was a delicious breakfast read, indeed.

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