Apocalyptic claims need to be put into perspective

In The Australian today:
“Tough but measured. So far, however, only the toughness has registered with voters. That the budget is measured has been drowned out by the shouting.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas is a columnist for The Australian newspaper and the inaugural Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. The SMART Infrastructure Facility is a $61.8 million world-class research and training centre concerned with integrated infrastructure solutions for the future. Henry is also Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia. Prior to these concurrent roles Henry worked as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Henry's previous career was as an economist at the OECD in Paris, where amongst other roles he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment and was Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Apocalyptic claims need to be put into perspective

  1. Blogstrop

    The wider commentariat is only interested in bagging the government for being nasty, mean, takers away of things. Here at the Cat, the government is bagged for not being stringent enough.

    Which message will sink into the minds of the majority of voters, and what will it do to voting intentions? That’s fairly academic at this stage, as there is room for changes in both messaging and actions over the next two years.

    How effective either will be in swaying the result at election 2016 remains to be seen. It’s a circus these days, not a science. Like Vaudeville of old (whose fame was enhanced by the phrase “flick the switch to …”), the media encourage the audience to hiss the villain.

    Calls for civility in politics enjoyed such a short season! Just another bout of self-serving by a left under pressure. They won’t try that one again until the electorate is duped into putting another group of incompetent nation-changing ratbags into power.

  2. A Lurker

    Calls for civility in politics enjoyed such a short season! Just another bout of self-serving by a left under pressure. They won’t try that one again until the electorate is duped into putting another group of incompetent nation-changing ratbags into power.

    Got it in one. The Left ask for protections, politeness and civility, yet they don’t accord the same to others. Bunch of deceitful, dishonest hypocrites.

    Coalition and Libertarian politicians need to understand that the Media and the Left are their enemies. Never, ever let your guard down. Even if you think someone from the media or the Left is a friend, still treat them with the same wariness and caution as if you were handling a poisonous snake – because odds on they will bite back.

  3. fry

    The Golden Age is over, back to hating the conservatives in government.

    It’s what they are used to, I suspect the Rudd Gillard years of defending their kind was somewhat confusing for them.

  4. CatAttack

    What do you mean the Golden age is over. Social media have merely gone from bagging Abbott in opposition to bagging Abbott in government. Nothing has changed.

  5. JohnA

    Coalition and Libertarian politicians need to understand that the Media and the Left are their enemies.

    Exactly. And following the Yes Minister advice, they need to recognise that there is the Opposition in abeyance (the other half of the House/Senate) and the opposition in residence (The Public Service mandarins, especially as they have been thoroughly imbued with woolly leftist thinking).

  6. Petros

    Abbott raised taxes and the Medicare levy and did bugger all to reduce spending. With conservatives like these, who needs the ALP? One term Tony.

  7. struth

    There is not enough screaming from the rent seekers and bludgers of the left.
    More screaming please.
    Every child eventually stops it’s tanty if the adults just hold on.
    There are more people in Australia angry with these bludgers, than they believe,
    and we have been angry with them a lot longer.
    I have waited for this, wanted it, and personally I am not seeing enough left wing, self righteous, hand out seeing, parasitic bludgers arses being kicked.
    Not enough by far.
    So now….(being a “priviliged” white man in Australia), as there is bugger all work in my area, I will go back to work for a good 90 or so hours per week, be away from my loved ones for roughly the next ten to 14 days, realising that about half if not more of my time spent away at work is working for the government………………..Who is the idiot?
    Just don’t be surprised if you’re watching the news and the next time you see a bunch of spoilt little uni brats sitting on the roadway, you don’t see a road train run right through them.
    Disclaimer………….only a fantasy I have lately, not to be acted on, not to be acted on, not to be acted on.

  8. Notafan

    I don’t like the spending particularly the medical research fund, if it happens, but infrastructure spending is preferable to an unstoppable increase in dubious health (the bulk bill mills) education especially tertiary degrees in tomfoolery.on the never never and the massive growth in Table 5 DSP and double dip pensioners,
    Those expenses were / will going to keep increasing with more and more people wanting free stuff and more of it,

  9. Senile Old Guy

    Ergas:

    Tough but measured. So far, however, only the toughness has registered with voters. That the budget is measured has been drowned out by the shouting.

    The budget is neither tough nor measured.

    From Ergas:

    But even putting aside those problems (which are discussed below), the apocalyptic claims need to be put into perspective. To begin with, instead of being slashed to the bone, welfare spending continues to rise by 2.5 per cent annually in real terms until 2017-18, while total real public spending increases by 3.6 per cent a year. Spending therefore grows at rates well above those in Labor’s own fiscal consolidation in 1987-89 and in that the Coalition undertook from 1996 to 1999.

    No wonder Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has described the 2014-15 budget as imposing only a “modest” consolidation over the next three years. Instead, the vast bulk of the turnaround occurs in 2017-18, with the savings measures in that year accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the tightening over the four-year period.

    I have said previously that Ergas, who I respect, has become a Liberal apologist. A budget that increases expenditure and does not produce significant savings until several years into the la-la land future is not “tough”.

    The bottom line tells the tale: both the Hawke and Howard consolidations returned the budget to surplus in two years; this budget does not achieve a significant cash surplus before 2019-20, by which time Australia will have had an unprecedented 10-year run of fiscal red ink.

    Even taking full account of the savings in 2017-18, the reductions in individual programs could hardly be described as ferocious. Far from the “brutal and cruel cuts to schools” Bill Shorten has denounced, commonwealth funding of government schools in 2018 will be 36 per cent higher in real terms than this year and more than double its level in 2003.

    As for health, rather than “ripping billions and billions out of hospitals”, as Penny Wong has claimed, real commonwealth spending on hospitals in 2018-19 will be 40 per cent to 50 per cent higher than it was in 2002-03, and 15 per cent to 20 per cent higher than in Labor’s last year in office.

    Despite this increase in spending, and imaginary surplus after the next election, Abbott and Hockey continue to claim that this budget is about “fixing the deficit”. BS. If you have a “debt problem” what is important is what you do this year, not what you pretend you might do in five year’s time.

  10. Demosthenes

    Here at the Cat, the government is bagged for not being stringent enough.

    Some things aren’t given enough consideration because they’re low-key. Taking from this list, which the author intended as criticism, are many unsung changes among the headline acts that might mollify the aggrieved Cats.

    Cut over $900 million from local council funding. Scrapped The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Cut $170 million from the Research Training Scheme. Cut $2.5 billion from aged care programs, such as Meals On Wheels. Scrapped the National Rental Affordability Scheme from 2015 onwards. Cut Sunday penalty rates for casual restaurant workers. Cut $16 million from ANSTO. Made $110 million of broad-sweeping cuts to the Arts. Cut $28.2 million from the Australia Council. Cut $38 million from Australian television and film funding. Scrapped the National Water Commission. Scrapped the National Preventive Health Agency’s $2.9 million National Tobacco Campaign. Cut $1.3 billion from seniors concessions funding. Scrapped the Community Food Safety campaign. Cut $2.3 million from contributions to the World Health Organization.

    The list goes on and on. You get the idea.

  11. Big Jim

    The curmudgeonly writer, Kingsley Amis, wrote heroically of the ‘war on cliche’. Well, sorry old friend, cliche won. Just as well you weren’t here to see it.
    People don’t care if the budget never balances. The ‘swingeing’ cuts are ‘savage’. Jobs have been ‘axed’. The ‘pain’ is being ‘felt’. ‘Slashings’, ‘scrappings’, ‘decimations’ left, right and centre. It’s tough out in voter land.

  12. sabrina

    SenileOG – do not expect any explanations from Henry Ergus on your queries. This budget, after having come to power on high promises and high expectations, has been one of disappointment on many accounts.
    Budget emergency, Medibank sale (correct decision) but not use the sale proceeds to reduce debt, does not add up.
    Ergus should write on what that 61 million$ tax payer funded facility has been achieving.

Comments are closed.