Coming soon: deficits to become ‘happiness surpluses’

Labor’s Jim Chalmers backs Jacinda Ardern’s ‘wellbeing budget’ plan.

Nobody in his right mind would ever want the government in charge of wellbeing – not even if the relevant Treasurer learned the ropes, as Jim Chalmers did, under an exemplar of existential joy like Wayne Swan.


Jim Chalmers has declared Australia should consider adopting a version of Jacinda Ardern’s “wellbeing budget” and flagged a rethink of how economic output is calculated, advocating a more creative approach considering social and environmental factors.

In a Wednesday night speech in Brisbane, Dr Chalmers championed Ms Ardern’s controversial budget process, which he said “redefines what success means in terms of economic outcomes”.

The opposition Treasury spokesman, who worked under former treasurer Wayne Swan, also highlighted the “shortcomings” of GDP measures, which he said was amplified during the bushfire crisis.

Speaking at an event held by The Australia Institute, Dr Chalmers said the Ardern government was reporting against specific measures under four headings – “financial and physical capital, human capital, natural capital and social capital”.

 
As well as Mr Swan, Queenslander Dr Chalmers (PhD/ANU, pol-sci) formerly worked for Peter Beattie. The “wellbeing budget” is a neat trick that allows socialists to re-classify red ink as black in effect. But it doesn’t matter how many “headings” are in the budget papers. Everything still has to be paid for eventually.

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14 Responses to Coming soon: deficits to become ‘happiness surpluses’

  1. Robbo

    Chalmers worked for Wayne Swan and before that for Peter Beattie. What a fabulous background to put on your CV. The only thing missing is having had a job with Rudd and Gillard. And he wants to be our Treasurer. I don’t think so.

  2. nb

    ‘Ardern resigns to increase the nation’s happiness’

  3. H B Bear

    Chalmers is a typical ALP plodder. Learning at the feet of intellectual midgets. Long may he remain on the Opposition benches.

  4. Only a retarded socialist Kiwi bint could come up with something as preposterously imbecilic as a “well-being budget”.

    We’ve had this shite for decades in case anyone wasn’t paying attention. It’s called welfare. It costs nearly half the ruddy budget and turns people into not-very-well-beings.

    Just another attempt, like UBI, to rob the productive of even more of their hard-earned in order to expand the welfare class and make them dependent on Big Gubbermunt so that pollies can harvest their votes at election time and then reward themselves for their “compassion”.

    Sod off back to your Dacha’s and Berghof’s you socialist vermin. We’ve seen it all before.

  5. Tim Neilson

    Speaking at an event held by The Australia Institute, Dr Chalmers said the Ardern government was reporting against specific measures under four headings – “financial and physical capital, human capital, natural capital and social capital”.

    Grievance Studies graduates will be valued at cost, so that we’ll be told that, no matter how much cash is “invested” in Grievance Studies, there’s no net expenditure involved.

  6. PJH

    Socialist Cindy and her Coalition of Losers have failed to deliver anything that in anyway could be considered improved well being let alone a “well being” budget.

    They failed to deliver;
    – 100,000 new house they promised. (It is now an “aspirational goal)
    – 1billion new trees (as above)
    – Truancy rates are up
    – All targets have been removed from Health Boards consequently waiting times in ER’s have blown out again, waiting time for surgeries have blown out. All Health Boards have blown their budgets plus more than I care to list.
    – Child poverty rates have increased.
    – Poverty rates have increased.
    – Homelessness rates have increased.

    There is more but the above list is just off the top of my head. Oh yes 1800 extra new Police turns out to be 1800 including replacing those that have left the Service recently, so about half if not less extra.

  7. gary

    I have wondered why all these budget deficits around the world have not shown up in increased prices as measured by inflation. Last weekend I went to buy a burger for the first time in ages and was surprised at how expensive they were, so I looked up the Big Mac Index and compared it to the CPI.
    .
    In Australia , US and Canada the changes in the Big Mac Index were the same as changes in the CPI for about the first 22 years (1986-2008), however since 2008 changes in the Big Mac Index have been double the changes in the CPI.
    .
    If the Big Mac Index measures true price changes then we have had much higher “real inflation” for 12 years that is not reflected in the CPI or for that matter interest rates, wage increases etc. In Australia the Big Mac index has been 5.6% per annum since July 2008 and the CPI has been 2.7% per annum.
    .
    If the Big Mac Index is a true reflection of price increases, then it may be that debt does matter.

  8. jo

    Sounds like a quote from Alice in Wonderland. Time to hand back the Piled Higher and Deeper. Must have plagiarized Shane Wands work.

  9. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    we have had much higher “real inflation” for 12 years that is not reflected in the CPI

    Of course we have. The CPI isn’t really a measure of anything remotely resembling the real inflation rate.

    P.S. I’ve just done a quick check of the CPI figures in question and the average is 2.3%.

  10. min

    For my well being I would need 6% Term Deposit rates, Could he organise that for starters . and as I am getting older Young , good looking intelligent caring helpers .

  11. MACK

    The latest Colmar Brunton poll has the Nationals at 46%, and Labour 41%. She’s on the nose with Kiwi voters, so why copy anything this one-trick pony is doing?

  12. David Brewer

    Sorry but the NSW government is already doing it.

    Instead of reporting the “underlying cash” balance used for the federal budget, or the (perhaps better) fiscal balance, they report their “operating balance”. This leaves out all so-called capital investment. Hey presto, a deficit of $18 billion this financial year becomes a surplus of $1 billion, because, well, the capital investment is all for our welfare isn’t it?

    Queensland’s budget situation seems to be even worse, although they are not quite as dishonest about it. The States’ huge deficits and massive increases in debt are a disgrace and they will be in big trouble in the next recession. And they still haven’t gotten rid of payroll tax!

  13. Squirrel

    I assume this would be the same Jim Chalmers who, as Shadow Finance spokespersonage, wanted to turn the federal Dept. of Finance into a latter day version of Whitlam’s Dept of Urban and Regional Development – just think of the colour-coded spreadsheet opportunities that would have created……..

  14. John A

    gary #3329487, posted on February 20, 2020, at 12:49 pm

    I have wondered why all these budget deficits around the world have not shown up in increased prices as measured by inflation.

    If the Big Mac Index measures true price changes then we have had much higher “real inflation” for 12 years that is not reflected in the CPI or for that matter interest rates, wage increases etc. In Australia the Big Mac index has been 5.6% per annum since July 2008 and the CPI has been 2.7% per annum.
    .
    If the Big Mac Index is a true reflection of price increases, then it may be that debt does matter.

    If the RBA econometrists were looking for an inflation indicator on behalf of their Board of Governors (who are looking for inflation but can’t seem to find it), they could do worse than the Big Mac and they could do an awful lot better that the CPI.

    Trouble is they hardly think about Big Macs, which are unlikely to figure in their dietary regimens.

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