Ok, so I’ll find any excuse to give Tony Abbott a virtual kick, but Ben Eltham has a great piece in New Matilda: Someone Lend This Man An Economics Textbook:
Unfortunately, the Coalition seems to have largely abandoned any connection with sound economics. Exhibit A in this sad display is the Opposition’s utter obsession with government debt. There is no doubt that too much government debt is a bad thing. It’s just that Australia has very little government debt.
A simple glance at the OECD league tables should be enough to convince any numerate person of this. Yes, we have borrowed money during this downturn. Yes, the Australian government is running a deficit. But the budget will return to surplus in three years and public debt will peak at only 6 per cent of our GDP. Compare that to the US (53 per cent in 2009) the UK (60 per cent in 2008) and Japan (164 per cent in 2007) — none of whom are in any danger of defaulting — and you can see why the debt and deficit scare is completely vacuous.
I love this bit:
But courage of that magnitude eludes Tony Abbott so far. After railing at length against the big new mining tax last night, he then reiterated his commitment to his own new tax on companies — in order to pay for the Coalition’s generous, non-means tested maternity leave policy. Like any politician, Tony Abbott likes to be able to have his cake and eat it too.
I am also an economic lightweight, but I’m not the leader of the Opposition.