And people trust Abbott to run the country?

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.

7 responses to “And people trust Abbott to run the country?

  1. oooooooooo I could go on all day, in fact I frequently do, but what interests me is not just that TA is an economic lightweight and has bizarre concepts but that his economic principles are not actually the principles of the Liberal party he leads. tax small business (in press speak ‘mum and dad businesses’), veto tax cuts on business on income tax etc. Rudd is more of a Tory when it comes to economic conservatism which is a bizarre state of play for a Labor PM (well perhaps not these days). Also NWN, I am keen to know your views on TA’s (failed) bid to get a one off cash payment of $10k(not means tested as far as I know) for stay- at- home mums (their phrase not mine, I may add). To me this smacks of ‘keep em where they should be – at home cooking, cleaning and rasing chillen’. seems at odds with his poorly planned paid parental scheme. now I’m all for help for mums like good childcare policies and incentives for childcare, parental pay schemes, equality laws to fight discrimination against working mothers etc but I dont think this comes from that position – I think this is about his desire to send us back to 1952 again.

    PS Obviously, I really like using brackets (you can just smell the ‘asides’ in my comment can’t you)

    • A cash payment like that will open up single mothers and young mothers to accusations they just got pregnant to get the money. And those mothers who can be smugly dismissed as having babies so they can upgrade their plasma tvs in their McMansions. (Of course, we only want middle-class, preferrably Liberal voters in stable marriages to have children – and Lexy, I also love a good bracket.)

      Also it doesn’t make sense. The Productivity Commission recommended getting rid of the baby bonus for a universal paid parental scheme, which is actually cheaper. So Abbott’s uncosted parental leave scheme just wildly more expensive. Oh, that’s right, he’s going to cut public sector jobs, particularly those in the department of climate change. That’ll fix everything.

      But, I’m not convinced the money is about keeping women in the home. I think he’s just wildly irrational and desperately trying to throw money at women to get them to like him.

  2. ah yes, you hit the nail on the head. Labor had to reel in a lot of the follies of the baby bonus such as introducing staggered payments and means testing. I think the stay at home payment is a total furfy and folly and as you say it is Abbott trying to bribe female voters but I do actually think that it fits with his ethos of where women fit in his societal ideal – keeping mothers at home, reliant on their partners and out of the workforce where they will cost businesses more in taxes paid to fund paid parental leave (given that his leave plan involves a tax on business large and small). I try to be open minded, I really do but I always just come back to one thought ‘God he’s a prick!’

    • Doesn’t Australia already have really low rates of workforce participation by mothers? Because they realise that childcare is too expensive, their employers aren’t very flexible, that even when working full time the bulk of child rearing and housework still falls to them, plus there are tax breaks for the breadwinning partner, so it’s better financially for the couple if women give up their careers until the kids are in school. (Yes, I realise there are so many things in that sentence that can’t be fixed by a single government policy on parental leave.)

      As for Abbott, he may well be trying to keep women in the home, but surely we can use this to our advantage? Why can’t we force the two major parties into a bidding war for the vagina vote? Imagine if European countries began to look to Australia for an example of an amazing parental leave and early childhood system? Ooh, that’s giving me goosebumps.

  3. the public sector jobs cut thing……….that old chestnut! not to mentiom that the Canberra public sector inceased vastly under Howard and Abbots watch anyway!

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