Will our politicians continue to ‘make it rain’ or tighten up the drawstrings and cut off all circulation?
Economics, Dear Watson
The very words ‘economic policy’ usually send a shudder through my system and provoke a quick grab for the radio dial. I would sooner listen to notable degenerates, Kyle and Jackie O, and let them fill my ears with vile rumour and trash, than hear another politician outline their approach to addressing the budget deficit. But this week, I swallowed my panic and decided to listen to the respective plans of our would-be leaders.
In doing so, I learned a few things.
I learned that Labor aim to get rid of the deficit over ten years, and Liberal sooner. I learned that neither party believes the other will achieve it. And I also learned the expression ‘fiscal contraction’, which made me giggle.
Did I learn any clear strategies as to how they are going to achieve their goals? No. Would I have hung around to listen had either party actually gone into the details? Most certainly not. Perhaps this is why details are so rare in politics. People want broad brush strokes and easy-to-understand Mr. Squiggle drawings. Details are for fashion designers and contract lawyers.
I really don’t believe that either side is so incompetent that it would send this country to rack and ruin. Do you? Do Liberal voters really believe that Labor, under Shorten, would see our economy collapse like Greece? Yes, Kevin Rudd was an overreaching lunatic, but Shorten does seem a little more grounded, albeit far less charismatic.*
The Greeks just beat us in the soccer anyway, so they can’t be going that bad.
And is this budget deficit really so pressing as the media would have us believe? Are we really broke? Are loan sharks coming in hot to break all our legs? I highly doubt it. Chipping away at it over ten years actually seems like a sensible plan to me. Rather than just immediately tightening the draw strings and screaming at the kids “We’re eating fucking Wonder White until we’ve paid off Mummy’s gambling debts!” can’t we just cut back on the truffle oil in our scrambled eggs for a while?
I asked an economist what he thought and he said “Fuck, how good were the Fine Young Cannibals?” and that “Our current situation is not diabolical, but if the next government doesn’t make a concerted effort to reduce it, it will start becoming a major issue.”
This tells me that a) it’s not such a big deal, though we should probably start getting our shit together, and b) that economists have terrible taste in music. Two things I have always suspected.
By Alasdair McClintock
* I would like to stress that Rudd was merely charismatic for a politician. On the normal person scale, he makes my skin crawl.