Rudd’s credit card fraud

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is guilty of perpetrating the greatest fraud in Australia’s history and his Australian Labor Party is equally guilty of extorting the nation’s wealth. The only thing that can fairly be said in their favour is that it is unlikely the deception was planned, simply opportunistic. Yet it reinforces old stereotypes that Labor cannot be trusted with the nation’s purse-strings.

The stimulus for the deceit was the Global Financial Crisis and what a stimulus response it prompted! Rudd and his cronies resorted to the bedrock stratagem of post-socialist centre-left parties across the globe: spend like there’s no tomorrow. Sadly, this knee-jerk fiscal folly bedevils the nation’s future and, to a substantial extent, robs our youth of what should have been their birthright: near-guaranteed economic prosperity.

Certainly, trend indicators paint a rosy picture of the national economy. At face value they suggest Labor has credentials as a sound economic manager. But scratch the surface and you uncover Faustian levels of indebtedness that will take the best part of a generation to repay. Worse is that it need not have been so.

When the GFC struck, all were fearful (or else certifiable or a liar). This was, in so far as we could tell then, uncharted waters and no-one had a monopoly on the wisdom likely to prevent calamity. Labor’s immediate inclination to pump massive amounts of money into the economy drew criticism but it was certainly not universal. A substantial degree of goodwill and latitude was extended to Rudd and his team but as it became apparent that Australia would fare better than most, Labor burned our trust.

Amid an increasing chorus of concern about seemingly unbounded expenditure and, in particular, about the sound application of stimulus measures, Rudd and Labor brushed aside cries for caution. Not only did they act in a brazen manner, they unashamedly boasted: we know best. That hubris is now going to come back and bite all of us.

The harsh reality of Rudd’s refusal to accede to requests for restraint is that he has effectively taken a credit card imprint from every taxpaying Australian and he has siphoned funds out of each one of those accounts to indulge key planks of Labor ideology (such as an education revolution). Typical of the post-socialist mentality that lurks beneath a veneer of centrist respectability, Rudd and Labor remain desirous of redistributing wealth. They love to play favourites and take a punitive approach to the more well-off. They also love to indulge a hand-out mentality, rewarding their favoured constituency groups with initiatives that carry every hallmark of a bribe.

The grave danger of hubris and indulgence, of course, is the tendency to dismiss criticism. Rudd and Labor seem oblivious to the growing sense of unease across Australia at their profligacy. While dollars-for-nothing were cascading into selected taxpayer pockets, the post-socialists were the darlings of the political scene. Now, however, as one and all come to an understanding that every skerrick of this largesse has to be recouped eventually from all taxpayers, there is that peculiar sense of personal shame that attends the morning after the night before. Why did I do it? It is a question that a large and growing number of Australians will be asking themselves as the coming federal election looms.