Fiscal imprudence

Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, is trying to be too clever by half when he dismisses calls for a halt to his Labor Government’s stimulus package. He is exposed by Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Steven’s, latest comments that spending restraint will enable lower interest rates, albeit through a reduction in overall economic growth.

Stevens naturally played a straight bat when asked if he was commenting on Australia’s interest rates. He was not intending to deliver a message to the Rudd government, he said, while implying his commentary only applied to all the other governments in the world. If Swan truly believes Stevens’ comments don’t have impact for Canberra he is a bigger fool than he is suggesting Barnaby Joyce is.

Swan is utterly disingenuous when he prattles on about the Rudd stimulus package being necessary to save Australia from economic malaise. The fact is that Australia is sailing smoothly across stormy seas and half the stimulus package has not been expended yet. So why is it necessary? Simply because Labor wants to buy as many votes as it can in an election year. The $250 million early Christmas present to the commercial television networks is proof positive of that.

Swan is equally disingenuous when he prevaricates about levels of indebtedness and the nation’s capacity to carry even more. It is not our ability to repay the debt, Mr Treasurer, but the lack of necessity to incur it that is the central issue. Suggesting that other nations are carrying much higher levels of debt than us – and that, by implication, we’d be silly not to catch up to them at least part-way – is akin to leaving a vampire in charge of a blood bank.

It is the Whitlam prescription for economic management all over again: spend like there’s no tomorrow for surely we will not be in power when it’s time to repair the damage. Play us for fools, Mr Swan, and you will feel our wrath later this year.