Aren’t you tired beyond belief of government’s annual “ritualised sermons, ceremonies and main prayer” (as The Australian editorial, 9 May 2017 puts it) as Budget time has once more come upon us? The Editorial reads:
“Budget set to bank our future on better growth”
“It has become a ritual. We know the sermons, ceremonies and the main prayer. We put ourselves through it and we always hope for better. But we know that almost certainly we will return to the same rites and promises a year later when, again, we will have fallen short of expectations. So we will offer a similar prayer for the year after that.”
So? What’s The Australian’s answer to the government’s ever-growing debt and deficit spending?
“… The now traditional role in this budget passion play for The Australian is to urge the government of the day to do more; to push for reform, face reality and seize control of the only budget item it has a reasonable degree of control over — its own spending. We do that again this year, yet already with a greatly diminished sense of optimism because it seems tonight’s budget will again duck the toughest challenges, kick the reform can further down the road and rely on optimistic revenue forecasts for a veneer of respectability…”
Andrew Bolt writes: “Desperate Liberals try big-taxing Labor Budget,” 9 May 2017
“The Turnbull Liberal Government on Tuesday gave us a Labor Budget to save itself from election wipeout. Treasurer Scott Morrison has done exactly what Labor has done before and would do again: hit us with big new taxes to pay for a spending spree while debt continues to soar.
There’s no more talk of big cuts to spending. We’re getting big taxes instead, in a Budget that tells us the Liberals have surrendered. Labor has won the economic argument.
Income tax will go up by 0.5 per cent — although Morrison is doing this by lifting the Medicare levy instead to make it seem higher taxes are healthy.
Yes, the government talks in this Budget of “good debt”, and then gives us a “good” tax, too.
That’s not all. The big banks will be hit with a levy to raise another $6 billion over four years, with the costs inevitably passed on to customers. Bosses will pay a levy for any foreign workers they hire, and students will pay more for their university degrees.
These and other money grabs — plus a predicted lift in the economy — will help make the government’s tax take next financial year jump by an astonishing 7.8 per cent.
A secure Liberal government would at least use some of that stolen bonanza to pay down its massive debt, about to reach $500 billion, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faces the sack if his poll numbers don’t soon lift.
But after 10 straight years of huge deficits, the government is still not predicting a balanced Budget until 2021, and it must pray that China does not tank in the meantime. That said, some key assumptions in this Budget are not wild, even if they’re optimistic. Growth is tipped to lift to 3 per cent after next year, but that is still just under the Reserve Bank’s forecast.
Yet one massive assumption does seem heroic.
The government admits it will raise spending to an astonishing 25.4 per cent of GDP in 2019, which just happens to be election year when it will want to splash cash. Then, it says, our politicians will suddenly become prudent and cut spending to 25 per cent of GDP so the Budget finally balances in 2021 and we can slowly start to repay our monster debt.
It must be kidding. For one, Labor will almost certainly be in charge by then. Does anyone seriously believe it would spend less than this lot? Be afraid. Very afraid.”