Is there such a thing as ‘Budget Bounce’? Will Cossie’s spend-up save the Coalition come polling day? Or is the budget something of a Curate’s Egg – only good in parts?
Welcome to Club Troppo’s Budget Special Edition, where we round up the best blogospheric commentary so you don’t have to (with a nod to non-budgetary stuff for those who find economics and psephology singularly uninspiring).
Just a note that the wiki is playing up today, so no internal hyperlinks. Otherwise service is as normal, with this edition prepared by
Jason Soon, Amanda Rose, Patrick Garson and James Farrell, with Helen Dale editing. Ken Parish will be back on deck next week, when he’s a little less flat-out-like-a-lizard-drinking. (I’ve just learnt Jason was a bit on the lizardy side too).
The image – an albino Wallaby – comes via David Tiley, who also tells its rather odd story.
In this humble scribe’s view, some really outstanding budget posts came from Andrew Norton (with a focus on the Higher Education Endowment Fund), Peter Martin (with a focus on Ken Henry’s views of productive capacity) and the Pencil Guy (with a focus on one-off election bribes).
Jason Soon is excellent on the difference between pork and useful stuff, while Nick Gruen looks at ‘the right kind‘ of tax cuts. Taking a different tack, Bryan at OzPolitics points up the difference between Swan’s lame performance on the 7:30 Report compared to fellow Labor man Lindsay Tanner.
Mark at stoush.net notes the obscenity of starting to tax people at $6000 per year, inadvertently providing support for a major lifting of the tax-free threshold. This ties in with Peter Martin’s excellent piece on from just where the government is sourcing its revenue windfall. Andrew Leigh writes in a similar vein, with a perceptive analysis of the median (as opposed to the mean) income voter.
Both Catallaxy and Larvatus Prodeo also kicked off lengthy threads, with useful links to other analyses in the comments. The former is good for an understanding of inflationary pressures, while the latter provides some good political analysis, including the idea that Costello may have wedged himself in crucial areas.
News and Politics Stuff
Apropos of the budget, Pavlov’s Cat bemoans the appropriation of ‘clever’ into the lexicon of political rhetoric, reviving a bad old bias against creativity. She will be pleased that Sarah avoids the word in her pithy budget summary. In any case, John Quiggin isn’t sure the budget is all that clever. He thinks voters will realise that the spending increases barely compensate for cuts in services over ten years, and that the tax reductions barely compensate for bracket creep. John expects more dramatic announcements closer to the election. In a similar vein, Mark Bahnisch argues that voters increasingly see budgets as pure election gimmickry, rather than genuine policy programs to endorse or reject:
More often than not, except for the actual cheques in the mail, or the milkshake and a sandwich we all enjoyed after a tax cut, nothing happens. Wheres all the money diverted from the Telstra sale in 1996 gone? It was meant to fix the Murray Darling, remember Or what about all the money allocated in several terms for better telecommunications? How many of the technical schools are operating and what difference have they made? [Etc., etc.]
Andrew Bartlett believes that Aboriginal housing ought to get priority in the budget, but accuses the Government of preferring ideology-driven experimentation to sound and consistent policy. Both Bannerman and Dr Faustus are rather over the Budget, and have amusingly snarky things to say about it.
On the psephelogical front, Bryan at OzPolitics notes that the sports betters have gone every which way – some shooting off in Howard’s favour, while one went even further for Kevin Rudd. Too early to make any calls on a budget bounce, then. Graham at Ambit Gambit provides a friendly warning against the overuse of the descriptor ‘clever’: it may blow up in Labor’s face.
The broader question of ideology and the role of ideologues is taken up by various bloggers on the left this week. Tim Dunlop links to a report that the government won’t refund schools for their new flags if it doesn’t get the required quantum propaganda value from them. As Tim puts it, ‘in the greater scheme of things, this is a fairly small matter, but is indicative of the way the government conducts itself.’
Gary Sauer-Thomspon has a brief, but incisive thought on the Government’s own ‘Education Revolution’ (seriously, can’t pollies just call it as they see it any more? It’s an education policy, for the love of god). In non-budget parliamentary news, he takes a gander at the ballooning problems (and costs) of the PBS.
David Bath at the Dead Roo has devised an ingenious unified theory of contemporary ideologies; it cuts across religion and economics.
It is hard to describe, but simpler to call the new divide as the sophisticates versus the barbarians. The barbarians are predators and their dupes.
John Quiggin credits F. Hayek with noticing, seventy years before the global warming debate, the fundamental antipathy of conservatives toward science. But are they predators or dupes? In any case, Shaun at LP links to a report in the NYT that some Republicans have in fact opted to embrace Darwinism on the basis that evolutionary psychology supports conservative ideology.’Which [according to Shaun] is utter bilge as evolution does not support the politics of the right nor of the left.’
Ken Lovell has his own nomination for barbarian of the week. Here he grits his teeth and dismantles Gerard Henderson’s latest inversion of reality, in which ‘the left denies the reality of contemporary Iraq’:
The juvenile over-simplification is staggering. The violence is all caused by one evil group – the Iraq insurgency and its al-Qaeda supporters. The Iraqi government is democratic… I love the bit about peace-loving Iraqi citizens though, its lifted straight out of the Krushchev Guide to Hungarian Liberation (56).
It turns out that Kieran at The Dead Roo is not only the sole person outside of New South Wales who has heard of the right wing ideologue Greg Smith, but knows more about him than anyone in New South Wales. Here’s his useful profile of the newly installed Liberal hatchet man.
Trevor at Solidarity has a page with everything that can be known about AWAs. The detail here is immense but understandable, not something anyone seems to be able to confirm about the policy itself…
Ken Lovell shares his thoughts on the ‘Balibo Five’ (the Aussie journalists killed in East Timor).
And finally something for the sophisticates: tigtog has stumbled on an amusing video, a dubbed-over scene from the TV Batman, used in a 1970s American anti-sexism campaign.
Life and Other Serious Stuff
Harry Clarke’s featured post this week concerns euthanasia, not economics, and is a heartfelt meditation on the capacity of the elderly to control their own fate. 11. SL: Highly recommended. [↩] Legal Eagle, meanwhile, tells the story of a Pakistani man who appears to have pretended he was a gay Christian in an attempt to gain refugee status in Australia.
Peter Black reports that Crikey.com.au have finally wrestled Crikey.com away from a cybersquatter, so people should find their site a tad easier to locate from now on. Darlene ponders silly books that purport to tell (in this case women) the rules of dating. A cat thread then ensues.
Two reflections on old comic strips. The Aussie from David at Sarsparilla (“an interesting attempt at a rurally-oriented gag strip”) and Cyberslacker on the German Vater und Sohn and the poignant story of its illustrator.
Audio tapes have been a rare sight for a while but some chain in the UK has finally decided to stop stocking them which has lead to a flurry of eulogies in the British press. Shaun at Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation waxes nostalgic on the theme too.
Who the Bloody Hell Are They with a sample of the new album from Melbourne eclectivists Architecture in Helsinki.
one plus one=three on controversies in the world of design blogs.
Across the Rooftops on the recent closure of some Melbourne music venues but “it’s not all doom and gloom.”
From the craft blogs: the wonderful world of the Basque stitch in embroidery.
Darryl Mason has a report on the first Australian indigenous bible translation. Though I’m not religious, this is interesting, inspiring stuff.
(troppo sports stadium)
Scott ponders the fate of Kim Hughes, that great example of wasted talent who wilted against the West Indies in their pomp:
Indeed when you think back to some of Hughes’ most arrogant and breathtaking shots, on that grim Boxing Day 25 years ago, one can only weep at the talent that went to waste. Had burdens not been placed on his shoulders too soon, had there been a senior figure to counsel and to warn, and had Hughes been willing to listen to him, then there might have been many more memories then what there are. Hughes’ story should not be forgotten, because it should never happen again.
Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad
Xander and Nico ask if it’s just them, or is everything just shit; their encomia on bitching in the modern world is indeed laugh-inducing. Jacques at Troppo, meanwhile, wonders if his entire life is online for the world to see, and suggests that those who expect aspiring pollies and public figures to be purer than the driven snow to get over it, and fast. On the subject of snow, Barista discovers an almost snow-coloured wallaby. In Salt Lake City, Utah.