With the budget only a fortnight away, the media is awash with speculation about what is in store for the country.
This week, the Prime Minister finally admitted what many have been saying for many months: the financial cupboard is bare and 'all options are on the table'. This is political speak for ‘new taxes are on the way’.
Despite a healthy 7 per cent rise in tax takings over the past year, the government committed to around a 12 per cent increase in spending. For some inexplicable reason they thought the nation would cough up the extra even when the economy is so clearly struggling. This assumption (which Labor defends as being based on Treasury modelling) clearly brings into question the value and wisdom we are getting from our public service advisers.
If families, business people and members of the Opposition knew that things were tough outside of the rarefied air of the bureaucracy and executive, how did our highly paid specialist advisers sign off on such dodgy modelling? One can only assume that political influence was brought to bear.
If this is true, it makes the credibility of Swan, Gillard and Wong sink to an even lower level than it was. For many months they have been steadfastly assuring the nation that things were on track and a surplus was on the way. When this rhetoric changed, they claimed it was justified because income had fallen short of estimates - the dodgy estimates that they possibly insisted should be used in the first place.
And yet amazingly, these people still want to be taken seriously as credible financial managers.
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Senator Cory Bernardi a Senator for South Australia.
Medicine is pressured by a radical socialist transformation. Some of this is top down. Much of it is bottom up, writes Dr Grant N Ross
For 2 years I was the Melbourne University Liberal Club’s token doctor. Turning up late, or never, I would always be out of kilter with JSM, political theories and fights of the day and somewhat under the impression that Kroger was a kind of cheese. Luckily, being a stereotype got me over the line.I would like to redeem my standing by attempting to write about the direction of health under Labor and the alternative policy direction the Liberal Party should choose when in Government.
Jim Friar notes how the Federal Government's recent "savings" are in fact tax-hikes:
Originally published at Real World Libertarian and reproduced with permission.
Tim Humphries compares the 2012 budget to a Bugs Bunny Racketeering Clip:
My earliest memory of political satire was watching Bugs Bunny's Racketeer Rabbit (1946). This cartoon first catalyzed my fascination and thinking on animation and the pop culture metaphors that can be used to describe Politics and Society in its current 'Nanny Statist' form.
Racketeer Rabbit if analysed syntactically, taking into account mise en scene and specific cultural references draws very specifically on the 'Al Capone Prohibition' era.
The parallels between Wayne Swan's recent tax and spend budget and this Looney Tunes take is too amusing to pass up.
KPMG projects in its Economic and Fiscal analysis a return to $1.5 Billion dollars of surplus by 2012-13 at about 0.1 percent of GDP. KPMG's report goes onto express these figures in percentages stating the deficit to be 3.0 percent of GDP.
If Wayne Swan is the Al Capone figure then the Australian people must be Bugs Bunny. The Australian people are noble creatures, who much like the cartoon just want to be left alone by the antics of the mobsters in the floor above!
Go with me on this. All of a sudden Swannie and his trigger happy sidekicks decide to spray bullets across their business opponents, hitting them with the hot lead of new "Carbon and Mining Taxes". Along with the much vaunted 1 cent business tax cut which was abandoned cynically for the current slice of class warfarism.
Robert Katsambis looks at some of the more ridiculous instances of taxpayer waste in the 2012 Federal Budget:
The budget presents the government of the day with an opportunity to showcase its agenda and put forward its vision for Australia. I could sit here all day and talk about how for Labor this involves penalising hard work and effort, but I’ll take this opportunity to dwell on some of the more light-hearted aspects of the 2012-13 budget.
$2.1 million is allocated to “address the stereotyping of older Australians” in the media. Now, visualise a budget consultation forum with big ideas being circulated around the room by academics and public servants on important issues like taxation and welfare reform, and then someone stands up and says “you know what would be a great idea? Spending millions of dollars addressing the stereotyping of elderly people.” The people in that meeting who laughed off this idea would have been surprised on Wednesday morning when they saw it in the budget papers.
The Budget also allocates $12.8 million to the filming of The Wolverine, a gripping tale about an ill-tempered, part-man/part-dog superhero who travels to Japan to learn the art of Kung-Fu with a samurai master and defeat the Japanese empire. Budget Paper 2 attempts to defend this expenditure by contending that the film will inject $80 million into the Australian economy. Obviously, Treasury just went to IMBD and saw that the film had an $80 million budget and copy-pasted this number into the budget papers without it even occurring to some of the most advanced economic minds of this country that most of the cast and big studios bankrolling the film are in fact, not going to spend most of their money in Australia. This is yet another example of that shameless Labor spin we have seen too much of. It also surprises me that the government didn’t chastise Hugh Jackman for having too much money.
Consistent with the Hollywood theme, $3.7 million is allocated to facilitate tax rebates for breast implants. Yes, breast implants. Such waste is also exemplified by forecast spending of $63 million on indigenous television and $1.5 million on an Islamic museum.
But in spite of this waste, the budget shows proof that Labor sometimes sticks to its election promises. That is, its promises from the 2007 election. The government will provide $11.7 million to give “custom-built laptops to thousands of primary school students”. That is, $11.7 million to be spent on computers that will be either lost, left at home, stolen, broken, used as an excuse for not having done assignments, and used to play computer games during class. And why do they have to be custom-built? What need could students possibly have to justify the provision of computers that have more sophisticated functions than the standard PC that would warrant a higher price to be paid by the taxpayer? Judging by this government’s track record of wastage and incompetence, this project will probably be rorted and mishandled just like the BER or the Pink Batts scheme.
If Labor cannot even come up with relatively small projects that have some merit, how will they be able to administer a budget that underpins an entire economy? But ultimately, the fact that Labor needs to cook the books to deliver a small budget surplus proves they have no fiscal credentials.
Robert Katsambis studies law and corporate finance at the University of Adelaide.
Senator Cory Bernardi gives us his take on the upcoming budget:
Ahead of a federal budget that aims to re-define the contribution of the Labor Party to our national economic malaise, all Australians are entitled to be cynical about what they will be told.
After four years of untruths and spin Australians are sick to death of being told what is good for us by a group of politicians who have demonstrated they don't care about us.
The essential message from Labor over the past 48 months is that everyday Australians aren’t capable of making appropriate decisions for themselves. The encroachment of the nanny state, rising taxes and contempt for the electorate by Labor ministers bear this out.
Nowhere is this more evident than the soon to start carbon tax. This was the tax both major parties promised we would not have but only one, the Coalition, has been wise enough to keep their pact.
Labor sold their soul to the Greens for the promise of clinging to power and are now reaping what they sowed. Having done a deal with the political devil, Labor have been plunged into electoral hell. Few listen to what they say whilst almost everyone is critical of what they do. Demonstrable proof that actions do speak far louder than words.
Over the past two weeks, Labor rhetoric has been focused on a ‘tough budget’. This is the same claim they have made every year since being elected and clocking up $167 billion in deficit spending. This is money that will have to be repaid by successive generations to pay for Labor’s spendthrift and cavalier approach to public finances.
The rhetoric has been matched by a version of three card monte, where spending is shuffled in and out of various years to deliver a promised surplus in the year ahead.
While the budget bottom line announced tonight may indeed contain a positive figure, few, if any serious pundits believe it will be delivered. In fact, we won't know the final result until more than 15 months down the track. Few can imagine we won’t see a change in government before then. Fewer still believe any claim by this government for fiscal conservatism.
The lesson for all Australians is very clear. A short-term approach to showering voters with handouts provides a glimmer of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy economic world. However, the long-term consequences of a moment in the sun make the financial outlook darker still.\
Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia.