When is a budget really a budget? – Jamie McIntyre
You know, the sort of bother where the money runs out before the month runs out!
Imagine if publicly listed companies could fudge figures (and be legally allowed to) as much as Treasurer Swan does.
Or if households ran that way – expecting to have food on the table at the end of the year, when instead the money runs out because the budget is so hopelessly inaccurate.
What do I mean?
Well this financial year just passed (2011/2012), the budget papers stated the deficit was $44.4 billion.
Yet when Treasurer Swan released the budget this time last year, Australians were told it would be $22.6 billion.
Now of course budgets are forecasts, but being $22 billion out or 100% out is hardly what you could call the makings of the world’s best treasurer!
So how can we rely on this year’s budget surplus forecast of $1.5 billion to actually occur when over the last 12 months this Government spent $22 billion more than the budget they told us this time last year?
You see this year’s forecast $1.5 billion surplus is an accounting trick.
Such as: moving a lot of expenses to this year’s expenses, prior to June 30.
And then postponing next year’s expenses to a year later, along with other fudging of the books (and creating a poison pill for the Coalition to swallow when it comes to power, because they’ll have to find ways to fund the postponed expenses).
Think Enron and others who fudged the books, and what happened eventually.
Of course the Government will simply borrow to plug the deficit that occurs next year when its paper-thin surplus of $1.5 billion never eventuates because it’s simply an accounting trick and not a budget you can bank on.
And add this to the time tested strategy of Labor Governments: bribe the lower income earners to vote for them by diverting monies into sweeteners, instead of gaining votes by having a credible Government.
Sure, maybe it’s good politics but it isn’t good economic management.
Overall though, perhaps we should give them some credit for at least trying to get a budget surplus.
Because it’s not in their DNA to run budget surpluses, or to cut back on spending money used to bribe the electorate to maintain power.
If this Government had not run up $180 billion (and counting) in budget deficits since it started, I’d be more excited by Australia’s economic prospects.
The best thing about the 2012 budget is it isn’t that harmful, which is unusual for this Government.
And considering it’s likely to be the last one Treasure Swan gets to deliver, at least that can excite us.
What are your thoughts on the budget?