Grasping at Governments past

May 11, 2009 — 5 Comments

It’s one thing to turn around and say “shit, things got really bad, we have to act” but it’s another to blame the previous Government when your own Government not only delivered the last budget, but has had its hands in the till (well, really on the national Mastercard) dishing out money ever since.

Treasurer Wayne Swan blames revenue collapse on spending by John Howard:

Two days before delivering his second Budget at a time of unprecedented global economic upheaval, Mr Swan yesterday told The Australian his efforts to deal with the recession-driven, $200 billion collapse in revenue had been complicated by a legacy of reckless spending by the previous government.

In an apparent move to make Mr Howard a fall guy for a tough Budget, Mr Swan said the former prime minister had behaved “as if the mining boom was never going to end” in handing out payments across the community.

“As a consequence of those unsustainable habits which developed at the top of the boom and, given the nature of the global recession and the unwinding of the mining boom, everybody will have to do their bit to put the budget on a more sustainable footing,” Mr Swan said

But hang on: those “unsustainable” habits weren’t addressed in last years budget, Swan’s first. It’s lovely having hindsight, but you can’t blame the last guy when you didn’t see the problem either.

There’s one thing I do agree on: the Howard Government spent far too much (particularly in middle class welfare) and didn’t put enough money aside for a rainy day. The Howard Government should have set the country up better.

However, the Rudd Government could have addressed that problem LAST YEAR. Instead, they increased spending in that budget, and then did two rounds of $900 stimulus payments to 90% of the adult population, on top of massive amounts of infrastructure and related spending.

They’ve raided the Future Fund to cover their spending…the very fund set up by Howard to save for a rainy day TO START WITH.

I don’t think the blame Howard line is going to wash with most Australians. The fact they’re using it reeks of desperation, and may be indicative of even worse news to be delivered tonight.

18 months to go until the next election. People aren’t stupid. Cutting taxes to meet an election promise, then upping the cost of living for everything else (possibly by a greater amount) is something voters will see through.

So much for a change to transparent and open Government. They should just dump the tax cuts and explain the reason why (without blaming Howard,) most people would accept the downturn as the reasoning.