Megalogenis: "Zero is the new black for the Australian economy. The Rudd Government is throwing every dollar it can to keep a plus sign in front of gross domestic product in this financial year and the next. Even a growth rate of zero-point-something, which is the statistical equivalent of standing still for Australia’s $1.1 trillion economy... The kitchen-sink fiscal policy, when combined with much lower interest rates, might work."
Maiden: "The economy is now on a potent drip-feed, comprising fiscal stimulus worth more than 5% of gross domestic product (much of it temporary, which is a good thing), interest rates that are at generational lows, tax cuts that have added another $7 billion to spending power, and a currency that has fallen in value by 35% since mid-2007. So don't believe the doom-laden hype: much depends on China's progress in the next few months."
Gittins: "Worrying about the budget going into deficit is like being told a friend has been killed in a car crash and then inquiring about the fate of the car. At such times there are more important things to worry about."
And: "All this and the recession hasn't really started yet. At 4.5 per cent, unemployment is still at boom-time lows. If the central bankers and politicians are being so uncharacteristically generous, you could reason, they must know something pretty terrible is on the way."
Gans: "Despite appearances, the stimulus is strikingly economically conservative. Ignoring those one-off investments, the Government has not created a structural deficit. Structural deficits are hard to get rid of. In contrast, one-off items can be paid back over time and the pain smoothed accordingly."
Quiggin: "It’s great building schools, but we need to be hiring teachers, teachers aides and support staff to work in them. Human services are the most labor-intensive areas of the economy, and also an area that’s been constrained in the era of economic liberalism that is now coming to an end."
Colebatch: "There is nothing to help the real victims of the recession: the 800,000 Australians whom Treasury expects to be unemployed by June next year.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, apostle of economic morality, has overlooked one basic fact — recessions make most people better off. Our mortgage bills plummet, our taxes are cut, and as inflation sinks, our wages rise faster than the prices we pay. Most of the $16.6 billion he shovelled out yesterday in handouts will go to people who will end this recession better off than ever. We might spend it, we might save it, but we don't need it.
Those who need it are the poor people who bear the cost of the recession on behalf of the rest of us: workers who lose their jobs, apprentices laid off, youngsters who can't even get into the labour market, and businesses and self-employed people who go broke. There is nothing in this package for them. Australia pays its unemployed a starvation wage of $224.65 a week. Its real value has not risen for 20 years or so.
Perhaps Rudd's next essay for The Monthly could be on the morality of kicking the victims."