Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That open letter. Labor had so little to do with it...

...it didn't even know about it. Trust me.

More than 50 of Australia's leading economics professors and lecturers have entered the political fray declaring in an open letter that Labor's stimulus program worked and the economic achievements of the Labor government" should be "recognised by the population".

Organiser Raja Junankar from the University of NSW said the letter had nothing to do with the Labor Party and developed from a meeting with his colleagues 10 days in which expressed despair at a stream of newspaper articles "claiming the stimulus didn't work, that it cost a lot of money, that it caused deficts".

"The Australian had a big front page a week ago quoting Warwick McKibbin who they said was a Reserve Bank director saying the stimulus didn't work," he told the Age.

"The only people who have been quoted by Tony Abbott are McKibbin who is in fact an ANU economist who sits on the Reserve Bank board and Griffith University professor Tony Makin, and possibly one other."

"I don't think anyone could get anything like the 50 signatures we have obtained of leading academics taking the other point of view."

Some academics decided not to sign because they felt the letter was too political, others because they thought it might affect their position within their university.

Asked whether the name of the political party in power would have really affected the handling of the global crisis Professor Junankar said he thought it would.

"I do give a lot of credit to the Treasury for designing some of the programs. I am sure the Treasury would have proposed something similar to a Caolition government had it been in office instead. But would the Coalition have done the same thing? My view is it would have gone softly softly. It would have worried about the deficit more than the economy."

Published in today's Age

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