Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The tough budget that doesn't seem tough - today's commentariat:


"There comes a point in the lives of governments when they cross a line that is indistinct yet crucial. The ideals and policy goals that they wanted to promote in power start to matter less to them than the desire to just stay in power, whatever it takes. The measure that best sums up this budget is its biggest one: the $4.75 billion promised to business over four years as a company tax cut will now be taken away, and given to parents. Why? Employers don't vote for Labor. Parents might."


"If you are having trouble seeing the horror budget we were told to expect, that's according to plan. This government has always wanted to be tough in principle, but never in practice. Why are higher income earners copping it? Because there aren't many of them and few of them vote Labor anyway."


"The federal budget is Julia Gillard's big, expensive plea for forgiveness. It is her way of asking the disgrunteld Labor voter to give her government another look. The prime minister is seeking forgiveness for her broken promise on carbon tax, and doing it with money, a sure token of sincerity."


"Julia Gillard is right. This is a budget of redistribution that defines Labor values - from higher to lower income earners, from defence to social policy, from corporates to households, from deficit to surplus. Swan is setting an Abbott trap: he uses the mining tax to fund a new $5 billion resources boom family package in substitute for corporate tax cuts that the Coalition has opposed. This time politics will surely dictate that Tony Abbott cannot oppose the new cash splash for families."


"What the Treasurer could have said if spin wasn't at a premium. Madam Deputy Speaker, I move that the bill now be read a second time. And do you mind if I keep this short? The less said about this effort the better. I could bang on about the four years of surpluses we have pencilled in being a powerful endorsement of the strength of our economy and drop a few sound bites like ''we walk tall'', but my heart just isn't in it this year. These numbers have more rubber in them than Gumby."


"And everyone thought this was going to be a tough budget. It was a piece of cake really – Wayne Swan hardly had to employ any smoke and mirrors at all. Just do a bit of pea-and-thimble shuffling of spending out of 2012-13, and revenue in, both forwards and backwards, forecast a bumper 11 per cent increase in tax revenue, and – hey presto! – watch me pull a surplus out of my hat. That’s right, tax receipts are going to grow by 11 per cent in 2012-13, according to this budget, including company tax up 9 per cent and personal tax up by 8 per cent. On top of that, there’s an extra $5.6 billion from resource rent taxes and $4 billion from the carbon tax. This is, at its core, a big taxing, big spending budget, including a big increase in welfare."

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