Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swan. We've lost perspective

Annabel Crabb:

"Foreign observers must feel - watching Australia's existential struggles with our dribbles of illegal immigrants, and our fretting about how the mining boom is ruining us with its intemperate billions - like the poor neighbours of a lottery winner overhearing a steady stream of complaints about how the $100 notes keep clogging up the washing machine.

The federal stimulus program, for which Swan has principally earned his Euromoney gong, is a good example of the broader phenomenon. To Euromoney, the stimulus program looks like a triumph because Euromoney is evaluating it purely as an exercise in economic management. As a giant funnel through which to pour revitalising funds into the Australian economy, the stimulus most certainly worked. But the Euromoney award, and the satisfaction of a non-dead economy, is about all the reward Mr Swan will get, because on the ground in Australia, the stimulus program is not just assessed as an economic tool. It's assessed on the value of all its constituent elements, all of which are immediate and apparent and photographable and much more easily explained than the spectral and – in the end – happily non-eventuating threat of economic meltdown.

Read more here.

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