Kim Beazley may have lost his press secretary of just six months, Kate
Hannon, but his spinners are still trying hard. They’ve come up with a
clever line to draw attention to the nation’s foreign debt: apparently
we are “maxing out the credit card.”

Beazley road tested it at last week’s NSW state Labor conference: Nation’s credit card ‘maxed out’.

And party room spokeswoman Julia Gillard was pushing it during what
might have been the least consequential caucus debrief ever this week.
And the line got a big run during a debate on the trade deficit that
Beazley ran after Question Time yesterday.

Clearly, Labor strategists think this might be the equivalent of John
Hewson’s “debt truck” that circled the nation in the 90s. Which would
be fine if our credit rating was dropping, but in a world run by
ratings agencies it’s just a silly analogy. Out in struggle street a
“maxed out card” means we can’t borrow anymore. Who does Beazley think
listens to parliament?

As economic bloggers are
happy to point out net foreign debt increases under every government.
Is the logical extension of Beazley’s populist rhetoric cutting our
standard of living for the sake of a lower current account
deficit? And how would Beazley implement this self-defeating
policy prescription?