Michael Pascoe writes:

A wise man once observed that politics is
all a matter of economics while economics is all a matter of politics – but the
Federal Treasurer’s performance over the weekend was 100 per cent political.

Once again Malcolm Turnbull was the man who
wasn’t there as Dollar Sweetie ran out the platitudes about something in the
budget for families on average wages.

“I’m a poor little latchkey kid who wants
to give money to good honest ordinary Australians who are doing it tough, while
that multi-millionaire Malcolm Turnbull just wants to make the fabulously rich
richer,” Costello said without saying it.

The words that did come out of his lips
were less distinct. Cossie suddenly discovered all those voters on average
weekly earnings that he had given a $312 annual tax cut to this financial year
with nothing yet set for next year while delivering an extra $4,502 for
everyone on $125,000 and more a year
when the second tranche kicks in on 1 July.

But the thing about fiddling with the 30
per cent marginal tax rate or the tax threshold is that everyone at the top
gets the extra tax break as well. To offer the working class a better deal that
way – more than another milkshake-and-a-sandwich effort – the alleged Turnbull electorate
gets it too.

Considering that along with the way Cossie
kept stressing families and numbers that suggest single incomes and you’d have
to start wondering about more specific schemes for child
allowances/deductions/bonuses or perhaps even some sort of child-related
deduction for owner-occupier mortgage interest.

Yes, it’s messy and it doesn’t make a lot
of sense, but that was the Treasurer’s performance.

He also had some funny lines about tax
breaks that would have to come out of cuts elsewhere in expenditure, not from the
resources boom, but he then promises increased real spending for health, security
and defence – which doesn’t leave a lot unless you start spending those big fat
surpluses flowing from the resources boom. Yep, messy and not a lot of sense.

And aside from Malcolm Turnbull, there was
another man who wasn’t there – David Murray.

The ex-CBA boss and now chairman of the
Future Fund is expecting more substantial contributions from Costello. In an
interview with Eureka Report on Friday, Murray outlined figures that point to several more billion dollars in seed
money from the Federal Government over the next few years.

But what the hell – it’s silly season, John
Howard is lying doggo, Malcolm Turnbull is on holidays, it’s a traditional sort
of thing for the Treasurer to feed the chooks. Well, Turnbull isn’t standing
there…is he?