The rate rise is out of the way, so now the press can get all
worked up about the budget. Tax cuts (modest) are coming, as well as
serious help for families, well, families that earn less than $250 K.
Excuse me, families that earn less than $250 K! Can this be true, Gunga
Din? All will be revealed tomorrow night.

The more
thoughtful commentators are pointing out that tax cuts plus more middle class
welfare adds up to fiscal stimulus, while the Reserve Bank has just tightened
monetary policy. The correct answer to this apparent conundrum is that both
moves are small, and won’t much influence the overall economy.

Our Budget Watch section provides a run-down of some of the predictions for tomorrow night, with
today’s AFR seeming
confident that the budget will include “new tax cuts, boost family payments and
increase spending on roads, defence and border protection in a budget that
cashes in on surging revenues to introduce policies to lift economic
growth.”

Nice to see the
impressive line ups of highly experienced journos in each of the major
newspapers. What a pity that a bit of this journalistic firepower is not
directed at the rapidly developing situation involving Iran. There is
another prediction of $US100 oil today, and that is before the
US decides to attempt to
pre-empt Iran’s development as a nuclear
power.

John Howard will
be feted in Washington in a few days time. Let’s hope he
manages to limit Australia to
a bit part in the de-nuclearisation of Iran. Our coverage is
here,
and will continue through the much ado about very little that is the Aussie
Federal budget.

Read more at
Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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