The economy is
swimming in money, “raining revenue” as Crikey put
it.

There are handouts for all. Roads, rail and the mighty Murray. Lots of
dough for medical research. Superannuation simplified – praise the lord
and pass the brandy – and tax free when spent by the old folk. If they
are pensioners, they may get further handouts and if they are people
with a long (20-year) connection with the land, they do not have to sell or
lease their property. Accelerated depreciation for big business, less
red tape for small business. More childcare places – “no child shall
avoid a socialised upbringing” – and handouts for families.

Greatly increased
spending for the military and the spooks, the folk that knew about the wheat
bribes but whose collective voice was too feeble to be heard. More money for
Australia’s rapacious and bone-headed
venture capitalists.

Tax cuts for all –
one of the nicest touches that, with the optimists saying it is the start of tax
reform. The Financial Times asserted,
“Sydney
announces tax cutting budget”.

Well done Cossie.
No great vision but highly competent economic management, leaving Labor nowhere
to go. However, I will note a serious political breakthrough. Peter Costello
said Labor’s superannuation had “been a good idea, so we kept it”, and improved
it. Wayne Swan said Labor agreed with the tax cuts, in fact the gummint had
pinched its plan. But, sensibly, no prolonged whine about the goodies being
showered on us all.

As many people have
noted, there is no great reforming zeal here. One imagines John Howard, with
Lord Melbourne, saying to his cabinet, “no enthusiasm please, gentlemen”. Or as
a senior military man said to Henry recently: “Enthusiasm gets you
killed”.

“Bound to put upward
pressure on interest rates” said Henry’s favourite economist, “but the good news
is that the super simplification will wipe out lots of financial planners. (He’s
a harsh bast*rd.) The US dollar sold off overnight and gold reached new highs –
was this the world’s investors taking fright at Cossie’s budget? Just joking
Peter.

So it’s on with the show. Great to see the rescued miners jostling for
space in the headlines. What a tribute to Aussie culture, especially
the culture of the battling mining towns of Tasmania. Howard’s battlers
for sure.

Read more at
Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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