“John Howard says his Government faces annihilation at this year’s election and admits his long period as Prime Minister and the unchanged tenure of his most senior ministers is a contributing factor.”

Joe Hockey has said WorkChoices was stuffed up, Victorian Bracks will not deal with the colt from Double Bay, and the PM has denied he has any rabbits to pull from his hat.

Alan Wood returns from injury to point out that the virtues of WorkChoices “should be obvious to all”. As Basil Faulty would have said: “Ungrateful bastards – they don’t know what’s good for them.”

Henry’s latest poll shows the economy is seen as “politician proof” by 12 %, Rudd’s Labor is regarded as an adequate economic manager and stronger in issues like “climate change” and “fairness” by 32.8 %.

The electorate is “just joking” is agreed by 8.6 % while 10.3 % say the electorate is trying to attract more goodies from the government. A massive 36 % specify “other reasons” and Henry Ringwood’s theory in Your Say for 21 May is one such theory.

The bottom line is that there’s just no gratitude, gentle readers. Australia is basking in the greatest prosperity in its history and the electorate seems to have concluded “This time it’s time.” If things do not change radically, the 2007 Federal election in Australia will banish forever the [US] Democrat slogan “It’s the economy stupid.”

In news from across the Pacific, US consumer confidence has taken a battering this week. The ABC News/Washington Post Consumer Comfort Index reached its lowest level in seven months on rapidly rising gas prices.

The index has now fallen six points in two weeks, and currently stands at -9 on its scale of +100 to -100. The recent uptrend in gas prices has been startling to the American consumer. The average price of a gallon of unleaded rose 12 cents this week to $3.22, matching the inflation-adjusted high reached during the 1981 gas crisis. Gas is up 35 cents in the last month and more than $1 since mid-February, its rise correlating with falling confidence.

Confidence has been choppy in 2007, due mainly to the different economic forces pulling the index in different directions. The US, despite a widely announced economic slowdown, continues to have remarkably low unemployment and strong corporate profits, which add upward pressure to confidence.

However, the upward march in gas prices has had a strong dampening effect on confidence – the price of gasoline has a strong long-term correlation with consumer confidence, 0.72 over the 21-year history of this weekly survey. 

Read more at Henry Thornton.