Australian newspapers this morning have been busy analysing the economics and politics of Wayne Swan’s second Budget. The reactions have been mixed. Crikey has pulled together a collection of where the editorials of the metropolitan newspapers are sitting this morning:

Hope now – pay later

There is a sense in last night’s budget that Mr Swan is so anxious to demonstrate all will be well that he has interpreted the international data, especially on Asia, as optimistically as he dares to demonstrate the domestic growth he estimates will occur. This may be understandable but it is no way to frame a budget for a nation in deficit. — The Australian

Labor spends up in search of recovery

Long-term economic forecasting is notoriously unreliable – few mainstream economists predicted the onset of the global financial crisis and the present recession – but it may be doubted whether the growth rates projected in this budget will generate sufficient revenue to return the budget to surplus by 2015. Mr Swan’s assertive confidence last night was appropriate, but he should remember that in an economic slump, premature optimism is as dangerous an emotion as fear. — The Age

Budget puts us all at risk

Treasurer Wayne Swan might prefer to think of his plan for an uncertain future as big and bold but, essentially, he is saying, we’re the Government, trust us. The cost involves a word unknown to Australians unless they think of it in the vocabulary of the United States Treasury. The word is trillion. — Herald Sun

Blind optimism and hard work

There is a temptation to give the Government every benefit of the doubt over this Budget and financial matters in general. No doubt, the Rudd Government certainly finds itself in perilous circumstances not of its making. Yet that is the lot of every government, to varying degrees. No government has the luxury of nominating the events that take place under its watch. The previous government had to deal with Asian financial meltdowns, 9/11, and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. — The Daily Telegraph

Budget puts country on clear course to reform

If the recession was caused in part by governments and banks forgetting to end the party, this year’s Budget is about cleaning up now the party’s over. Treasurer Wayne Swan makes a convenient political point when he says that the budgetary challenges he and his officials faced this year stem in part from the unsustainability of spending by the Howard Government at the height of the commodities boom. However, just because this is an easy political line doesn’t mean it isn’t true — The Courier-Mail

The Treasurer spends in the right places

Mr Swan has delivered a credible Budget in adverse economic circumstances. He has aimed to limit the political pain to his Government by spending big in key areas while calling on the “better off” to contribute to the recovery by paying higher taxes. The areas targeted for major spending represent significant investments in the nation’s future. They will create jobs and, in the longer term, help the nation’s productive capacity when the downturn ends. — AdelaideNow

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey