Disappearing surplus

Dylan Taylor writes: Re. “Swan alters course, delivers early Christmas present for Joe” (Friday). Seeing that about 90% of economists, commentators and others of their ilk have been pointing out that the circumstances have changed and it’s no longer essential for us to run a surplus — how damaging would it have been to continue with the strategy?

Besides people only see a broken promise as a bad thing if they think it’s going to hurt them — as they did with the “carbon tax” — while Abbott ran round screaming that it would ruin the economy and cost us all a motza. Now they see it isn’t going to do that, it’s become a marginal issue, except for the diehards — who were not going to vote Labor anyway.

With a budget in which he can show that some important Labor-initiated programs in education, aged care, mental health and disability insurance — can be funded without the world coming to an end. Swan was sensible to do what he did.

Forget the politics and have a Merry Christmas.

Asylum seekers

Colin Smith writes: Re. “2012 Crikeys: best and worst policy achievements” (Tuesday). I would be interested to hear Bernard Keane explain how “the self-righteous policy purity of the Greens and refugee advocates” has contributed to the achievement of the revamped Pacific Solution.

Does it rely upon the dubious proposition that sending people to Malaysia would have been better? If so, could he please explain how.

Climate change

John Bushell writes: Re. “From giant sunshades to ‘sodium trees’: this is a climate crisis” (Friday). As Andrew Glikson writes, any attempts to mitigate the impacts of human induced climate change will require mitigation efforts applied “on a global scale”.

Two major problems here:

  • If we can’t agree and implement adequate measure to directly address the problem of anthropogenic global warming at source on a global basis how are we going to agree mitigation measures on a global basis?
  • Any money spent on mitigating the impact of global warming simply robs our environment, society and economy of the resources needed to directly address the problem in the first place: essentially the production of significantly more energy than we use now (to meet growing population and increasing living standards) with very low greenhouse gas emissions.

Significant effort is needed to develop the “decarbonised” industrial revolution stage two. Much of the technology for this revolution is available now. The issue is to confront powerful interest groups who seek to frustrate this essential transition by raising straw men such as “mitigation efforts” and “carbon capture and storage” which have no place in long-term solutions.