Feb 13, 2013

Myth of Coalition govts: Howard the biggest spender of all

There's a perception the Coalition are better at cutting spending than Labor, but the Rudd and Gillard governments have cut spending significantly. John Howard was the big spender, says Stephen Koukoulas.

If the current Labor government delivered growth in real government spending during its first five years in office at the same pace the Howard government had in the years from 2000-01, government spending would be almost 6% (or around $20 billion) greater in 2012-13 than is the case. If we take these numbers out to eight years, the gap between the big-spending Howard government and the fiscally prudent Labor government gets even wider.

This is exactly the point the International Monetary Fund noted about the Howard government in a recent study; that it needlessly and wastefully boosted spending in the last two-thirds of its term of office.

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29 thoughts on “Myth of Coalition govts: Howard the biggest spender of all

  1. Andrew C

    “This is exactly the point the International Monetary Fund noted” – Stephen Koukoulas

    “This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily
    represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.” – IMF

    The author is misrepresenting the paper, and worse, he linked it for credibility and that quote is on the 2nd page! What does he think of the readers, trying such a bold faced trick?!

  2. Andybob

    Wowsers Andrew C ! When you exclude that tricky paragraph the effect on the argument made in the rest of the article is … nothing.

  3. Andrew C

    Ok, Andybob, did you read the report? Or do you blindly trust the author, even after such a ridiculous lie? How did such a misrepresentation got past the editors?

    Sorry, but once your credibility is ruined, as it is here, it becomes harder to listen to face value.

  4. The Pav

    Dear Andrew C

    On the basis of your last post (3) then you would obviously have no truck with Abbott, Costello, Howard or if in Qld Campbell or in WA Barnett & Buswell

    I would say that linking the report just made it easier to check it so the credibility issue is what?

    And anyway is the assessment wrong in your opinion?

  5. jeremy brown

    Andrew C, grasping at straws to imply that the article was incorrectly attributed. So what? The facts are still there too see – take a look at the graph on page 44. Sycophants who can’t bear to see the shiny brass plating of the coalition tarnished make me puke.
    Twenty Coalition budgets and never a fall in real government outlays, apparently. The author wonders why the press haven’t made anything of it. Two main reasons in my opinion – News Ltd and Australian bloody-mindedness.

  6. Michael

    Ah Kouk, keep talking them up, mate. There were three Labor Prime Ministers in the House the other day. One of them produced a surplus. Good old Bob back in about 1991.

  7. David Hand

    Nice try, Stephen.
    The problem is that those years of Howard government you refer to were years of surplus.

    That is, for those who may need an explanation, that though the government spent a lot, the tax take was even greater. The problem Labor has is that it is spending money it doesn’t have. Though a surplus in itself is not a fundamental requirement and the coalition would be in deficit as well in the current period, voters will make their minds up on the likely future capability in government fiscal responsibility.

    Sorry mate but the ALP has a lot of ground to catch up.

  8. John Newton

    ‘The issue is that Abbott is factually incorrect. Secondly, his statements are rarely challenged by journalists’

    How many times have I heard politicians sprouting porkies and never challenged by journalists.?The ABC is the worst culprit. why is this so???

  9. Dogs breakfast

    “Indeed, to many Australians, the perceptions about the major political parties and government spending and fiscal prudence are the reverse of the reality.”

    That is it, in a nutshell.

    The level of sophistication of the average voter is such that comments by the likes of David Hand are considered material, when they are not. Surplus good, deficit bad, no context, no insight. Pretty much sums it up.

    Coalition government, last 5 years, reaped a $300b windfall in tax receipts (budget papers), without having done anything to create them. They were just there at the right time. The receipts were so huge, so unexpected that even they couldn’t spend it fast enough, at a time when we should have been squirrelling it away.

    The deficits during the GFC were good policy, not wasted. The waste was in the middle class welfare, high earners tax cuts and structural deficit that the coalition left the Labor party.

    Just the facts.

  10. David Boorer

    Even if the surplus is undeniably a good thing (by itself it is not, you have to take investments into account too) how much of the surplus and paying off debt was through the Liberals’ economic management? shows the sale of government assets, look up the years Howard was Prime Minister, that’s a lot of money (about $72 billion i think) from selling assets. Tax income from spending was also higher under Howard but since this was a world-wide phenomena it was not due to the Australian government.
    So the Liberals are better economic managers because they got a paid off debt and got a deficit during great economic times and by selling assets? That doesn’t make sense to me.

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