As more than a few commentators have noted in the last 12 hours, yesterday's budget looks a lot like a Labor budget -- or, more correctly, a kind of conservative fever dream of a Labor budget. Tax receipts are going up -- half a percentage point of GDP this year, up another 0.4 of a point next year, 0.3 the following year, then another 0.4, to levels unseen since the Howard years. But spending is going up too: despite Joe Hockey's efforts to front-load spending into a year when he could blame it on Labor, spending rose from 25.7% of GDP in 2013-14 to 25.9% of GDP this year and it will be 25.9% of GDP next year as well (up from what was forecast in December in MYEFO). In 2018-19, spending will still be 25.3% of GDP, higher than spending in four of the six Labor years.
What is the point of the Abbott government?
The 2015 budget might keep Abbott and Hockey in their jobs, but its failure to be either economically stimulatory or fiscally disciplined suggests the government isn't really clear on its purpose.