This is a long rant, folks -- but it's important. At least, if you value your standard of living and that of your kids.

Recently, the Productivity Commission -- which has now replaced Treasury as the home of high-quality economic policy thinking in the Commonwealth -- sought submissions on new, achievable productivity-lifting reforms. But it might just as well have sought ideas for preventing Australia from backsliding into its bad old habits. Forget further economic reform -- the current challenge is to not go backwards.