Readers spent the weekend mulling over Bernard Keane’s stance that Bill Shorten’s fiscal pitch for the federal election, while “boring”, could help ease the sting of future financial crises. While some readers supported the view, others thought we were missing the point. Elsewhere, readers discussed the puzzling questions raised by recent polls, and offered some explanations.

On Labor’s ‘crisis-averting’ fiscal policy

Robert Smith writes: Both sides rely on the overly optimistic forecasts by Treasury of future growth in the economy beyond the budget. This makes the surplus/deficit projections for both sides look better so neither side can point out the problem.

Stuart Bruce writes: The government controls the Australian currency and can deficit spend to an essentially limitless degree during a recession (only limited by the cost of perverse price incentives or the political costs of misleading opposition campaigns, such as “school halls” and “pink bats”). The continuation of the neoliberal fantasy that the budget isn’t simply a product of the foreign and private sectors is depressing, because if Labor actually do force a surplus the undeniable arithmetic of sectoral balances shows us that the private sector is then forced to choose between higher unemployment or higher debt (and private debt is already 200% of GDP). Then with household debt already at 190% of household income, these beliefs might just be the last straw that breaks the backs of Aussie households and brings on a debt-deleveraging spiral and housing market collapse.

On the election’s polling questions

Mick Donohoe: I wonder whether the polls’ failure to get Victoria’s big swing to Labor correct was a result of the number of new young voters. I have been polled at least six times in the last two months, all on my landline, the number of under 25-year-olds with landlines would likely be very small. So the pollsters getting my opinion would likely miss the opinions of younger voters. If this is correct the polls may be wrong and would, most likely, undervalue the Labor/Greens vote. We could see a national version of Victoria’s last state election.

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