Scott Morrison government transparency foreign aid
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

The great Morrison Stagnation besetting the Australian economy has now been recognised internationally, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) overnight cutting its 2019 GDP growth forecast for Australia to 1.7% (down from 2.8% just a year ago) and revising its unemployment predictions for this year and next. Scott Morrison is now declaring he "won’t be spooked" into taking any action to help the economy, in the same way a man standing on a rail line refuses to be spooked by the oncoming train. If stagnation turns into a downturn or worse, this do-nothing, agenda-less leader will own it 100%.

No one else can be blamed. Not the Reserve Bank (RBA), which has cut its key cash rate five times since 2016 to successive record lows and repeatedly called for fiscal stimulus and structural reform; not workers, who have had to endure flat or declining incomes for more than half a decade; not the states, which have been doing the heavy lifting on infrastructure spending and want to do more; not even business, which has been calling for more infrastructure spending and the skills and training programs to back it up, as well as increase in Newstart.

No, it's been Morrison's determination to return to surplus, on the back of -- as the RBA has also repeatedly pointed out -- a burgeoning tax take by the Australian Tax Office. With his surging tax collections eating into household demand, Morrison embodies exactly the stereotype of a tax-hungry government crimping economic activity that the Liberal Party pretends to rail against.