big tech, budget
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

When Josh Frydenberg invokes Thatcher and Reagan as some sort of template for post-pandemic Australia, he's either profoundly ignorant or has in mind something quite different from the government's professed agenda of jobs growth.

Perhaps Frydenberg pays more attention to Reagan's rhetoric than the historical record. Despite Reagan's legendary hostility to government, its size significantly increased on his watch: US government spending increased as a proportion of GDP from under 36% under Carter to nearly 38% under Reagan (much of it flowing to defence corporations), and debt to GDP soared from below 40% of GDP to over 50%.

In fact, Reagan perfectly fits the post-war US tradition that Republican presidents are less fiscally disciplined than their Democratic counterparts -- though Reagan was the worst of the lot until Trump. For a "hate figure of the left", Reagan sure loved big government.