The Treasury officials who work tirelessly to produce the federal budget each year don’t often get a lot of credit.
They are the ones grinding policy proposals through economic models to determine what it all means for GDP growth, the unemployment rate, and the budget bottom line -- and writing cameos in the budget papers about what tax policy means for Priya who “is a civil engineer working in regional Australia” earning $80,000 a year.
Those details are extremely important. But so, too, is the overarching narrative of the budget -- the government’s “fiscal strategy”. Credit or blame for that typically goes largely to the treasurer, and to a lesser extent the finance minister. And economists assessing this year’s budget should be largely positive about the shift in fiscal strategy. Gone, it seems, are the “debt and deficit” bumper stickers and the back-in-black coffee mugs.