While today's Intergenerational Report (IGR) will be treated with due reverence by the media and considered as a thoughtful contribution to long-term fiscal and economic debate, does it have any point whatsoever?
The reports, since the first one in 2002, have shared Treasury's long tradition of spectacular misses in forecasts. The department that routinely struggles to get four-year forecasts right, it turns out, isn't any better with twenty- and fifty-year forecasts.
The 2002 report confidently predicted Australia's population would be 23.2 million in 2022, and it would reach a staggering 25.3 million in the early 2040s. It's now around 25.7 million, an impressive 20-year miss by Peter Costello's Treasury.