Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is currently learning the hard way a political lesson that, if he'd bothered to ask, Labor veterans of the financial crisis could have offered him for free: no one remembers that you saved the economy, just the money you wasted in doing so.

The Rudd government, with the help of the Reserve Bank, saved Australia from deep recession of the kind that inflicted misery in so many other countries with a well-designed stimulus program that now looks paltry compared to the Morrison government's economic support programs. But once political business-as-usual resumed, it became the victim of a political counterfactual -- hundreds of thousands of jobs hadn't been lost, and the people who were the beneficiaries of that were none the wiser.  All people saw were the stories of allegations of mismanagement of the school halls program, and the deaths of people employed by shonks and spivs lured into the housing insulation program.

The $16 billion schools halls program turned out to be brilliantly successful -- despite an incessant and successful misinformation campaign waged against it by News Corp and the ABC -- according to an independent review and an auditor-general's review. But to this day, voters likely recall only ABC journalists describing it as a "debacle" rather than the 120,000 jobs it supported or the extensive educational infrastructure it left in every school in the country.