The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kohler: big taxing, big spending budget with no belt tightening by unpopular govt approaching election...

Alan Kohler's punchy budget summary:

This is, at its core, a big taxing, big spending budget, including a big increase in welfare. It is the budget of an unpopular government approaching an election, not one that’s tightening the belt.

According to Budget Paper No.2 – Budget Measures, “expense measures” in this budget actually increase spending by $201.2 million.

There are a total of 284 separate increases in spending in the budget, ranging in size from $100,000 (a new Remote Jobs and Communities Programme) to $911 million (continuing “Operation Slipper” in Afghanistan).

On top of that about $1.6 billion in spending was pulled forward from 2012-13 into 2011-12: $1.1 billion has been thrown at local councils this year in grants that were due to be paid in 2012-13, and another $500 million has been pulled forward by replacing the Education Tax Refund with a “Schoolkids bonus”.

In total, welfare payments, including the school kids bonus and the extra family welfare, go up by $4.8 billion.

Meanwhile the revenue measures in this budget add up to $1.7 billion in extra revenue, but they’re mostly just deferrals of tax cuts and special dividends.