Written By: Ben Clark - Date published: 6:45 pm, May 21st, 2012 - 12 comments
Categories: debt / deficit, economy, employment, im/migration, john key, national, unemployment - Tags: asset sales, dodgy statistics, growth, jobs
National have become a very adept PR machine. While not adept at running the country, they’ve become great at running statistics.
John Key was pushing things a little too far with his lines that unemployment rising to 6.7% showed an improved economy and that Europe electing anti-austerity leaders showed their austerity policies were right, but in general they’ve been running lines that have stuck all too well.
So we have things like a Fairfax poll showing more people blame Labour for our current Government debt than National – despite leaving the accounts in net credit (including Cullen Fund), and it being National who are busy running up $60 or $70 billion of debt for the next government to deal with. Tax cuts for the rich? Nothing to do with it. Let me sell you a single Treasury paper with mention of “a decade of deficits”…
Talking of those tax cuts, they managed to spin them as making everybody better off – but it not costing the government anything. Can’t beat a bit of money out of thin air – particularly with Treasury forecasting an immeasurably small amount of growth due to the cuts, even through their neo-liberal lens.
And so we have 10 out of the last 11 quarters have had growth – soon to morph into “the last 10 quarters have had growth“. Actually we have on average 0.5% growth under National – the lowest of any government since Labour first came to power in 1935. It barely matches population increase. National are happy to count 0.07% growth as as big a win as any.
Australia has averaged 2.4% growth – 5 times as much. US and Canada? About 1.3% each. The Eurozone has struggled with their debt crisis – something that thanks to Cullen we don’t have. Bill English said about what good shape the books were in when he arrived in office. John Key talked about not having a debt crisis, but a growth crisis. Tax cuts for the rich would solve everything.
Now: they’ve delivered virtual nil growth, but everything has to be seen through the prism of how they can get rid of all the debt they racked up…
If that’s not a sign of a failed policy from a failed government I don’t know what is.
Their biggest advertising in 2008 was on “say goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones” – but now we have a record of more than 1,000 per week heading across the ditch over the last year – more than 1.2% of the population. This could have something to do with the 170,000 jobs they forecast will be created each Budget – but never seem to arrive. Unemployment? 6.7% – more than 50% more unemployed people than when they took office in the recession.
They continue to sell asset sales as beneficial to the economy, despite pretty much every analyst and economist saying it makes no sense. The loss of dividends doesn’t match the lower interest payments. We lose control of strategic assets. We overpower our capital markets with just one sort of asset. We sell our parents’ inheritance and have nothing left for our kids. It will make our government books worse off – let alone our current account deficit as those profits head overseas.
A brighter future? How long can they keep that wool across the country’s eyes?
So on Thursday when Bill English reels out his lines of “growth” and “jobs” and “aggressive recovery” during the budget… remember that you’ve heard them in 2011 and 2010 and 2009 – and for that matter on the campaign trail in 2008.
They won’t deliver – they never do.