Over at the Dim Post Danyl is complaining about our complaining again. In a classic piece of sophistry he seems to have decided the recession is going long and from that (not so absolute) absolute he has constructed a premise that we need “massive infrastructure projects” which are funded at the expense of nearly every programme put in place by the last government.
Apparently, this is the reason National doesn’t need to be releasing any policy yet.
There are predictions the recession could be over by the end of this year, that it could go for five years, that it could signal a permanent resetting of the global economy for the next 3 decades.
Personally I’m going with two years. If I’m right then Danyl’s remedy would be disastrous. Massive infrastructure projects tend to take time to get going and the last thing anyone needs is a whole lot of costly long-term government works taking off in the middle of an expensive boom.
Of course I could be wrong and the recession could go longer than 2 years. If that’s the case then spending the lot on massive infrastructure investment is a bloody good idea. Of course if you pick wrong the country goes bankrupt.
The truth is we don’t know how long this recession will last. That’s a good reason not to implement a whole lot of policy at once but it’s an awful reason to not even discuss appropriate responses.
In my last post I listed three stimulatory ideas. I deliberately picked three ideas that could be started up quickly and easily pulled back or stepped up depending on the economic situation. Essentially, three ideas that would fit in a first stage stimulus package and could be used as economic levers. Which is the kind of thing we should be starting to see.
There is nothing to stop the government releasing a paper outlining a series of costed stimulus ideas that cover several contingencies and a mix of short, mid and long-term scenarios. Indeed they should do so in order that all these ideas can be critically assessed and properly tuned through consensus. But they won’t.
My prediction is that they will have their talk-fests, take all the ideas from them and tuck them safely under the rug. They’ll then rush through a series of anti-worker and pro-(big)business policies that they’ve had blueprints for since 1999 and they’ll do so using the old “hard times call for hard measures” mantra. Anyone else who remembers the 1984 economic summit won’t be surprised either. I hope I’m wrong.