I am a bad person. I know this because I got a bit of a kick out of right wing loon Matthew Hooton’s latest column:
Govt fiscal strategy to unravel after humiliating education u-turn
The government’s humiliating but inevitable rout over its dopey plan to increase class sizes risks unravelling its already precarious fiscal strategy.
This one backdown adds $50 million to education costs in 2014-15, which makes a further mockery of the $197 million surplus it forecasts for that year.
More importantly, the government has shown that it is weak. It will yield in the face of political pressure ruthlessly applied, even when it’s most important promise – its pre-election surplus – is at stake.
Yes yes, all those “ruthless” parents and teachers eh. The horror.
Those who have waited for three and a half years for the government to move on policy matters that would spur economic growth have learned the hard way that quiet diplomacy doesn’t work. The government responds only to shows of force.
We’ve all been waiting for three and a half years for the government to move on policy matters that would spur economic growth, but we’re “blessed” with a government that clearly has no ideas.
Last month’s Budget consisted of hundreds of small cuts because the government is pathetically unwilling to address large-scale issues such as superannuation, out-of-control healthcare costs and Labour’s 2005 election bribes, including Working for Families, remaining KiwiSaver subsidies and interest-free student loans.
National’s refusal to touch those areas means that Bill English’s fourth Budget is more accurately described as Helen Clark and Sir Michael Cullen’s 13th, which perhaps explains why the government knighted him last weekend.
Thanks but no, Cullen would have done much better than that. No taxing paperboys for a start.
Instead of reversing Ms Clark and Sir Michael’s outrageous fiscal profligacy, National has preferred to invest its political capital in cuts with trivial impacts on the bottom line.
It was by no means profligate spending. Labour returned a surplus every year in office, and left the country with 0 net government debt. If you want “outrageous fiscal profligacy” try National’s unaffordable tax cuts for the rich.
And so on and so on, anyway, you get the picture, the hysterical right are pretty pissed that the Nats have backed down. But Hooton and his fellow travellers fail to understand two things. First, their extreme agenda is completely unacceptable to the vast majority of the NZ public (hello ACT on 0%). And second, the Nats have a razor thin majority in Parliament – any time Peter Dunne blinks it’s all over. So rant all you like Matthew – the Nats can’t afford to listen to you.