With the economic situation deteriorating the surpluses the Government has run for the first eight years have turned to a deficit. National’s line now is that the Government ‘suquendered’ these surpluses when it could have been cutting taxes. As if when the Government runs a surplus it takes the extra money out and burns it.
What actually happened? The Government used those surpluses. The $2 billion a year for the Superannuation Fund comes out of the operating surplus, as does other capital investment. The Government reduced net debt from $22 billion in 1999 to $2 billion in 2008. The fact that there were structural operating surpluses allowed the Government to fund the Working for Families tax credits, Kiwisaver, other new spending and the $10.6 billion tax cuts package that started to take effect last Wednesday. National now supports all of those spending programmes.
If we had done what Key is saying we should have done (he doesn’t really believe it, of course) and used all the operating surpluses on tax cuts then there would be no WfF, no Kiwisaver, none of the other spending increases, no Superannuation Fund, no additional capital investment like the extra billion Labour put into transport in 2006. And we would still be holding all that extra debt. National doesn’t want to acknowledge it but there’s always a trade-off with tax-cuts, something else has to be given up.
Hypocritically, National both supports the policies that have been paid for by the surpluses and says we should have had tax cuts instead. They just hope the voters won’t consider that. Once again, their argument depends on their audience’s ignorance.