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The difference between a surplus and landing a 747 on a pinhead

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, April 14th, 2015 - 16 comments
Categories: budget 2015, Economy, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, same old national, tax - Tags:

The difference is that they are completely and utterly different.

But John Key yesterday drew this comparison and would have us think that they are like each other and that this is why the National Government is reneging on promises made repeatedly over the past six years.  I listed a few of these promises recently.  If you go to John Key’s website and google “surplus” then you can see that John has been very interested, some would say fixated on the subject.

Realistically, modest budget deficits do not matter.  It is better to keep the machinery of state operating than to cut good programmes just to make the books look better.  But John Key and Co have made such a big deal about getting to surplus that they should be punished for their failure to do so.  And standing there and saying repeatedly and repeatedly and repeatedly that a surplus will be achieved in the 2014-15 year is so stupid and dishonest that he should be castigated for doing so, even if in reality it is no big deal if Aotearoa does not reach this milestone.

Anyway here are a few differences between a budget surplus and landing a 747 on a pinhead:

  1. Landing a 747 on a pinhead is utterly impossible whereas achieving a budget surplus is not too difficult.  Just ask Michael Cullen who posted 9 of them.
  2. John Key has never promised to repeatedly, repeatedly land a 747 on a pinhead.
  3. Landing a 747 on a pinhead, if it was possible, would require rapid deceleration coupled with rapid descent.  Achieving a surplus would require something as basic as not giving stupid tax cuts to the already wealthy.

The take away line?  Those 2010 “fiscally neutral tax cuts” (another lie) that National implemented are the reason that the country’s books are still in the red, despite Key’s many promises that surplus nirvana would be reached.

16 comments on “The difference between a surplus and landing a 747 on a pinhead ”

  1. b waghorn 1

    I expect fisiani along at any moment to tell us that if key really wanted to he could aksully land a 747 on a pin head.

  2. vto 2

    Yes well it is easier for a camel to fly a 747 through the eye of a needle than it is for John Key to be honest, at least that much we know.

  3. Melb 3

    “Just ask Michael Cullen who posted 9 of them.”

    Incorrect Mickey. Cullen’s final budget (2008/09) was already in deficit in Aug 2008, at the PREFU. Post-election the situation had already worsened to the stage that if NZ had kept Cullen’s budget track we would have gone into structural deficit – not the cyclical one we are coming out of.

    From your link, the fiscal strategy report:

    “Running lower operating surpluses over the next 10 years ensures consistency with our long-term fiscal objectives. ”

    22nd May 2008. Only three months later we were looking at the “decade of deficits”.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Too funny, here’s a dupe who still believes the decade of deficits lie, based on the witless conceit that Labour would simply not have responded to the GFC.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Cullen’s 2008 budget predicted an OBGAL of +$1.3 billion (http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2008/execsumm/b08-execsumm.pdf). According to the completely artificial promises made by Key this is all that is required.

      And we have been dancing on a pinhead many times on this subject. So Cullen was responsible for the GFC and not Wall Street?

    • freedom 3.3

      And just what are those long term fiscal objectives?

      Here’s one National prepared earlier:
      In Budget 2013, Bill English announced the longer term fiscal target of reducing net government debt to 20% of GDP by 2020.
      In Budget 2014 he repeated the statement and has often referred to it when answering questions in the House.

      In 2008 net government debt was 16% of GDP. Then the GFC happened and ChCh got busted and there was that run on publicly owned utilities and now net debt is currently (and conservatively) 26 % of GDP. Let me remind you it was after all of this that Bill English announced the longer term fiscal target of reducing net government debt to 20% of GDP by 2020.

      If, as according to you, what is said in a Budget is some sort of gospel of what must be, then how upset you must be that Bill missed pretty much every target he himself set. He was never going to achieve an honest surplus and even after every tax fiddle, fee hike or law shift the government could slip past the slumbering hobbits, they have to date decidedly and emphatically failed their principal fiscal objectives.

      Do you expect this government to reduce the net debt to GDP ratio by 6% in only 5 years,
      when in a mere six years they themselves oversaw an increase of 10%?

      (btw, external debt liabilities are 60% of GDP and climbing at around 2 billion a quarter, but who cares right? They’ll all be shuffling around their gated retirement villages by the time the real shit hits the fan)

  4. tc 4

    Any half decent journo could drive a fleet of trucks through keys latest stream of BS.

    What we have in the MSM is shills and sycophants lapping up whatever crap herr leader throws at them.

    • emergency mike 4.1

      Quite right tc. Here we have John Key after years of going on about how they were going to achieve surplus as the big measure and proof of their awesome economic management, now calling it an artificial target which is impossible to achieve by design.

      Hello? Any journos out there?

  5. Coffee Connoisseur 5

    Well, the only way to really interpret that comment from Key is that National can’t do it. On that basis, I’d expect his next step to be to resign and call for an early election.

  6. Dorothy Bulling 6

    No journos touching this one. The few decent ones left are being shut down very quickly by Key and Joyce.

    • tc 6.1

      Aided by their little helpers at mediaworks and maori tv, tvnz was always in the bag with Ellis recycling mikey boy back to woo the masses with his ‘not a journalist’ shtick.

  7. Rob 7

    Key probably will go before the next election
    His puppet masters, including Joyce who had
    His hand up his anus on TV news tonight will
    Probably want him to get out with grace as I’m sure
    he doesn’t like losing
    Also Key is probably just past his use by date
    for this crowd
    They are very clever at dumbing all of us down but are really
    helped by the likes of Hosking et al
    Unfortunately the land that has given opportunity to so many of
    us in the past will be unlikely to allow that aspiration in the future

  8. sirpat 8

    I appreciate it is good to balance the books but why is it that everyone bangs on about Bills supposed surplus and nothing is said about the 70billion the nats have borrowed…..why is this?

  9. SMILIN 9

    Landing etc is like getting the right wing to stop pulling the plane to the ground by paying its dues to the country’s debt instead of making it heavier
    As for the pinhead well its a prick anyway turned up

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