As the dust settles on the cynical theatre that was the 2025 Taskforce, one fact is becoming abundantly clear. The political Right haven’t a clue what to do about the economy. Key and English don’t have a clue, or they’d be doing it. Brash and his Taskforce don’t have a clue and they said so:
Dr Brash said unless tax and spending were slashed the Government’s “ambitious” goal could not be achieved. “There may be some other cunning plan, but I am not aware of it,” Dr Brash said.
National knows the Taskforce plan is electoral suicide, and if they have any sense they know that it won’t work either. Lacking any viable plan they’ve given up. The election promise of closing the gap with Australia has been put out to pasture, and is now an “aspirational” goal. Bryan Gould sums up:
… The first thing we must recognise is that – as both economies look to emerge out of recession – the Australians have had a flyer. They have already moved smartly into growth mode, while we bump along on the bottom, still not sure whether recovery is really around the corner. The gap, in other words, is already widening as we speak. The Australian recovery is a function, of course, of the greater economic stimulus provided by their government by comparison with ours – and that reflects not only the stronger starting point they enjoyed but also a different approach to economic management.
We, on the other hand, have been largely content to let events take their course and to wait for the recovery of others to restore export markets to us. Even more depressing is the fact that – even when recovery arrives – we seem determined to return doggedly to the self-same policies (and policy mistakes) which have seen us fall so sadly behind over the past 25 years. … What is needed is a fundamental rethink of macro-economic policy. Everything we do should be focused on improving the competitiveness and profitability of our productive economy. …
The good news is that the political Left do have new ideas. Before the election Labour had a comprehensive stimulus plan ready, which should have brought us out of the recession (like Australia) quickly and in good shape. Labour is now clearly starting work on a macro-economic rethink, as signalled by Phil Goff’s recent comments. The Greens, as ever, are well prepared with their Green New Deal (pdf) and updated here, a sensible plan for the new carbon critical future that we are going to find ourselves in.
Sadly, we’re locked in to two more years of aimless bumbling before the electorate is able to choose again. The only upside is that Labour and the Greens can use this time to make sure that they are well prepared. Work now, work hard! Look around the world not at the ideology, but at the evidence. The crucial question is “What works?”. What ideas can we adapt and use here? Make sure that we have a comprehensive, plausible and (above all) sustainable economic plan to take to the electorate in 2011. The cunning plan that will forever elude Don Brash and John Key.
Updated: More recent green new deal page pointed out by frog (lprent).