can’t do sums … Que?

Now that an election has been called, the BS will be ramped up. Economics blog, Catallaxy Files is onto them. First one, by a whisker, to show her inability to understand simple maths is the Finance Minister: Just keep repeating $70 billion budget black hole

You might have expected more of Penny Wong, Finance Minister … or not.

Recall last election time, the figure was a $70 billion budget black hole on the part of the Coalition.

I guess she thinks we are simple-minded – or is she thinking of the PM? – but again, figures have been ‘produced’ to show a $70 billion budget black hole.

Expect to hear the figure repeated again and again, in negative fashion.

I have already heard the PM banging on about it in his presser announcing the election date. But go and have a look at Wong’s media release and have a laugh.  (It is interesting to ponder who worked up these figures. Was it Treasury officials?  The formatting of the document is identical to the Economic Statement.  But one presumes that Martin Parkinson would have refused a request to ”cost” the opposition’s policies in this way.  Any info, Cats?)

There are some strange things about the table, including some actual clangers.  According to the table, there will be a saving of some $7.5 billion in repealing the MRRT.  Go figure.  I think the authors, who are probably just out of their teens, forgot the negative sign.

Most of the figures in the table are essentially made up and the items are just there by assumption.  It’s very unlikely the Coalition will commit to reduce the rate of company tax (sadly) and Abbott has said that the means testing on the PHI rebate will only be undertaken when affordable.  So there’s $12 billion.

Dams and water management policy – over $2 billion.  Que?

Savings no longer available to offset policies – $20 billion.  Que? Que?Completely irrelevant because we are starting from a new set of numbers.

For a government that admitted that it had overestimated revenue by nearly $34 billion less than 12 weeks after bringing down a budget, I think we can conclude that numbers are not their strong suit.

Your next point, Penny.

It gets worse, says Professor Sloan: PEFO versus Economic Statement

Let’s face it – the Charter of Budget Honesty is a joke.  It is gamed by the government and the creation of the Parliamentary Budget Office has made matters even murkier.  There is absolutely no upside for an opposition and it does not improve honesty.[…]

About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley)
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