Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors

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As I age, I notice time passing too fast. Except right now (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19). As I focus on the time until the next federal election, time seems to have slowed to a miserable crawl. When oh when can we be rid of this pestilent priest of the surplus? Where else on earth is there a country so blessed with natural resources, yet whose ruling party so detests all of those involved in bringing in the harvest?
Truer words never more spoken than in jest? Alan's tongue must have firmly been placed in his cheek as he wrote this. Truth, though, is it's hard to achieve a surplus when you're borrowing $100 million a day. Maybe Swan has a magic pudding hidden away somewhere.
Alan, as someone who can't even spell Keenes (or is it Keynez?) I am living proof that the link between bulging foreheads and economic credibility is tenuous at best (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
True, the cause of my cranial disfigurement is most certainly not an oversized brain effervescing with the answers to all of life's big questions.
The grotesque swelling is, instead, the result of me repeatedly banging my head onto my desk out of sheer frustration with this government's ineptitude.
My computer does make a most satisfying whirring noise though.
Spoken like a baby boomer about to retire (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
Alan, we get your point but that's a very big "that aside" (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirror, April 19).
Who couldn't cut from 50 per cent. Isn't this all about where you start from?
A beautiful read! So eloquent and just the right amount of sarcasm to add spice! (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19.)
The only thing which spoils it is the reality of the mess which a mere five years of labour policies has created and that no matter who is treasurer post the next election the path to economic health and real balanced budgets will be a trek of Olympic proportions!
Government needs to lead by example and cut back spending regardless of the repercussions. We simply cannot go on borrowing and spending forever and the business sector needs to wake up to that and learn to adjust to the new economic times (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
Don't you wish you had Alan's ability to write so well, so entertainingly (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19). Well I guess he does make his living that way and deservedly so. As always if you don't laugh in the face of disaster you cry. So thanks Alan, loved it.
Should Swan use smoke and mirrors he would only be creating more disguised moral hazard! He would be rewarding the profligate (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
Recessions don't just happen. They are earned by inappropriate behaviour – bosses who obscenely overpay themselves and lead by bad example, unions who create inflation by their outlandish claims, self-indulgent consumers over-spending out of unearned income and governments which borrow and tax heavily and then waste it on unproductive ends.
Australia, like most of the West, needs to purge this behaviour. Rather than avoiding a recession, we need one, to that end.
Avoiding recessions only leads to even bigger crises down the track, Greenspan being the prime example.
A great article and good to be able to laugh at disaster – written in jest but oh so true (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
The bottom line in the budget will show a surplus – in reality the current government will never achieve it. Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard must think the Australian public are a bunch of idiots if they think we can't see straight through the rubbish they are dishing up.
Alan, you can keep your promises for budget night (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19). There will be plenty of others that will see through the smoke and mirrors and you will be able to quote them the next day anyway.
Incidentally, there is no magic pudding left and Wayne killed the golden goose three years ago so smoke and mirrors is his only option.
Alan,
Are you suggesting that all Wayne Swann needs to do is grow his hair, pony-tail it, get earrings like the Swedish finance minister, Anders Borg for us to go into a surplus? (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19.) Heaven forbid! I could not imagine Wayne Swann adorned like that.
Great article Alan – it did make me laugh! (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April, 19). However the prospect of living under this government for another 18 months fills me with dread. By any measure this is the worst government (Rudd/Gillard) Australia has had, at least in my lifetime (I'm 40). This fact is only highlighted by the generally very good government that Australia has had since 1975 to 2007, both Liberal and Labor. Even if you disagreed on particular issues, at least there was a confidence that they knew what they were doing. The MRRT and CT are perfect examples of two fundamentally sound policies, but implemented in the most appalling way with resulting bad policy outcomes. It is difficult to trust these guys to implement anything, never mind two pieces of sophisticated economic/taxation policy! Those of us born in the 1970s have become use to good government and have not until now experienced truly bad government (in an Australian context) – good government can't be taken for granted.
"There is plenty of sound economic theory to the effect that tax cuts financed by reduced government spending are good for private sector activity, not bad."
Oh really? Let us in on the secret (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
Great article. My only concern, after listening to good old Joe the other night, I feel that come election time we will be jumping from the frying pan into the fire (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors April 19).
A classic Alan, well put. It reminds me of that Bloomfield Kooper (Supersessions) song, from 1970, Dear Mr Fantasy (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19).
"Dear Mr Fantasy play us a song, one that will make us all happy, Do anything to take us out of this gloom, Make it bright make it strong make it snappy".
Maybe Treasury is leaning too far left to find the right answer. One thing is for sure, the minister acts on information given to him by Treasury.
Remember that song by Neil Young, After the Goldrush, I've heard that Gina Rinehart and Twiggy Forest are doing a remake of that song with Clive Palmer on drums.
If there is a surplus it will be razor thin (essentially a balanced budget) and given growth is right on 3 per cent in what is probably midcycle (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 19). if it isn't balanced now when is it going to be (the percentage cut is not a signal of the destination but of the origin from stimulus budgets.
The Reserve Bank should cut as well. People aren't spending the cuts the interest rates make no difference to the mining employees were the inflation is being generated anyway. They might as well drop them to drop our exchange rate and give the non-mining industries some breathing room and allow the rest of us to pay off our mortgages faster – which drops our foreign liabilities and decreases bank arrears, which are real liabilities.
Mr Swan, the $40 billion turnaround man (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 20). On Busfet night last year they were talking about a $12 billion deficit for this year – which will now come in at over $40 billion. The budget papers however will be useful for something this year – as we wont be able to afford toilet paper anymore!
I wanted to appreciate the humour but I fail to see the humour in a government that is stuffing things up so good and proper (Dear Mr Swan: please use smoke and mirrors, April 23). Being in the middle class with three young kids we have stopped spending for the moment and feeling the pinch of cut to the so called "middle class welfare".