The Kouk's top 40 hits and misses

more Over the summer break, while fiddling through data bases, reading and just being interested in things, I unearthed a few quirky bits and pieces about the Australian economy, people, sport

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Economist

more Stephen Koukoulas has a rare and specialised professional experience over more than 25 years as an economist in Treasury, as Global Head of economic and market research, a Chief Economist
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THE LATEST FROM THE KOUK

The Abbott government's crazy spending spree

Thu, 18 Dec 2014

The MYEFO contains a treasure chest of budget numbers and here are some interesting facts highlighting the generally misunderstood spending spree of the Abbott government.

In 2012-13, Labor's last full budget, government spending as a share of GDP was 24.1 per cent. The unwind from the GFC stimulus was more or less complete.

Mr Hockey's MYEFO numbers show that government revenue will rise to 24.3 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 and 24.8 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

Those of you with a sharp mind can see that if Mr Abbott had not starting spending like a proverbial drunken sailor and held government spending at Labor's post-GFC level at 24.1 per cent, there would be budget surpluses from 2016-17 (as Labor has budgetted for under PEFO), with a budget surplus at around $13 billion in 2017-18. The fact is that for this and every year of the Abbott government's forward estimates, government spending as a share of GDP is 25.2 per cent or more.

Just the simple facts.

Open for business? The Australian economy since the election

Wed, 17 Dec 2014

On election night in September 2013, Prime Minister elect Tony Abbott declared "Australia is open for business".

It is a phrase that he and members of his government have repeated time and time again. It is also a phrase that is hard to define – what exactly does "open for business mean"?

One would have thought that an open for business platform would be about boosting economic growth, supporting confidence, underpinning business investment, driving real wages growth and lowering the unemployment rate. 

But if these are the hallmarks of a strong and dynamic business environment. the first 15 months of the Abbott government has been a dismal failure.