Blog

Sun, 29 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on The Drum website at this address: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-27/koukoulas-election-2016:-will-the-war-be-won-in-the-west/7450818 

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The dismal WA economy helps Labor Federally

The parlous position of the Western Australian economy and the plummeting approval of the state Liberal Government of Colin Barnett means the July 2 federal election could hang on half a dozen line-ball seats in the west.

Having experienced the wealth explosion that came when the mining investment boom was in full swing, the people of WA are experiencing the down side of the mining depression.

They are suffering the after-effects of policy incompetence and the fact that during the boom times the Government did nothing to build a war chest of funds to support the economy to use when things inevitably turned lower. If only there had been something akin to a mining tax to lock in revenue from super mining profits that could have been used now to support growth and jobs when some stimulus was needed.

Sun, 29 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 website at this address: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/coalition-s-heavy-spending-makes-attacks-on-labor-pure-hypocrisy-233310423.html 

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Heavy spending Coalition guilty of hypocrisy

When it comes to a discussion about government spending, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison need to be a little self reflective and less the attack dogs on Labor’s alleged “big spending” plans.

Under the Coalition’s watch, government spending has surged to the point where between 25.2 and 25.8 per cent of the economy is accounted for by spending from the Federal government in the period from 2013-14 to 2019-20.

Embarrassingly for Turnbull and Morrison is the fact, in Mr Morrison’s own budget papers from just three weeks ago, that in the last full year of the previous Labor government, government spending was just 24.1 per cent of GDP. Indeed, in the last three years of the Labor government, spending was between 24.1 and 24.9 per cent of GDP. To put that in context, each 1 per cent of GDP is a thumping $17 billion.

Thu, 26 May 2016  |  

An art lovers guide to the 2016 election campaign. 

If you love art, politics and economics, this is for you.

Thu, 26 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 website at this address: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/delving-into-budget-black-holes-112845934.html 

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Delving into budget black holes

The Coalition’s frenzied attack on Labor’s budget black hole and costing of election promises is not only lame, it is somewhat juvenile. Numbers are being made up for Labor policies that do not exist as they attack “billion dollar Bill Shorten”.

In their claims of a budget black hole, the Coalition are in no way reflective of their own track record on the budget which has ramped up government spending, debt and deficit over the past three years. The Coalition’s own budget black hole is continuously glossed over even though it is there for all to see in its budget which was released by Treasurer Scott Morrison earlier this month.

Let’s have a look at the Coalition’s fiscal failings.

Tue, 24 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 site at this address: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/-job-and-growth---both-are-stalling-actually-223940793.html 

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'Jobs and growth'? Both are stalling actually

Record low wages growth and job creation has stalled.

These are the facts on the labour market revealed this week as the election campaign rolls along and economic policy underpins the campaigns of the major parties. For the Coalition, the campaign slogan ‘jobs and growth’ is running a bit thin with this news.

The rate of employment growth has stalled with only 27,500 additional jobs over the last five months.

Over this time, the working age population has increased by 136,800 meaning that 80 per cent of new entrants to the labour market have not found work. In a strong labour market, the take up of new entrants to the labour market is usually 65 to 70 per cent.

Making the news even more problematic is the decline in full-time employment, which has dropped 31,600 in the last five months. This means that the number of hours worked within the labour market is falling, suggesting a softer tone to the rate of economic growth and another constraint on consumer spending as part-time workers take home less pay than full-time workers.

Mon, 23 May 2016  |  

Thjis article first appeared on The Guardian website at this link: http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2016/may/20/better-schools-will-benefit-the-whole-economy-why-cant-the-coalition-see-that 

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Better schools will benefit the whole economy. Why can't the Coalition see that?

Education policy is a hot button issue in the election campaign with the Coalition paring back funding for schools, universities and trades while Labor is advocating a multi-billion dollar boost for education across all segments to promote equality, raise productivity and grow the economy.

The Coalition’s lack of commitment to education is shown by its policy to give just $1.2bn to needs-based school funding, well short of the $4.5bn commitment from Labor under the Gonski reforms to lift education standards. It is a similar issue with the Coalition’s approach to university funding where higher fees will discourage students from gaining a higher education.

It is an odd debate given that the relationship between educational attainment and growth and income is a given. The more skilled and educated a workforce, the better off is the economy and the population.

Fri, 20 May 2016  |  

Since the Whitlam government was sworn in on 5 December 1972, some 43 years, 5 months and 15 days ago, the Labor Party has been in office for 7,936 days and the Coalition has been on government for 7,936 days.

I am not sure if there are any implications from this, but it prompted me to write this article for Meanjin a few months ago, on the performance of the economy under each side of politics which I will update once more economic data become available. https://meanjin.com.au/essays/the-economy-of-best-perceptions/ 

Sun, 15 May 2016  |  

The budget and another few weeks of government borrowing allows me to update the facts on government debt. Without comment or analysis, here are the facts that you may wish to refer to the next time you hear a politician talking about trends in debt and deficit.

NET GOVERNMENT DEBT

At June 2016 (budget estimate): $286 billion Source: http://budget.gov.au/2016-17/content/bp1/download/bp1_bs10.pdf 

At September 2013: $175 billion Source: http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/mfs-september-2013.pdf 

Increase in net government debt under current Coalition government: $113 billion.

GROSS GOVERNMENT DEBT

Friday 13 May 2016: Value of government securities on issue (Gross government debt) was $434 billion. Source: aofm.gov.au 

Friday 6 September 2013: Value of government securities on issue was $273 billion Source aofm.org,au plus calculations from Market Economics, available on request. Call AOFM 0262631111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Increase in gross government debt under current Coalition government: $161 billion.

Sat, 14 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on The Guardian website at this address: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/how-the-coalition-has-failed-on-three-key-economic-promises 

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How the Coalition has failed on three key economic promises

Just under three years ago, Tony Abbott launched the Liberal’s 2013 election campaign. The Coalition duly swept to victory, creating a surge of optimism about the economy partly on the back of the promises made during the campaign.

Three years on, a look back at the Abbott speech at the campaign launch confirms that the Coalition has fallen well short on many of its commitments, but certainly on matters relating to big picture economic issues.

A centrepiece of the Liberal campaign was outlined by Abbott to rapturous applause: “We will be a no surprises, no excuses government ... It’s performance, not promises, that will earn your respect; it’s actions, not words, that you are looking for.”

Wed, 11 May 2016  |  

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 Finance web site at this address: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/could-interest-rates-could-be-heading-to-1---or-lower-235553824.html 

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Could interest rates be cut to 1%, or lower?

If the Reserve Bank of Australia is correct with the forecasts for inflation that were published in its Statement on Monetary Policy, official interest rates should and will be cut to 1 per cent or even less by the end of the year.

That’s right, official interest rates could be approaching zero if, and that’s a big if, the RBA’s inflation forecasts are correct. The RBA produced its latest quarterly update for the economy on Friday. The highlight was its forecast for inflation to hover between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent right through to the middle of 2018.

With the risks to those forecasts symmetrical, that is there is a 50 per cent chance that inflation will spend the next two years below 2 per cent, which is below the bottom of the RBA’s target range.

THE LATEST FROM THE KOUK

The dismal WA economy helps Labor Federally

Sun, 29 May 2016

This article first appeared on The Drum website at this address: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-27/koukoulas-election-2016:-will-the-war-be-won-in-the-west/7450818 

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The dismal WA economy helps Labor Federally

The parlous position of the Western Australian economy and the plummeting approval of the state Liberal Government of Colin Barnett means the July 2 federal election could hang on half a dozen line-ball seats in the west.

Having experienced the wealth explosion that came when the mining investment boom was in full swing, the people of WA are experiencing the down side of the mining depression.

They are suffering the after-effects of policy incompetence and the fact that during the boom times the Government did nothing to build a war chest of funds to support the economy to use when things inevitably turned lower. If only there had been something akin to a mining tax to lock in revenue from super mining profits that could have been used now to support growth and jobs when some stimulus was needed.

Heavy spending Coalition guilty of hypocrisy

Sun, 29 May 2016

This article first appeared on the Yahoo7 website at this address: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/coalition-s-heavy-spending-makes-attacks-on-labor-pure-hypocrisy-233310423.html 

--------------------------------------------

Heavy spending Coalition guilty of hypocrisy

When it comes to a discussion about government spending, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison need to be a little self reflective and less the attack dogs on Labor’s alleged “big spending” plans.

Under the Coalition’s watch, government spending has surged to the point where between 25.2 and 25.8 per cent of the economy is accounted for by spending from the Federal government in the period from 2013-14 to 2019-20.

Embarrassingly for Turnbull and Morrison is the fact, in Mr Morrison’s own budget papers from just three weeks ago, that in the last full year of the previous Labor government, government spending was just 24.1 per cent of GDP. Indeed, in the last three years of the Labor government, spending was between 24.1 and 24.9 per cent of GDP. To put that in context, each 1 per cent of GDP is a thumping $17 billion.