Friday, 29 May 2009

Budget Bill

Budget Bill says, the Government was elected on a platform of enterprise and growth. We say, you were elected on a platform of tax cuts. We want you to tell us about the tax cuts." But Budget Bill is a tease. Budget Bill doesn't tell about the tax cuts. Budget Bill tells us about other stuff (1) & (2).

Budget Bill tells us about how his government is ambitious. Budget bill tells us he wants us to realise our aspirations. Budget Bill talks about prosperity and competitiveness. Budget Bill talks about an open economy. We say, we aspire to a sustainable economy. We aspire to worker's rights. We aspire to egalitarianism. We aspire to a cohesive society and socialist principles. We think Budget Bill may not help us with this.

Budget Bill says things are tough. We say, we knew that. We say, what about the tax cuts.

Budget Bill says, stable government is critical in a turbulent time. We wonder how pissing off the Maori Party with a supercity is creating stable government. We read between the lines. We anticipate concessions for stability.

Budget Bill says his government has managed to "cushion the immediate impact on New Zealanders and to enhance future growth." We say, say what, Bill? We say, holding big meetings with rich people is not much cop. We say, a cycleway isn't much cop. We say, getting workers to pay their own wages through taxpayer subsidy of their wages is not much cop.

We say, if you have time to consult with business about what they want, why not Aucklanders about what they want?

Budget Bill says, the economy will make the adjustments it needs. We think of a new drinking game. We drink when Budget Bill talks about "adjustment" and "efficiency." We look forward to getting very drunk.

Budget Bill wants new jobs. Budget Bill feels the pain of people who have lost their jobs. We wonder why Budget Bill has been making so many people in public service lose their jobs. We think 1,200 people have just thrown something hard at Budget Bill as he smirks at them from their TVs (3).

Budget Bill says he's fulfilling many pre-election commitments. We note the qualifier. We wonder if we're getting ourt tax cuts after all. We wonder if more things will get thrown at Budget Bill. Budget Bill talks about working with support parties. We think he's clenching his teeth. We worry about his blood pressure. We wonder what we might get. We wonder what he'll take away to make up for it.

Budget Bill says protecting the most vulnerable is a priority. We had nevetr though of the super rich as vulnerable. We hang our heads in shame at our lack of empathy with the super-rich. We are glad Budget Bill is there to look out for them.

Budget Bill says, he'll New Zealand Superannuation, benefits, student support, and Working for Families. We say, that rat you're swallowing looks pretty big, Budget Bill. We say, you look like you're choking. We say, you almost made it sound like not slashing our entitlements was a favour. We say, coming from National, it probably is. We say, gulping down the ideological rodent is probably better than sampling the contents of the bottle marked 'Electoral Poison.'

Budget Bill boasts about increasing core Crown expenditure by $3 billion. We are impressed. Then we remember Budget Bill saying, since June 2004 core Crown expenditure has risen from $41.9 billion to $63.5 billion (4). We are less impressed. We wonder how much off this increase will be left after inflation. We feel pissed ecause public services are being bashed. We comfort ourselves thinking about the tax cuts we're getting.

Budget Bill promises us better, smarter public services. We think smarter should be another buzz word in the drinking game. We drink, long and deep.

Budget bill says dramatic and indefinite increases in public debt is is unacceptable to this Government. Budget Bill does not want to saddle future generations with the cost of short term policies. We say, Budget Bill is all about the short term. We remember talk about borrowing to fund infrastructure while making tax cuts (5). We wonder if Budget Bill means what he says. We wonder if Budget Bill realises there are other costs than srivctly monetary ones. We worry about the social cost of Budget Bill's polices.

Budget Bill tealls us he's all about raising productivity, lifting economic performance and closing the income gap with Australia. We note the implied values. We worry about resource consumption. We worry about asset stripping. We worry about privatisation of SOEs. We think, if we cared so much about wages in Australia, we'd go there to live. We think we'd rather stay here, though Budget Bill is starting to make us wonder.

Budget Bill says, his Budget addresses the major economic issues facing New Zealand. We think, there's a typo there, Bill. We think you meant to say it addresses the major economic issues facing the tiny rich elite of New Zealand whose interests your party represents, while giving a two finger salute to the rest of the country

Budget Bill tells us, the global economy is sufferring the largest, most synchronised decline since the Second World War. We wonder, why is Budget Bill doing the opposite of all the other devloped economies, and reining in public spending during a recession. We think, low growth might actually be good. We think of peak oil and environmental degradation and pollution. We think Budget Bill's fixation on grwoth is the essence of short-termism.

Budget Bill complains about deficits in the government books. We laugh. We shout at him that we know this is a paper deficit. We know the Cullen fund will rebound. We know you'll take credit for it when that rebound puts the books abck in the black. And we'll crucify you over the failure to invest when the market was down.

Budget Bill complains some more about excessive borrowing. We think about borrowing to fund infrastucture while cutting taxes again, and wonder if we ca spell hypocrisy. Budget Bill complains about the current account deficit. We think that's what happens when your economy is based on exporting comodities and world commodity prices collapse.

Budget Bill complains about excessive growth of the domestic and consumption sectors of the economyand insufficient growth and investment in those parts of the economy that either export or compete with foreign producers. We remember that one of the first things Budget Bill did was scrap the Research & Development tax credit (6). We think that was an area we might have been able to compete with foreign producers. We think, Budget Bill chiding us for spending borrowed money is a bit hypocritical. We remember basic capitalist rules. We remember high consumption is important for profit. We remember low wages are important for profit. We work out there's a gap between these two ideals. We understand soaring debt.

Budget Bill says, the global recession has leant more urgency to a programme to lift productivity, build business confidence and investment and create jobs. We say, it is a golden opportunity for you to ram through radical monetarist measures to enrich the rich and beggar everyone else. We say, it's 1984 all over again. We say, without David Lange's brio but with extra Neo-liberal lunacy to make up for it.
1 - I have been reading James Ellroy. This explains the clipped style of this post. Hopefully, I'll get over it.
2 - "Budget Speech," delivered by Bill English MP on the 29th of May, 2009. (
3 - "Another 220 jobs axed under National," by Grant Robertson, released by the Labour Party, 27th of May, 2009. (
4 - "Bill English: Since 2004 core expenditure has risen from $41.9 billion to $63.5 billion," answer to parliamentary question from Craig Foss, 3rd of April, 2009. Reproduced on
5 - "Nats to borrow for other spending - but not tax cuts," unattributed NZPA story, published in the New Zealand Herald, 2nd of August, 2008. (
6 - "R&D credit axing draws fire," by Owen Hembry and Errol Kiong, published in the New Zealand Herald, 9th of October, 2008. (

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I am still here.

 I am still here.  I haven't gone away.  I'm just trying to shame you all into better behaviour through my disapproving silence.