Friday, November 14, 2008

Sorting out this mess of a budget.

The Government seems determined to pursue the line that their current poll ratings are a result of a communications problem: to wit, we, the taxpayers, have failed to grasp the scale of the economic downturn and the consequent need to make painful budgetary cuts.

They are right that there is a communications failure, but that failure is mainly that the Government is not listening. We, the taxpayers, were well prepared for painful measures but they, the Government, chose many wrong targets and options. Targeting the over-70s for medical cards, imposing a 1% levy on those earning the minimum wage, penalising infants starting school and depriving 12-year old girls of a potentially life-saving vaccine was not what any of us was expecting. Surely the opinion polls are telling them that?

The budget was a classic mish-mash of mickey mouse measures with no coherent theme or evidence of any vision for economic recovery or for our society. Would the country be better served if they shelved their October “back of envelope” effort and produced a properly thought-out December budget, as originally scheduled?

The main opposition parties have promised support for the right corrective measures. Here's an opportunity for the Government to test their resolve.

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