I am feeling much better today, except for a simmering outrage. There's a bit of a rant coming up, so be warned.
Last night, our Prime Minister, the esteemed Kevin Rudd, announced a further stimulus package to stave off the impending affects of the so-called 'Global Financial Crisis'.
This is the second of such packages - the first, 10 billion dollars, was handed out just before Christmas. Of this package, one result is in on its effectiveness: a forty percent rise in... gambling. Yep, gambling. Still, the money goes into the economy.
Now, forty-two billion is up for grabs. It's for upgrading schools, roads, trains and infrastructure with cash payments to Joe-public to boost spending. None for hospitals, even though they have been in crisis for years.
My current outrage is sparked by the demand by the Prime Minister that the Bill be passed in two days. No debate, no study of the documents and no inquiry into it's long term consequences.
Eighteen months ago, the economy was in surplus. Billions of dollars in surplus. Now, we'll be in deficit, billions of dollars in deficit.
It took the previous Liberal government eight years to pay off the $AUS96 billion dollar debt the Labour government racked up and another two to create the 'Future Fund' that would ensure spending for superannuation and education. Fifty billion dollars set aside for the future. That's all gone now. Gone because this government has the idea of spending its way out of perceived trouble without studying any data or projections. It's mass hysteria on a global scale.
Has anyone, in any particular country done a study on the effects? Or is it just because the U.S., Britain, Germany and Japan have announced they're in recession that everyone else has to be too?
The GFC makes an excellent excuse for fiscal irresponsibility.
Without expecting debate on this second stimulus package, the Labor Government is making another poor decision. It's hoping that with the flood of money, the people won't look too closely at its lack of transparency. Who doesn't like money thrown at them? All the interviews I've seen say it's a great thing, but what of the future? This deficit will be with us for years and the government has decided it's okay and will deal with it later - kind of like a patronising pat on the head, really.
It's said in this country that when people are tired of 'tightening the belt', they elect a Labor government. But I can think of no Labor government that has spent so much, so fast, so soon after taking power.
It does not bode well for the rest of their term, nor for the people of Australia.