The Murdoch press is truly nation destroying. Let me be a little more specific. Paul Kelly is truly nation destroying. Having grovelled and crawled his way through months of Morrison Government blundering, today he crowns it all with this little gem:
The Morrison government has averted a depression in Australia. This is the most momentous and unprecedented fiscal decision in our history. The government will pay a wage subsidy to as many as six million private sector Australians, or half the total workforce, for six months.
The cost over the period constitutes an increase in total government spending of 50 per cent. There has never been anything like this. Past ideological prescriptions are annihilated.
Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have defined the mission of their government — to ensure the Australian economy neither collapses nor hollows out during the COVID-19 crisis. The government has acted later than the UK or New Zealand, but it has chosen a superior and more expensive model. Morrison and Frydenberg have given a new meaning to “whatever it takes”, with the price of averting depression at $130bn in this package alone. That’s 13 per cent of national income for the period.
The model is clearly inferior and may also be more expensive. It is extraordinarily complex, fantastically slow moving, full of rortable holes, not to mention actual holes for huge numbers of workers and, most importantly, is not a wage subsidy so much as it is a welfare check distributed via businesses.
As such, it does not “avert a depression”. It simply hides it.
Let’s be clear about this. There is a depression coming whatever policymakers do. It’s been with us for years already in income terms and will only get worse. Our preferred fiscal support mechanism, a temporary universal basic income supplement, does not avert that outcome either. Having six million Australins on a welfare payment is not not a depression. It is simply one in which the worst case outcome of 20% unemployment is prevented.
Output, income, profits, living standards will all crater anyway.
Paul Kelly should resign. The fire of his inquiry is gone. The curiosity of his great years spent. He’s no more than Coalition shill, preening for access, and ensuring worst case policy outcomes.