Ross Gittins destroys Depressionberg Unstimulus

Ross Gittins getting clocked on to the MB take with some good detail:

So you see how much the budget’s fiscal stimulus measures have been affected by the government’s “core values”. No less than $38 billion goes as tax breaks to business, three-quarters of the $20 billion in transfers to individuals comes as tax cuts, leaving about $10 billion in direct spending going to the least labour-intensive purpose – transport infrastructure.

…The immediate asset write-off and loss carry-back for businesses is expected to create about 50,000 jobs. Is that a lot? Well, remembering we have a labour force of 13.5 million, it doesn’t seem much. And dividing the 50,000 into the budgetary cost of $31.6 billion gives a cost of $632,000 per job.

…That’s infinitely more than any of those extra workers are likely to be paid, of course, and absolutely pathetic bang per buck. Giving money to business in the hope it will do wonders for “jobs and growth” is a classic example of “trickle-down economics”. Clearly, a lot of the money doesn’t.

But, when you think about it, it’s not so surprising that so much money produces so few extra jobs. Why not? Because almost all the capital equipment Australian firms buy is imported. And because firms get the concession even if they don’t buy any more equipment than they would have done.

Next, the budget documents imply that the personal tax cuts worth $17.8 billion will create a further 50,000 jobs. That works out at $356,000 per job – still terrible bang per buck. Why so high? Too much of the tax cut is likely to be saved.

Finally, the budget documents tell us the $4 billion cost of the JobMaker hiring credit will yield “around 450,000 positions for young Australians”. That’s a much better – but still high – $8900 per “position” – which I take to mean that a lot of the jobs won’t be lasting or full time.

So, what measures would have yielded better job-creation value? The ones rejected as politically incorrect: big spending on social housing, a permanent increase in the JobSeeker unemployment benefit – or even just employing more childcare workers.

Nicely done, Rossco and exactly right. The budget was not stimulus at all. That JobMaker subsidy number of jobs is a joke. Why employ at all when you can sack full-timers and let the taxpayer fund part-timers instead? Amid oversupply, all that investment incentive will reduce headcount.

This budget was a finely crafted giveaway to corporate mates so that they can avoid giving anything to workers.

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