“You know the trouble with your writing lately is that you take everything so seriously. You should relax. You’ve been in Australia what…almost seven years now? Get in the spirit of things. Lighten up. Nobody really cares about this stuff. And besides…it’s the same as it ever was…people are greedy…politicians lie and cheat…the rich are selfish…everyone wants a free lunch. Blah blah blah. That’s just life. There’s no story there. It’s definitely not news. I’ll buy you a beer and you can forget all about it.’
That’s the advice we received from a friend last night. We were discussing Wayne Swan’s budget. It’s a subject we’ve deliberately avoided in the Markets and Money owing to the utter tragedy and absurdity of the whole premise. But we’ll give in today and provide you with our very own budget analysis.
To be honest we can hardly bring ourselves to say anything about it. The surplus will only be real if GDP growth hits the right targets, commodity prices fall at the expected rates and unemployment remains at the projected levels. Change any of those assumptions and chances are the surplus will vanish.
No matter how good the beer is, we find it hard to relax about this.
But really, that’s not what’s demoralising about the whole thing. There are several demoralising aspects, if we’re honest. The first is how much media attention it receives. ‘The budget’ is a big deal. That shows you what life is like in a cradle-to-grave Welfare State where everyone gets a handout. The Statist mind finds it impossible to believe that some people could get along in life without the ham-fisted intrusions of the government telling us what to do.
By far the most demoralising aspect, though, is the sheer lack of imagination and faux moral outrage of the people wanting to distribute other people’s money more ‘fairly’ in the name of compassion. This is always the ultimate justification for the expansion of the State in your life: because it’s the right thing to do and anyone who disagrees is greedy, selfish, and less compassionate. Harrumph.
What a bunch of moral grandstanding.
It’s possible to imagine a world in which the disadvantaged and the vulnerable are taken care of by neighbours, families, charitable institutions and the communities in which they live. Just because you don’t support higher taxes and wealth re-distribution doesn’t mean you’re FOR human suffering and misery.
But oh well. You can’t fight City Hall, and apparently you can’t fight the ceaseless expansion of the Welfare State. We seem to live in a culture where we’re all happy to get something for nothing as long as someone else is paying for it. Sooner or later we’re all going to find out that nothing’s ever free. In the meantime, we’re going to take our mate up on that beer.
for Markets and Money
From the Archives…
Markets and the Aurelius Vision
2012-05-04 – Greg Canavan
How the RBA’s Interest Rate Cuts Cause a Housing Bubble
2012-05-03 – Nick Hubble
How a Cashless Society Promotes Tyranny
2012-05-02 – Dan Denning
2012-05-01 – Dan Denning
Risky Investments in a Market Full of Conmen
2012-04-30 – Bill Bonner