Show us the money!

As predicted, the government has so far ruled out using the $6B they ‘found’ to extend the JobKeeper service to those missing out. Listening to some of the commentary coming out of the government the last few days is enough to send you batty.

I think to a man they’ve pretty much clapped their hands together to celebrate having ‘saved’ so many dollars. It seems incomprehensible that not one of them has figured out what this actually means. It begs belief that so many of them are economically illiterate – in fact, how can they be when every economist in the land is screaming at them to spend the money?

I know it’s been generations since we came to expect much of our elected officials. Still, surely it’s not unreasonable to think they go into parliament with a basic level of competence and intelligence? In an ideal world, you’d like to believe they are the best of us. In the real world, with notable exceptions (none in the actual governing party), they’ve got the smarts to be an office manager and not much more. I work with a lot of people smarter than the guys we have in government.

I’m being snide, and maybe exaggerating a bit, but not by much. I’m bewildered by how few of our MPs appreciate the issue. Not only is the current setup iniquitous, failing to actually spend that $60B would be potentially catastrophic for the economy.

If they’re smart, they can take that ‘saving’ and extend the value of it by spending it in other ways. Extending JobKeeper so that casuals, temp visa holders, universities, etc., can get the benefit also (which addresses the iniquity, as well as need) is the obvious answer, along with potentially funding other stimulus projects with the rest.

To put it in context – $60B is more than was paid for the NBN.

The risk by not doing that is that we’ll fall off the economic cliff sometime in September. Right now, the money spent is keeping the economy alive and putting food on the table. It’s due to run at just about the time when we head back to work, or soon after – just when the economy will need another kick-along. If we don’t, the economy will tank and, millions will suffer and, we’ll be in this for years.

One of the mooted announcements is funding the Tafe sector the government de-funded a few years back. It recognises that education is one way to grow the economy in coming years, which is right, but at the same time, they’ve left our public (but not private) universities to fend for themselves throughout this crisis.

Universities are hotbeds of innovation, which is probably the biggest focus in the next few years if we’re smart. Neglecting them throughout this pandemic to me just about sums up what a dumb government we have.

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