Although hardly qualified for anything to do with number crunching, Wayne Swan has in all fairness become much more confident over the last 18 months in his role as Treasurer. But sadly he is still hooked on manipulating data and his forecasting skills appear as good as Marie Antoinette’s, who once told her husband that the noise outside the palace was just some party goers who would soon be heading home.
Of course the Treasurer relies to a large extent on a team of public service bean counters and economic boffins to point him in the right direction, many of whom are suppose to be bright economists who in their own opinion, know just about everything. I often imagine that being an economist must be wonderful, because you can go through your entire career being wrong most of the time and still be judged a success.
Other professions make mistakes, are often held to account and then strive to do better. With economists if they make a mistake they blame the computer model, the data, global events or simply cover their tracks by revising their forecasts. Is it any wonder therefore that we have an economic crisis every decade or so?
The only professions I can think of that are similar in nature to economists are politicians and lawyers. It is probably no coincidence therefore that many politicians have a background in law or economics.
Poor old Swanny is probably fed a lot of forecast information that is about as reliable as a Soviet era tractor, but he then makes things worse by adding his own touch of spin or selectively quoting from OECD and IMF reports etc. For example Swan will quite happily talk about the national broadband network being a productivity driver, but he fails to mention that is is only one of many drivers and that in fact the Governments roll back of Work Choices will actually put a drag on productivity growth.
He also happily talks about how the IMF supports government stimulus spending but leaves out the bit where they say the spending must be well targeted, and that cash handouts are not a very effective means of stirring economic activity. Of course as long as people get their money most do not care where it is coming from or even worry about the national debt that is building up.
Tax the rich, that will pay for all the government spending many people believe, but they are in for a rude shock because the debt pain will be widely felt. Unless you’re a politician of course, they have just got a nice little allowance increase and although they could refuse to accept it, they won’t. No wonder we hold them in such low esteem.
But Wayne “Swanny” Swan, the slayer of the inflation genie and master of the ten minute paper shuffle, has taken us all on quite a ride. First he thrilled us with his stories of how the the nasty Howard Government left him with a budget surplus and economic growth. Oh how he regailed us with stories of his battles with the inflation genie and how assisted by the knights of the RBA, they slay the beast. (although we have reports the genie survived and is ready to come back with a vengeance)
Then we were comforted by his talk of Australia being able to withstand the mighty economic storm heading our way because of his skill and those of the nerdish Prince Kev07 – the terror of air hostesses and sub-standard gourmet meals. They were ably assisted by Julia Gillard, a sorceress that is able to drive away foes merely by the sound of her voice.
But alas the storm did hit but we were told to fear not, because fortress Australia was built of stronger stone that those other shabby castles in the U.S and Europe and in any case, Swanny and Prince Kev07 had a cunning plan.
Their plan was to take all our savings then borrow lot’s of money and quickly drop this into the fortress moat and hope it would save the day. Just for good measure they would also spend a small fortune on party lights and toss free bread to the people. Now as the moat is filling up with money the people wait and hope that fortress Australia can withstand the storm. (while munching on crusty loaves of free bread)
Will the storm subside and thus we will be saved, or will the moat be flooded and the walls of fortress Australia start to crumble? We will soon find out the answer.
So Swanny you have been out there spinning the Australian public around with your stories and forecasts and hence I dedicate this song to you because Swanny: you spin me right round baby like a record baby, right round round round.
And remember, if you think this global financial crisis is bad, then just imagine how much worse it could have been if British “New Wave” music was still around!