May 12th, 2009 at 03:31am
The three possibilities which spring to mind regarding the federal government’s supposed $58 billion deficit
1. It’s accurate, strategically leaked in an effort to get the horror headline out of the way, and Wayne Swan will focus on favourable points tonight.
2. It’s inaccurate, strategically leaked, the deficit is lower, but that’s about the only good news and Wayne Swan will milk it for all it’s worth.
3. Channel Seven made it up in an effort to get some publicity for themselves, and the government can’t be bothered calling it “wrong” because the budget deficit isn’t anywhere near that figure.
My instincts tell me to rule out number three, and lean towards number one.
A quick calculation: $58 billion deficit in a country with a population of 21,714,000 = $2671.09 per person. A strange thought just crossed my mind…imagine if the federal government had a “reverse stimulus package” and confiscated $2671.09 from each person in the country…the dollar figure would have to be higher because they could only easily do that with taxpayers, but regardless, the howling and screaming would be deafening, as would be the noise of people filing for bankruptcy, and I’d be one of them. Such a thing would never happen, but it is somewhat easier to digest such large numbers when they are broken down to the per-person figure.
Incidentally, Wayne Swan would have to be pleased about Four Corners airing a controversial (and one-sided) investigation into Rugby League players’ indiscretions with people of the opposite sex. If last week’s newspaper headlines and this morning’s talkback is anything to go by, it will drown discussion of the budget until late this afternoon at least.