NEWS AND VIEWS
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Promise Now and Pay Later
The pre-election gravy train keeps chugging along with six recent promises by the Prime Minister adding $1,292,026,700 to the list of projects announced by the Prime Minister on is campaign jaunts around the country. You will find the details at Grass Roots Gravy Train on the Owl website where we will keep updating the way John Howard gives away tax payers money during his re-election bid.
Even Mr Howard, it seems, is now getting slightly embarrassed about the extent of his largesse because yesterday, with spin that would do Herr Warne proud, he attempted to put his outrageous attempts at vote buying into a supposedly intellectually coherent framework. Instead of priming the parish pump, the Coalition Government is now engaged in a revamped federalism that incorporates "aspirational nationalism".
What Mr Howard really means is that he wants to promise handouts to people in marginal electorates for things like libraries, town halls and sports stadiums that are conditional on his re-election. To do that will involve delaying the date for handing over the money by pretending that the goodies will be financed not from tax revenue but from interest to be received in the future on the surplus of taxation that his Government is presently collecting. This "promise now, pay later" scheme, touched on yesterday in Mr Howard's Address to the Millennium Forum , will be launched with appropriate pork barreling now that Treasurer Peter Costello has given his latest update on the increase in the budget surplus.
We can but be thankful that there is an independent Reserve Bank between Mr Howard and this money in the surplus pot. Fear of provoking another interest rate rise is the only thing stopping an immediate spending spree. As a glance at the gravy train list will show you, he is already going close to the point where the Bank will start getting very uneasy.
Labor Lead Remains Comfortable
All four of the national pollsters continue to show Labor with a comfortable lead with estimates of the two party vote for the Opposition ranging from the 58.5% of the last Morgan reading to Galaxy's 54%. This morning's Newspoll in The Australian came in with Labor at 55% - the same figure as the most recent AC Nielsen.
Whichever way you look at it, the Labor lead remains comfortable.
The Reuters Poll Trend, compiled from the polls of Morgan, AC Nielsen and Newspoll by rolling the published data from the major polls into a fortnightly three-poll average, weighting them equally and then smoothing volatility by using a five-term Henderson moving average , (I put in the link because I had to look up what it meant and thought you might want to do the same) shows Labor has been in front for a long time now.
If the gap is narrowing, there is still a long way to go.
The relative lack of movement in the polls is what the entrants in the Owl's Pick the Newspoll contest expected. Yet again their combined wisdom was close to the mark with the result released today as can be seen from the tables below.