May 12, 2008

Swan Budget I

Ho hum.

Guess we have to do this.

The first Rudd/Swan budget.

Not announced yet and no leaks from Treasury this year, as the government has been doing its own leaking - it's called spin & softening-up the punters, trickle, trickle, trickle, trickle.

The first biggie is the massive lift to the Medicare surcharge threshold, which applies to taxpayers who don't have private hospital cover.

Sure, the Howard government didn't move the thresholds during the last decade (unfairly so), but Swan is taking them from $50,000 to $100,000 for singles and from $100,000 to $150,000 for couples. That's a leap of 50% and 33%. Mega, in other words.

Potentially up to half a million people could dump their private health insurance, which can't possibly be a good thing for public hospitals or for the people who have no (financial) choice but to be fully reliant on government funded health care.

Even a drop-out rate far less will see private health funds ratcheting up their fees, which they do with regular and rude predictability each year already.

Not much of a pattern yet, but this policy, when placed next to the childcare rebate being pushed up from around 30% to a dazzling 50% - an amount that will be promptly swallowed by way of increases in childcare fees - tends to give a whiff of a government hell bent on overheating the economy in all the wrong ways, that is, not for productivity gains or helping those at the bottom, for example, just pissing it up against a wall while increasing demand for the provision of government infrastructure and services.

Making the rich pay an extra $2.5K for their next BMW looks roughly like the price of a cheap burger compared to what we can expect to see in increased childcare costs, increased private health insurance and the extra hundreds of millions of dollars that public hospitals will need to cater to the newly uninsured.

As anti-inflationary budgets go, someone in the Treasurer's office must have been standing on their head when they looked at the graphs.

1 comment:

  1. Not much of a budget Caz. It's clear Rudd is playing it safe, trying not to upset any apple carts.
    " As anti inflationary budgets go, someone in the Treasurer's office must have been standing on their head when they looked at the graphs." Reckon you could be right, there, Caz.

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