Tuesday 25 October 2022

The Budget is out today

and I have no doubt that it will be a very political document.

This government went to the election saying "we have a plan" over and over again. They never actually told us what the "plan" was but people believed them and here we are.

We were also told we would be getting $275 lower electricity bills and that there would be more money for a range of other things. Since then of course there has been the usual "the economy is in worse shape than we had been led to believe and we can't do the things we promised". It seems all sides of politics can use this excuse and we just go on believing them.

The big "thing" this time is "cheaper childcare" for preschool children - so that both parents can go back to work. This infuriates me. There is no such thing as "cheaper childcare". Someone has to pay for it. 

Now yes, I know that children are our future and we all need to pay for our future. We all need to pay towards the education, health and well-being of the young if they are to grow into wage earning adults who pay the taxes that provide the pensions and... well, you know the sort of thing I mean. 

But could we stop saying "cheaper childcare"? It's just dishonest. What it really means is that anyone who pays tax but does not have a child or children of the relevant age is going to pay more so that the  parents of those children in childcare pay less.

We are also being told we will pay "less" for some medicines. I have no argument with making sure people can pay for necessary medicines. It might well be that it will help some people remain in the work force and they will then pay tax. It should certainly help some at least live a little more comfortably and be free of some of the anxiety surrounding their illness and their everyday circumstances. But are we going to be paying "less"? No, we are simply spreading the cost a little further around. It is more dishonesty.

Those things however almost pale into significance when you consider the likelihood that the federal government is going to announce funding for an expensive "rail loop" that has not been found to be cost-effective. It will be built in a state which has an election coming up. In order to fund it projects in other states, mostly in rural regions, will be cut. This is apparently a good use of our taxes. It will help to keep some politicians in power. No doubt there will be similar projects announced and others cut.

I would like to be able to take over the budget of the country for several years. It would be good to be able to say, "No, childcare is not going to be cheaper. We may pay for it differently but it will not be cheaper." It would be good to be able to say, "No, we are not going to build that rail loop. We are going to put the money into expanding the rail network where it is most needed. That will also supply work." 

It won't happen of course. I won't listen to the Budget speech tonight. It will be better to read it tomorrow. Maybe I simply don't understand the meaning of the word "cheaper".  

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