Kevin Rudds Poisoned Chalice

My previous comments about Kevin07 and Labor running a low key / low target campaign drew a few comments, so I’ll explain a bit further.

Very early in the campaign, Howard and the libs announced a program of tax cuts looking about 3-4 years ahead. We all know such promises are silly because nobody can predict what will happen tomorrow, let alone the state of the countries economy in a few years time.

Labor were immediately under pressure to match it, and they did – with one exception, a little bit of fudging with an aspirational tax rate at some far-distant time. Now that the shouting has died down, none of us can remember that fine detail but we can all remember a truck load of tax cuts being promised.

Labor HAVE to deliver those tax cuts.

Anything remotely reeking of non-delivery (eg, Keatings L.A.W. tax cuts delivered as superannuation, and Howards core vs non-core promises) will be seized on by the Liberal opposition as proof of their incompetence, and used forever to beat them up.

Howard and Costello knew for 12 months that they were on the nose, they knew their chances of winning were slim.

You can just imagine their reasoning:

- If we make this promise and the economy tanks, we’ll just dissemble like we did so many times before – it was a non-core children overboard promise, and look, well, the ecomony is a bit sick now and it would be unreasonable to give that tax cut we promised 2 years ago.

- But if Labor wins and the economy tanks, we can scream at them for YEARS about how they screwed up and could not deliver.

So Labor, by matching the tax cuts, have sipped from the poisoned chalice.

There is now NO SCOPE for tipping oodles of money into better State / Federal relations, no pot of gold to build a really flash rail system, nothing for expanded transport infrastructure, zip for reducing HECS or public school upgrades or building programs.

The education revolution will have to be funded on a shoe-string.

About the only large fund they can lay their hands on quickly and easily is the saving from Howards former advertising campaign. A million bucks a day will do a lot of hip replacements, but it’s small fry in the long run.

Howard and Costello have set the Labor agenda for the next 3 years!

Cunning, very very cunning.

Poor Rudd. He’s now in office and boxing with one hand – he tied the other behind his back when he matched the tax cuts. And if he had not done it, he probably would not have been elected – but we’ll never know.

3 Comments

Labor made the education revolution, etc promises AFTER they announced they’re tax cuts. To make these promises anything more than pie in the sky, they had to prove they could afford them, otherwise the Liberals would have pounced on it. All promises have to be costed, is my understanding. You can’t make an election promise if it’s clear to all you can’t afford it after previously committing to tax cuts that leave you bankrupt.

Also, although Labor mostly matched Liberal’s tax cuts, they – significantly – did not go with the tax cuts for the high-wage earners. That saved them significant $$. They’ve also, in their overall budget costings, have made savings elsewhere by cutting other Liberal expenditures.

I have full confidence that Labor can deliver on what they’ve promised – I don’t see cost being an issue at all.

Also, Rudd is setting mid-term and end-of-term benchmarks, which he’s making public, so that we can all chart his progress (or lack thereof).

Comment by DunePrincess | November 29th, 2007 3:48 pm | Permalink

Oh don’t get me wrong, he’s doing lots right.

Just image how much more he could do if he’d not had to play the Liberals game in order to get elected.

The future COULD have been a lot brighter.

It’s all still a move in the right direction, though.

Comment by Wally | November 29th, 2007 3:54 pm | Permalink

But one thing they can always do is blame any of their shortcomings on the last lot. It’s the second term (assuming they get one) that is the problem.

Comment by Trundling Grunt | December 1st, 2007 2:20 pm | Permalink

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