David Farrar calls it a "budget that almost writes itself." That's almost true once you factor in broken promises on tax cuts, the inability of politicians to stop spending what they haven't got and the underlying values of the National Party.
So let's see what the promises both kept and broken add up to both in dollars and in values betrayed.
English promised over 5 billion dollars in extra spending over four years in areas -- health and education and feel-good crap -- where Labour's $20 billion spending binge had absolutely no net positive effect whatsoever. Which means they're keeping non-productive electoral bribes made for no other reason than headlines, and breaking their promises to productive New Zealanders who have to pay for this new blue binge.
He promised nearly one-third of a billion dollars to subsidise people who insulate their houses. Which means they're keeping their commitment to their post-election deal with the Greens, while breaking their clear election promise to the productive taxpayers who voted for National.
He promised to consume over 7.5 billion dollars over five years in Think Big infrastructure projects (for which the RMA is already being prepared) all of which will have to be paid for out of borrowing -- which means they’re keeping their promise to borrow money to bid up the prices of contractors and building materials at the very time these prices need to fall.
He admitted that the total spending bill adds up to $17 billion or red ink over the next two years -- $17 billion that will have to be borrowed -- $17 billion that could have been used by productive New Zealanders in bankrolling genuine productive spending.
So, if we remember John Key's commitment in the Wall Street Journal back in March, we might note he really is talking Adam Smith abroad while spending like John Maynard Keynes at home -- which means he must think either local commentators are stupid or Wall Street Journal readers don't do their homework.
And, of course he committed to maintaining "entitlements" -- what used to be called welfare payments -- meaning the likes of Welfare for Working Families, interest-free student loans, subsidised state-housing and the like which National (at one time) actually campaigned against. This means they're keeping their belated promises to the moochers, while breaking their firm commitment to the productive, i.e., the people paying for it all.
Asked by David Farrar "what their rationale was for deciding to break a tax cut promise rather than a spending promise such as interest-free student loans (especially as he originally opposed interest free student loans but always campaigned for tax cuts) English responded that people feel insecure in a recession, and they made a decision not to cut any current entitlements to help confidence and security."
My colleague Mr Darby warned this morning about the "fiscal child abuse" that has just been announced.
I characterised the Budget this morning as a Liars' Budget. And so it is. But it's very revealing to look at those to whom they're happy to lie, and and who they think it's important to keep "confident and secure." If you want to understand the values of today's National Party all you need to know is that they think it's important to keep their promises to moochers, but okay to lie to productive New Zealanders on whose shoulders the whole country actually rests.
If you're one of those heroes and you voted for these lying cheats, then you've been conned - as you have been if you voted ACT, whose MPs are lining up as we speak to vote this Budget in.
As Johnny Rotten once asked his audience, "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
UPDATE 1: The very easily pleased Adolph from No Minister calls me "economically challenged and naive" for not standing up and applauding what Roger Douglas called a budget whose biggest deficit is one of courage and imagination -- a budget that could just as easily have been delivered by Michael Cullen.
Notes Lindsay Perigo, "Mr. Key taunted Labour Leader Phil Goff as 'Whack-it-on-the-bill Phil,' an advocate of 'Visanomics.' That's accurate enough. But in what respect does John Key claim to differ?" Care to tell us, National supporters?
UPDATE 2: I love Dave Gee's headline:
UPDATE 3: And from Whale Oil:
While we are talking about the Dipstick from Dipton have a look at how Hong Kong is "stimulating" the economy. They have raised their tax cut today from 1500 to 1900NZD a year for stimulus. Meanwhile Bill the Dork talks about maintaining "entitlements" for losers.