Like drunken sailors
Paul Krugman, observing Bush’s deficit policy made the observation that the traditional Republican critique of the Keynesian case for using deficits to stimulate the economy (that, once you started running deficits, you’d never find a suitable time to stop) was true, but only as regards Republicans.
Similarly, having been announced his conversion to the cause of social democracy a few days ago, Howard is behaving like an economic rationalist’s caricature of a social democrat, spraying billions of dollars around in a combination of interest-group pork-barrelling and half-baked ideas for micromanagement of everything from the TAFE sector to the taxi industry. Meanwhile, the decision to make the states pay for the National Water Initiative means that basic needs for schools and hospitals will be worse-funded than before. Again, more detail from Chris Sheil
Labor’s correct response here, I would say is not to engage in an item-by-item bidding war, but to announce one big intervention in Medicare, using part of the money already spent by Howard.
Update Monday AM The “drunken sailor” description is irresistibly apt. Crikey used it to, and here’s the Oz editorial