Praising with faint damns

The Australian’s Online Poll today is “Do you think the federal government deserves all the credit for averting a recession? ”

Obviously they judged that even the readers of the Oz weren’t going to reject the idea that the government deserves some credit for its successful management of the crisis. Even the obviously rigged version only got 62 per cent in favour at last count.

9 thoughts on “Praising with faint damns

  1. Vote Now!

    What do you think of John Brumby’s transport revolution?

    • It won’t make a difference – by the time everything’s built we’ll have more problems
    • $38 billion is way too much money to spend on transport
    • $38 billion is not enough to fix the problems
    • Too much is being spent on roads, more should be spent on public transport
    • Too much is being spent on public transport, more should be spent on roads
    • There is too much focus on the city, what about the rest of Victoria?
    • It’s yet another proposal, ask what we think when it’s actually finished
    • Only $100 million out of $38 billion for cycle paths is pathetic

    This poll was up on the Heraldsun website on the 8th of December last year after the Victorian govenment annouced it’s $38b transport plan. You can only select negative options. If you select none it won’t allow you to submit. How is that for fair and balanced? Admittedly it didn’t remain up for long.

  2. The simplest explanation for our better economic performance seems to be that our banks weren’t carrying a lot of bad debt, which in turn was because we are net capital importers rather than exporters. Their only risk was that there might be a bank run. So, despite our high debt levels, our recession was more of a run-of-the-mill panic than due to fundamental structural problems as the US has.

  3. I don’t read the Oz, but have they had an online Poll asking “Given that there wasn’t a run on the banks, do you think the Governments bank deposit guarantee was uneccessary?”

  4. I think the focus on who gets the credit between Liberal and Labor on avoiding the worst of the GFC is unfortunate. I’d like to see mroe credit given to both the RBA and Treasury in the past tow years for doing IMO an outstanding job. Financial regulation, interest rates and fiscal polcy were all basically correct. Also our response this time was must faster and better targetted than the 1990/91 experience. At best the politicians set a policy direction adn the departments work out the details. In cases like this they probably do most of the work and (hopefully wise) treasurer’s and finance ministers accept their advice. So well done RBA and Treasury!

    Seriously, there is not much thanks for being a public servant these days. Henry, Stevens and their colleagues have impressed me this time around.

  5. @Michael

    Given James’ comment about a run-of-the-mill panic recession, the recession we partly talked ourselves into and the unknowns about how bad things might have been, yes I think the guarantee was a good idea. Principally for psychological reasons. Judgements in hindsight can be a wonderful thing but at the time nobody knew how bad things might have become. If in doubt, throw everything at the problem and fix the smaller messes afterwards. Better safe than sorry. And now one of the smaller messes that needs fixing is to claw back some of the big leg-up that the Big 4 got from the guarantee and get smaller players back into the market.

    And your right Socrates, well done to our officials. Compare their track record with their overseas counterparts. RBA obviously had interest rate settings wrong when the crisis hit, but there was no embarrasment about basically saying – ‘Oops, we got that wrong. Now just fix it’. The political classes could learn a lot from that willingness to accept your mistakes, fix them and move on.

  6. @Glenn Tamblyn

    Agreed. I was aiming for a little sarcasm. Serves me right. I happen to think that the bank guarantees were necessary and implied. The GFC reasserted how fragile the banks can be in the face of a panic and how quickly a freeze on lending can bring things to a standstill. Of course it was also an easy thing to criticise in hindsight after it was effective in preventing bank runs. This also reminds me of the way Y2K bug scares were derided because all the work rewriting code meant few failures occurred ergo the whole thing was a giant waste of time and money because nothing went wrong.

  7. @Michael

    My sarcasm meter must be slipping. But the world seems to have too many hindsight optimists. ‘We wus right. We didn’t need to do “insert appropriate problem fix here”‘ Aren’t armchairs a wonderful place to do serious work from?

  8. The Australian opposition and the right around the world are like someone who says after some else has had a heart attack which requires a heart transplant which proves to be successful. “Oh, it was just a bit of chest pain. You could probably have ignored it and saved all that expense.”

    The rewriting of the history of the GFC started almost the instant it started.

  9. The Government could have far more avoided an economic recession at far less expense by heaving out the window, lock, stock and barrel the whole idiotic dogma of economic neo-liberalism.

    It has been well established by Naomi Klein that economic neo-liberalism is nothing more than a fraudulent rationale for allowing big corporations to loot public wealth.

    The Government should have just got on with the job of creating employment directly without parasitic middlemen such as in Public Private Partnerships.

    As it is, we will end up paying dearly for many years to come for the Rudd Government’s squandering of our wealth to allow people to buy plasma TV’s mamufactured in China.

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