Reading through the budget papers is an exercise in cognitive dissonance

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Labor’s budget fails to address the underlying causes of the challenges Australia faces — and merely delays the government’s political peril.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Jim Chalmers’ budget is a carefully calibrated exercise in expectation management, with just a tiny bit of fiscal policy thrown in. 

Labor has clearly spent a lot of time workshopping the political consequences of various decisions. As economics editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Ross Gittins points out, there’s a little of something for nearly everyone in the document, for GPs and small businesses, struggling households and low-income earners, more money for AUKUS, and a surprisingly generous investment in culture. 

The developing political angle on the budget seems to be: “Is it inflationary?” This is an arid debate, made worse by the economic innumeracy of most of the media pursuing it. 

Read more about the eventual political fallout from the budget.

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