Well, the proverbial cashed-up cat is out of the bag ladies and gentlemen, and the almighty Rudd has announced intentions to pass a 42 Billion dollar stimulus package to help, dare I say it, "ease the squeeze.....on working families".
So, what's included in the fancy stimulus package? Well, for starters just about everybody and their dog will be getting a 950 dollar one-off cash bonus for doing absolutely nothing. Now, the question of lump sum bonuses to help stimulate spending is not as straight forward as it may seem.
In these times of economic doom and gloom, where the crisis lives where the communists used to reside, will Australians use the unique oppurtunity for splurging that has been afforded by this stimulus package. Well, the jury's still out on that one.
There's been no real indication that the last cash-bonus paid out in December had any positive impact on the economic slump, even though Christmas retail figures were better than expected. Lots of people were keeping that money for a rainy day, and there's little indication from the public at this stage as to whether retailers should be licking their lips.
I personally think the average Australian can see why we're in this position right now, irresponsible spending. Even though going out and blowing the lot on...jellybeans would have no tangible effect on the hip-pocket, people will choose to squirrel their money away in anticipation of the hard times ahead. So will chucking money at people and telling them to spend neccesarily work? I'll leave that one up to you.
Small businesses will also belooking toward Canberra with hungry eyes as they're getting a whole bunch of money to see them through, and rebates if they buy a computer exceeding 2000 dollars.
There's also a heck of a lot of investment in schools, with every school in Australia getting 200,000 dollars for improvements such as sciencelabs and the likes. I don't particularly think that's going to stimulate the economy in the short-term, but I'm all for it anyway. Any investment money the schools can grab is okay in my books, as the education of the next generation of Australians is going to be vitally important.
After all, who would you rather be looking after you in your old age? A well-reasoned young person or Corey Delaney?
The other big area the stimulus package, an 890 million dollar area, is the investment in infrastructure and works. Now, this is an old trick from the guys in Canberra. Invest in infrastructure , and not only do you get a whole bunch of shiny new roads and ports but you're able to create jobs within the sector to build all of these roads.
But here's the thing I'm concerned about. Does anybody recall a time when we had a shortage of skilled workers?
Now, I can't caim to know about the level of expertise needed to build a road or aport but I'm pretty sure it's going to take at least some skilled workers to pull off this program. Where are they going to come from?
Worst case scenario the workers come from overseas, hearing that Australia has opportunities. Now, I'm not against foreign workers in the slightest but when they start to send the money paid to them back home, the money which was meant to stay in the country dissapears and goes toward helping another economy.
By far the most interesting thing about this bill from a political sense is the Government's tactics with it. Now, instead of giving the opposition and independants in the Senate a good long look at the details of the package, the Government is hoping to ship this thing through today.
That's right, screw applying the magnifying glass to the thing, through you go!
Overall, Rudd is beginning to seem like an eager salesman really reaching for that sale. When the opposition inevitably opposes being put over a barrel at short notice, the almighty Rudd will start to profess sentiments of bipartisanship and extol the cirtues of passing this thing quickly.
After all, he should know. On his holiday he was busy writing a 7000-word article for The Monthly on the subject of the economic crisis.
More on this story as it develops.