Saturday 13 July 2019

Quo Vadis Australia?

Although under the extremely competent management of the COALition (particularly of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg), the Australian economy, ungrateful that it is, is not doing well. It is not for nothing, I suppose, the RBA has cut interest rates to historical lows … twice … in two consecutive months.

But how worried should Australians be?

Well, I am no expert. It would be hard for me to say. So, I decided to find out what the experts have to say.

The problem is that they give conflicting messages. Philip Lowe, for instance, the RBA governor,  says everything is under control. Steve Keen, however, believes there is a 95% probability of a recession in the next two years.

That, as readers might have guessed, left me uneasy.

I had not seen the rather unusual Lowe/Frydenberg Thursday meeting and their subsequent TV appearance. Michael Pascoe, who did, described Lowe’s reassurances thus: “under Mr Frydenberg’s watchful eye” Dr Lowe “suddenly had to pretend all was tickety-boo – implying that he’d been terribly mistaken this month, last month, the month before, pretty much all his senior career at the bank”.

What did he mean, I wondered.

His reference to Sir Humphrey (a character, I gather, from the sitcom Yes Minister) didn’t help me: I’ve never seen an episode of that series. For some mysterious reason, I’m no fan of comedy, not even the British one.

Today, courtesy of Insiders and the clip they broadcast immediately after the Frydenberg interview, I finally understood Pascoe’s meaning, which others -- unlike yours truly -- seem to have had no difficulty understanding.

I cannot say that Frydenberg strong-armed Lowe, what I can say is that Lowe’s assurances didn’t dissipate my doubts.


More favourable to Frydenberg’s attempt to bullshit us instill confidence were Steve Keen’s gloomy predictions of recession, with unemployment reaching 7% and real net disposable income per capita falling 1.0% by June 2020, and housing prices falling 12% in Sydney and Melbourne, as the federal budget registers a deficit of -$40 billion.

You see, since 2008 Keen has infallibly predicted every single recession Australia never had.


On second thoughts, I think I understand now why I feel no interest whatsoever in comedy.

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