Labor Less ‘Creative’ Than Greece

19 Mar

From the Korea Times:

The Greek crisis is a textbook example of the interconnectedness of the global economy and the foreign policy environment.

For most of the last decade, the Greek economy grew faster than others in the euro area. Yet, the country’s balance sheets worsened.

(Sound familiar?)

So, when the global recession hit, and the Greek economy contracted by 2 percent in 2009, international bond markets panicked, fearing that Athens was going to have trouble meeting its obligations. By mid-February the Greek government was paying three percentage points more to borrow money than the interest rate charged Germany, worsening the mismatch between Greek revenues and expenditures.

Wall Street bears some of the blame for this mess. Goldman Sachs and possibly other American financial institutions reportedly helped Athens understate its true indebtedness through the creation of innovative financial instruments.

The Rudd Government has used a more traditional way to understate our true indebtedness. ‘Creative accounting’. Or ‘cooking the books’.

First, Rudd Labor has made changes to the ‘methodology’ used for reporting Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  And they have applied those changes to all the previously reported Budget numbers too.  The result?  A “substantial increase” in Australia’s GDP.  As much as (eg) 4.5% per annum added to the real, inflation-adjusted GDP that was originally reported in the Howard Government’s 2006-07 Final Budget Outcome.

The benefit to Rudd Labor in making this “substantial increase” to GDP in the historical data, is that their spending (as a percentage of that GDP) looks lower.  Their annual spending growth (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower. Their debt (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower. And, their Interest-on-debt (as a percentage of GDP) looks lower too. This explains why Rudd Labor politicians always love to quote everything in percentages. “As a percentage of GDP”.

Second, Rudd Labor has also changed the ‘methodology’ used to calculate the inflation-adjusted value of ‘real’ spending growth.  This was a sudden decision, for the November 2009 MYEFO budget update. The result? The Rudd Government’s reported ‘real spending growth’ is a whopping 30.1% lower under their new calculation method.

Finally, Rudd Labor lies about the GFC whenever it needs to defend its massive spending spree. They have repeatedly told the public that “the GFC punched a huge hole in our projected revenues”.  But the official Budget documents show that this is a lie.  In the May 2009 Budget, the estimated government “Receipts” were only 2.7% lower than for the previous year.  And by the November MYEFO update, government revenues were expected to be slightly higher than for the previous year.

Please follow those links. View for yourself the actual Budget documents that show how Rudd Labor have ‘cooked the books’.

You will see that, unlike Greece, our Labor Government does not need to hide our true state of indebtness through the use of creative financial instruments.

They use good old-fashioned ‘creative accounting’ instead.

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