Tag Archives: Commonwealth securities

Can We Even Pay The Interest?

27 Feb

Estimated (E), Projected (P)

It seems that every man and his dog… except Barnaby Joyce… happily takes for granted the popular claim that Australia’s sovereign debt levels are nothing to worry about.  But have you ever stopped to think about whether we really can pay back the debt?

I made the chart above using the data from the Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) 2009-10 Budget statements. It shows Treasury Secretary Ken Henry’s projected Interest on debt for this financial year, and the following three years. Those are interest-only repayments that Kevin Rudd incurred, and now we-the-taxpayers have to pay.

Doesn’t look too bad, you say?  An Interest bill starting at $8.26 Billion for 2009-10, rising to $15.28 Billion for 2012-13? Surely your $900 “bonus” cheque, and your dodgy roof insulation from the Fairy Ruddfather, make paying this Interest bill worthwhile?

To put it into perspective, I’ve put together another chart (below).  It shows the Australian Government headline Surplus / Deficits going back to 1996, and adds in the projected Interest on debt (in blue) from the above chart. Simply click on the chart to enlarge –

As you can see, Ken Henry’s projected Interest on debt alone is greater than many of the 12 years of Howard Government surpluses. And they came during an unprecedented mining boom.

One other thing. Can anyone really believe Ken Henry’s projections?  This is a man who could not see the GFC coming.  And even now, he is confidently predicting a “Golden Age” of “unprecedented prosperity” for Australia, one that could “stretch to 2050”. All thanks to his belief in a 4o year continuous boom in China.  He is clearly ignorant of the fact that more and more leading international economists… including some who did predict the GFC… are now predicting that China is a bubble that will bust within ten years.

Paying back the projected Interest-only will obviously be a big challenge. So try to imagine how we are ever going to pay back the principal too.

Barnaby Joyce has recently stated that it would take eight (8) consecutive years of $19 Billion surpluses to bring the budget back to earth.  As you can see from the chart above, the Howard Government achieved a budget surplus that big only 3 times… in 12 years.

It is easy to see why Barnaby is so concerned about our ever-rising debt under Rudd Labor.

Because quite simply, we can not pay it back.

A Clear Picture of Australia’s Debt

25 Feb

Barnaby Joyce produces a chart that says it all:

A picture paints a thousand words so a good understanding of our gross debt is seen in the graph (above).

It shows clearly that the Coalition is a government that pays off debt and that Labor is a government that creates debt and Mr Rudd is creating debt at a faster rate than has been seen in recent history. With gross debt currently in excess of $125 billion one would be foolish if they were not concerned by the trajectory of the growth in debt.   How would you feel taking this to your local bank manager as an example of your fiscal prudence, and the ceiling insulation program as an example of your management technique?

If we continue on the trajectory that is self evident in this graph we are most definitely going to arrive at a point of reckoning.

Read the entire article here.

UPDATE: Barnaby offers an updated version of the above graph –

If we continue on the trajectory that is self evident in this graph we are most definitely going to arrive at a point of reckoning. This point of reckoning will place immense pressure on the budget and the delivery of such services as health, education, defence, foreign aid, childcare and everything else that relies on the public purse for payment.
Labor cannot just go on borrowing money at the rate that is portrayed in this graph and it is absurd to look at the trajectory of this graph and say that you do not have a concern. It is vastly easier to manage problems when they are manageable. It is far more prudent to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” and manage the problem now than to wander into the chamber at a later date with a sorrowful look on your face wishing if only we had that time again we’d have done things differently.
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