Misguided, would-be messiah

Tony Abbott nails Rudd in an op-ed in The Australian:

“The past 30 years have witnessed perhaps the fastest and greatest increase in prosperity in human history. If nothing else, Rudd has surely not missed the movement of hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants into the middle class. Of course, there have been big problems with the Chinese economic miracle just as there are now serious problems (although far less systemic) with the world economy. What Australia needs, though, is a leader with a sense of proportion about the present difficulties and a measured plan for dealing with them, not a would-be messiah with apocalyptic visions of a new world order.

Greater exposure to market forces over the past three decades has eventually led to more jobs, higher pay and much greater wealth. Not everyone has been equally able to make the most of these opportunities so there is always a big constituency in favour of wealth without effort and success without merit. That’s why it’s so dangerous to pander to it by pretending, as Rudd does in his essay, that bigger, more intrusive government could have avoided mistakes that almost no one saw coming.

If you don’t understand a problem, you can’t properly deal with it. As Rudd’s essay makes plain, he has confused a cyclical (if severe) downturn with a fundamental crisis of capitalism. Especially with the benefit of hindsight, it’s now plain that serious mistakes were made in the US home loan market. This has compounded the bursting of an asset price bubble with consequent flow-on to business decision-making and jobs.

In a market economy, cyclical downturns are as inevitable, if not necessarily as predictable, as storms in winter. You batten down the hatches but you don’t conclude that the sky is about to fall in. Rudd, by contrast, says that the rules have changed; that government spending and government regulation that would not have made sense before makes sense now. It’s on this basis that he’s shifted without any specific justification from being an “economic conservative” to a born-again socialist and without any embarrassment from a forecast budget surplus of $22billion last May to a deficit of $22 billion just eight months later.”

I advise you to read the whole thing.

Update: Full article can be found here. Oops!

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One Response to “Misguided, would-be messiah”

  1. Manny C Says:

    Providing a URL to an article that is included as an extended quote is generally accepted blogging principle 🙂

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