The noises coming out of Europe are ominous.  Australians should sit up and take notice.

Cartoon: Peter Nicholson

“If there isn’t a solution by Sunday, everything is going to collapse,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy before dashing to Frankfurt for emergency talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“If the Euro fails then Europe fails,” said Merkel. Though she added hopefully: “We will not let that happen.”

The German economy is sliding towards recession. British ministers are openly discussing the likelihood of a double dip recession there. 

In an article I read yesterday on the European situation the words “careering towards the economics of the Great Depression” leaped off the page. And in Canberra on Thursday, Treasury boss Martin Parkinson warned bluntly that Australia would be hit hard if Europe’s leaders failed to resolve the crisis.

The Australian Government is certainly worried. Treasurer Wayne Swan made that pretty clear when he went to Paris for a G20 finance ministers meeting a week ago.

There, and at other international meetings in Washington a few weeks earlier, the Europeans were given the rounds of the kitchen for dithering over the last 18 months instead of acting decisively.

They were accused of putting the entire global economy - including Australia’s economy - at risk.

Sunday in Brussels - Monday morning Australian time - is crucial. That’s when European leaders are supposed to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with their economic woes.

Europe - to quote Sarkozy again - “has a rendezvous with its history”. The summit has three jobs to do.

It has to come up with a solution to the dire situation in Greece, where debt default is imminent, more tough austerity measures are in train, and street violence and strikes suggest a society in a state of near-insurrection.

Task number 2 is to massively beef up the European Financial Stability Facility so that, if Spain and Italy get into the same kind of trouble as Greece, there will be a fund big enough to deal with it.

And finally, the leaders are being called on to recapitalise Europe’s banking system, having failed to clean things up after the Global Financial Crisis.

Parkinson told the Senate economics committee that the mess in Europe was already affecting the Australian economy through share market volatility and the impact on consumer and business confidence.

He added: “The bigger risk to the Australian economy, though, would be if Europe failed to deliver a comprehensive response to the sovereign debt crisis and found itself in the situation where basically it was dragging the rest of the world into a second global recession.”

In that situation, China - which sends about 20 per cent of its exports to Europe and about the same to the United States - would be seriously affected, magnifying the impact on Australia.

That would mean damage to growth, jobs and the Budget bottom line. So, even for Australia, the Brussels summit is big deal, and economic experts in Canberra say there is no guarantee it will deliver.

The French and German leaders started their Frankfurt talks in serious disagreement on how radical the package needs to be. Sarkozy wants to go further than Merkel does. Germans are said be be suffering from “bailout fatigue”.

We’d better keep our fingers crossed.

Expectations are so high that, if the European leaders are perceived to fall short again, there’s a major risk financial markets will spiral down. It could all get pretty grim, especially given the deadlock between President Obama and a Republican Congress over measures to revive the US economy . 

Some observers are puzzled that the protest movement that began with Occupy Wall Street has not gained greater traction in Australia. It has spread across the US and Europe. In Britain, Occupy London Stock Exchange has caused such disruption that St Paul’s Cathedral may have to close its doors until protesters fold their tents and go home.

Occupy Melbourne demonstrators clashed with police yesterday, but the idea has not caught on in this country to the same extent as elsewhere.

Swan believes the reason is the way the Australian government responded to the GFC.

He says: “We don’t face the unacceptably high levels of unemployment that we’re seeing in the US and Europe with all the challenges that flow from that.

“That’s why we haven’t seen the same sort of anger in Australian streets this week that we have seen overseas.”

The Australian economy has grown by 6 per cent since the GFC, whereas the US and all major industrial economies in Europe are all still smaller than they were when that crisis hit.

And, as Parkinson pointed out to the Senate committee, Australia’s seven per cent debt position compares with a figure in the 90 per cent band in the rest of the developed world.

But none of this will stop the opposition blaming the government if the Brussels summit fails, the global economy goes for a Burton and Australia gets hurt.

You can bet Tony Abbott and his team won’t even accept a serious international economic downturn as an excuse for failure to get the Budget back into surplus by 2013. 

Laurie Oakes is political editor for the Nine Network. His column appears every Saturday in News Limited papers.

Most commented


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    • Super D says:

      05:38am | 22/10/11

      Nor should the Opposition let the government off the hook for their surplus promise - unless Swan is prepared to admit that the promise should never have been made and that their media cheerleaders were absolutely wrong to give them credit for simply planning a return to surplus.

      lest not forget that the forecast surplus was nothing more than smoke and mirrors in the first place.  It’s whole purpose was to let the government off the hook for delivering the biggest deficits in Australian history.  It was deemed to be a sign of the government’s credibility on economic management.

      The surplus probably won’t be delivered and indeed probably, for the sake of the economy, shouldn’t be delivered but this does not absolve the government from having to pay back all the plaudits it readily accepted in advance of actually delivering something.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:11am | 22/10/11

      If I were a Labor strategist, I would be thinking that it might be a good time to call an election.
      If the economy is about to go pear-shaped, it would be better to let an Abbott government take the blame.  Also, it would be interesting to watch him try get the Nauru solution past the High Court.
      The inevitable pummelling the ALP would receive at the poll would clear out the deadwood of union hacks and give it the opportunity to build from the grassroots upwards.

    • Super D says:

      09:31am | 22/10/11

      The only problem with your analysis is that if an election were held today the only ALP members left would be the union hacks in the safe seats.

    • I think and I vote says:

      11:09am | 22/10/11

      Unfortunately for Labor and fortunately for the rest, Labor strategists really think that if they hang on for long enough the public will grow to love them.  It is the slowest suicide ever.

    • sunny says:

      03:11pm | 22/10/11

      @I think and I vote. Unfortunately Labor has an oversupply of strategists, which tarnishes their appeal a bit. I personally think they have some good policies, and they could ditch the strategy and just stand on policy if they inform the public of their logic a bit better. Despite what the polls say, a minimum of 50% of people will agree with Labor policies come election time, because they are modern policies that benefit the population at large and look to the future (e.g. NBN, carbon price). The smaller number of conservatives appear to be winning atm because they yell louder (winning by whining!). But luckily everyone votes, and most of them think.

    • Dave says:

      03:17pm | 22/10/11

      “Biggest deficits in Australian history”? You knobknuckle. Public debt today is a miniscule portion of past public debts - especially those of the war years. And what happened after the war? decades of prosperity.

      Super D why dont you go and change your underwear, because not only do you not appear to know what youre talking about but you also seem to be amazingly chicken to boot. Sometimes debt and deficit are necessary and sometimes theyre not. In 2008 they were necessary. Without them we would be in Europe’s position. Europe and the US are in the crap positions theyre in now because they made the WRONG economic decisions. THey should have maintained jobs at all costs even at the risk of making rich bankers lose lots of money. Keynesianism has proven itself before and what happens if you ignore Keynes’s insights is on ample display in the west right now. The good news? The chinese arent as dumb as so called ‘conservative” economists in the west. China may have hiccups but it wont falter that much. But until people realise that a lot of people here will lose their dough on the stock markets..

    • Super D says:

      04:31pm | 22/10/11

      Sorry Dave, it is you who are wrong - and have missed my point to boot.

      The deficits delivered by Swan are the highest in dollar terms ever delivered by an Australian Treasurer.  Each years deficit does of course add to the national debt which was basically zero before Swan got his hands in the cookie jar.  Unless you mean as a proportion of GDP in which case I’m not sure if they are records or not and certainly debt as a % of GDP is not at record levels.

      My point was that in 2008 when these deficits started all we heard was the goose banging on about the return to surplus in 2012-13, not this year, not next year, not even the year after.  In 4 years’s I’ll be awesome so congratulate me now.  The point is that because they took the accolades for delivering a surplus on credit if they don’t deliver they have to pay it back with interest.

      What the government and their cheerleaders did was the equivalent of giving the Wallabies a ticker tape parade next week for winning the 2016 world cup.

    • PTom says:

      09:36pm | 22/10/11

      OMG a can of coke is the highest in dollar terms. Dollar terms are worthless when comparing historic records you need comparison to today.

      You want nice charts try page 8.

      No, it is not like congratulation the wallabies today for winning in 2015 it would be like saying we are training to win in 2015 or do expect us to get to 2015 then go wow we did not forecast that we would even play quick lets get a team together.

    • acotrel says:

      06:28am | 23/10/11

      ‘The surplus probably won’t be delivered and indeed probably, for the sake of the economy, shouldn’t be delivered but this does not absolve the government from having to pay back all the plaudits it readily accepted in advance of actually delivering something.’

      Huh ! ! !  So the government should do the LNPs bidding and get into belt-tightening at a time when maintaining business confidence is essential, simply because of an extorted promise ?  I suggest you should commence thinking in terms of the national interest, not in terms of finding something trivial to beat the ALP around the ears with.  Decisions have to be made, and the world could change dramatically in a minute !  We could be in crisis mode, and we must prepare for that !

    • acotrel says:

      06:33am | 23/10/11

      ‘If the economy is about to go pear-shaped, it would be better to let an Abbott government take the blame. ‘

      Abbott is part of the problem.  In his obscene haste to regain the Libs’ birthright, he has idiots like Hockey Joyce, and Truss talking down the economy.  That sort of stupidity will only make the crisis happen quicker, and the problems will be deeper ! We must remain CONFIDENT !

    • acotrel says:

      09:12am | 23/10/11

      ‘My point was that in 2008 when these deficits started all we heard was the goose banging on about the return to surplus in 2012-13, not this year, not next year, not even the year after.’

      Clearly shows where your priorities lie. - not with the national interest when successful evasion of a depression is considered in the context of the LNP reclaiming its birthright ?

    • Labor is Toxic says:

      09:11pm | 23/10/11

      @ Acotrel

      Swan’s $12B shortfall on revenues, because of the budgeted overestimation of the strength of the economy means that Australia has to increase revenues by $40B to meet a budget that attains a budget that sees us borrow at $400M/week.

      I just wish people would read the budget before they comment on the budget.

      Labor’s refusal to wind back spending is the cause of the deficits

    • Adam Diver says:

      06:18am | 22/10/11

      Talk about tangent, your last 3 paragraphs were some of the cheapest shots I have seen. Any troll would of been proud. As for Europe I feel sorry for Germany and what an example of the importance of maintaining sovereignty.

    • Mayday says:

      09:15am | 22/10/11

      Agreed Adam, a reasonable argument until the last couple of paragraphs.

      It’s Swannie who has crowed and crowed about his precious surplus so why pin it on the Opposition…...a very long bow!

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      09:59am | 22/10/11

      Hardly cheap shots. I’d think their a pretty safe prediction of the reaction from Tony. He is rather predictable.

    • Gerard says:

      11:08am | 22/10/11

      “I’d think their a pretty safe prediction of the reaction from Tony. He is rather predictable.”

      In which case, anyone with half a brain would not have engaged in the kind of grandstanding exhibited by the ALP.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:48pm | 22/10/11

      Gerard: Of course your hardly sucked in by the grandstanding of the LNP either I guess. My comment was in no way a defense of the ALP in fact I think there is very little talent to vote for in Canberra at the moment. Rather I think Lorie has hit the nail on the head with the last three paragraphs.

    • Chris L says:

      07:27pm | 22/10/11

      I have to agree with Expat. People may hate at Labor all they want but the Coalition isn’t looking any more sparkly. Even with their failures we’re still on track to get a National Broadband Network and our economy is looking pretty darn good. I won’t shed any tears if they lose office next election but I’ll be pretty annoyed if the Coalition habit of sitting on income instead of investing it in infrastructure causes a recession.

    • acotrel says:

      04:48pm | 23/10/11

      ‘In which case, anyone with half a brain would not have engaged in the kind of grandstanding exhibited by the ALP.’

      Entitled to ‘grandstand’ with Wayne Swann right out the front ! Suck it up LOSERS - the ALP got it right ! The stimulus worked !

    • acotrel says:

      05:15pm | 23/10/11

      @Adam Diver
      ‘And, as Parkinson pointed out to the Senate committee, Australia’s seven per cent debt position compares with a figure in the 90 per cent band in the rest of the developed world.

      But none of this will stop the opposition blaming the government if the Brussels summit fails, the global economy goes for a Burton and Australia gets hurt.

      You can bet Tony Abbott and his team won’t even accept a serious international economic downturn as an excuse for failure to get the Budget back into surplus by 2013. ‘

      There are already protestors on our stree ts complaining about the GFC !  Who are THEY blaming ? -  Looks like the friends of the LNP to me !
      Abbott will need to keep his head down !

    • thatmosis says:

      07:20am | 22/10/11

      If Europe goes then Australia will follow as there is no money left in the kitty as the ALP has squandered it on foolish policies that have failed, are likely to fail, or are in the process of failing. The surplus we did have courtesy of the Lib/Nats is long gone and Swann wouldnt have a clue what to do in an emergency, in fact I would doubt is he knew what to do from day to day if someone didnt tell him and point him in the right direction.

    • sunny says:

      10:59am | 22/10/11

      @thatmosis So the big cheque the govt. sent to you during the GFC to encourage consumer spending you sent straight back to them as a point of principal. I’ll be disappointed if you tell me otherwise.

    • not amused says:

      11:31am | 22/10/11

      Sunny, you perhaps dont realise that a lot of us didnt receive the ‘big cheque’ Gillard and Swan just used our money to redistribute it and make big people of themselves.  Much to the detriment of this country.

    • persephone says:

      12:36pm | 22/10/11

      So one minute we’re saved by our trade with China and the next moment we’re at the whim of the European economy?

      Yes, an economic downturn in Europe would hurt Australia - and that was true with the GFC as well.

      Find it interesting that so many of those who credit Australia’s survival of the GFC to our trade with China and the mining boom can then argue that what happens in Europe is crucial to what happens here.

      It will cause problems, yes; but our economy is robust enough and diverse enough to deal with them.

      not amused

      oh, those big cheques the Coalition voted for?

    • sunny says:

      12:50pm | 22/10/11

      @not amused - yeah I guess that was a bit imprudent; I don’t really want to know who got what or what they did with it. I was just trying to make the point that, contrary to the preceding statement, Swann and co. had exactly the right clue what to do in the GFC. They acted fast and took every step to keep our collective spirits up, and as a result our economy rolled over it like it was just a speed bump.

    • acotrel says:

      05:00pm | 23/10/11

      @not amused
      Where was the recession going to be felt first, and destroy business confidence - the top end of town, or amongst the poor ?
      After the GFC happened, the rules changed !  It has become a good time to forget surpluses, and spend on public projects - anything to buoy the economy, and keep people in jobs , and away from a mortgage belt collapse !  If it happened, you wouldn’t have to worry a bout a lousy $900 paid to pensioners, you have to worry about finding armed guards to protect your assetts ! The LNP have rabbitted on about belt tightening.  There was a precedent in the 30s when the depression was deeper and lasted longer in Australia than in any other country ! The LNP idiots are dangerous !,  The Republicans are dangerous in the US.  Neither groups are risk conscious !  The GFC could lead to world war three !

    • acotrel says:

      05:40pm | 23/10/11

      ’ I was just trying to make the point that, contrary to the preceding statement, Swann and co. had exactly the right clue what to do in the GFC. ‘

      That’s not what the LNP supporters are saying.  Who is telling porkies ?  Seem to be a lot of that going on these days?  Oh well at least it keeps my bowels open !

    • mick says:

      07:49am | 22/10/11

      Lets not beat around the bush.  Australia has been tied into China and there is no escaping the fact that if China is hit we go down.  Even worse than this is the fact that we will still be purchasing form China to meet our needs even in the absence of any mineral exports to it.  This is the stupidity of what successive brain dead governments have done to the nation.  We have an almost dead manufacturing industry.  Agriculture is also dying.  And we now are dependent almost exclusively on digging wealth out of the ground with no other means of support for a rapidly growing nation.
      Bear a though for an import dependent nation which has had a 36 million population forced onto it by an out of control big business sector which clearly runs the economy and the country.
      I pray that China does not falter, that politicians of both persuasions put money aside for future slowdowns and that the nation ends the migration policy which will leave our descendants much poorer and vulnerable.
      We need forward thinking politicians and good policy.  This is where your efforts should be Laurie, not in populous bling which sees the nation fail.

    • persephone says:

      12:51pm | 22/10/11

      Agriculture is dying?

      Load of bollocks.

      ‘The positive outlook for the Australian farm sector follows a dynamic recovery in the domestic sector during 2010/11. The value of farm production jumped 17% to $48.5 billion in 2010/11, due mainly to a 26% surge in the value of crop production. By 2015/16, the gross value of farm production is forecast to grow further to $51.4 billion, representing growth of 1.2% per annum. Prospects for the livestock industry over the coming 5 years support the robust growth forecasts for
      the entire agriculture industry…’

      ‘...ABARES outlook for the livestock industry is as bright as at anytime in recent history…’

      ‘...The average financial performance of Australian broadacre farms is projected to improve markedly in 2010/11. At the national level, average farm cash income for broadacre farms is projected to increase from $58 900 a farm in 2009/10 to $82 000 a farm in 2010/11.’

      So not dying. Not even looking at all ill.

    • marley says:

      01:26pm | 22/10/11

      @persephone - did you really understand what you were reading?  Farm outlook improved this year after years of underproduction and consequent underinvestment.  A couple of record crops, combined with failures elsewhere in the world, gave farmers a chance to restock and buy new machinery.  Good so far as it goes - the farmers got to make up for years of drought.  But the fact remains, everything depends on good weather patterns here and bad ones somewhere else - and weather is cyclical. 

      This is a short term prediction, which the paper itself says is overly optimistic. 

      Go talk to some farmers.  See how many of them expect their kids to work on a farm.  Hell, the kids would make more money working fifo in mining than slugging out a seven-day a week workweek on a farm. 

      And by the way, the report was written before the ban on live cattle export disrupted rather a lot of the northern cattle industry.

    • persephone says:

      02:00pm | 22/10/11


      regardless, it is not the picture of an industry which is dying.

      You can’t take whether or not the kids are going on to the farm as evidence that the industry is dying; it is evidence that industry is changing.

      My nephew, for example, took up an apprenticeship a year ago on a dairy farm. He doesn’t come from a farming family.

      All industries change. Farming is no exception.

      And of course predictions of future farming trends are at the mercy of weather events, rising dollars, etc etc. And of course part of the reason farming is doing better now (and hence = not dying) is because they’ve come out of drought.

      Doesn’t change the bigger picture: farming is facing problems (er, who isn’t?) but it’s far from dead.

      Oh, and as I live in a farming community, I talk to farmers on a daily basis. Do you?

    • marley says:

      02:11pm | 22/10/11

      @persephone - it may not be dying (I didn’t say it was) but it’s hardly the rosy picture you tried to portray, is it?  And yes and yes.

    • Fran Smith says:

      02:50pm | 22/10/11

      @ Marley - don’t get too fussed. Everyone knows that persphone is the usual ignorant labor hack. We’ve all ignored her uneducated opinions for ages. God knows why the Punch continues to publish her childish, bizarre rants.

    • Lee Enfield says:

      03:01pm | 22/10/11

      Lets also not forget that our prime farming land is being sold off to the highest foreign bidders, just like our mining sector. So our mining profits are increasingly going overseas and the solution from our numpty politicians, is to increase the taxes on the mining industry instead of keeping the mining industry predominently Australian owned.
      With the increase in the selling off of our farming land, we are now having to import more and more food, especially considering our population continues to grow. We are at the point where we cannot produce enough food to sustain our population and yet our numpty politicians continue to allow the selling off of our farming land..

    • Steve Putnam says:

      08:34am | 23/10/11

      @ Fran Smith Persephone always backs her arguments with facts and citations and as a consequence draws much opprobrium from all the Liberal hacks on this site. The current example is a case in point. On the rare occasions when she makes an error she either acknowledges or corrects them. Now lets have a look at your last posting which I quote in full to illustrate a point:
      ” Marley - don’t get too fussed. Everyone knows persephone is the usual ignorant labor hack. We’ve ignored her uneducated opinions for ages. God knows why the Punch continues her childish, bizarre rants,”
      So what have you given us? Nothing but a poorly worded opinion piece. You make no attempt to answer any of persephone’s arguments you just pile on the insults in an attempt to cosy up to Marley who was taking the other side of an entirely reasonable discussion about the farming sector. You conclude your piece by advocating censorship. Lastly Fran could you explain to everyone how this schoolgirl name calling is consistent with your claim that everyone ignores persephone?

    • acotrel says:

      05:08pm | 23/10/11

      It might not be a bad thing if the brakes came temporarly on the resources boom and we were forced to actually do real work again ?
      It’s not yet the end of the world as we know it ! It would be interesting to see the top end of town trying to maintain their profits, and style of living, while covering their backsides.  Protestors are already on our streets.

    • Fred says:

      07:50am | 22/10/11

      Abbott will say anything to get power. The Howard government oversaw a loose credit orgy in Australia that also happened in other countries which is responsible for the world’s precarious position.

      It’s our private debt that is the problem, the government debt is tiny in comparison.

    • David C says:

      08:03am | 22/10/11

      private debt becomes public debt very quickly

    • John says:

      08:24am | 22/10/11

      No regulation with individual debt! Whats it’s the bill? 1 Trillion dollars owed to the International Bankers who created our mortgages using the US standardized keyboard and hitting the “0”  a few times. So if the economy goes under, these international bankers will be sold Australia for a few dollars? look how it is it is! $500,000US for John Doe from Australia NSW.  This International banking Counter-fitting must be stopped. They are clearly looting huge amounts of wealth from nations and individuals. It’s no surprise why individuals and nations are just all broke, with huge amounts of debt. Don’t you think it’s strange that all nations are in debt! But to who! That’s the question that is never answered. It can’t be to other country’s as they are all broke. It leaves the international bankers as the last prime suspect. It’s seems like the western political elite have been given bribes to allow this whole sale looting of their nations and individuals. Clearly this is high-treason, but nobody is being arrested. So not only do these bankers influence politics, they influence the LAW and also the Media. What we have in the west is corruption at a mass scale.

    • Joan says:

      09:37am | 22/10/11

      Gillard still clueless as indicated by : “Your Majesty, we do not know where Australia’s path of nationhood may lead in the times to come,” she said. Yep Gillard has taken Australia off the track into the mulga- Labor still lost its way and taken Australia with it.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      10:54am | 22/10/11

      David: Unfortunately your right. The whole problem the world faces is the government bailouts of dysfunctional institutions. The weak should be left to fail. This is the only way in which the whole mess will be sorted.  It might be painful but it’s inevitable.

      John: I’ll point at China. It has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and is using it wisely to buy up the debit of the west. Business was started in China and there masters of it. The west should be taking notes. I don’t mean from a political point of view before all the reds under the beds crowd jump on me.

      Joan: Good to see your still pumping out the usual crap. In actual fact the continued good run of the economy only highlights how little control the government has over it. Were more at the mercy of the world at large as Lorie well describes. But don’t let that little fact put you off your game you always make me laugh at least.

    • John says:

      04:42pm | 22/10/11

      China is going well because its producing for nations that don’t produce anymore.Then you have the middle men, International Bankers producing credit from thin air to fuel western credit to purchase chinese goods in order to fill their coffers. The same thing is happening in Europe as the stronger producing nations, like France and Germany are getting the entire European market leaving the other European nations jobless.
      Free trade doesn’t work,. Nationalist Economy is the only way, cut the imports and cut International Banker Counterfeit credit. Create your own National Banks, print your own money, create jobs are getting it moving again. If this goes ahead, china will loss millions of jobs! The Jobs will then be redistributed to the entire globe.

    • TrueOz says:

      07:14pm | 22/10/11

      Sounds to me like you need to hop on a flight to visit China, and see for yourself the rows of completely empty skyscrapers, empty shopping malls, roads to nowhere, bridges that cross to nothing, and people living in third world conditions out in the provinces. China is no more a producer than anywhere else right now - it’s just a mess of finance driven speculation - more-so than anywhere else in the world. The crash in China is inevitable, and along with it Australia, when they cease purchasing our minerals to build largely useless infrastructure and homes that the average Chinese worker cannot begin to afford. There won’t be any jobs in China soon, but their will be massive civil unrest, as perhaps there will be in Australia when the fate of our own country becomes clear. The politicians we have elected going back many decades are to blame - as are the Australian people for electing them. Roll on the revolution. Off with their heads!

    • Bris Jack says:

      08:10am | 22/10/11

      BUT, we will have a carbon tax and the ordinary people, (as Milne would say)  can lob into her place for a feed.

    • Felipe says:

      08:56am | 22/10/11

      Laurie, you should stop making excuses for the government.  Gillard and Swan carry on spending like there is no tomorrow.  With mineral resources giving the nation our greatest wealth,  this government is existing on external debts to the tune of $210billion and budget deficits.  Rudd/Gillard and the ALP got up to a good start with surplus and money in the bank left by the Howard/Costello government.  Imagine if the Coalition left Labor $96billion debt like what Keating left Howard, would we be the envy of the world now?

    • persephone says:

      01:52pm | 22/10/11

      Rather than spending like there’s no tomorrow, Gillard’s government is the first in decades to make real cuts to government expenditure.

    • Martin says:

      02:28pm | 22/10/11

      Propaganda Phone that is complete bulldust. Please don’t take us for fools. This Labor disaster over the last 4 years has put us well over $100 Billion in debt. Is there no limit to the nonsense Labor people will sprout?

    • Esteban says:

      05:34pm | 22/10/11

      Persephone. Going on a spending orgy in 2008 and 2009 then increasing that amount by only 1% is nothing to be congratulating them for.

      The “real cuts’ (cuts in real terms) are based on cuts to an obscene level of spending in 2008. You have been conned by ALP spin.

      It is a bit like the much vaunted forecast budget of $3 billion in 2012/13.
      You do know that $10 billion of carbon tax compensation is being prepaid in June 2012 to keep it out of the 2012/13 financial year. Swann will borrow money and pay interest on it to prematurely pay compensation just so he can have his back slapped for recording his first surplus.

      The forecast deficit for 2012 is $30 billion which includes $10 billion of compensation expenditure which should be in the following year. Absolute spin.

      I suppose some people think that creative accounting is a virtue.

      At the end of the day Swann has taken us from $20 billion in credit to $200 billion in debt. Pardon me if I don’t thank him for the real cuts in expenditure.

    • TimB says:

      10:03pm | 22/10/11

      Perse. Perse, Perse,Perse. Naughty.

      Didnt we have this discussion just the other week? I thought I’d already explained this to you then. Noew here you are again peddling the same thing.

      So like I said last time: It’s easy to cut back on spending when you have no money to spend.

      End of the day: The Howard goverment had a positive balance sheet. The Rudd-Gillard government slides further into the red each passing year. No amount of spin from you will change that little fact.

    • Chris L says:

      10:10pm | 22/10/11

      @Persephone - What do you think you’re doing?! Don’t bring facts into a Punch debate!

    • Martin says:

      09:35am | 23/10/11

      @Propaganda Phone, I read that dubious link and it attempts to make Labor look good by deleting 2007, 2008 , 2009 from Swans record (and other years that don’t help the writers intent) and inserting the biggest spending years for Howard and Costello. LMFAO Propaganda Phone!!! All have to say is Keating left us $96 Billion in the red and Swan has toppled that record by well and trully exceeding $100 Billion. That link represents rubbish analysis that relies on excluding positives for the coalition and inserting positives for Labor. Grubby and non factual.

      @Chris L. Have a read of the link, Interesting how many facts have been left out so as to facilitate painting the desired picture.

      As I have said time and time again, why do Labor people rely on BS to support their argument.

    • Chris L says:

      03:31pm | 23/10/11

      @Martin - It looked to me that the article was pointing out two years where Swan’s approach was particularly effective (1% increase) whereas you interpreted this to be an intentional deletion of his other years. I guess we’re just looking at it from different angles, but I don’t see how the article as been shown to be BS.

      We could take a similar approach to your interpretation of deficit as an indisputable negative, whereas it could be seen as a necessary burdon to keep our economy alive during difficult times. Much like I see a housing loan as a necessary burdon to facilitate home ownership.

    • xar says:

      09:48am | 22/10/11

      If occupy Brisbane is any example - many who would have been very interested have decided against turning up because the movement has been highjacked well and truly by those with a strong agenda(of a political or conspiracy theorist nature) that many simply do not wish to be seen as supporting.

      When it comes to the idea that we don’t want to head the way certain other countries have, that we dont want policy and practise which sees a widening of the gap between rich and poor, lowering of social mobility and an increase in poverty levels - it is a safe bet that most everyone supports that, we tend to like a fair go for everyone here.

      True our challenges are not the same as overseas, but we have similar things to discuss and a need to examine where we are headed. The political climate at the moment is one which has created a much more widespread lack of faith in our systems of government. Groups which have been patiently working to raise awareness and see progress are fed up with the lack of policy responce or even discussion in the wake of findings and reports that urge action. There is the fear that populist politics and well funded lobby groups pushing their own agenda will rob us of our decency, our willingness to achieve important changes.

    • Geez... says:

      09:50am | 22/10/11

      Here I was thinking Oakes had finally taken off the ALP blinkers and was actually writing something interesting…...then came the ‘kicker’, the final two paragraphs, where he lays the ‘obligatory’ boot firmly into TA’s guts yet again…you can’t help yourself, Loza.

    • acotrel says:

      08:48pm | 23/10/11

      For many years Laurie Oakes was firmly on the side of the conservatives.  What do you think caused him to change to supporting Labor ?

    • WTF says:

      09:56am | 22/10/11

      It’s all Labor’s fault we have the best performing economy in the world, low unemployment and a social conscience.
      and you want to trade this for what?
      Conservatives are very amusing animals and make strange squealing noises that only they can understand when they are not in power.

    • Ben says:

      10:52am | 22/10/11

      I’ll assume you’re joking when you say that the conservative side of politics in Australia has nothing to do with our fortunate economic position. No serious person would ever think that either side haven’t done good things in their time.

    • WTF says:

      11:56am | 22/10/11

      Not joking

    • Nicholas Arena says:

      11:59am | 22/10/11

      WTF..Australia was never exposed to the GFC like the rest of the world.It was the strong financial position left to them by Howard and China that gave us the best performing economy .The billions p***ed up against the wall by a government that admittedly confessed to losing their way was an over reaction trigged by inexperience and poor judgement.

    • WTF says:

      01:00pm | 22/10/11

      Keep that squealing coming

      Conservatives believe in disinformation as a policy. It is one of the two they currently have. The other is on-shore processing.

    • Richard says:

      01:30pm | 22/10/11

      No, it was the economic policies of PJK and PHC that are to blame for giving us the best performing economy in the world, with low unemployment. You have to take a long-term view of the situation WTF. My contention is that, even if Rudd and Swan hadn’t blown their wad in ‘09, the Australian economy would not have slumped into deep recession, and by now we’d be even better off, because we wouldn’t have a deficit.

      From an Austrian school of economics perspective, Swan and the Labor government can’t claim any credit for “saving” the economy from recession just by spending shovel-fulls of money. Recessions are actually a desirable process of cleansing out malinvestment and bad debt from the economy, from time to time the are required. If you try to head of a recession by irresponsibly spending your way out of it, racking up loads of sovereign debt in the process, you set the economy up for an even more painful correction down the road, as the profiligate economies in Europe and America are just starting to discover now.

      Unfortunately there is no stopping it now. Laurie, the day of reckoning is here. They’ve reached the point were they can’t even delay it any more with their reckless spending. They have to pay the piper, and we in Australia ought to learn the lesson from the European and American experience and realise that Government debt and deficit are ALWAYS destructive in the long-run, and should never be considered acceptable under any circumstances.

    • Nick says:

      01:32pm | 22/10/11

      Keep on dreaming WTF your beloved Labor is on the nose and rightly so.Thankfully Australians are not as dumb as you would like them to be and will banish your lot to the opposition benches for at least a decade.No one will forget the undelivered promises ,ridiculous waste,failed policies,back stabbing their own PM and of course that blatant LIE by an unscrupulous PM who has absolutely no authority or conviction.Of course you can’t see that because you are so rusted on to Labor that their S**t smells sweet to you.

    • Martin says:

      02:33pm | 22/10/11

      This stupid post re conservatives “squealing” betrays the identity of the poster as “The Badger” a childish twit that has changed it’s name because it had woke up that it had made a complete goose out of itself. Sorry for “squealing” on you. LMFAO

    • Gregg says:

      10:53am | 22/10/11

      Laurie, Laurie, I am continually and greatly surprised at how many heads have been in the sand or somewhere else quite dark for a number of years now and yet no one in the G20 wants to address the reasons for their decline and the boom for countries like China and India etc.

      Now Laurie, you’re considered by many as one knowledgeable chap and you should not need to think too hard on just what is going on?
      Have just a little think and why do you reckon things are getting made somewhere Labour is really cheap!

      And then think a little more on how this is coming about and it has been coming for a couple of decades and is only going to worsen.
      If you need a nudge, think about thet G20 mob, the WTO and level playing field - they certainly ain’t level and productive industries are slipping away from developed nations to developing nations.

      What happens as a consequence? - people in developed nations do not have work and then you have politicians talking so much shit because they have their heads in those dark places.

      Laurie, the developed nations are undeveloping.
      Australia only survives because of all that quarrying we are expanding and drilling of gas to ruin our farm lands and water table.

      Go and give a bit of support to what Alan Jones addressed the NPC about this past week and then also start getting in tyhe ear of some you know and say what about this level playing field BS.

      Laurie, I just had to put a dear old dog to rest so she is in a better place now and I’m also very glad I’m close to your age for this global home as we know it is about rooted, so I’ll not be too sad when my time comes too.

    • Gregg says:

      10:57am | 22/10/11

      And PS Laurie,

      When we have the likes of Obama, Sarkozy, Merkel and even our own Julia and Swan all talking up just how fine the economy is and investments in the pipoeline, their concept horizon is very very limited and they too will have absolutely no idea on how what they do will have an impact twenty years down the track, let alone fifty.

      Tony and Joe will know no better either.

      We’ll probably have a major war or two in the next fifty years.

    • Condor says:

      11:25am | 22/10/11

      This shows that blaming the GFC on bankers is wrong. The fault lies with generous welfare states who continued to dish out money and conditions to people who wanted to live beyond their means

      Europe didn’t have the excessive lending practices and low interest rates fostered by the US government but it did have a lot of inefficient and lax social programs that relied on the excesses of the good times.

      If we should be occupying anything it’s not Wall Street but Main Street. Wall Street was just a convenient scapegoat for the us v them mentality politics

      We should be educating the voters not to vote for handouts. Only vote for the basics of education, health and infrastructure that the private sector won’t provide.

      Unfortunately some painful lessons have to be learned

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      01:02pm | 22/10/11

      Condor: So are you saying the the problems in the states are cause by welfare and not the ridiculous financial instruments like ninja loans that were thought up by….wait for it….Wall Street. If you think the private sector is the sole savior of the world your very deluded indeed. Have another look at the underlying causes of the GFC an you’ll find the private sector very deeply involved indeed. However I do agree on the handouts idea but it should extend to the welfare support businesses enjoy as well.

    • Esteban says:

      03:21pm | 22/10/11

      I think condor makes a valid point expat.

      Sure the bailouts which transferred the debt from banks to Govt has to be blamed on Banks. This was a big jump in debt/GDP for the US Govt but if you look at the trend for the preceeding decades you find mounting budget deficits.

      You could argue that US debt was already out of control prior to the GFC.

      Decades of overspending topped off with bailouts.

      The term debt ceiling is a joke. There is no debt ceiling if you keep raising the debt ceiling.

      It is absolutely intuitive that if a country spends more than it taxes over decades then at some point a few chickens are going to come home to roost. Bok bok bok

    • St. Michael says:

      11:35am | 23/10/11

      @ Esteban:

      “Sure the bailouts which transferred the debt from banks to Govt has to be blamed on Banks. This was a big jump in debt/GDP for the US Govt but if you look at the trend for the preceeding decades you find mounting budget deficits.”

      The GFC bailouts were, what, roughly 1-2 trillion or so, right?

      Total US Federal government debt right now stands at 14 trillion.  Total US Federal tax intake per year is roughly 2 trillion.

      It certainly wasn’t just the GFC bailouts that put the US down the chute.  They were just icing on the top.  The US hasn’t run a surplus budget since Clinton, and only that once because Perot scared him when he campaigned on a “balanced budget” platform and started to turn into a viable third party before imploding.  They’ve been living on credit for decades.

    • Brenda's sister says:

      11:52am | 22/10/11

      Sarkozy in lift shoes, comical small man syndrome. Merkel finger-pointing in pre-WWII style, demanding sovereign nations “must” do what they say. Our parents remarked they heard that style before their uncles were killed in France…

      Not a Gillard government fan, but I admire Swan standing up to them. Commendable.

      France/Germany will blame every sovereign nation refusing to do their bidding. They want Asia and USA to bail THEM out. They procrastinated on important monetary responsibilities at a critical time. 
      I hope Gillard next month stands up to these economic illiterates. The IMF was supposed to be “the” stability fund. Little pink bespectacled Bono giving Sarkozy and Merkel policy advice while pressurising international politicians to taxpayer-fund over-populated countries. Schauble and Barroso, domineering ringmasters of this European circus.  Sane sovereign nations must ignore these dictators.

      Protesters, notably identifying with Green politics, are being influenced by backroom union bosses practising public nuisance skills.

      Someone asked why brutal communist North Korea (starves its people, blackmails the west into giving them money for nothing) quickly allied itself with the “protesters”. Dangerously significant that NK has aligned its belief system with street campers who commandeer OUR public spaces, arrogantly claiming they represent the rest of us.

    • John the Zombie says:

      01:48pm | 22/10/11

      The fact the Germany is the one financing all the European states I do think have a right to tell them how to fix the problems. The European market will grow 2%  and of this growth Germany makes up half of it. if Germany was to walk out the rest of Europe will be a basket case

      If the other European countries feel that Germany is acting like a dictator then lets see if the can show some balls and say no to Germanys money.

      You also do realise that the reason for WW2 was the poverty suffered in Germany and the requirements to repay war debt by the allied nations after WW1. Also France was one of the countries that was pushing to ensure Germany pay its debt. Also the Germans didnt use money but a thing called the blitz to take over.

      Also did you know Germany only paid the WW1 debt off last year.

    • Bev says:

      12:02pm | 22/10/11

      I support open markets but sometimes you wonder.
      From the Australian newspaper.
      Gas Rich WA is facing a domestic gas shortage by 2015 when the contract expires with the North West shelf gas suppliers.  Negotiations have stalled to set up a new contract as gas companies can get a better price overseas.  Australia is going to be one of the biggest LNG suppliers in the world when the new gas fields come on line but get this they are talking about importing cheaper gas by tanker and piping it ashore in Kwinana to supply the needs of electricity production.  You really have to wonder sometimes.

    • The Lunch Team says:

      01:01pm | 22/10/11

      “the Economy is doing good for now”
      if the economy ain’t broke , why fix it? Keep Labor in power.
      Why threaten our jobs with an election and a change of government?
      Why do we need a Coalition Government to reduce the economy, the society and the environment to rubble? Why threaten our jobs?
      Why change the government? Why have a federal election before Sept 15 2013 ?Why threaten our jobs?

    • esteban says:

      03:33pm | 22/10/11

      Yes keep ALP in power. If the coalition get in it will be like a return to the Howard years.

      Actually now that I have put my brain in gear and used a little bit of choke perhaps we should have an election.

    • Martin says:

      02:44pm | 22/10/11

      Fair dinkum, do these people vote do they? Is this how the 26% think? Where do Labor people get these ideas? How would a coalition government “reduce” the economy the society and the environment to rubble? Who is threatening your job? (shaking one’s head in complete disbelief).

    • PTom says:

      10:40pm | 22/10/11

      Roll back the mining Tax effecting corporate rates and super.
      Roll back a Carbon price which include no penison raises, no increase in tax free threshold, no compensation to company and cut investment funds.
      Cut 70 billion from the budget so they can do Direct Action
      Ditch a FTA with China a growing economy for FTA with a stagnet economy.
      Lock the gates wait they back flipped on that.

    • Martin says:

      09:23am | 23/10/11

      As I said PTom, is this how the 26% think? You have that bulldust inserted into your head by Labor and then you come on here and parrott the rubbish back to us.

      Re your twaddle re the Carbon Tax,  the increase in pensions and tax free thresholds are only by way of compensation for the carbon tax. No Carbon Tax no need for compensation PTom.!!! BTW, along with Labor’s increase in the tax free threshold is an increase in some of the marginal tax rates!!!

      Typical Labor semantics robbing Peter to pay Paul. Why not just do none of it Ptom.

      As for losing jobs, what about what has already happened in the steel industry? 1000 jobs lost all on the back of the Carbon Tax announcement.  Labor are very good at inserting nonsense in the heads of the 26%. Thankfully there are 74% of us out there that recognise the lies for what they are.

      I must say it is heartening to see the massive decline in support for Labor. Australians are finally growing a brain.


      11:12pm | 22/10/11

      Hi Laurie,

      I personally think the Euro Zone Leaders have their hands full with the economic problems facing Greece, Italy, Spain & Portugal!!  However, I truly believe that Australians should consider themselves lucky to be so isolated & far away from all the troubles over seas!

      However, when we compare our population to Europeans, we may still consider themselves untouched by the economic down turn on the other side of the world!!  We do not have the similar unemployment rates, the only reason being we do not have the population & other demands!! 

      I am pretty certain Germans & Ms Angela Merkel both getting tired of the fact that they are saving other European Nations from financial bankruptcy!!  But for how long, we should ask ourselves??  We surely can not expect the Germans to save us from our future & unexpected economic problems. That is for sure!!  Best regards to your editors.

    • seduxen says:

      08:26am | 23/10/11

      Just let the banks fail. Under plain and simple arithmetic rules there is no possibility to ever repay or make even this financial mess. And worst: this is built in to their system. “Their” means, this is part of the design. The sad thing is but the claimed debt is only exist in computer digits, result of pure speculation. But WE the People, WE paying for their - the banksters - criminality with our lifelong saving, retirement funds, REAL estate. Because our money system not backed up by inherent value (gold, silver, unit of work) since 1973, creating it simply by turning on the printing presses. So where is the supposed value coming from? It simply takes it from the money already in circulation. This is called inflation. Australia’s economy ISN’T GOING WELL! And if somebody wants us to believe this crud, that person is at least us much criminal like the banksters! This is like the captain’s statement would be on the Titanic, declaring: yes, we have a gaping wound on the ship but we do not sinking as fast as it supposed to… We, Australians, are robbed by the resources. Our resources taken from us, earning for us just like in the colonial times. Pennies paid for the goods instead of hundred dollars! And the money not staying in our economy, does not create widespread wealth, but leaves environmental damage behind slapping the bill on the Public and all of these while the governing force is is dominated by the greens! Our economic survival is hanging by a thin thread by the Indian, Chinese economy, as they are the only one who actually still manufacturing something. Slowly and surely the system is clogging up. The same criminal bankster and now their political busybuddies trying their usual tried “one-dog-and-pony-show” cook up a new world war. Doesn’t matter with whom! These money and power junkies happy to sacrifice our children by the BILLIOS to keep their mansions, Lamborghini-es and yachts! And doesn’t even matter who wins, because they would finance both sides just like before!!! This fractional reserve system in which a private reserve bank issuing the Nation’s money supply is un-salvageable. It must fail, and we must clean the slate clean, and let the speculators to fall. Or we all pay for their speculative false economy with another world war! Just like the crisis of 1908 then WWI, the crisis of 1933 and WWII, and the current crisis WWIII… The current economic system is neither capitalistic or communistic: it is fascistic. The banksters taking our property away if we lose our jobs (their making!) claiming we made bad decisions. We do not get bailout from our own taxpayer money, while they did! The money is in the economy like manure in the garden: if evenly distributed it stimulates growth. If it sits in one pile, it’s only stinks. The solution would be like the Icelanders did: refuse to save the banksters, prosecute them (and jail them, yes they did!) Declare that public utilities can not be privatized, managing and providing that WOULD BE THE JOB OF OUR GOVERNMENTS! Issuing debt free currency, financing giant public works (because currency backed by work would not generate inflation!) Wipe out unemployment, multiply tax revenue, create prosperity and our National assets would grow too. Easy to say this, but we wouldn’t be here if we would have decent politicians and they would not be power junkies on the strings of the money junkies!
      Our economy is not ok.
      While we living on Indian and Chinese handout by our resources and some $100m/day, disaster waiting to happen! The banks posting enormous giant profits: make them to repay our favor, the bailouts. Austerity for them, not for us. Not use us like a whipping boy for the sins of banksters! Occupy Wall Street is exactly against the banksters, against the fractional reserve banking system. Our economy is on display at the slave market… the only reason that we not told yet because our price is still to high.

    • RBarron says:

      03:43pm | 24/10/11

      Here here 100% correct every single word.
      People need to learn the History of the system and the laws changed for it to evolve into the mess it is now.

      In order to achieve their goals they need to lower the standard of living that we have in Western Countries and raise the Standard of living in the 3rd world. What they are doing is playing 1 against the other. It is about uncoupling the old World Money and re-issuing the New Currency and transferring the wealth from the people and out of the countries.
      Part of their plan is to privatise all of the Essential Public own Utilities. The sale of the Essential Public Utilities goes against common sense and National Security and is a theft of prosperity from future generations.
      In every 3rd world country that the IMF and the WorldBank comes into the 1st thing that happens is the all public resources are sold off. In western countries this is being done by stealth.

      Power Reforms speak for itself.
      Water Reforms is the begin to privatision

    • PaxUs says:

      11:25am | 23/10/11

      The German people aren’t going to play this game for much longer.  We are seeing the emergence of the far right in smaller European Nations, such as Switzerland (Swiss People’s Party) and personally I can’t blame them.  If I could see this coming a year ago, how can these ‘leaders’ be so blind?  The Swiss are pretty smart when it comes to their Sovereign rights and looking out for their own interests, so don’t write this off as a spurious response.  It’s a sign of the times!  Many are sick to the stomach of ‘superstar’ politicians, unbridled spending sprees and smug indifference.  Why are the same people who created this mess, appointed to fix it?  Ludicrous band aid methodologies will not prevail.  Why all the doom and gloom as though the end of the World is upon us if the Euro fails?  The Soviet Union was dismantled, so I don’t see a problem.  All that these ego inflated moron’s have to offer is their endless band aid solutions, or the end of the World as we know it!  So much for intelligent politicians.  More like spoilt little kids throwing a tantrum because they’re running out of lollies!  Jetzt ist Genug!

    • Sony B Goode says:

      01:16pm | 23/10/11

      Australia’s brain dead socialists are trying hard to push us into the same boat as the bankrupt states of Europe. Socialism is finished. Endless promises of unfundable social security has bankrupted all socialist governments, the others are just on a slow boat over the falls.

      The US has $14trillion in public debt, four times that amount in private debt and over $50trillion in unfunded social security payments, on a $14trillion economy, with a slowly retiring population. Even a 5 year old can see the numbers will never add up.

      It’s game over. Western socialism will fail , the only question is how long they can kick the can down the road.

    • John A Neve says:

      03:43pm | 23/10/11

      Sony B,
      I doubt there is one socialist in our parliament. As to “unfundable social security”, both major political party share responsibility.
      As well a giving “social security” to the people, our governments give it to banks, business both big and small, in fact any one for their vote!What you are seeing is Capitalised Democracy at it’s very best.

    • Against the Man says:

      04:51pm | 23/10/11

      Well at the end of the day the Gillard government hasn’t produced results. And they are too far gone. It isn’t about the economy, it is about carbon tax, policy failures, increased cost of living etc, if you can’t address those issues the economy is only a part of Labor’s troubles.

      Think about this - the Sunday Telegraph today has public letters, and journalistic view points that clearly show Gillard has no respect, and that is the baseline since at least January.

      Can’t spin anymore ALPers wink the clock is ticking to annihilation.

    • thatmosis says:

      04:52pm | 23/10/11

      Oh Sunny you make me laugh, your statement They acted fast and took every step to keep our collective spirits up, and as a result our economy rolled over it like it was just a speed bump really tickled my funny bone as without the Lib/Nat surplus they would have been stuffed. As for rolling over like a speed bump they forgot the big hole just beyond which they failed to negoitiate and now we are left with a debt per capitor that will take another Lib/Nat government at least 12 years to bring back into surplus, like last time, remember

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      06:10pm | 23/10/11

      Gee Laurie, you wrote a good article, and then a blatant and out of place dig at Tony Abbott in the last paragraph.  Can Labor supporters write or say anything at all with out attacking Tony?  Everything is Tony’s fault, even things that haven’t happened yet…  This government needs to take some responsibility and govern.

    • RBarron says:

      06:35am | 24/10/11

      Government can’t be trusted

      The GFC had nothing to do with Australia in terms of exposure

      And the only thing they said that they wouldn’t do and that was there would be no carbon tax now we have one and the biggest, with the world on the brink of falling. We had 22 billion in the bank when Labor got in and not we are in debt the Government are wasting 40 to 70 billion in the NBN that at this stage goes pass 18,000 people with only 8% or 1440 people taking it up

      EU is a basket case.
      If we look at the EU Countries 15 out of 27 have Government Debt high than 50% of their Countries GDP
      Austria Government Debt is 267.941 Billion or 71% of it’s GDP & Current Account balance of 9.9 Billion. Private Debt 490.832 Billion
      Belgium Government Debt is 471.989 Billion or 100.9% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -1.129 Billion. Private Debt 772.285 Billion.
      Cyprus Government Debt is 14.089 Billion or 60.8% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -2.5 Billion. Private Debt 18.520 Billion
      France Government Debt is 2.111 Trillion or 82.4% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -53.29 Billion. Private Debt 2.540 Trillion.
      Germany Government Debt is 2.734 Trillion or 83.2% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of 162.3 Billion. Private Debt 2.271 Trillion
      Greece Government Debt is 436.132 Billion or 142.8% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -17.1 Billion. Private Debt 135.249 Billion
      Hungary Government Debt is 104.597 Billion or 80.2% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -2,128 Billion. Private Debt 46.149 Billion
      Ireland Government Debt is 200.154 Billion or 96.7% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -3.191 Billion. Private Debt ?
      Italy Government Debt is 2.447 Trillion or 119.1% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -61.98 Billion. Private Debt ?
      Malta Government Debt is 5.864 Billion or 70.9% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -403 Million. Private Debt 188.3 Million
      Netherlands Government Debt is 488.698 Billion or 62.6% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of 46.69 Billion. Private Debt ?
      Poland Government Debt is 247.843 Billion or 52.8% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -12.33 Billion. Private Debt ?
      Portugal Government Debt is 213.113 Billion or 93% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -19.03 Billion. Private Debt 307.373 Billion
      Spain Government Debt is 847.377 Billion or 60.1% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -66.74 Billion. Private Debt 1.256 Trillion
      United Kingdom Government Debt is 1.712 Trillion or 76.1% of it’s GDP & Current account balance of -40.34 Billion. Private Debt 7.255 Trillion
      And they are going to save each other by writing more Debt.
      And 11 of the 27 EU Countries with private Debt of 15.093 Trillion
      Growth on Debt
      Control spending for starters
      The EU as a whole GDP is $16.242 Trillion or 25.81% of the World’s GDP of 62.911 Trillion
      The EU Public Debt is 12.954 trillion of 79.76% of their GDP not far to move

      People we have a system were the growth is build upon debt. Our World’s Economy is nothing more than pyramid scheme that is a non-sustainable.
      People forget about the World going into Recession or Depression. Our World’s Economy is nothing more than a house of cards build with no plans and worse it has not foundation either
      If we look at the 48 countries that are members of the EU, OECD, G20 or G8 together the 48 countries GDP is 56.310 Trillion Dollars or 89.5% of the World’s GDP 62.911 Trillion Dollars. The Public Debt against the 56,310 Trillion depend upon the source is as high as 45.192 Trillion Dollars or 80.26% of their 48 countries GDP. Growth upon Debt
      It doesn’t take much for the whole system to fall down and there is no Gold Standard anymore
      That is a Fiat Currency System a piece of paper and paper alone

      Australian Government Public Debt or Borrowings is 26.6% of GDP Australia’s GDP is $1,237,363,000,000.00 or 1.237 Trillion Dollars. So Australia’s Government Public Debt is $329,138,558,000.00 or 329.138 Billion Dollars
      Australia is rate 180th out of 188 countries for our Current Account Balance
      China is No 1 US$272,499,998,720 and Australia is -US$35,229,999,104

      Australia is so lucky NOT that we are said to have the Best Treasurer in the world
      This is your Labor Government spend spend spend but not on savings but using the country’s credit card. It is estimated by the IMF & World bank that our Current Account Balance will blow out to -US$114,000,000,000 by 2016 which will be 6.3% of GDP up from 2.1% GDP

      In the last GFC in 2008 Russia and the China were calling on the IMF and the World Bank to have another Reserve currency other then the US Dollar. The UN is also now calling for a change to drawing rights in the IMF and World Currency

      Surprise Surprise the World’s money system has been designed to fail go have a look at this history and the decoupling that has taken place. Go have a look at Group 30 and see when it was setup and what their role is.

    • RBarron says:

      10:12am | 24/10/11

      Group 30

      Established in 1978
      The Group of Thirty, established in 1978, is a private, nonprofit, international body composed of very senior representatives of the private and public sectors and academia. It aims to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues, to explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the public and private sectors, and to examine the choices available to market practitioners and policymakers.

      The Group of Thirty aims to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues, to explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the public and private sectors, and to examine the choices available to market practitioners and policymakers.

      The work of the Group of Thirty impacts the current and future structure of the global financial system by delivering actionable recommendations directly to the private and public policymaking communities.

      The Group was said to be started by in 1978 by Geoffrey Bell at the initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation, which also provided initial funding for the body.

    • RBarron says:

      10:26am | 24/10/11

      Check out some of the repoorts the date and the titles.

      Is it Possible to Preserve the European Social Model?Author(s):

      Guillermo de la Dehesa
      Occasional Paper
      European Union

      In the wake of the European Union’s (EU) slow growth rate, several questions have arisen regarding the EU’s welfare state. Demographic projections suggest that if the EU is to preserve its current social model, the EU may have to undertake certain reforms to improve its long run growth rate. The author addresses whether these reforms are compatible with full preservation of the current welfare state, and if not, whether it is possible to make the necessary reforms while preserving the welfare state’s key elements.

      The preceding economic comparisons clearly demonstrate the urgency with which reform of product markets and social and labour policies must be pursued in the European Union in order to achieve greater efficiency
      and lower social costs. Without reform, the EU will continue to lag the US economically and the pressures of international competition and an aging population will put the EU social model and its “political equilibrium” under increasing strain.
      The solution has two parts. Reforms in product and services markets should be accelerated to increase competition among incumbent firms and make them more conscious of the high cost of the labor and social protection they provide. On the side of social policy, the EU welfare state should be reformed with emphasis on addressing market failures, pursuing redistribution to those in genuine need, and providing incentives
      to seek employment for those left out of the labor market, while eliminating policies and programs that add unnecessary costs and create
      disincentives to efficiency. The solution is not to replicate the US model, which has many shortcomings in equity terms, but to make the EU social model more efficient and less costly without sacrificing its major benefits.
      Governments know what must be done, as the issues involved have by now been well researched and experienced. A more recent, serious and comprehensive analysis of EU weaknesses and a set of reasonable policy recommendations to increase EU efficiency and to preserve its social model was presented by a group of European economists, chaired by André Sapir, in the Independent High Level Group Report (2003) commissioned by the President of the European Commission. Unfortunately,
      the response by Member States has been rather negative.
      The main cause of this response is that most of the major member countries are going through a period of very slow growth and governments
      find it difficult to embark on long-term policy reforms that will reduce their electoral support in the near term. Although greater competitiveness
      is essential to preserve the EU social model, experience shows that EU governments remain very short-term oriented and unwilling to take the risk of reform. Commissioner Fritz Bolkestein summarized the situation well: “Member States are strong on rhetoric and weak on actions. There is much poetry but precious little motion.”
      The proposed new EU Constitution, which will introduce majority voting for most EU decisions, could accelerate achievement of the Lisbon strategic goals if there is a consensus among the largest EU members to take the lead on reform. Let us hope that the new Constitution along with the entrance of new member states from the east will provide the strong impulse needed to drive the reform process. Time is running short to try to preserve the EU social model alive and keep it functioning

    • RBarron says:

      10:30am | 24/10/11

      Contributors and Supporters
      The Group of Thirty is a 501c3 non-for-profit institution. Donations in support of our program and activities are tax deductible.
      AIG, Inc.
      Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development Asociacion
      Española de Banca (AEB)
      Austrian National Bank
      Banca d’Italia
      Banco Central de Chile
      Banco de Galacia
      Banco de Portugal
      Banco Mercantil
      Banco Santander
      Bank Hapoalim
      Bank Leumi le Israel BM
      Bank of East Asia, Ltd.
      Bank of Nova Scotia
      Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ
      Banque Centrale du Luxembourg
      Banque de France
      BM&F Bovespa
      BNP Paribas
      Brevan Howard
      Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
      Caxton Associates
      Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland
      Central Bank of Barbados
      Central Bank of Malta
      CIB Bank Ltd.
      Commonwealth Bank of Australia
      Credit Suisse
      Danmarks National Bank
      Debs Foundation
      Deutsche Bank AG
      Dubai Finacial Services Authority
      Ferguson, Roger
      Gavea Investimentos
      Goldman Sachs and Co.
      Gulf International Bank
      Gyohten, Toyoo
      Hong Kong Monetary Authority
      HSBC Holdings Plc.
      Indian Banks’ Association
      Japan Credit Rating Agency
      JPMorgan Chase International
      Kaufman Foundation
      LCH Clearnet Group Ltd.
      Monetary Authority of Singapore
      Moore Captial Management
      Morgan Stanley & Co., Int’l
      National Bank of Hungary
      People’s Bank of China
      Reserve Bank of Australia
      Reserve Bank of India
      Royal Bank of Scotland
      Sella Holding Banca
      Singapore Governement Investment Corporation
      Soros Fund Management
      Standard & Poors
      Sullivan and Cromwell
      Sveriges Riksbank
      Swiss National Bank
      Swiss Re
      The Challenger Foundation
      Tudor Investment
      UniCredito Italiano
      Whitehead Foundation

      Interesting reading is the members of the Groups and the roles they hold. They are in the know.

    • Social Submission says:

      07:02pm | 16/06/12

      1iLHj5 Really appreciate you sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.


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