How does someone as rational as this manage to exist in the environment of the GG?
The Labor leader can end the auction today by announcing no new bribes, and focusing, instead, on public spending.
Neither leader can be sure when voters will awaken from their apparent slumber and notice the politician making one announcement too many. It could be Rudd today if he goes too far.
Here’s a reform to think about: all future elections should set a time limit on spending – a bribes blackout period, so to speak.
Policies should be announced by, say, the end of week three of the campaign. This would leave the run home to the ballot box for persuasion only.
It would make more sense to hold the leaders’ debate after all the promises are on the table. Pollsters tell us that a significant portion of voters make up their minds only in the final fortnight. Surely this is the zone when politicians should be made to earn their living without the crutch of a handout.
It is, of course, tempting to throw all election policies into the one pile to come up with an even larger number. Tempting, but misleading because a global total would include both handouts to voters and public expenditure on their behalf.
In the present economic climate, the Reserve Bank is more interested in the cash that is going straight into people’s pockets because, on present trends, that money is almost certain to be spent. Public expenditure, by contrast, rarely materialises on time, making it less likely to trouble monetary policy.
This is Rudd’s dilemma. If he produces another handout today, he risks the unwanted title of briber-in-chief.
There’s nothing more that needs to be said, really – I hope Kevin Rudd is listening.