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Posts Tagged ‘interest rates’

Rates cut

One quarter of one per cent – confirming (again) that Brendan has no power to influence anything. Tip would have got it down a half. If he was in charge. If he could be bothered. But they wouldn’t back him last year, so he’s had enough. You’ll have to beg him to come back.

Then, and only then, will the Great Australian Dream of affordable houses for home-buyers (and investors), booming property values for home-sellers (and investors), rising wages, stable (maybe even falling?) prices, full employment, low taxation and excellent public infrastructure and services be realised.

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Oh no he didn’t!

Brendan Nelson – INSERT FOOT HERE:

“And now the Reserve Bank is in a position, in looking forward, where it is so concerned about the state of the Australian economy that it’s forecasting there may be room to reduce interest rates in the future.”

I understand that he has to attempt to criticise the Government and look for a line of argument that works, but did it not occur to him that some people might hear that and think, “I’d quite like lower interest rates right now”? And if he was trying to drum up fears of the ‘Rudd recession’, the phrase “there may be room to reduce interest rates in the future” really doesn’t get the job done. Serious boneheadedness.

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Shared delusions

On this morning’s Sunrise “All Stars” segment, the bobblehead from the Daily Telegraph whose name I have forgotten mentioned that Howard’s “sorry doesn’t mean I apologise” clarification was prompted by a ‘tough’ question from Dennis Youcannahandamanagrandershanahan.

This makes me wonder – did Dennis actually intend to prompt that type of response? I can’t reconcile all of my other experiences of Shanahan with the notion that Dennis actually wanted Howard to look bad, which makes me think that Dennis was asking the journalistic equivalent of a Dorothy Dix question. Except that he had to know that Howard was not going to apologise or take responsibility, despite having been happy to foster the impression in 2004 that he had interest rates on a string. Which means that Shanahan shares John Howard’s irrational belief that voters like to hear lengthy quibbling about the distinction between saying sorry and apologising.

Keep up the good work, Dennis.

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"Sorry, but" redux

Because this game of semantics pleases the electorate so much when he’s talking about Aboriginal people:

Mr Howard has repeated that he is sorry for the extra costs borrowers will bear because of the rate rise.

“I said that I was sorry they’d occurred, I don’t think I actually used the word apology, I think there is a difference between the two things,” he said.

“Just speaking as an individual, of course I’m sorry when interest rates go up because it does impose a burden on people, I understand that.”

Shorter Howard: “Sorry things suck for you right now, but don’t expect me to take any personal responsibility.” Except:

“We’re to blame for the strong economy,” he said.

“We accept full responsibility for the strong economy – we’re proud of it.”

And I have a horrible feeling we’ll get this same message for another two weeks, since the economy is all Team Howard thinks they have in their favour.

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Sorry, but

Best juxtaposition of statements in a piece on the interest rate rise goes to Coorey and Pearlman:

“Mr Howard needs to accept full, unqualified responsibility for his broken promise to the Australian people at the last election that he would keep interest rates at record lows.”

Mr Howard said he was sorry for the rate rise but said it was due predominantly to the strong economy, oil prices and the drought.

a.k.a., I’m sorry, except that it’s not my fault at all and it actually has a lot to do with how good a job I am doing.

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Hypocrisy ahoy!

This is the ad I am seeing repeatedly on TV this evening:

Someone needs to shove Hawke and Keating to the right and include the 22% under Howard.

I don’t know how it will play with voters who might swing to the Coalition, but on the day that rates have risen it only makes me think about how incoherent Team Howard are in articulating their economic message. Jim McDonald has done a nice job of capturing the essence of the Big Lie they are trying to sell. Rudd is responding sensibly and strongly, but should be looking to move the campaign away from interest rates – now that the deed is done, get back to talking about what Labor is going to do. I think the interest rate rise has been so widely anticipated and there seems little ground to be made in it – those who are willing to punish Howard for being a liar have plenty of other reasons to do so, and the others who won’t just punish Howard to see him hurt need to be won over to the fact that Labor is better for Australia, not just on the economy but in terms of our society’s future.

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Whip it out

Howard continues to engage in the Liberal vs Labor penis-size (a.k.a. interest rate) comparing contest. Two questions:

  1. Which government’s economic reforms broke the back of inflation? (Hint: it’s the government you took over from in 1996, when interest rates were steadily declining).
  2. Under which Treasurer were interest rates at 22%?

UPDATE: On tonight’s ABC News, Alan Kohler reported an analysis (attributed to Peter Cole) that shows Australian interest rates for the past 20 years have been, on average, 1.2 times higher than the OECD average – and this figure is the same under the Labor and Coalition governments.

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