The word shouldn’t be “oops” but “sorry”, and a vow never to trust to conventional press-pack thinking ONE Australian politician predicted the debt crisis enveloping the US. Senator Barnaby Joyce was laughed out of his opposition finance portfolio for his forecasts that included saying more than 18 months ago that the US could default on its debts.
It wasn’t Treasurer Wayne Swan, though he did join in the mocking of the MP that did, or Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey or Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
THE joy of vindication on the prospect of a US government default is bittersweet; I was right, Wayne was wrong. To those sucked in by the Treasurer, placing wishful romantic theory above clinical reality, then saying “you wouldn’t cut it with the Bloomsbury group if you talk like that at our soiree”, I suggest this, get real.
Do not confuse tackling a problem with delaying when it comes to debt. If while out on the tiles on a Friday night you discover a septic gash on your leg, and in response down another five jagermeisters, pain gone, problem gone, keep dancing, that is delay. Going to hospital to avoid amputation is dealing with the problem.
Tim Flannery said that the impact of climate change policies won’t be felt for at least a thousand years. The impact of a catastrophic default this time was avoided by a mere 10 hours. When prioritising threats I know which one I would be concentrating on.
Swan has given 25 speeches this year and mentioned climate change 24 times. Debt has only been mentioned 16 times, and eight of these in one speech made last month. A year and a half ago I implored the government to prepare contingency plans for the threat of a US default stating the prospect was “distant but real” but if it eventuated the fallout would be a financial Armageddon making the GFC look like a mere preamble. US President Barack Obama also used the term Armageddon in the past month, so if I’m mad, so is he.
When asked on ABC radio whether the government had prepared for a potential US default, our Treasurer could point to no specific actions taken. But we do have parts of Treasury modelling climate change. The Treasurer believes I have been captured by “Tea Partiers”. Disagree with him on climate change you’re a denier, disagree with him on economics you’re a Tea Partier.