Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fires, floods, recession and rent seeking

Who knew that among all this tragedy, some businesses are still determined to profit.

Nick Xenophon is determined to use a time of national calamity to seal his place in parliament and get his palms greased.

Yes the man's got a right, generally, to push hard for his constituents and the indeed-neglected basin. But this assertion

a credible stimulus package needed to deal with the problems of the Murray-Darling Basin..

is a rationally unsustainable non-sequiter. A credible stimulus package needs to be designed to provide stimulus, in a credible manner. The more the bit players hack away for their pet causes the less credibility is has.

Turnbull, as others are rightly observing, is starting to lose his footing, the rope is tight and the branch isn't bending any more.

Rudd is in excellent form, coming across as completely genuine in his awkward but heart felt efforts to empathise with the bushfire victims while at the same time setting up the most important re-calibration of political economy in this country since the era of Hawke and Keating. The awkward nerd is holding the arrogant, sneering merchant banker and twisting his nose...

But back to Xenophon and I am just going to wait another 24 hours because I am sure he can't really be planning to scuttle the entire package. I trust a deal will be done, and we will move on. He can take some money from schools and build a desal plant on the mudflats and things will move on.

Why don't we give him some of the bushfire assistance money while we're at it, clearly he's sitting on the most needy part of the country?

More early analysis at Larvatus and Pollytics.

UPDATE: I'm determined to reduce my unnecessary habit of sliding into potty mouth, and I've started above with a couple of minor edits. Kudos to Pavlov for her thoughtful counterbalanced words on this topic.

UPDATE II: Deal done it seems. Good, moving along.

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