The Wayne Principle
Treasurer Wayne Swan’s foray into US political commentary has attracted a response from Mary Kissel, an editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal, who writes in this week’s issue of The Spectator Australia:
Nothing’s certain in politics, and if you don’t believe me, ask President Al Gore. But there may be an emerging exception to the rule: the man from Nambour, Wayne Swan. For whatever Australia’s Treasurer says about America’s Republican Party and its policies, the opposite is always and everywhere true. Call it the Wayne Principle.
Swan displayed this uncanny skill for the first time last month when he told a Melbourne crowd: “Don’t let Australia become a Down Under version of New Jersey, where the people and communities whose skills are no longer in demand get thrown on the scrap heap of life.” This, of course, would come as a surprise to most actual Jersey residents, who have seen their fortunes improve under Republican Governor Chris Christie, the most reform-minded leader the Garden State has had in a generation.
Then came last Friday’s speech to the Financial Services Council in Sydney, where Swan asserted that “the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over a part of the Republican Party,” a nod to Tea Party-backed Congressmen elected in 2010 who favour federal spending restraint, lower taxes and streamlined regulation to stimulate the private economy. Again, the Wayne Principle at work.
Consider: America’s trillion-dollar annual deficits and permanently higher spending baselines; bankrupt entitlement programs; banks on a capital strike; regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which are crushing companies’ ability to hire, invest and innovate … the list of troubles goes on, and on and on.
In February 2009, the Obama administration and its Democratic Party-controlled Congress launched an $830 billion stimulus, promised it would create three million new jobs and that unemployment would fall to six per cent.
More than three-and-a-half years later, GDP growth is anaemic, at best. Unemployment is at 8.1 per cent, the 43rd straight month in a row it has landed above eight per cent. The labor force participation rate sits at 63.5 per cent, the lowest share of Americans over the age of 16 in the workforce since the early 1980s.
If anything, the US economy needs less spending and more focus on creating conditions for private businesses to thrive — exactly what the Tea Party supports.
Read the piece by Mary Kissel in this week’s issue of The Spectator Australia - in newsagents from today.