‘On track’ for a surplus? Not good enough

Temporary deficits have a tendency to become entrenched – just ask the US. If Tony Abbott fails to return the budget to surplus quickly, Australia could face the same fate, writes Chris Berg at The Drum.
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Abbott’s “Social Democratic” Conservative Vision?

Writing in today's Unleashed, Chris Berg, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and Editor of the IPA review, had this to say:

Abbott, as "keeper of the conservative conscience" within the parliamentary party, sees government's job to protect society from the bleakness of the market economy.

And instead of letting society flourish independently, as free marketeers would argue, Abbott believes government should actively build society in its preferred image. 

As he told The Australian in March:

"You can't run a decent society without a strong economic base… while I think it is important that the national government promote and develop a strong economy, it's by no means the only or even, at every point, the main task of government." 

Abbott's distinctly conservative approach is at odds with the other philosophical objective of the many in theLiberal Party – the primacy of the individual and importance of individual liberty.Launching Battlelines last year, Abbott made this explicit: "Individuals are only realised in a social context". So an Abbott government is not likely to be a small government. 

If Tony Abbott personifies the conservative social-democrat side of John Howard's legacy, then Nick Minchin personifies the radical free market side. Certainly, Minchin is big on "family values", but for free marketeers, family values complement dry economic policies like low taxes and small government. For Abbott, family values trump those policies.

You can read the whole article here

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