I am NOT an animal
by Peter Switzer
As we await Wall Street’s reopening after Hurricane Sandy, I will take an opportunity to explain and emphasise to my regular readers that “I am not an animal!” I should be clearer — “I am not a political animal!”
I received a great email from a viewer called Greg who says he loves my business and markets analyses — my calls on stocks have been pretty well right since March 2009 — but he’s concerned that I’m biased towards the Coalition. He makes the point that I don't have other gurus on the carbon tax on my Sky News Business show — SWITZER — and he ponders why I don't have Greg Combet on the show. Well, we have asked him a couple of times but he won't come on. In fact, when I had breakfast with him at a Canberra function where we were both speaking, I asked him, and he virtually said: “Forget about it.”
Mind you, a lot of politicians avoid my show and I suspect it’s because I’m an economist, or else they're more comfortable on challenging shows such as Today or Sunrise or left-leaning ABC shows.
Government in focus
Greg, as a commentator, you often focus on the Government. I used to annoy Paul Keating, John Howard and Peter Costello - all were politicians I admired for different reasons, but if I disagreed with them, I said it. That’s my job. I have never been a member of a political party, nor have I been a sycophantic buddy of pollies and that's why I have few politicians as friends, but it doesn’t mean I don’t respect what these people can achieve.
I sold over 130,000 copies of my book GST: Your Questions Answered and have thanked John Howard for being the PM I had to have, but I still criticised aspects of the tax and the processes that made life hard for small business owners. The ex-PM and I get along really well nowadays, but we would still disagree on some vital issues.
I oppose the carbon tax because it was delivered as a lie, and as an economist I have argued that it was ill-timed as last week's inflation figures showed. The June quarter number would have been below 1.4 per cent without the carbon tax and would not have had a one in the number! I don't think a mining tax is smart — why over-tax our most competitive industries? — but the one they have now is OK because it collects little tax if companies are not doing well.
No rate cut, no surplus
I supported Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd when they spent up big to save the economy when the GFC hit and as unemployment did not go over six per cent, they and I were proved right. And now I argue Wayne Swan has a chance to make his Budget Surplus, though it's not essential economically speaking as most economists agree. If the Reserve Bank (RBA) doesn't cut interest rates, however, then our economy won't grow fast enough to create the surplus. If the RBA doesn’t cut rates because of the carbon tax, then Wayne and Julia Gillard have to cop the blame. It’s their tax and it’s causing additional inflation.
The way I see it
On Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey, it’s time they produced policies to lift their leadership credibility. In reality, I think Malcolm Turnbull would make a better leader and PM, but like Rudd, his own party won’t support him, at least for now. That's the way I see it Greg and it’s not with one eye I assure you!
By the way Greg, I reckon Penny Wong is one of the country's better politicians, even though I often disagree with her — that is my job. I guess when the Coalition gets the top job, you will then be able to like my market and my political analyses. Well, I hope so.
Finally, let me repeat — I’m not a political animal but an economist who comments on political actions and how they affect the economy, business and our investments.
Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
Published on: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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