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Rudd as ‘Unreconstructed Interventionist’

Sinclair Davidson and Alex Robson argue in a WSJ op-ed that federal opposition leader Kevin Rudd is a thinly disguised economic interventionist:

a closer look at Mr. Rudd’s record reveals that he’s not a reformer, but rather an unreconstructed interventionist masquerading as a free market conservative. Call it “Ruddonomics.”

Take his parliamentary record, for a start. Since coming into the Parliament in 1998, Mr. Rudd has toed the party line and opposed most efforts to further reform the economy. The Australian Labor Party opposed the privatization of Australia’s government-owned telecommunications provider, Telstra; strongly protested industrial relations reform, including Mr. Howard’s recent efforts to reduce union power and abolish unfair dismissal laws; and, most importantly, opposed all significant tax reform over Mr. Howard’s tenure, including cuts in income taxes.

Mr. Rudd’s economic philosophy isn’t a secret. In a speech to the free market Center for Independent Studies in Sydney last year, he openly attacked the free market ideas of Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, branding him a “market fundamentalist.” In Mr. Rudd’s mind, it’s okay to accept “the economic logic of markets but . . . these must be properly regulated and that the social havoc they cause must be addressed by state intervention.” He also argued that public policy should deliver long-term market-friendly reform tempered by “social responsibility.”

posted on 23 October 2007 by skirchner in Economics, Politics

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Stephen, stick to the economics.  This blog has degenerated into little more than Rudd-bashing exercise, while you ignore Howard’s spending like the proverbial drunken sailor.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/24  at  10:35 AM


Alex and Sinclair are economists, making an economic argument.  Indeed, they are among the few people to seriously examine Rudd’s economics.

Posted by skirchner  on  10/24  at  08:31 PM


I think we can say precisely zero about Rudd’s economic policy at the moment.  The ALP in its absolute determination not to be wedged is metoo-ing on most government policy announcements.  In the current political environment Howard and Costello can pretty much spend what they like because they are seen as the ‘sound economic managers’, while every cent Rudd and Swan spend (over and above spending promised by the government) is scrutinised to the nth degree.  The ALP has very little wriggle room in terms of economic policy and can only fiddle at the margins.  e.g. educational and CCB rebates.

As to Rudd’s position on IR reform, its the single biggest factor that will win him the election, so you can hardly expect him to be supporting Howard’s policy.  On tax reform, he’s just adopted 91.5% of government ‘policy’ as Costello has been reminding us all week.

I’m not a WSJ subscriber but the opening paragraph is complete nonsense:

Prime Minister John Howard touted his vision: a “new society” based on entrepreneurialism and individualism. Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, a self-proclaimed Christian socialist, backed bigger government and expanded social spending.

The Howard vision? WTF?  I saw a tired old man talking about the three-R’s and compulsory history lessons, while the other guy was talking about education, broadband, and the future.  BTW, when exactly did Rudd back big government and expanded social spending in the debate?  I must have missed that bit.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/24  at  10:05 PM



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