There seems to be a lot of mis-information, twisting, spin and outright lies peddled about the Australian economy, its markets and policy settings.
I thought a quiz of pretty basic factual questions would help sort a few things out. I hope all economic Ministers and their Shadows undertake the quiz and indeed look at the answers, so that they might stop spreading distortions and misunderstanding to what are easy to find facts.
The quiz comprises 20 questions. The answers produced in red below each question come from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Reserve Bank of Australia or Treasury.
There is no prize – other than hopefully a better knowledge of important facts in the political economy debate.
In what year, did the tax to GDP ratio reach a record high? Which political party presided over this record tax take?
24.2% of GDP in both 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Coalition.
In terms of big taxing governments, in how many years since 1982-83 has the tax to GDP ratio been above 23.5%?
In relation to Question 2, in how many years did the tax to GDP ratio exceed 23.5% under a Coalition Government? In how many years did the tax to GDP ratio exceed 23.5% under a Labor Govenrment?
7 under the Coalition; zero under Labor.
Between 1971-72 and the latest Budget forward estimates out to 2014-15, in how many years has real government spending fallen (using the Treasury preferred CPI deflator)?
With reference to question 4, in how many years has real government spending fallen under a Coalition government? In how many years has real government spending fallen under the Labor Party?
Zero under the Coalition, 5 under Labor.
Since 1982-83, in how many years has the tax to GDP ratio been at or below 21.0%?
In relation to question 6, in how many years was the tax to GDP ratio below 21.0% when the Coalition was in government? In how many years was the tax to GDP ratio below 21.0% when Labor was in government?
Zero under the Coalition, 6 under Labor.
When was the last time (which year) a Coalition government delivered a budget where the tax to GDP ratio was below 21.0%
How many times in the last two completed financial years (ie, 2009-10 and 2010-11) has the tax to GDP ratio been below 21.0%
2 out of 2.
In the last 8 Labor Budgets where the budget outcome is known (five for Hawke/Keating and three for Rudd/Gillard), how many times has the tax to GDP been above 22.0%
In the 12 Howard Government Budgets, how many times was the tax to GDP ratio above 22.0%?
What has been the lowest cash rate ever recorded under either the Howard or Fraser governments*?
* Prior to 1990, using 90 day bank bill.
What is the current cash rate and what is priced in for the cash rate next week after the RBA Board meeting?
4.25% now; 4.0% after next week.
What was the average official cash rate under the Howard Government (April 1996 to December 2007)?
What has been the average official cash rate under the Rudd/Gillard Governments (January 2008 to January 2012)?
What was the average standard variable mortgage interest rate under the Howard Government (April 1996 to December 2007)?
What has been the average standard variable mortgage rate under the Rudd/Gillard Governments (January 2008 to January 2012*)?
Between 1972-73 and 2000-11 (ie 39 completed years), how many years has the Budget been in surplus?
Of the 16 surpluses, how many have been delivered by the Coalition, how many by Labor?
Coalition 10; Labor 6.
Of the 23 deficits, how many have been delivered by the Coalition, how many by Labor?
9 Coalition; 14 Labor.
I will update this sometime in the next year or so, or at least after the Budget in May.