Comments on Alan Kohler “Swan's sins of ambition”, 16/05/2011, http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Wayne-Swan-Federal-Budget-Budget-spending-surplus--pd20110516-GVSZ9?OpenDocument&src=sph&src=rot
Alan, there are many things that can be said in relation to your points.
Let me start with a minor one: the 'if' question you mentioned, or the 1% real growth in government spending.
The analysis by George Megalogenis of government spending growth under various treasurers since John Howard in 1978-79, has a serious flaw that you didn't notice, that is, what is/was the base for growth at different times?
When a government that has stood on historically large spending as its response to the GFC (rightly or wrongly), a 1% real growth can be very excessive than a higher real growth if the base year spending was lower and normal.
Let me dramatise this a bit. If the base year spending were twice as it should normally be, then even a reduction in spending or a negative growth in real spending may not necessarily be responsible enough.
It appears that George has some in built biases in his analysis, such as the so called structural deficits argument he is used to bang on.
He may simply follow some government saying or some Treasury bureaucrats saying, but he is wrong.
If you simply follow what George is saying, you are wrong too, because what he said is wrong.