The whole flood levy debate really is strange. The government want to keep the deficit from growing. The opposition want that too but suggest moving around spending is better than something that will put a drain on the economy.
Here is the thing. Surely it is all about the timing. On the deficit issue we are interested in the long-run deficit and so we want that to balance out in the future. On the stimulus issue, we are interested in the short-term consequences and so we want to avoid drains now. A levy and a quickly enacted reshuffling of government spending are both likely to cause some drain on the economy on the short-run. So let’s not do that. Let’s commit to a levy coming in later and phased unless of course it turns out we don’t need it because we have sensibly reshuffled spending.
The point here is both parties appear focussed on short-run actions on fiscal balance where the only short-run actions we should be concerned about is marshalling resources for Queensland and other flood ravaged areas.