OH what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
This became my favourite quote not long after I started reporting on politics – for obvious reasons.
It has never been more appropriate than the shemozzle over this year’s Federal Budget.
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First something was in, then it was out, then it was partly in, then it might be in, then someone smokes a cigar and everyone forgets what was in and out in the first place.
It’s been very confusing.
So let me give you a quick, simple rundown of what to expect tonight.
Forget about the Trickle-Down Theory, this Budget will be based on the Trickled-On Theory.
This theory is that high income earners, corporations and other contributors to the major political parties’ election slush funds will hang on to the benefits they now have while pissing on the rest of us.
The many Budget leaks (boom tish) that have already been reported are proof of this – though some of the more outrageous suggestions have since been watered down (double boom tish).
But there will be new taxes, increased taxes, increased petrol prices, cuts to welfare benefits, health and education, public servants sacked and payments for doctors and emergency room visits introduced.
Because we must all bear the burden of the budget crisis you have to have when you don’t have a budget crisis.
To convince us that they also will be hard hit, Mr Hockey and his Finance Minister Mathias ‘The Terminator’ Cormann were smoking just one cigar each when cameras caught them looking pretty happy with themselves.
Tony Abbott also announced politicians would cop a one-year pay freeze, with backbenchers having to make do on less than $200,000 a year and the PM on just $500,000.
However, he forgot to mention an independent tribunal had already decided weeks ago this would happen.
And if history is anything to go by, future pay rises will be increased to make up for it anyway.
Meanwhile, it was revealed last night that four Coalition MPs used a private plane to fly from Canberra to Perth for the Budget, costing taxpayers $140,000.
Remember the good old days when the government just had to increase the tax on alcohol and cigarettes and everything was fine?
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