Last week saw further evidence that the Government needs more than a miracle to survive. Having fended off the GFC with its massive economic stimulus measures and despite handing out cash to families on a means tested basis it still languishes in the polls.
Last weeks economic indicators - stable low unemployment at around 5%, low CPI at 2%, RBA interest rates cut and incredible annual GDP growth of 4.3% - failed to excite an electorate which has stopped listening. Like Roy and HG might have said it was a case of "When too much good news is not enough."
In an article in The Age on 7 June, Chris Zappone compared Australia's data against other western economies.
"Australia's net gain of 38,900 jobs last month compared with about 69,000 in the entire US economy - which includes a population about 14 times larger."
"Australia's 5.1 per cent jobless rate compares with 8.2 per cent for the US and the UK, 11 per cent in the eurozone, 7.3 per cent in Canada and 4.6 per cent in Japan."
Overseas commentary on Australia's situation was glowing. An article in the Herald Sun by Peter Hartcher quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying:
"Australia reported its economy was the fastest-growing in the developed world in the first three months of 2012, sweeping aside growing gloom."
"We sit over here, scratching our heads and asking ourselves, 'How do these guys do it?'," the president of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, Will Marshall, a Democrat-affiliated think tank, told the Herald recently.
The problem this Government and future governments will have is that the bar has been set very high. Australia leads the world by almost any measure and yet the electorate, egged on by lazy journalists and commentators, yawns and whinges about being hard hit by measures which aren't yet in place.
RBA Governor Glen Stevens, in a speech in Adelaide on 8 June (The Glass Half Full) analysed the current state of the Australian economy. He pointed to Australia's remarkable growth in GDP per head of population as shown in the graph below.
He also commented on what I will call the "whinge" factor.
"And we live in a global environment of major uncertainty, largely because of the problems of the euro zone. Nonetheless, an objective observer coming from outside would, I think it must be said, feel that Australia's glass is at least half full.
Yet the nature of public discussion is unrelentingly gloomy, and this has intensified over the past six months. Even before the recent turn of events in Europe and their effects on global markets, we were grimly determined to see our glass as half empty.
Numerous foreign visitors to the Reserve Bank have remarked on the surprising extent of this pessimism. Each time I travel abroad I am struck by the difference between the perceptions held by foreigners about Australia and what I read in the newspapers at home."