Frydenberg reveals the economic horrors

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed the true horror of COVID-19 on the Australian economy yesterday.

Frightening doesn’t begin to explain what we are facing and is yet to unfold:

In Australia, Treasury is forecasting GDP to fall by over 10 per cent in the June quarter which would represent our biggest fall on record.

At $50 billion, this is a loss equivalent to the total combined quarterly production of South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT.

Treasury is forecasting the unemployment rate to reach around 10 per cent, or 1.4 million unemployed, in the June quarter.

This 5 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is expected to occur over three months compared to the three years it took the unemployment rate to rise by the same amount in that devastating period of the early 1990s.

Household consumption and business and dwelling investment are all forecast by Treasury to fall sharply in the June quarter.

The combination of social distancing, lower incomes and increased uncertainty are weighing heavily on aggregate demand and flowing through to reduced cash flow.

Household consumption is expected to be around 16 per cent lower.

Business investment is expected to be around 18 per cent lower with falls concentrated in the non‑mining sector.

Dwelling investment is also expected to be around 18 per cent lower.

Over the same period, household savings are expected to increase as a result of the restrictions that have been imposed and an understandably cautious approach by households to discretionary spending.

Overall, the economic data has been sobering.

Sobering. That’s one way to put it.

COVID-19 suicides

We don’t know how many people are going to kill themselves because of armageddon created by the Kung Flu lockdown.

But this is certainly a worthwhile place to begin the discussion:

New modelling from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre (the centre) suggests the COVID-19 pandemic will contribute to a major surge – 25% – of suicides, with an increase of up to 30% among young people aged 15­–25.

The centre’s research warns the pandemic could result in up to an additional 1500 suicide-related deaths every year over the next five years, resulting in a ‘generational mental health crisis’.

The reality is that we don’t know how many lives the lockdown has saved or how many will commit suicide in the years to come.

But we should have the discussion and it needs to occur at a level more complex than “you just care about money” if you happen to think the lockdown was an excessive response.

The monarchy is an absurd anachronism

But it’s still better than these petty-minded turds.

Stevie Wonder (b 1950)

If you haven’t heard the Songs in the key of life album, you must.

It’s magnificent.

And any song that name-checks Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington is good.


Feature image: Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash.