John Howard was right about something yesterday. We do know what he stands for. As Tony Wright observes in a punchy piece in The Age, he stands for middle class welfare – means testing apparently is “discriminatory” or something – hey, why shouldn’t everyone no matter how big their income get a tax break for their kids’ private school fees? It’s all about “choice” and “the opportunity society”, right? This boondoggle, as Kim Beazley might have put it, is the reason why the Howard version of the Kevin07 education rebate costs billions more. What’s the politics of this? Forget the elephant in the room – the spendathon inevitably leading to higher interest rates, as the Reserve revises its forecasts upwards and the IMF warns about fiscal policy – what Howard is after is a wedge. Labor, according to his script, is supposed to come out and agree with the public school lobby’s complaints (quite justified for mine). Rudd’s unlikely to fall into this trap. He doesn’t need to. He can just keep pointing out that Howard’s here today, gone tomorrow, and change the subject on Wednesday at his campaign launch. That’s the reality of the super-speed election news cycle.
Cross-posted at PollieGraph.