During these couple of weeks leading up the Federal budget, and on Budget night itself, it pays to keep in mind that all the words written and all the talk uttered are about things that are planned to happen not things that actually have happened or things that are likely to happen. If there is one certainty about the estimates and forecasts Wayne Swan will make it is that in important respects they will prove to be spectacularly wrong.
Now that is not a criticism of the Federal Treasurer. It just happens to be the nature of things. Sure the financial boffins have their magical models of the economy that make sure all the numbers add up but they are the very same models that at this time a year ago were predicting a continuing surplus between receipts and expenditure. Just keep in mind when the Wednesday morning the newspapers headline rising unemployment and a whopping budget deficit that 12 months ago inflation was the fear.
A truthful government would be telling us in this year's budget that just as last year they were unable to predict the course of forthcoming events, so it is this year. Things might turn out to be far worse than we are expecting and they might even turn out to be better. All we can promise is to keep doing the best that we can while we hope for the best.