Whatever you do, don’t say billion

It was getting a little absurd and starting to backfire dramatically, so the Prime Minister and the Treasurer were forced to halt their “billion ban” charade in parliament today.

As has been previously observed:

It’s been suggested Kevin Rudd would not utter the phrase ”$300 billion” for fear his words will be used in coalition advertisements during the next election campaign.

Mr Rudd said debt would peak at “around about 200, our gross debt at about 300” in 2013-14.

Asked to explain 200 or 300 of what, Mr Rudd responded: “These are billion figures.”

The genius (whoever they are) in Federal Labor’s leadership team who seriously believed that the government could get away with its senior members not saying the word “billion” for the next 18 months or so must be living on Planet Wacky. It’s a little disturbing that this wacky idea was even successfully sold to the men who are overseeing the nation’s response to the financial crisis, and that they ran with the “billion ban” for a day or two. The Coalition would be nuts not to make fun of the Prime Minister’s use of “200” and “300” in their election campaign next year.

Madness.

4 thoughts on “Whatever you do, don’t say billion

  1. Their advisers were probably right about their second guessing of how the Opposition would take advantage of these words. In the light of which, Messrs Swan and Rudd really oughta have agreed on just how many billion they were willing to utter. Rudd said 315 and Swan said 300 (or maybe it was the other way around). Either way, Turnbull was quick to cash in on a floating 15 billion.

    I think its a very rare individual who can actually grasp the full meaning of 1 billion dollars, especially as the discrepancy between our one billion and a US billion is really rather wide. So trying to think in terms of tens of billions or hundreds of billions is like trying to get a handle on pie in the sky.

  2. It’s a very big number, and even then its only a forecast, so it’s very rubbery indeed. I think Rudd at one stage was trying to do the “around 200” (debt) and “around 300” (gross debt) routine, which probably just served to confuse matters even more.

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