Was John Howard really a left winger?

A recent publication by the IMF turns the spotlight on recent fiscal policy of 55 major economies including Australia :

A modern history of fiscal prudence and profligacy

Various criteria are used to judge whether the level of public debt is such that future budget surpluses are expected to cover it. A series of graphs at the end of the report identifies periods of ‘Prudence’,  low levels of government spending and good debt repayment or Profligacy, ‘ high levels of government spending and high debt to GDP ratio.

Howard has come out looking wholly inadequate in this area according to some commentators:

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Hey Big Spender:

“Australia’s most needlessly wasteful spending took place under the John Howard-led Coalition government rather than under the Whitlam, Rudd or Gillard Labor governments, an international study has found.”

It’s no surprise that in New Zealand, the years 2002 to 2008 are markedly profligate and the most recent years are more prudent.

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