It has cost the budget a lot of money to make the prices of homes as hard to afford as they now are.
Ross Gittins is economics editor of the SMH and an economic columnist for The Age. His books include Gittins' Guide to Economics, Gittinomics and The Happy Economist.
The main trick magicians use is to direct the audience's attention away from the place where they're doing their sleight-of-hand. That's what Malcom Turnbull's up to.
How moving it was to watch Malcolm Turnbull presenting the Australian of the Year awards last week. What impressive people they were. Made me proud to be an Aussie.
There is no good reason any sovereign Australian government – federal or state – should allow a few American for-profit businesses to dictate how much it should or shouldn't borrow (nor engage in hugely expensive ways of disguising the true extent of its liabilities).
It's our community and our economy and prime ministers don't get to dismiss options without us even being allowed to think about them and decide what we prefer.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is right: One of the Abbott-Turnbull government's various acts of economic vandalism is its politicisation of the once-proud federal Treasury.
If Treasury wants to start acting more like economists than accountants, a good place to start would be to urge its political masters to seize on the opportunity presented by the school funding "compact" proposed by the Grattan Institute.
Did you know our social security system is so open to rorting that it's possible for some people to get more from benefits than they'd earn if they took a job? And we wonder why we have problem with debt and deficit.
Our attitudes to climate change are becoming like our attitude to death: we know we must face up to it one day, but right now we'd prefer not to think about it.
If foreign investment in Australian businesses is so unpopular with so many people, why do we persist with it?