Those upset by Josh Frydenberg's revelation of the ugliest financial numbers this country has seen since the end of World War II can take consolation from the fact they could easily have been worse. Who can forget the furore when it was revealed the original estimates for the cost of JobKeeper and JobSeeker had been too high?
Unfortunately there is now good reason to believe the Treasurer's estimates of a $184.5 billion budget deficit for 2021, with national debt set to peak at $677.1 billion, may be very conservative.
The volatility with which the crisis plays out, which reduced the economic impact of the first wave and brought opprobrium on the government and its advisers, is now militating against the relatively benign assumptions on which Thursday's forecasts were based.
The economic statement was, as a number of commentators have pointed out, a "best case scenario". What happens to those numbers if the situation in Victoria doesn't turn around, if NSW goes the way of Victoria, and if other states and territories - including the ACT - are forced to go back into at least partial lockdown?
It is not too late for Australia's coronavirus success story to morph into something quite different, albeit surely never as dire as what's playing out in the US, the UK, India, and Brazil.
If things were to south in this country, all bets are off. Even if this country does get back on track, its ability to pull itself up by its own bootstraps is limited in a world that has been forced into depression by an invisible foe. While much has been made of China's relatively speedy medical and economic recovery which, at the moment, means there is still strong demand for Australian raw materials, Beijing's economic miracles are not self-sustaining.
Chinese domestic demand only accounts for a proportion of the nation's industrial output. Its economy is far more dependent on exports of affordable consumer goods to affluent customers in the west than it was during the global financial crisis.
Given consumer demand in much of the world has already fallen off a cliff, it is only a matter of time before China begins to really suffer. That, in turn, will flow through to demand for Australian ores, coal, and gas and place even more stress on our economy. That is the last thing any government needs when public spending is at record levels. So, what should the government have done and what should it do differently? The short answer has to be "pretty much what it has, and is, doing". There aren't any plausible alternatives.
While the government has left itself open to attack from both the left and the right by throwing ideology out of the window and doing whatever it takes to ride a breaking wave, any other course would have left the country in a much worse position than it is now.
Australia, along with the rest of the world, has been on a wild ride since the beginning of the year.
While other governments have let their people down badly, this country has benefited from decisive and flexible leadership.
There is much to be said for keeping our options open, and for pooling resources so jurisdictions can respond quickly to evolving situations, given how quickly the virus takes advantage chinks in the national armour.
This battle is far from being over and, as a result, the odds are that the figures announced on Thursday could soon be out of date as a result. That is a measure of the seriousness of the health and the economic crisis; it shouldn't be used as an excuse to belittle the politicians and the public servants who are doing the best they can.