By Janine Perrett

Here we go again.

The latest MYEFO (mid-year economic and fiscal outlook) figures are out and while they are certainly not pretty, they are not as ugly as they could have been.

That is the job of the Government of the day though. To try and dress them up without scaring the horses. Confidence is everything of course though Treasurer Scott Morrison's homily about budget repair being like a family trip, while not a bad analogy, did have a touch of the homey Hockey's about it.

Sure there will be plenty of scepticism. Some of it justified.

After all, it has only been half a year since the budget numbers came in and already they have proved to be overly optimistic.

Some of us said that at the time only to be shot down and not just by the old Abbott-Hockey team but the current Finance Minister as well.

Ironic that MYEFO is meant to be an outlook document as though it is looking ahead when in reality it is just catching up by bringing the overly bullish previous figures up to date.

By budget time, in another five months, the sceptical public will expect the same thing to happen again.

The reality is that negative external forces are moving quicker than the government can try and catch up with.

Iron ore prices have collapsed even further than even the latest lower government estimate. In fact the whole commodities sector is now in freefall, which is not only outside their control but not what even the private sector forecasters had forecast.

Tax receipts are down, company revenues as a result of that downturn and personal tax receipts are also suffering from the lack of wages growth.

There is always the irony that employers, and coalition governments, want to keep wages low but then suffer from the lack of growth that results.

No wonder growth figures have been revised downwards, even if blind Freddy had seen that coming from the night of the budget.

After the initial response to one of the most widely anticipated MYEFO"s, the opponents are now finding plenty to scream about in the government's effort to offset all expenses with spending cuts.

Some of it must have been expected - medical cuts, welfare cuts, even the poor old arts sector got whacked again though no great loss the silly book council idea of the Abbott regime.

The opposition is disingenuously bleating while claiming bi-partisanship. Really what are they going to do to repair the budget that won't upset someone?

While there is no reason to head into fully fledged panic just yet ("tried that and it didn't work" said the previous lot), there is obviously still cause for concern especially when no-one, the government, the treasury advisers, the economists, the market - no-one really knows where anything is heading in the short term, maybe even the long term.

 

Except in the long term everything usually works out all right. Usually.