Articles on Debt

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The federal budget often neglects to address the costs of unfunded liabilities. AAP

Explainer: what are unfunded liabilities?

Every Australian is directly or indirectly affected by unfunded liabilities. Yes — even you. State and federal unfunded liabilities now total more than $200 billion and this amount is rising rapidly. Is…
With the rest of the world mired in economic crises, it seems Australia is the place for foreign central banks to park their assets. Krug6

The boom has made the dollar a dazzler, but Australia is hardly a safe haven

Central banks everywhere - from Russia to the Czech Republic - are piling into Australian-dollar-denominated assets. This has limited the fall of the Australian dollar to around 3% from its peak even though…
A clear-headed analysis of the budget must delve beyond the buzzwords and political rhetoric. AAP

Making sense of a bootstrap budget

Each year the budget is like an annual health check on a patient with many complexities. In a black coat, not a white one, the august Treasurer reports the nation’s temperature, provides much-needed tonics…
Size does matter: rather than be concerned about achieving a surplus or a deficit, the government should be focusing on how to manage its debt. AAP

Don’t forget the debt: there’s more to fiscal prudence than a return to surplus

Treasurer Swan’s commitment to bring the government budget into surplus in 2012-13 may be a political imperative, but is not good economics. The focus for prudential fiscal management should instead be…
The European Central Bank’s long-term refinancing operations have reduced acute liquidity problems in the banking sector, but the situation in the Eurozone remains fragile. AAP

The ECB’s long-term refinancing operations: a solution to the debt crisis, or doomed to fail?

In November 2011, the Eurozone crisis reached a climax with interest rates on sovereign debt of Eurozone problem debtors soaring. Fear of sovereign defaults spilled over into the interbank markets as Eurozone…
The HECS black hole has reached $450 million. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

Expat workers have cost Australia $450 million in HECS

Australian university graduates who move overseas to work for long periods have deprived the country of about $450 million…
Neither Anna Bligh nor Campbell Newman seem keen to talk about Queensland’s staggering debt. AAP

Standing in the shadow of debt in the sunshine state

In the run-up to the Queensland state election, politicians are making all sorts of pledges to win over constituents, but few are willing to tackle a potentially paralysing problem: the spectacular growth…
Decoupled: The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to hold interest rates has been ignored by the banks. AAP

Rates of wrath: understanding the Big Four’s actions on interest rates

Last week, the Reserve Bank defied market expectations to announce the 4.25% cash rate would remain unchanged. But the surprise decision by Australia’s Big Four banks to act independently of the Reserve…
Bankrupt former billionaire Sean Quinn accepted highly risky loans from Anglo Irish Bank before it collapsed. AAP

Fallen billionaire Sean Quinn embodies Ireland’s boom to bust

The fall of the “Mighty” Sean Quinn from Ireland’s (and Forbes-listed) richest man to one of the world’s most indebted individuals is perhaps the biggest story of Ireland’s boom-to-bust recent economic…
French leftists protest after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s debt on Friday. AAP

After France’s downgrade, Europe’s debt cycle looks hard to break

Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the credit ratings of nine Eurozone countries, including Austria, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, is another symptom of the contagious and vicious debt cycle…
Personal loans should be used to fund major infrastructure projects, like the National Broadband Network. AAP

Want to end the GFC? Put debt to good use

The Global Financial Crisis should be called the Global Debt Crisis. Too much debt has been created and there is not enough productive capacity to pay the interest on the debt, let alone repay the loans…
Are ordinary homeowners perpetuating Australia’s property bubble? AAP

The property bubble makes us slaves to each other’s debt

While my recent commentary (here and here) demonstrates Australian housing is in a bubble, I have not explained where this situation has come from. Asset markets, in this case, property, are the subject…
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy must take drastic steps to maintain the legitimacy of EU institutions. AAP

It’s time for Europe to show some courage

The European Union is in crisis – yet again. If you enter “Europe in crisis” into Google, more than 655 million entries pop up. Europe’s current problems are being described as a Euro crisis – it is a…
The only way out of this crisis is to dishonour some of the debt that is weighing down the global economy. AAP

Ireland, Greece … France? Accepting default is Europe’s only option

The dramatic falls in share prices of Greek debt-laden French banks overnight highlights just how closely tied the current market chaos is to the world’s worsening debt woes. Market crashes like that of…
Has his compromise with Republicans over the debt ceiling ended Obama’s electoral hopes? AAP

Is Obama doomed? The debt crisis and 2012

Despite the apparent disgust of many Americans and the contempt held by many outside observers, US politics is supposed to look this way – at least sometimes. The widely diagnosed dysfunction of the recent…
US House Speaker John Boehner wants government programs cut: but is austerity politics the answer? AAP

US austerity politics playing on default fears mask a looming problem

For some time, it appeared that the severity of the global financial crisis had created a compelling “learning moment” that promised to return the world to a more civilised form of capitalism. Insufficient…
Many Greeks are ashamed by what has happened to their country. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greece debt crisis threatens democracy

Athens is no longer considered by scholars as the birthplace of democracy but all of a sudden it has become the epicentre of a powerful political earthquake rocking the foundations of every democracy in…

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