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On one hand, we’re still able to forecast a surplus. On the other, conditions are deteriorating. Treasurer Frydenberg and Finance Minister Cormann deliver the news. Lukas Coch/AAP

5 things MYEFO tells us about the economy and the nation’s finances

MYEFO contains a long-overdue admission: that low wage growth is the new normal. It’ll take extraordinary spending restraint to make the surplus forecasts stick.
If all goes well, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg might just deliver his tiny projected surpluses, but it isn’t clear why he should. Lukas Coch/AAP

Surplus before spending. Frydenberg’s risky MYEFO strategy

The treasurer has pulled out all stops to continue to forecast budget surpluses, but they are low, and don’t take account of several likely costs.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann unveil a budget outcome as good as balanced on Thursday. Lukas Coch/AAP

The big budget question is why the surplus wasn’t big

A big surplus will come. It should be saved for something important, not simply spent.
Newly-elected US Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is co-author of the New Green Deal which proposes massively expanding the budget deficit as a way of supporting both the environment and the economy. Alba Vigaray/EPA

Vital Signs. Do deficits matter any more?

There are limits on how much governments can spend without earning, although increasingly politicians are behaving as if there are not.

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