Author Archives: Ross Gittins

Ross Gittins

About Ross Gittins

Economics Editor, Sydney Morning Herald.

Smaller government has failed, but let’s cut taxes anyway (SMH Oct 5, 2020)

Think about this: despite a rocketing budget deficit, Scott Morrison is planning to press on with, and even bring forward, highly expensive tax cuts for high income-earners at just the time we’re realising that the 40-year pursuit of Smaller Government … Continue reading

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Pandemic: inconvenience for the privileged, tough luck for the poor (SMH 2.9.2020)

The popular coronavirus refrain that “we’re all in this together” is a call for everyone to pull together and be more conscious of the interests of others, not just our own. What it’s not is a statement of fact.

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We’ve been electing governments that damage our children’s future (SMH August 19, 2020)

One of the most dismal ideas for our youth to entertain is that their lives won’t be as comfortable as their parents’. Everyone in the older generation knows how much their lives have improved over the decades, and how much … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS.Scott Morrison,Easter and the pandemic(SMH 13.4.2020)

Since it’s Easter, let me tell you about something that’s long puzzled me: how can an out-and-proud Pentecostalist such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison be leading the most un-Christian government I can remember? Fortunately, however, the virus crisis seems to … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS supports Pearls and Irritations.

I read the daily Pearls and Irritations email without fail and usually find various pieces I want to read.

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ROSS GITTINS. An economy for the common good.(SMH19.2.2020)

We have to make democracy work for the masses, not just the rich and powerful.

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ROSS GITTINS. Zero net carbon choice:do we want to be losers or winners?(SMH 29.1.2020)

You may regard economists as a dismal lot, always reminding us of the cost of this or the risk of that. But there’s one prominent economist with a much more positive story to tell.

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ROSS GITTINS Why I didn’t donate to the Rural Fire Service this time around.(SMH 1.1. 2020)

As the cast were taking their bows at the end of a show before Christmas, one of them stepped forward to say that, as we left, we’d be approached by people with buckets collecting for the NSW Rural Fire Service. … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Morrison is perfecting the seal on his own personal Canberra bubble. (SMH 11.12.2019)

If you think Scott Morrison’s been busy doing not very much since the election in May, you are much mistaken. In truth he’s been very busy doing stuff of not much interest to you. But sometimes it pays to take … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Confessions of a pet shop galah: a lot of reform backfired (SMH 11.11.2019)

As someone who, back in the day, did his share of being one of Paul Keating’s pet shop galahs – screeching “more micro reform!” every time they saw a pollie – I don’t cease to be embarrassed by the many … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 9 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Viking economics: How Nordic nations debunk a Scott Morrison mantra (SMH 9.10.2019)

I’d like to tell you I’ve been away working hard on a study tour of the Nordic economies – or perhaps tracing the remnant economic impact of the Hanseatic League (look it up) – but the truth is we were … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Controversial reforms stalled until politicians win back our trust. (SMH 17.6.2019)

For those who care more about good policy than party politics, there are unpleasant conclusions to be drawn from the federal election. The obvious one is that it was a case of policy overreach leading to failure.

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ROSS GITTINS. Morrison’s miracle election may turn out to be the easy bit. (SMH 19.5.2019)

The great risk from Scott Morrison’s miraculous victory is that it will lead politicians on both sides to draw conclusions that worsen our politics and our policies. Bill Shorten offered us a chance to change the government and change the … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Universities: both sides should clean up the mess they’ve made

Among the many issues needing early attention from the winner of the federal election is universities. Trouble is, neither side seems to have much idea of how to fix the mess both parties spent decades creating, before Julia Gillard brought … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Stagnation spanner in the works? The tradesman you need to call is Keynes. (SMH 16.2.2019)

Every so often the economies of the developed world malfunction, behaving in ways the economists’ theory says they shouldn’t. Economists fall to arguing among themselves about the causes of the breakdown and what should be done. We’re in such a … Continue reading

Posted in Economy | 3 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Never fear, Hayne is a new start – and not just for the banks. (SMH 5.2.2019)

If you think the banking royal commission’s damning report means you’ll never again be overcharged or otherwise mistreated by a bank, you’re being a bit naive. If you’re hoping to witness leading bankers being dragged off to chokey, you’ll be … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 1 Comment

ROSS GITTINS. Hey pollies: weak wage growth won’t fix itself. (SMH 4.2.2019)

The economy’s prospects are threatened by various risks from overseas – about which we can do little – and by continuing weakness in wage growth – about which the two sides contesting the May federal election have little desire to … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Don’t assume more expressways and trains will fix traffic jams. (SMH 1.12.2018)

When Marion Terrill, of the Grattan Institute, set out to find out how much commuting times had worsened in Sydney and Melbourne, she discovered something you’ll find very hard to believe. But it would come as no surprise to transport … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 3 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Our oldies have never had it so good (SMH 5.11.2018)

Don’t let anyone tell you Scott Morrison is out of touch. When he says that, if he had the money, he’d increase the age pension rather than the dole, he’s reflecting the views of most older Australians. Everyone knows it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. World growth a toxic danger for the environment. (SMH 27.10.2018)

If the world’s population keeps growing, and the poor world’s living standards keep catching up with the rich world’s, how on earth will the environment cope with the huge increase in extraction, processing and disposal of material resources?  

Posted in Climate, Economy | 1 Comment

ROSS GITTINS. Tax reform is pushed by rich males, for rich males (SMH 24.10.2018)

I know it’s a shocking thing for an economics writer to confess, but I’ve lost my faith in the Search for the Golden Tax System. I no longer believe that reforming our tax system is the magic key to improving … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Why businesses are behaving badly. (SMH 6.10.2018)

While we digest the royal commission’s evidence of shocking misconduct by the banks and insurance companies, there’s another unpalatable truth to swallow: they have no monopoly on bad behaviour.   

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Nowhere to hide now for banks. (SMH 3.10.2018)

Last week must have been a terrifying wake-up call for Australia’s ruling class – not just our politicians, but also the chief executives and directors of our big corporations, both publicly and privately owned.   If they’re half as smart as … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 5 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. How market forces have failed the nation (SMH 19.9.2018)

How will the era of “neoliberalism” end – with a bang or a whimper? With a royal commission – or three. But don’t worry. Royal commissions always make a lot of noise. With the memory of the government’s embarrassing delay … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Long way to go to get banks back in their box (SMH 17.9.2018)

Have we learnt from the mistakes of the global financial crisis, now 10 years ago? Yes, but not nearly as much as we should have.  

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ROSS GITTINS. Morrison’s surplus secret: bracket creep kills the tax cuts. (SMH 15-16.9.2018)

The mystery revealed. Consider this: how does the Morrison government cut income and company taxes and avoid big cuts in government spending, but still project ever-rising budget surpluses and ever-falling net public debt over the next decade? With publication of … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. How we could revive faith in democracy (SMH 6 June 2018)

How much is our disillusionment with politicians, governments and even democracy the result of our pollies’ 30-year love affair with that newly recognised mega-evil “neoliberalism”? To a considerable extent, according to Dr Richard Denniss, of the Australia Institute, in the … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 7 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Inequality: Nothing to see here is not the true picture (SMH 3.9.2018)

This week the Productivity Commission issued a “stocktake of the evidence” on inequality in Australia. Its findings will surprise you. But it wasn’t as even-handed as it should have been.  

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ROSS GITTINS. Clever tax strategies may be legal, but they aren’t productive (SMH 9/7/2018)

The developed world’s economists have been racking their brains for explanations of the rich countries’ protracted period of weak improvement in the productivity of labour. I’ve thought of one that hasn’t had much attention.  

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

ROSS GITTINS. Cash and kind: How governments shift income from rich to poor. (SMH 7/7/2018)

Everyone knows the gap between high and low incomes has grown. But much of what we think we know about why it’s happened, and what the government has been doing about it, is probably wrong.  

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments