Peter Costello went on 7:30 looking fed up, deeply put out by Scott Morrison's 2018 budget. In fact he's annoyed with all of the governments that have followed the one he was Treasurer in under John Howard. Australia's national debt as a proportion of the GDP is19 per cent, which is about the same level as it was when he originally became treasurer in 1996. "It took us 10 surplus budgets to pay it off last time. You'd be doing well to pay it off in 10 surplus budgets this time," he said. 'If I may say so Leigh, I think the probabilities are we'll never get back to where we were. You and I will die before that happens.'
Despite his annoyance Costello communicated a variety of complicated issues with ease, speaking without waffle nor jargon. He called people earning between $100,000 and $200,000 as 'forgotten people' and said the Liberal Party should remember individuals paying high taxes had not had any tax relief for 10 years. He then inculcated company tax cuts. 'This is the point that I find curious. Banks and big companies pay tax at 30 per cent, individuals pay tax at 47 per cent. You pay tax at 47 per cent if you're on $200,000. A bank or a big company only pays it at 30 [per cent] on $1 million.'
It's a right rotten state off affairs he feels. But it's his fault. He should never have gone. He could have become PM if he'd just waited around a while. He was always Howard's best minister and it's hard not to think he would have been a better PM than Abbott or Turnbull. He has made a lot of money in his post political life. But it wasn't like he was poor. And he was always going to get paid money for jam as soon as he quit politics.
Seeing him deliver an honest and considered opinion on the economy really makes you lament him leaving. Peter Costello could have been Prime Minister of Australia, he might have even been a great one. But we will never know. Now the poor bastard is powerless, performing on week night TV shows. He's Al Bundy on Married... with Children, recounting Polk High football stories about how he once scored four touch down in one game and won the city championship.