by Ross Sharp

The experts have spoken …

Our economy is poised to go bust and only tax rises and spending cuts can save us.

Federal and state budgets are in deep trouble, which is likely to get deeper ahead. The Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley is on the mark in warning that we face ”a decade of deficits” without serious action, both to raise more revenue and to reduce spending.

But the future could be worse than forecast in Daley’s report, Budget pressures on Australian governments. He focused on future growth in key areas of spending. But there is a second, bigger question over future growth in the economy. If the economy goes bust, deficits will be just one of our worries.”

What am I expected to do with this information?

What reaction is it that I am expected to have?

How should I receive it?

What rough fiscal beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Shall I spin ‘round in tight little circles, frantically waving my arms, and sound “Squee! Squee! Squee!”?

Shall I run naked down Coronation Drive, barking like some rabid dog, a soiled piece of tissue trailing from my behind?

Shall I pop a bullet through my head, swallow a bottle of pills, waltz off the edge of a cliff, or rampage through the office, multiple kills, multiple kills!

Shall I consult with a shaman or a seer?

Shall I pray to Jesus; join a cult; shave my head or wear a robe; shall I believe in aliens and spread my buttocks for that welcome alien probe?

Shall I take Spanish lessons; become a Tuvan throat-singer, or audition for “The Voice”?

Shall I vote in next year’s MTV Awards for People’s Most Popular Choice?

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare eat a peach?

Shall I wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach?

Shall I hear the mermaids singing, each to each?

And will they sing to me?

Shall I linger in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake me, and I drown?*

I think I shall ignore it all, this Institute, its fears.

Tonight, I shall eat a pizza, and dare to drink some beers.

Apologies to T.S. Eliot.*