Analysis why this is a clever federal budget

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ANALYSIS

DONT look for winners and losers, Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters just before he delivered the Budget in Parliament.

The very notion someone might emerge from the Budget with less than they deserved was folly, he seemed to be saying.

We are all winners under the protective gaze of poppa Scott.

It was a clever document the Treasurer delivered without a trace of embarrassment over the number of measures Labor had come up with first to gales of derision.

They included increased tobacco excise, belting transnationals for their correct tax payments, and taking tax concessions from superannuation account holders who didnt need them.

In fact, the marquee elements of the Morrison plan for the economy were borrowed from the Labor Opposition.

Even after the revenue from those measures were turned into tax cuts elsewhere, the Coalitions0 claim to be low-tax fanatics still didnt look solid.

Government revenue will continue to rise, from 24.2 per cent of GDP now to 25.9 per cent in 2019-20.

And all those big boofy promises, from huge dams in northern Australia to construction of inland rail, were actually conditional on others doing the spending.

The Government was merely the interested facilitator with no commitments to much forward spending.

But it is a clever Budget skilfully prepared, and it will help the Government in the looming election contest where it will hold it high as an emblem of its claim to economic management superiority over Labor.

It is a Budget about reassurance.

In a period that has seen four prime ministers in three years and an economic transformation creating jitters in many households, Scott Morrison is offering stability.

His Budget punts on the hope voters are tired of economic miracle cures and fiscal razzle-dazzle and just want political leaders to get the basics right.

That means giving tax cuts to those who would use them productively and not to fringe claimants, and giving an old-fashioned priority to jobs over indulgences.

Voters know public spending has to be repaired. They just want it done with a minimum of tears.

And thats where poppa Scott comes in a comforting, confident and not very scary custodian of the Budget and the future of our employment and pay packets.

He is the quieter contrast to the boisterous modernism of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Much of what the Treasurer promises in the Budget will have losers.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will have to endure a funding cut before around $1 billion can be raised for it a few years down the track. Mr Morrison says the money just isnt there at the moment.

And the young unemployed could face enforced internships, with no guaranteed paid outcomes, under the strangely named PaTH scheme Mr Morrison has proposed.

But the winners, he estimates, will be the middle income earners and the dynamic small business proprietors who, he hopes, will spread the love. At the election. Without claiming to be winners, of course.