Robbing Peter to tax Paul

Joe Hockey’s health and education cuts will be extremely difficult to sell - and the sweeteners he relies on to win over voters are comparatively small.

Across numerous branches of government, the politics of selling this budget are predicated on a simple principle: don’t dwell on what you’ve lost, but look at what you’ve gained.

In some cases, that may almost work. The fuel excise increase, for instance, funds numerous road projects that among other things amount to an $11.6 billion jobs and stimulus package.

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