By KMan - Australian economists Sinclair Davidson and Alex Robson, in The Wall Street Journal Asia, on the risks of Ruddonomics: KEVIN Rudd has cleverly mimicked the Government's record, even labelling himself an economic conservative. But a closer look at Rudd's record reveals that he's not a reformer but, rather, an unreconstructed interventionist masquerading as a free-market conservative. Call it Ruddonomics.

Take his parliamentary record, for a start. Since coming into the parliament in 1998, Rudd has toed the party line and opposed most efforts to further reform the economy ... In practice, a Labor government under Rudd would re-regulate economic life. Over the past year he has promised to set up no fewer than 68 new bureaucracies and establish 96 reviews if elected. He promises to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and commit Australia to a costly program of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050. His proposed industry policy -- constructed by Kim Carr, a declared socialist -- would create an uber-bureaucracy of 12 industry innovation councils.

The goal, it seems, is to promote manufacturing by picking winners: a policy with an appalling track record of failure in Australia and elsewhere. To round things off, Rudd's labour-market policy promises to abolish individual workplace agreements and to restore union power over policymaking to its former glory... If Ruddonomics wins the day, Australia could find itself back in a 1970s mindset, with bigger government and a less competitive economy. In a modern, rapidly globalising world, that's not a vision for the future, that's a vision for the past.

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