I guess there's a grim satisfaction in watching neoliberal politicians having to resort to state interventionism in order to try to salvage something from the mess that neoliberal policies provoked in the first place.
In the last few days, the National-led government have announced various economic schemes they hope will, in the Minster of Finance's words 'blunt the impact of the recession.'
What's been served up so far has been predictable - assistance (ie welfare) for small and medium businesses and some infrastructure projects brought forward: $216.7 million on education and school related projects, NZ$142.5 million on transport infrastructure projects and NZ$124.5 million on projects based around the renovation and building of state houses.
But even the Government has admitted this will only provide an estimated 2000 jobs for perhaps 18 months or so. When 10,000 jobs have been lost in the last three months and there are Treasury reports floating around suggesting that 14 percent unemployment is a distinct possiblity, its desperate stuff from Bill English.
Also, most of these jobs appear to be in construction - tough luck if you are a former white collar worker and/or a woman.
Watching Bill English defend the economic plans in Parliament today, I couldn't help but notice that there was no mood of ebullience coming from the Deputy Leader. You would have thought he would have still been basking in the afterglow of National's election victory but, no, here was the sobriety of a politician knowing too well that the proverbial is starting to really hit the fan - and he's right in the firing line.
Of course what's so fascinating/horrifying is that other set of neoliberal politicians have no answers either.
Labour's beef is not with the National's sticky plaster solutions to the deepening recession - they just think the sticky plaster should be a whole lot bigger and it should be applied a whole lot quicker. But its still only a sticky plaster when major surgery - socialist surgery - is required.
It's like these two political parties, virtually indistinguishable from each other, have been recklessly speeding down the neoliberal road for the past twenty years or so, only to hit a big wall called 'Capitalist Meltdown'.
Of course out in Blogland the pro-Nat bloggers are defending National's economic plans. No surprises there then - its full steam ahead on the good ship 'SS Moronic'.
The pro-Labour bloggers, meanwhile, are in danger of disappearing up their own backsides.
Someone like Martyn Bradbury on Tumeke! can give National's economic plans a good kicking but he's got no alternative other than, presumably, to argue that Labour would SPEND MORE. I'm guessing here though because, to date, he's offered no alternative.
On The Standard someone going by the name 'Dancer' plaintively asks 'Why haven't Labour made more of National's weaknesses?'
Because, and I'll write this slowly so 'Dancer' might understand, Labour is stuck in the same neoliberal morass as National. It has no answers!
'Dancer' though, has other ideas: ' Perhaps they are saving themselves for an alternative Budget as Labour have presented in the past.'
Of course! Labour have got a cunning plan!
Good one, 'Dancer' - now we can all get some sleep....