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The - borsbam Times Published every Tuesday and Friday. 48th Year. FRIDAY. APRIL 29, 1921. AUSTRALIA'S FINANCIAL PEERIL There is a lesson for public and pri vate spendthrifts in Australia in the reported criticism'of the British Bud get. A new loan is projected with the object of wiping out between now and 1925 national war bonds valued at £632.000,000. The effort to efface such an enormous debt in four years is giv ing rise to much serious discussion, but the worst that can be said of it by th? cnnPuents of the finistry is tha! it is a neessary eviL The bur
den is a tremendously heavy one, even for a wealthy group of na tional entities such as is corn prised in the United Kingdom, and it is bit the forerunner of more stringent times ahead. By 1929 the i great bulk of Britain's war debt will nature, and the question of meeting it will have to be faced. The London Times does not accept the position as philosophietlly as the public opponents of the Government do. " It is no dis sppointment," it says, " because every one knows that the Government inten ded to drift on to insolvency. The estimate of th9 national revenue is quite unwarrantable. The amount could only be raised by the imposition of a crushing burden which would greatly retard the prospects of. re covery, result in intensification of the deplorable economic depression, and drive millions of workless to wander idly in the streets. If the Government cannot reduce expenditure it must nmake room for somebody who can." If the Time,. whose reputation for the soundness of its criticism is well known, finds itself impelled to charge the Government with a tendency to steer the Ship of State on to the shoals of insolvency, what woud be its opinion of those responsible for navigating the smaller national barque of the Austra lian Commonwealth? For several years Australia has been spending money at a rate which was never pre viousiv known, and which, it is oily fair to state, will not permit of con <;„....„„ t t- renott;t;onn A" yfnev. men
sured on a paper standard, has been poured out during the past five years at the rate of nearly £300,000 per day, and until Mr. Hughes went to Bendigo last week to take farewell of his con stituents there had never been on re cord a single utterance of his to suggest that he realised there need be any limit to the financial extravagance of the Government and of the people. Every movement which the Govern. ment has made in recent years-front the patchwork at the Federal Capit.:l to the building of ships which are not always fit to go to sea-has meant the spending of huge sums of monucy with cut any seeming regard for the conse quences. The very man who should have given a lead in economy gave no warning of impending danger befo e the eve of his departure for London. However, since he has at last glimpsed the awful possibilities ahead, it is to be hoped that he and his co-Ministers will regulate their future administrative conduct by keeping ever in mind these words from the Bendigo speech, " If ever there were a time when we cannot spend money it is now."