It is unfortunate that so many are duped into believing that Liberal and in particular the Howard government were good economic managers, and deficits are the devil incarnate. The real facts are quite different. Labor reign in the 80s and 90s performed the hard yards in economic management that the Liberals rode for 11 years. The Howard government did not manage the economy; they drove it forward without servicing the fundamentals. No investment, no real substantial changes. The mining boom and stable global economy provided growth that easily provided surpluses. Today the economic crisis would have created a deficit no matter the political party in power, simply due to the lack of tax revenue, in fact the loss of 200 billion dollars in revenue due to the GFC. Deficit is not a bad thing, it helps real people and the private sector recover and eventually move their personally debt into positive territory. When the private sector is in decline, government must spend to help it recover. Once the economy recovers and grows, the government can recoup a surplus again.