As has been the case for the last three or four budgets, the Government has faced some very difficult decisions in preparing for tonight's budget.  There are so many levers they could, would, or should (or couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't) "pull" as part of this year's budget, that the mind boggles at the possibilities and the consequences. Whilst each issue comes with its own economic consequences, the high potential for this budget to be more brutally dissected by the media than most, along with the Government's own precarious position in both houses of parliament and the wider electorate, means that the stakes are high.  There is no shortage of things for the Treasurer to consider, including:

- when will the promised surplus return? (and is the good debt vs bad debt story really that sellable, both to the electorate and to the financial markets?)

- is infrastructure spending the answer, and if so, how do we ensure that the spending is on "good" (productive) infrastructure projects that live up to the "good" debt tagline?

- how does the government navigate patchy (or perhaps more accurately, fragile) confidence from within the mid-sized business sector upon which our nation's economy relies?

- weakness in employment numbers continues to persist and could be an electoral time bomb.

- energy costs and housing affordability continue to be problems (and energy may get worse), so how can the budget respond to these issues and counteract the frequent "drip" of bad news these issues cause in the press?

- how does the government claw back the seemingly rampant cash economy to ensure that everyone pays their share and boost government coffers?

These are just a few of the economic and political challenges facing the Government.  Let's hope the "right" levers are pulled to set up our economy for better times ahead!