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SA has tried to implement the Keynesian notion that the state should counter private sector deleveraging in a downturn. Oops There is an old saying that we hurtle through life making decisions about the future not by looking through the windscreen at what lies ahead but by keeping our eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror to see what happened in the past. The real significance of the 2014-2015 budget is that we have exited the period where the state has attempted to stimulate the economy through fiscal expansion and begun the retreat — for the simple reason that there is no more money in the bucket.As the Budget Review puts it: "The 2015 budget proposals support the long-term health of the public finances with a series of revenue and expenditure measures to narrow the budget deficit and stabilise debt. These measures include increases in personal income tax rates and the fuel levies, and a R25-billion reduction in budgeted expenditure over the next two years."Now, it’s easy to be foole...

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