THE old joke went like this: What the good Lord giveth, the government taketh away.
And the libertarian right saw that as an argument for smaller budgets, less state and federal intervention and more freedom for the established members of society to get on with their business unfettered.
We never quite got to the frontier mentality that led to Trump's election and the inevitable backlash from the fringe of the world's largest gun-ocracy: Still too big a government.
But now the smarter American business people are looking forward and trying to get better government, not necessarily smaller or bigger, just better for people, better for consumer spending and thus better for business.
And coincidentally producing a more humane society.
The Fortress America idea wins an election but doesn't support economic growth, particularly when the country teeters near a recession.
We tried some elements of the American model here.
We freed up or sold off industries that were over-regulated. We tightened welfare.
You know the stuff. Then the Abbott government decided to tighten the screws, bring the deficit down. But they also increased the government's borrowing (deficit) limits and let the country's credit card max out.
Dunno how they did that while saying the opposite. But ... politicians.
Then the Turnbull government looked like it would continue that crackdown on the people at the bottom - because of the deals that got our present leader to be Prime Minister.
So Labor was on the rise, or temporarily less on the nose than the Coalition. Right-wing MPs were still not happy in Lib/Nat party meetings and the rumblings were getting stronger.
Scott Morrison has pulled rabbits out of his hat before. The man who can be as tough as they come on borders also believes borders should be open for trade and immigration.
So, while Turnbull can be smug as he rides the wave of popularity this budget brings him, he is aware that his job is now at the mercy of his most capable minister.
Straight after the budget was delivered, the corridors of parliament were full of the usual and inevitable rumours of this being a tilt for the top job (which it surely is).
But there was also a lot of scuttlebutt that several of the Labor Party's more senior members had offered the leadership of the ALP to Morrison.
A little digging confirmed my suspicions. The offer was not from the other side but from the Abbott gang.
Now all the government has to do is get the budget passed. The Coalition will have to back its Treasurer.
The Labor Party might be upset that the Libs stole their best ideas, but it would be churlish to block a Liberal budget because it looked too Laborish.
So it should be a budget of national agreement, apart from the strident ends of the spectrum.
But ... politicians.
As Morrison escaped the throng after his delivery and walked to his office singing, I caught the tune - Rocky Horror's Time Warp. He sang: "As I jump to the Left, and give a snub to the Right, I'll do the Election Warp again".
Pollie Tickled is a satirical column.
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