Federal government budgets are always strange affairs. They are billed as fact-based, hardnosed economics, when in fact they are far more about political theatre and posturing. While the budget is supposed to reveal the economic credentials of a government, most economists are left shaking their heads. Take the debate around the surplus. Both the Government and the Opposition seem to believe that a surplus as soon as possible is incredibly important. Yet most economists would have no problem with the budget being in deficit given the current economic conditions.