This statement by the PM - at the December 2016 COAG meeting - shows the confusion, ignorance or deceit at the top levels of our body politic.
An ATM is a machine that delivers spending money on request providing that money has been put into the device beforehand. This is exactly how the Government - and Opposition - tell us the Federal system does work; 'you pay your taxes, then we can provide the services and infrastructure you seek'.
So, to be consistent, the PM should have said that his Government is like an ATM! On the other hand, maybe the PM believes that an ATM is a source of unlimited cash - but us plebs know differently. Perhaps there is such an ATM in Parliament House to handle entitlement claims but the ones we can use need inputs before they give us spending money!
That such confused thinking can be presented in public AND go unchallenged - by State Premiers, journalists and commentators - demonstrates the need for a greater public understanding of Federal finances and where money really does come from - who creates it and how much is there.
Until this greater understanding is widespread, we will continue to be misled and short-changed by the body politic - fed rubbish about 'debt and deficit disaster', the terrors of federal budget deficits, the likeness of Federal finances with personal and small business finances, maxed out national credit card, the horrors of suspect credit agencies being upset and so on.
There is great clarity on Federal funding in a paper by Dr Steven Hail of Adelaide University titled, 'Paying for public services, in a monetary sovereign state'. The results of my study of Dr Hail's paper have been published by Independent Australia - with many really worthwhile links that make it a must read: