I was starting to write some angry words when I spotted David Akin’s budget report in the Toronto Sun … rather than let my dismay and anger burn through, I am, under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act, going to let Mr Akin speak for me:
‘Red is the new black’: Liberals have no exit planBY DAVID AKIN, PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU CHIEF FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2016 04:15 PM EDT | UPDATED: TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2016 05:09 PM EDT
OTTAWA- Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched the country Tuesday into a decade of deficits with no plans to right Canada’s fiscal ship, with billions to be spent solving problems that don’t exist.
“I was kind of looking for a zero,” Royal Bank Chief Economist Craig Wright told me when I caught up to him in Tuesday’s budget lockup. Wright, like many of the economists, accountants and academics crowded into the lockup went into the day-long session expecting the Liberals to smash through all their election promises on deficits and debt. But they’d also expected the Liberals to table some credible plan to get back to balanced budgets.
In other words, at some future year in the Liberal forecast, Wright and others were looking for all those deficits to eventually shrink to zero.
Nope. Wait for another year.
“Red is the new black,” quipped Doug Porter, BMO Capital Markets chief economist Doug Porter.
In the election campaign, the Liberals promised three fiscal anchors: Deficits no bigger than $10 billion. Budget to be balanced by 2020. And every year, they’d lower our debt-to-GDP ratio. Instead, it’s fiscal anchors aweigh.
“No fiscal targets. No plan for fiscal consolidation,” Kevin Page, the former parliamentary budget officer, said shaking his head.
Morneau argues the $100 billion he’s about to add over the next five years to the national debt will improve things for a struggling middle class.
“Today, we begin to restore hope to the middle class,” Morneau told the House of Commons.
After all, average wage growth has been pretty much stagnant since 1976 and, if you measure from 1982, the richest got richer while the rest of us languished.
One problem with that. If you measure from, say, 2000 or from, say, when the Liberals were last in charge in 2005, it’s exactly the opposite.
During the Harper decade, the average median wage actually grew at quite a reasonable rate. And the richest 0.01%? They’re actually worse off after the Conservative decade, while the rest of us — particularly the middle class — did pretty well.
So wages are growing. Inequality is shrinking. And while the economy is growing slowly, it is growing, not shrinking. And Morneau’s own growth forecasts in the budget have our economy picking up steam and growing even quicker next year and the year after that.
Canada’s back all right. Back into the red.
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So there we are, as David Akin says, “back in the red” and with “no exit plan.” The sad part is that there was no compelling reason for most of this spending, it is not the sort of reasonable “stimulus” about which many economists would not have complained … it is, instead, just throwing money at often non-existent problems to make Liberals feel good. Oh, and one more thing: where’s the infrastructure?