Monday, January 14, 2008

Take my finance minister.... please.

I try to avoid writing about anything political on my blog, especially when I have limited computer access, but this story really bugged me.

To summarize, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wrote a thoughtful and understandably critical report on the Canadian government's economic plans, which outlined different possible economic scenarios for the next few years. Under their most optimistic forecast, due to the Tories recent tax cuts, the Federal government surplus would be gone by 2008-09, and turn into a $2.4 billion dollar deficit by 2009-10.

Now, Jim Flaherty's economic credentials are already well established - when his Ontario Tories were kicked out of office in 2003, they left the province with a multi-billion dollar deficit due to their neo-con tax cutting agenda. However, Flaherty's response to the CCPA report shows that he hasn't learned much...

" the autumn we were anticipating some slowing in the Canadian economy, as a result of the quite significant slowing in the U.S. economy," Flaherty told reporters at a Vancouver news conference.
"For that reason, in the fall economic statement on Oct. 30, we made dramatic historic tax reductions — business tax reductions — in Canada," he said.

To paraphrase, Flaherty defends himself and his government by pointing to the exact reason why the government is at risk of going into deficit again... because they're cutting into revenues. In fact, he even brags about the "dramatic historic tax reductions." In other words, as usual, the neo-cons are gambling with our future.

Since conservatives are so fond of wanting to govern like they're running a business, let's imagine one is the president of Widget Canada Co. [WCC]. While anticipating a slowdown in demand for Widgets, CEO Flaherty decides to lower prices, reasoning people will buy more widgets. This may, in fact, lead to a temporary boost in sales, but if the overall widget market is slow, it seems like a risky strategy, that could very likely result in drastically lower profits.

Now, if I was CEO of WCC, I might consider investing in research and development to make widgets more efficiently, or find new markets, such as more environmentally friendly widgets. Although that makes alot of financial sense to me, in our current political climate I guess it makes me a socialist.

Speaking of politics, as far as the U.S. primaries go, Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards' wife, has the best quote so far: “He seems like a nice charming guy. [Mike Huckabee] doesn't believe in evolution and has some nutty views about what it is we should do about ending violence in our inner city—we should make sure all of our young people are armed. Republicans scare me.”

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