Monday, April 20, 2015

Joe Oliver and the Con Plan to Kill Government

OK. I realize that Joe Oliver doesn't know what's he's doing. And that the budget he will finally deliver tomorrow was written in the PMO.

But you'd think the Cons would have stopped promoting his absurd balanced budget bill, which would punish cabinet ministers with a five percent wage freeze if they dared run a deficit.

After the NDP pointed out how much it would cost them and their Great Economist Buffoon Leader. 

But no, since they are shameless, they're promoting it harder than ever.  

Which would be hilarious, considering how recklessly the Cons have spent our money  on such things as a billion dollars worth of porky action plan ads.

Or considering the state of the Canadian economy...

Except that it's no joke. Because if that balanced budget bill was ever implemented it would reduce our country to a desert, and would be an absolute disaster.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver's latest musings about introducing balanced budget legislation represent the worst policy for Canada, and will doom us to European-style crises and rob future generations of prosperity.

One that would force future government to make a hellish choice:

Imagine a government wanting to upgrade health care, or our sewers, or electrical grids, or improving our roads and bridges, or increasing social security. Well, under the current proposed legislation, governments won't be able to deficit spend to improve our infrastructure, unless it drastically offsets the whole amount of the investment. 

So what will it do? Only two possibilities: 1) nothing; 2) introduce draconian cuts in other areas, like social services, to offset the full amount of the investment. This will have one of two consequences: 1) allow a further deterioration of our infrastructure; or 2) the eventual elimination of our social safety net.

But then that is of course what Stephen Harper has been trying to do ever since he came to power: kill government by slowly starving into death...

Or as his Republican masters taught him, shrink it until it's so small it can be drowned in a bath tub. And all, except the rich, must live in his cold cruel jungle.

For what else can explain that even as Joe Oliver rambles on about austerity, he is preparing to spray money all over the country? 

It will be a budget that will be short on grand gestures, but will be used to apply to some makeup on Conservative blemishes, micro target constituencies the party needs in October and reach out to other voters not necessarily in the Tory fold with money that will include longtime horizons and asterisks.

To try to buy the election.

While at the same time, and for the same reason, Pierre Poilievre is talking about even more tax cuts. 

Until there is no money for social services, no money for pensions, no money for medicare, no money for the CBC, no money for nothing.

And the problem we face is that in this country there are many Canadians who are so shortsighted, or so greedy, or so dumb, that they might go for that message like a trout goes for a fly. 

On a hook.

Or a hog goes for a bucket of slop...

And the progressive parties need to be far more aggressive in their efforts to convince those Canadians before the election, that they are heading for the slaughterhouse.

Or risk being slaughtered themselves.

And the good news. Polls show that Canadians still favour social services and medicare over tax cuts.

So if the progressive parties are able to paint a vivid enough picture of where Stephen Harper and his government killing Cons would take us...

We can use it against them in the coming election to undermine their whole economic platform.

And help defeat this maniac before he destroys our country...

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Anonymous said...

I try to avoid comment, but this is a special kind of stupid.

The Government HAS MONEY. Specifically, the government has YOUR money, but the idea that the government is broke? Nonsense. Rochon's article is absolute nonsense.

I work for the government, and some of the things I do including buying things on behalf of the government, as well as managing the budget for a small department. Everyone who does what I do quickly become familiar with the term, "March Madness" which isn't a basketball tournament: it's when our upper level-units, in late February/early March of every year "suddenly" find piles of cash lying around that they haven't spent. And then... furious spending commences because we can't leave a single cent of taxpayer's money unspent. We go from fiercely disciplined, recycling staples to drunk on cash in about a week. In 2013, our higher-ups found about a half-million dollars, which they more or less dumped on us at the beginning of March.

Now, I'm sure you're salivating at the thought that this is all Harper's doing, and you'd be partially correct, because Harper hasn't done anything about it. That said... Liberals are just as guilty. This problem is systemic.

So, to a government employee who knows more or less how the sausage is made, the idea that the government will be broke under balanced budget legislation only serves to expose your weapons-grade ignorance.

Simon said...

hi anon.... there is nothing wrong in principle with the idea of balancing a budget. And yes, I am familiar with the way some departments spend money so it doesn't like they could get by with less. And that is a wasteful practice. But when you cut taxes like the Cons do until we're in a statutory deficit, and then you insist on a balanced budget, you will end up having to make brutal choices, that are not in the greater interests of the society we want to live in. And everybody knows what the RepubliCon agenda is, and how they do want to kill government, I'm surprised a weapons-grade genius like you can't see the forest for the trees...

Anonymous said...

to say nothing about the impact of spending on capital items...buildings, roads, bridges, ships etc...which have a useful life of many years if not centuries, all in one year. Imagine paying for your house in a single year? This is more hocus pocus, akin to the govt of Ontario selling the 407 and using the proceeds to offset that year's deficit.

Anonymous said...

Why does that not surprise me Anon 8:17 AM?


mizdarlin said...

As an ex-government employee myself, I'm surprised that you would take this tone..
Sure governments spend like crazy before their departments are audited to make sure that the budget for their areas isn't decreased due to a 'surplus' but that says nothing about the allocation of funds, where they go and for what excuse the government on the basis that some departments are over-funded and neglect to mention that others are either starved for funds or no longer exist is to make the point for anyone objecting to a 'balanced budget' and well you know it..

Anonymous said...

you will end up having to make brutal choices, that are not in the greater interests of the society we want to live in.

I don't agree. It is my opinion that the Federal Government has recently taken on many jobs for its self that go well-beyond the legitimate functions of government. Funding elective surgery immediately comes to mind. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to fund elective surgeries.

And while I'm very reluctant to get rid of some of these departments:, there some I wouldn't hesitate to merge, or to close entirely.

Kill government? Aren't you always touting that C-51 is going to be a massive increase in the level of government intrusion into our private lives? Doesn't that seem kinda non sequitr? So, the ghost of the government that the Conservatives are going to gut and kill is going to be more present in our lives...? So which is it, is Harper going to gut the government, or expand it? Both somehow...? I guess you could argue that there would be a shift in focus, but given your level of hyperbole, I don't think that's persuasive, or at all credible.

If this doesn't illustrate Harper derangement syndrome, I don't know what does. If they, the government wants to do less, and allow us to do more for ourselves, I'm quite happy for that.

And as this relates to balanced budget legislation, your ignorance shows that you really do suffer from HDS. In point of fact, you didn't do your own research again, running with a piece published on what is little more than a left-wing propaganda mouthpiece, while this article:, clearly shows that the balanced budget legislation could be little more than a paper-tiger. Especially considering the first act of a future non-Conservative government could well-be to just repeal the law.

What next? Will Harper make terrifying shadow-puppets to make you jump?

David said...

Budget Day Bonanza (CBC's The National panel, April 19)

Althia Raj: "I suspect we're gonna have a major ad blitz, probably the day after the budget is announced. We already know they've pegged 7.5 million dollars to advertise just in May, so we're gonna have wonderful ads from the government of Canada--that is the taxpayers of Canada--telling us how great the Conservative platform will be, which will nicely free up some space in the Conservative Party's election budget to run attack ads. So essentially the government is gonna try to buy your own vote with your own money in the months to come."

Anonymous said...

Well I guess we accept the money but vote for someone else knowing that we will lose services in return. We can list them to ourselves as we cash the cheque - food safety, veterans services, health care, infrastructure work, education, rail safety, EI for seasonals. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

I repeat there is an article in the Tyee about how we used to borrow from the Bank of Canada and not pay huge interest payment to private banks. We could do that again if the government in power decided to do it.